Before she became known as the pure-hearted, smart girl Cassandra “Cassie” Mondragon on Kadenang Ginto, Francine Diaz went through a lot of hardships with her family. The young actress doesn’t shy away from sharing her poor life, just grateful for where the struggles brought her to.
At a young age, Francine witnessed her family suffer in debt. There were days when they didn’t have electricity and get kicked out of their rented house. Her parents likewise couldn’t afford to buy her books and school supplies. The harsh realities aroused Francine’s desire to help in the family’s finances even if she was just a kid.
With a charisma like that, she landed several advertisements (an AVP for a car brand being the first one). The constant exposure sparked her dream of entering showbiz. As a little girl, she loved to act in front of the mirror or play drama with her stuffed toys.
Setting her foot on the industry still did not solve their problems. Francine still had to keep on praying for more roles, big or small. She experienced countless rejections. On most days, the failures would make her doubt her dreams.
Little by little, the tenacity bore fruit. But while she’s happy and thankful for the job opportunities, there were times when she’s on the brink of giving up. It is just understandable to hear a little girl complain about working when she’s supposed to be playing and enjoying her childhood.
Nice and slow, her biggest break arrived via hit Kapamilya series Kadenang Ginto. The endorsements likewise came pouring in. Looking back on her journey to stardom, Francine learned that she has to work hard for the things she wants and that everything unfolds at the perfect time.
Now that her prayers were answered, the Kapamilya beauty vows to never take the blessings for granted. She’s not resting on her laurels. Francine keeps on honing her acting skills even while at by home watching movies. She never stopped praying, either.
Francine draws inspiration from the people who once extended them helping hands. The Gold Squad member said she would never want to bring those help to waste. Most especially, she doesn’t want to see her family go penniless again.
No matter where life brought them to, Francine and her family remain grounded. Their joys are still simple. Just having food to eat (or a fully stuffed refrigerator) is enough to make them happy. She can already afford her school supplies.
Now 16, Francine is proud of her 7-year-old self for the eagerness to improve, for always praying steadfastly, and for having big dreams for her family and the courage to fulfill them.