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How A Regular Girl Named Maine Mendoza Became The Nation's Sweetheart

She's just like us.

It all started when a shy 20-year-old girl named Nicomaine Dei Capili Mendoza began making dubsmash videos for fun earlier this year. Maine must’ve chosen the perfect subject matter—Kris Aquino, natch—because one of her dubsmash videos parodying the celebrity reached a million views on Facebook overnight, earning her the title “Queen of Dubsmash.” Not long after, she caught the eye of the Eat Bulaga staff, was cast as Divina Ursula Bokbokova, aka Yaya Dub, in the show’s new segment Juan for All/All for Juan, and the rest is history.

While Maine is everywhere these days—peddling McDonald’s and Talk ‘N Text during TV commercial breaks and Coke in a billboard along EDSA, gracing magazine covers, and taking over social media feeds the world over—it’s comforting to note that she exudes the aura of a real, down-to-earth girl who, like you and me, makes kengkoy faces as if there wasn’t a camera in front of her.

Only there is. There are tons of cameras trained on her now, and still, she makes those faces. And that’s why we love her so much: She continues to be herself, and gain fame as herself, even as she made the huge jump from nobody to national sensation in the span of a few months.

Thanks to her dubsmash compilations on YouTube, we have evidence of what Nicomaine Dei Capili Mendoza was like before she became a household name: all bungisngis laughter, exaggerated movements, and rubbery facial contortions. Yep, just like our beloved Yaya Dub.

Like in this one, where she takes Kris Aquino’s statements to a whole new level. NAKAKALOKA!

And in this other Krissy compilation, which comes complete with a spiel from the celeb’s Pantene commercial.

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She’s done beauty queen Janina San Miguel, Mommy Dionisia, and even comedian Kuya Jobert.

Venus Raj’s “major, major” and Amalayer girl’s meltdown—of course she wouldn’t let those pass.

In this all-English compilation, see her smear chocolate all over her teeth—something you might have done in the past to make a friend or your boyfriend laugh.

The first video she ever uploaded on YouTube shows a short-haired, 17-year-old Maine goofing around to M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” with a friend. It looks like the sort of thing you would’ve cooked up with your college BFF one weekend while bored out of your minds.

No wonder Maine still gets overwhelmed by how much she has achieved in just a matter of months. She gets real about her feels in this Instagram post from October 11.

“I used to be a girl with a poor self esteem—I actually think I still am. I never believed in my capability of doing things; it could be just me being a pessimist about almost everything but the thing is, I never really believed in myself. Every time I am about to do something, the first thing that comes to my mind is “Hindi ko kaya yan.” (That’s the fighting spirit! *note sarcasm*) Though I am already used to it, it’s still sad to think that I grew up with a negative mindset. I grew up believing I am not good enough for anything. People may think “Wala pa naming nararating/napapatunayan yang Yaya nyo.”True enough, I guess. Pero para sa’kin, I’ve done so many things that I never thought I can do; things that I never imagined I am capable of doing. Everything that I am experiencing and doing right now is new to me. And I am proud to say that [finally]—because of Eat Bulaga—I am having the courage to step out of my comfort zone. I have waited so long for the moment where I’d be able to say ‘I am proud of myself.’ Kung wala pa man akong napapatunayan sa inyo, sa’kin marami-rami na..at yun lang, sapat na.Sapat na din para masabi kong proud ako sa sarili ko. Way to go, Meng!”

Aww. You’ve truly come a long way, baby.