Edward Barber On MayWard Love Team: 'I don't really want to continue if it's not with Maymay'

This unlikely match proves they're the real deal.

"Masarap pala ang feeling na may taong naiintindihan ka at poprotektahan ka."

When the Cosmo team comes up to say hello to Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber, we find Edward with his hands on her face, playfully squishing her cheeks as she sits barefaced on the makeup chair. Half of the people in the room, their trusted team, look on in amusement, while the other half go about their business, suggesting that this is everyday play for the pair that shot to fame after winning Pinoy Big Brother last year.

Though Edward is soon ushered to his own makeup chair, their fun, carefree vibe fills the room as they recount moments together. They gesticulate animatedly, a habit from when they were still bridging the language gap in the PBB house (Edward grew up in Germany, Maymay in Cagayan de Oro). They sing the theme song of One-Punch Man, their favorite anime series that gets them through late night tapings, in adorably imperfect harmony. They talk and laugh and dance like nobody's watching. Maymay shares, "'Pag sobrang happy siya, magtatanggal siya ng t-shirt tapos sasayaw ng parang spaghetting pababa!" Edward says, "'Pag masayang-masaya kami, wala kaming pakialam kung pagtawanan kami ng mga tao."

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Maymay, 21, and Edward, 18, are every bit as silly and cute as they come off onscreen, going all the way back to their PBB days. It was in the reality competition where they first met, developed a bond, and made a nation of viewers fall for #MayWard. After she was named the Big Winner and he placed fourth last year, they went on to perform in local and international concerts, top-bill the movie Loving in Tandem, and star in the mangaserye He's My Oppastar.

Today the #MayWard ship sails on, navigating the showbiz landscape with social media savvy (they have a combined 3.4 million followers on Instagram alone) and the ever-present undercurrent of are-they-or-aren't-they-finally-officially-confiiirmed-together?

"Hashtag blessed, super blessed"

As of this writing, they are not, as Maymay clarifies with a smile multiple times throughout the interview. Edward is quite vocal and has said that Maymay is his first love, though she is quick to say, "Ang love naman hindi lang iisang klase." They say they are best friends, or as Edward puts it, "partners in crime on the way to soul mates." He says, "I would do anything to protect her. If anyone does something disrespectful to her, I don't mind putting my career on the line. I want to protect her and if that means people say, 'Ah, mayabang si Edward, pangit ang ugali niyan,' I don't mind as long as I take care of her."

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To this, Maymay says, "Sobrang blessed ako na siya yung partner ko. Independent ako, 'di ako sanay na pinoprotektahan ako. May limit ako—diyan ka lang, ako na sa sarili ko, kaya ko 'to. Pero masarap pala ang feeling na may taong naiintindihan ka at poprotektahan ka. Tapos mukha pa siyang anghel o. Total package. Ako na ang hashtag blessed, super blessed. Thank you, Lord!"

While they are not officially together (yet), they have the blessing of each other's family "kung sakali, in the future, kinaklaro ko lang," Maymay says with a laugh. She's close with his sister, Laura, and she recently attended Laura's college graduation in England. His mom can read people very well, Edward says, so it's a big deal that she has a good feeling about Maymay. Edward's grandpa wanted him to go back to school instead of staying here for showbiz, but after meeting Maymay, he became more comfortable with Edward's decision to stay.

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As for Maymay's family, they immediately took a liking to Edward as her love team partner, but for something deeper, it took some time before her mom and grandma, in particular, gave their approval. Maymay says, "Sobrang protective ng family ko kasi madami na kaming napagdaanan. Walang nagkakatuluyan except for my lolo at lola, kaya sila talaga ang inspirasyon namin." Maymay's grandma, who she calls Ma, had never approved of any man in the lives of all the women in the family. "Laging may kulang."

At first, her Ma was hesitant because Edward is three years younger than her. "Pero nung matagal na, nung nag-18 'to, sabi ni Ma hindi siya nagbago. Mabait nga. Umiyak si Ma nung kinausap niya 'to kasi first time daw niyang ibibigay yung blessing niya—kung sakali, in the future."

Maymay says that was quite a surprise. "May ex ako na ayaw niya talaga; may something siyang na-fi-feel daw. E 'di ba 'pag mga nanay, malakas ang instinct? Hindi ako nakinig sa lola ko noon—ayun, nasaktan ako. Pero okay lang kasi natuto naman ako." Edward, who has been quietly listening all this time, comes through with great timing: "Okay lang, andito naman na ako."

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Growing as a pair and as individuals

With all their projects and a fantasy film in the works, the Metro Manila Film Festival entry Fantastica, there's no doubt that Maymay's and Edward's lives are intertwined. The great thing about these two, though, is that as they grow together, they also give each other the space to grow as individuals.

Maymay, who's got a solo album and concert tour under her belt, says, "Madami kang matututunan 'pag kinakaya mong magisa. Pero kahit magisa kami sa proyekto, nagtutulungan kami. Importante na may nasasabihan ka kahit solo project mo para mas magaan magtrabaho. Like nung nasa Canada siya para sa movie na First Love, hindi ko hinayaan na ma-feel alone siya. Every day, nag-video chat kami."

"That was my first big project without her," says Edward. "You get used to having someone with you on set, someone who always has your back. I've always been a group person even in Germany, so that was the first time I was really by myself. I learned a lot and I'm thankful for that, but I hope we can do more projects together."

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Edward says, "At the moment if something were to happen and mawala ang Mayward, I'd probably leave showbiz. I don't really want to continue if it's not with her. Alam ko medyo spoiled yung approach na 'pag wala siya, wala at all, pero sa tingin ko ganun. If she's not there, I don't think I'll be happy. I grew a lot with her and I'm happy to continue growing with her. There's no one else I'd rather grow with."

Observing the pair, you wouldn't think there's a three-year gap between them. That's because they always try to meet each other halfway, according to Maymay. "May mga bagay na mas matured siya at may mga bagay na mas matured ako. 'Pag pinagsama-sama mo yun, nagkakapantay kami. Lagi kaming may natututunan sa isa't isa." She adds, "Hindi ako naniniwala na dapat kaparehong-kapareho mo yung 'meant to be' mo. 'Pag may differences kayo, dun kayo natututo at nag-go-grow."

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Are they growing up too quickly, though? In an industry as fast-paced as showbiz, Maymay and Edward know the value of holding on to their youth—they are, after all, still coming of age at 21 and 18, respectively. Aside from their daily dose of anime shows, Maymay says faith, authenticity, and positivity help them stay young. "Piliin mong magpakatotoo. Piliin mong mag-appreciate kaysa ma-insecure sa ibang tao. Piliin mo ang love para sa mga tao sa buhay mo, 'yon ang pinakaimportante."

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PRODUCED BY: Jacinda A. Lopez

ART DIRECTOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: Jico Joson

ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR: Mixi Ignacio

SHOOT COORDINATOR: Lou Ferrer

SOCIAL MEDIA: Andie Estella

MAKEUP (Maymay): Owen Sarmiento

GROOMING (Edward): Aimee Grey

HAIR (Maymay and Edward): Jaymar Lahayhay

STYLING (Maymay and Edward): Team Rain x Em

SITTINGS EDITOR:  Jillian Gatcheco

On Maymay:

  • Layout 1: Top: CJ Martin, Skirt: CJ Martin
  • Layout 2: Top: Uniqlo, Jacket: F&H
  • Layout 3: Top: Jhaira Gonzales, Skirt: F&H

On Edward:

  • Layout 1: Shirt: F&H
  • Layout 2: Top: F&H, Jacket: Renan Pacson
  • Layout 3: Shirt: F&H

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