There’s no denying that Mariestella Racal, or simply known as Maris Racal, is indeed one of the brightest stars of her generation. Ever since her remarkable stint in Pinoy Big Brother All In, wherein she was hailed as the Second Big Placer, we’ve witnessed her astonishing rise to immense stardom as a multi-faceted young artist whose appearances in various television programs and movies have always been notable.
But unbeknownst to us, she underwent a lot of struggles as she tried to keep pace with everyone in the world that’s entirely new to her. And she opened up about it in her interview with StarStudio.ph for its #JustLikeYou campaign.
She started off by reminiscing her simple yet fun childhood in her hometown in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Coming from a huge family, as she has five older siblings around 20 cousins just in her mom’s side, Maris imparted she never felt being alone since she would always have a playmate and they often had huge gatherings at home. Her life then only revolved around home, school, and church, wherein she used to be a part of a choral group, thus she was able to keep her circle very small.
Then she went on to disclose that she actually already had her life planned out, seeing herself getting a degree in medical technology in college as she aspires to become a doctor someday. However, her path instantly changed when she auditioned for PBB in 2014.
The 22-year-old actress revealed that joining the reality program had never been a part of her plans since she was not very much exposed on the entertainment side then, instead of watching TV or doing stuff that teenagers like her usually do in their leisure time, she used to devote most of her time playing internet games. But with their mom’s incessant prodding and one of her siblings’ plea to do it for them, she tried her luck and unexpectedly got accepted.
Maris became known as the “Singing Sunshine of Davao” and garnered throngs of supporters while inside the house. She disclosed that she indeed got surprised of the things she could do as her stint in the reality competition enabled her to explore the sides of her that she had not seen yet.
Since she’s not used to the glitz and glamour and be surrounded by many people, she implied being shocked and fearful of stepping on “a new beginning”. She had a lot of “what ifs” but her ever-supportive mom has been there to push her and to cheer for her.
Being a neophyte in the industry, plus being a full-fledged probinsyana, she confessed not being spared from the hurtful words not only hurled by the netizens, but of other artists as well who are apparently not fond of her. Those snide remarks terribly affected her self-esteem and made her wonder if she’s really fit and would make it in the local entertainment scene. Gratefully, her family always has her back no matter what and their unending love and support made her decide to simply use those hurtful comments and mockeries as motivation instead to keep on going and to prove the naysayers wrong.
“I fought my way through it. Pinakita ko talaga sa kanila na kahit probinsyana ako, may ibubuga rin ako. Kunwari, may acting [project] na ibinigay sa akin, ginagalingan ko talaga just to prove them wrong. ‘Yon ‘yong naging motivation ko, ‘yong mg hurtful words nila,” she related.
Then the proud Davaoeña went on to enumerate some of the changes that she noted about herself as she learned to live for herself and not for other people.
“When I look at the mirror, I just feel so proud of myself, [of] what I’ve become. I feel like I’m a stronger woman now and I am not afraid to make mistakes. I am not afraid to fight for my right. I am not afraid to say ‘no’ because dati talaga takot na takot ako mag-‘no’, I just carry the burden and let people live their lives but now, not anymore. When I don’t feel happy, I tell the person. I open up with my handler whenever something’s not right anymore. I don’t live for other people anymore. I live for myself,” she said.
And if there’s one thing she would want to tell every probinsyana like her as a way of encouraging them, she conveyed, “To all people na laging mino-mock na mga probinsyana sila, just make those words a motivation to prove them wrong. Kapag tinawag kang probinsyana ka, don’t get hurt or don’t feel bad about it kasi it’s you e. It’s part of you. Kahit saan ka mapunta, do’n ka talaga pinanganak. Hindi mo na ‘yan mababago and ‘di mo na mababago ang past mo. Just embrace it and show the world na ‘Ito ako e’ and then prove them wrong. Just show them your talents.”
The interview wrapped up with Maris confidently stating, “I am Maris and I am limitless just like you.”