Melai Cantiveros took on the TWBA hot seat in 2018, and veteran host Boy Abunda noticed how she looked classy in her all-black OOTD. He noted that even her actions seemed different, “Alam mo, may kakaiba kang lakad. May iba na, eh,” to which she replied, “Bakit, Tito Boy? Parang may pagka-sosyal na kunwari?”
When she walked on stage, Tito Boy said he was reminded of the Kardashians. He pointed out her glow-up, her choice of clothes and accessories. “I’m so happy about your success,” he was reminded of Melai’s humble beginnings.
The Magandang Buhay host then recalled her audition in Pinoy Big Brother. “Parang gutom na gutom pa ako ng time na ‘yan, Tito Boy. Parang wala pang pisngi kasi parang, siyempre, wala pang masyadong makain,” she watched a snippet of her audition tape.
Even if she had less money to buy food then, Melai was genuinely happy. “Sobrang masaya ‘yan kasi hindi naman niya alam kung ano ‘yung pang-mayaman, eh. ‘Yung pagbuo ng kanyang pagkatao, still the same,” she said about herself, meaning she remains simple and humble to this day.
Melai shared that Direk Lauren Dyogi made her feel nervous throughout the audition, and there was one question she remembers so well. “Tinanong sa akin kung ano ang negosyong itatayo ko sa Gen San. Pang-15 ako, eh. Ang iniisip ko na sagot sari-sari store. Pero ang sinagot nung first, sari-sari store, ‘yung isa naman convenience store, ‘yung isa mini-store. Sabi ko, ‘Wala na talaga akong pag-asa nito.’ Siyempre kailangan mo ibahin kasi magagalit si Direk Lauren.”
She ended up saying “vulcanizing shop.” Asked why, she said, “Ang katabi ng sari-sari store, vulcanizing shop.” The thought of putting up her vulcanizing shop manifested into reality. “May vulcanizing shop kami ngayon sa Gen San,” she smiled.
Melai didn’t expect to make the cut, let alone emerge as the PBB Big Winner, “Wala sa isipan ko na matatanggap ako sa audition kasi ang number ko 24, 249.” She didn’t even notice that her number was called as part of the audition passers.
Check out Melai’s amusing stories in this throwback video from Tonight with Boy Abunda.