Something about Marian
No question was dodged. Nothing seemed to faze her. GMA 7 star Marian Rivera was at her most candid and chatty, when she sat down with Inquirer Entertainment recently.
Out of the blue, she announced that she had come straight from doing the laundry at home. She’s been on her own for the last seven years, she said. “I have no help; I do my own chores.” She cooks, does grocery shopping, pays the bills, cleans the aquarium. And when she finds the time, she bakes. “I’m hyper,” she admitted, “and very hands-on.”
Before her rapt audience could recover from that, she tossed two more surprises on the table: She watches cartoon shows to unwind. And she paints.
There’s much more to her than meets the public eye, Marian insisted. That’s why she gets exasperated when media reports on her supposed fits of jealousy whenever boyfriend Dingdong Dantes works with another actress. It makes her want to vomit, she said. “Nasusuka ako.”
Those rumors imply that she is easily rattled, that she has low self-esteem, she said. “Am I not pretty? Don’t I conduct myself well?”
Well, she is certainly not lacking in self-confidence. And, she volunteered, the take-charge attitude that works for her at home, she has employed at work.
She personally picked her leading man (the slightly younger Alden Richards) and came up with the title for her new show, “Carmela: Ang Pinakamagandang Babae sa Mundong Ibabaw.”
Marian explained: “The original title, ‘Catarina,’ was too sosyal (upscale),” she explained. “My followers are masa.”
She means business.
Are you now used to acting with a younger leading man?
I’m still feeling my way around. Alden said there was no more wall between us. But, if you ask me, I don’t want the wall to disappear completely … there should be a little distance, to maintain the respect …
Alden doesn’t share everything, either, though he opened up about his family recently. That means he trusted me enough.
Your manager (Tony Tuviera of Triple A) said you were ready for “mature” roles.
I agree with Tatay (Tuviera). He said I should try new roles, new costars.
By “mature,” we don’t mean bold. I’d like more dramatic movie roles. I’ve done only comedy and love stories. I’d like to play dark characters. I am open to doing indie movies.
What roles would you like to try in indie films?
Anything I haven’t done before. And I hope to do that this year.
Would you play a prostitute or psychotic killer?
A lesbian, something like “My Husband’s Lover”?
Not on television. TV viewers are sensitive and conservative. Most of my TV fans are young and may not be ready for that drastic change. But in the movies, I can play anything.
Are the fans a big consideration in your career decisions?
Oo naman. They are the reason I am here. They are the ones who vote, spend on text messages, in every poll for the sexiest or most beautiful stars. I don’t even want to call them fans. That sounds cold.
Have you never played a dark character on TV?
Oh, right. In “Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang,” I was a bad girl at first. But GMA 7 received so many letters of complaint, we had to change the story. The ratings shot up.
Describe Carmela, your character.
She’s smart and beautiful; people get envious and want to put her down.
Can you relate to her?
The blessings in my life outnumber the bad things; the good cancels out the intrigues.
Most people face the same challenges, and not just those in show biz.
What are the most annoying misconceptions about you?
I’d rather not talk about the past, but since you brought it up… the first one is that I am palengkera (war freak). But I fight back only when I’m pushed.
Another one is that I am suplada (aloof). Could that be because I am mestiza? I didn’t know that, as an actress, it was my job to greet and kiss everyone. I was not raised that way. I am just being myself, rather reserved. I don’t like people thinking I am “feeling close” (presumptuous).
I have fixed this. I showed the real Marian, no pretenses. I didn’t hide anything and people loved and accepted me.
I have no illusions. Thank you for your love, but I know that one day, someone younger and more beautiful will come along … my nanay (grandmother) taught me to value everything because all this fame will disappear one day.
Are you ready for that day?
Oo naman, since Day 1. My mom and grandmom keep telling me that this is temporary; popularity is fleeting. But the people whose lives you touch, that’s forever. That’s what’s important to me.
You talk so fast.
Hahaha! Caviteña e. Matatas (articulate), direct to the point. But I can turn it down, soften it. I can be gentle.
Are you less confrontational now?
If a reporter was mean to me and I answered back, who would benefit from that? But first, who would look like the underdog? Who would win?
I’ve learned to swallow my pride. Dedma (ignore). Trabaho lang, walang personalan. Many reporters used to criticize me; now we’re okay.
How hard or easy was that to learn?
It was hard. I did it slowly. When you join show biz, you should be prepared to take the good with the bad.
What changes did the Tuviera team bring to your life and career?
Tatay and I have a mentor-student relationship. We don’t let a month pass by without seeing each other. He checks on me, asks what’s happening in my life. He reminds me to love my job, treat others well, and be thankful always.
Career-wise, how did things change under your new manager?
Triple A plans my calendar a month in advance, so I know what to expect every day. I like that. It makes me more excited about my work.
Tatay and I discuss everything but, in the end, he lets me decide. Sometimes we meet half-way.
After show biz, what are your plans?
I don’t think I will ever leave show biz. I’ll be here for as long as I can. My peg is Miss Gloria Romero.
So you’re willing to do mother roles eventually?
Oo naman. In fact, before “Mari Mar,” I did two mother roles (“Super Twins,” “Muli”). At age 23, I played mother to a 7-year-old kid.
I tell young stars, there are no small roles. In every project, give your best. If not for those mother roles, the bosses wouldn’t have let me audition for “Mari Mar.” Imagine that? From nanay to “Mari Mar”!
How has Dingdong changed your life?
Dong has taught me a lot. As a newcomer immersed in controversies, I could have been traumatized. I am thankful because Dong always sees the good in people. I learned to copy his optimism, his enthusiasm in charity work. He inspires me to be a better person. He has his own thing; I have mine. When we combine our [efforts] we get to help a lot of people.
There is talk that you are running for office?
No, I’m not. Even in Cavite, when people ask, I tell them I have no political plans. I just want to share whatever I have.
Are you ready for politics?
Ayoko! I’m not into politics!
If Dingdong ran for office …?
Bahala siya sa buhay niya! Ayoko! But really, whatever he decides, I’ll support for as long as it’s good for him and will benefit others.
How have you changed Dingdong?
He used to be the one question, one answer type. I told him to relax, enjoy life. Now, he is more kalog (fun-loving) than I am.
As Dong would say: Not so far, but not so near. It sounds confusing, but we understand each other.
Is Dingdong romantic?
Yes, he is … always surprising me. It’s hard to describe what we have. I guess, we complement each other.
We always find a way to meet up, no matter how busy we both are. When we have free time, we go to the movies.
Do you still get jealous?
Nakakasuka, nakakadiri ang term na selos. They say I get mad when Dong has a kissing scene with another leading lady. But I also have kissing scenes with my leading men!
Why should I get upset? I know that, when the cameras are not rolling, he’s kissing me and not his leading lady.
Why should I get jealous of another girl? I am confident that he’s mine! Am I ugly? Am I not sexy? Am I not presentable? But of course I cannot go around saying that because people will say I am arrogant.
The point is, I have no reason to be insecure.
How do you handle the fact that your boyfriend is a heartthrob?
Well, men also fantasize about me. I should be flattered that other girls like him. We don’t compete. We are here to guide each other, inspire each other to become good people.
That’s why we love traveling together. That’s real life—away from the cameras, away from show biz, we can be real. We can be ourselves, eat street food …
How would you describe your relationship at this point?
I’m not saying that we have a perfect relationship. I don’t know where we’re headed but, as Dong would say, it gets deeper and more meaningful every day. Why worry about little things?
But I want him to feel that I am not just his girlfriend, but also his best friend.
If you end up together, will you remain best friends?
I think so.
What are his weaknesses?
There is talk that you are living together.
What is the definition of living in? He has his own house in Quezon City and I live in Makati.
He visits me and what is wrong with that? I’m not 12 years old! I’ve been living on my own since after college.
What do you do at home?
It may sound weird but I love doing the laundry, cleaning my house. I’m hyper. As long as I eat chocolates, I can survive on just an hour of sleep.
Since I moved out of my grandmom’s house (in Cavite) seven years ago, I haven’t hired househelp. I never had a production assistant, either. I pay my bills, shop for groceries, cook …
What are your specialties?
Menudo, kaldereta, sinigang. Sometimes Dong asks me to cook Japanese fried rice. He challenged me to take up baking. I bought a book. Now, I can bake carrot cake, banana cake, muffins, cookies. Once I put my mind to something, I can do it.
Do you have pets?
I used to have a Shih Tzu, but I got rashes. Now, I have only fish in an aquarium—that I clean myself. I used to have a parrot fish, but its crap was way too big. After three days, the tank turned completely black. Naloka ako!
What else do you do at home?
I watch cartoon shows—“Ogie and the Cockroaches,” “Adventure Time” … anything on the Cartoon Network. It calms me. I also paint… while watching cartoons. Once I tried painting with the TV off; I couldn’t finish anything.
What led you to painting?
I had a wisdom tooth removed and couldn’t go out of the house. I was so bored, so I picked up a sketch pad. I used paint with charcoal; now, I’m into oil. I draw nude women and flowers. I don’t know what that means, but those are my favorite subjects.
Have you tried painting live models?
No! I just rely on my overactive imagination. Dong says I could be a scriptwriter, too.
Tatay is also a frustrated artist. When he learned that I was into art, he invited me to his house and we had a painting session.
Dong tells me to post my paintings on Instagram. Sometimes I’m too shy. Dong tells me, “Baby, not everyone can paint.”
He calls you Baby! What do you call him?
Daddy! He’s like a father, guiding me through life.
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