The story behind Maja’s “Love from Home” self-portrait

It is easy to believe that Maja Salvador had the dreamiest lockdown experience others could only wish for. She was stuck in the tranquil paradise island of Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan, so that means feasting on fresh seafood, marvelling at the summer view, and just enjoying the chill ‘buhay-probinsya’ life. All these she experienced with boyfriend Rambo Nunez and his family.

Maja would admit, however, that her quarantine life wasn’t as relaxed as it seems. There were days when even a jolly person like her would be disrupted by anxiety, since she wasn’t only dealing with the pandemic but with fearful thoughts about her home network’s situation as well. “Na-discover ko na hindi mo matatakasan ‘yung feeling na ang daming iniisip, takot ka… Na-experience ko ‘yung parang buong araw nag-iisip ako kung anong mangyayari sa future. Nagpa-panic ako,” shared Maja. The trying times made her see the glaring effects of a crisis. She realized we are all indeed equal. “Inisip ko, lahat talaga apektado – walang mayaman, walang mahirap. ‘Yung masayahin pwedeng maka-feel ng ganun, what more doon sa mas marami pang pinagdadaanan.”

During those times of uncertainties in a distant and isolated region, Maja sought comfort from the people around her. The locals’ optimism and contentment with the simple life coupled with her spirituality helped her manage her fears. “I know God will always provide kung ano man mangyari. Kailangan ang faith pa rin talaga. Kailangan matindi pa rin talaga ang kapit kay God.”  

Knowing that other people had it worse, Maja and Rambo initiated #HomeButNotAlone, a relief operation that aims to provide assistance to frontliners and families most affected by the pandemic. Through the help of their friends in the industry, the lovebirds created a series of entertaining online content to collect donations from the viewers. She said, “Noong ginawa ‘yun, nagpaka-singer ako. Siyempre alam naman nilang sumasayaw ako. Then, nagpaka-trainer din ako, ‘yung mga zumba, workout ganyan. Kasi hinahanap hanap ‘yung pag-eentertain.” The charity drive helped Maja divert her fearful thoughts to hopes of a more positive and brighter future. The Kapamilya actress expressed gratitude to showbiz friends who shared their talent and time for a good cause.

With the goal of lifting other people up through their inspiring stories of optimism and love, Star Magic artists shot meaningful self-portraits in the comfort of their own home, showing a glimpse of their quarantine life. These photos were taken during the lockdown period.

Celebrities got to showcase how creative and resourceful they are behind the spotlight. Even without the usual production crew and glam team helping them during photoshoots, artists delivered stunning results with their own ‘magic.’

Maja’s entry was shot in her boyfriend’s family’s house in Puerto Prinsesa Palawan, where she spent the quarantine. The actual photoshoot was a bit easier for her. The Nunez family knew a photographer who volunteered to take her portrait.

It was a collective effort. Maja did her own make up while her personal assistant was handed the wardrobe responsibility, with minimal help from their resident stylist. “Si Ella, ‘yung aking kasama ay inutusan kong bumili na lang ng outfit. Naging stylist ko siya noong time na ‘yun, so bahala na siya no’n. Pero siyempre nagpatulong siya sa stylist namin, si Cath Sobrevega.”

It was Maja’s call to do the photoshoot as quick as possible since she didn’t want to make a scene in the Nunez household. “Alam mo ‘yung shoot na ‘yun parang wala pang isang oras. Kasi nahihiya ako sa sister ni Rambo kasi bahay ng sister niya ‘yun. Parang nanggugulo ako sa bahay ng may bahay,” she related.

“Todo pakiusap sa sister ni Rambo na, ‘Ate pwede ko bang gamitin ‘yung carpet mo, ‘yung balcony n’yo.’ Even ‘yung banyo niya.” Maja is thankful for the Nunez family’s hospitality, for the pictorial wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for their support and kindness.

The Star Magic “Love from Home” is an effort to raise funds for the ABS-CBN “Pantawid ng Pag-Ibig (Isang Daan. Isang Pamilya)” campaign.