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All Hail The Queen: Marian Rivera Talks About Being In Control And Embracing The New Stage Of Her Life

Now a wife and a mom of two, Marian's priority has shifted in a big way—but her star continues to shine brightly.

Marian Rivera-Dantes is inarguably one of the most recognizable faces in local showbiz. At 38, she remains as fresh and lovely as when she first made headlines as the lead actress in the local adaptation of the Mexican telenovela Marimar.

So much has happened on her life journey since her TV debut. She has portrayed iconic characters including Darna, Dyesebel, and Amaya that have firmly cemented her place in Pinoy pop culture, but the role she no doubt enjoys the most is being a wife to Dingdong Dantes and a mother to Zia and Sixto. Not to mention, she's a successful entrepreneur—she's the owner and founder of lifestyle brand Flora Vida, which offers easy-breezy fashion pieces, chic flower arrangements, and stylish home accents with sustainability at its core. 

Marian Rivera for Cosomopiltan Philippines August 2022
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Marian Rivera for Cosmopolitan Philippines August 2022

With everything going on in Marian's life, one might think that she'd have less time for her showbiz career. But after decades in the industry, she remains to be her home network's primetime queen. As a successful actress whose star continues to shine bright, she's not one to forget about her fans who brought her there. “The DongYan fans have been so supportive ever since. Sa panahon ngayon na maraming baguhan at ang bilis maglipat-lipat ng hinahangaan, andyan pa din sila,” she acknowledges happily.  

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Marian Rivera for Cosmopolitan Philippines August 2022

On being a wife and mother

Privacy is a common issue among celebrities, and Marian is all about striking a perfect balance. She tries to protect her children’s right to privacy, while also sharing snippets of their life for their fans to enjoy. She says it starts with consent. “Actually, the pictures we post ilan lang sa mga libo-libong pictures na never namin nilabas. Very aware kami na kahit maliit pa sila kailangan nirerespeto namin ang privacy nila.”

Even when it comes to endorsements, she and Dingdong make sure that they don't subject their children to doing things against their will. Zia, an adorable six-year-old who inherited her parent's good-looking genes, is particularly popular and is already a celebrity in her own right. But whenever she's offered a project, they make sure that Zia likes what she is doing. “For example, she was invited to guest on a show and she said no. We have to respect that and tell the management. [There's] a Vitamin C brand commercial she accepted because she says she likes the product.”

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On Marian: three-piece suit and earrings, both FENDI

Whatever photos we see on their Instagram feed, these are snaps they willingly share to spread the happiness and good vibes from their home to their loyal fans.  

Between her and Dingdong, Marian says she is the disciplinarian. “Ako yung bad cop,” she laughs. She also says that she monitors their screen time, with Zia having no access to gadgets on school days. Additionally, the siblings never fight, and Zia always gives way to her brother. “Very sweet silang dalawa. Halimbawa, may trabaho ako, silang dalawa yung magka-hug sa gabi 'pag matutulog. Love na love kasi ni Sixto si Ate niya. Parang sobrang idol niya yung Ate niya.”  

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She and her husband go on dates twice a month, she says. She also makes it a point to spend as much time as she can with their children. “Ang bilis ng panahon. Darating ang araw, tatanda na sila, mag-aasawa na, tapos wala na sila sa bahay. Mare-realize ko, ay kaming dalawa na lang pala ni Dong ang nasa bahay,” she says wistfully.

On taking care of her family

As the endorser of an online shopping platform, she couldn't help but laugh when asked about her budol moments. “Naku, budol sa akin lahat about the kitchen! Yung mga organizer, mga pangsala, mga rice cooker, pati mga basahan. Pinaka number one purchase na happy ako yung organizer sa ref!”

She adds that while others were trying to find ways to stay fit during the lockdown, she spent most of her time in the kitchen. “Hindi ako nag-gym. Luto ako ng luto nung pandemic!” she declares.

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Speaking of the pandemic, just like everyone else, Marian wasn't immune to the worries and anxieties that the global health crisis has brought upon. It made her really think about her priorities in life and the things that are most important to her. “It made me realize the value of relationships,” she says. Sa relationships natin, minsan we take for granted yung mga taong mahalaga at malapit sa atin. Sa sobrang busy natin, iniisip natin na naandyan lang sila, okay lang sila, safe sila, kumakain sila doon. The pandemic made me see na dapat nagfo-focus tayo sa kanila. We keep thinking about the future na hindi pala natin alam kung sa future na iyan andyan pa sila o naandyan ka pa sa future na iyon. Better talaga na pahalagahan mo talaga yung mga taong nandyan para sa iyo, lalo na ang family mo.”

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The pandemic likewise made her prioritize health, not just her own but also her family's. “Before, parang, okay lang, bahala na, but when the pandemic started, naging mas aware tayo na we should take care of ourselves. You have to take measures to protect yourself at ang family mo.” Marian—raised by her lola, who's 93; and her mother, who's 60—can't help but worry over her loved ones constantly. “Mas lalo ko silang tinatawagan para kumustahin ang kalagayan nila doon. Tatanungin ko kung may inuubo o may nagkasakit, and I always remind them na magsuot ng face mask at walang lalabas.”

Marian Rivera for Cosomopiltan Philippines August 2022

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On Marian: Printed dress, MATERIEL TBILISI 

She adds, “Ang daming nabigay na realization itong pandemic na ito, na baka wake-up call sa ating lahat na pahalagahan natin kung ano yun nandyaan at kung ano ba talaga yun mahalaga, which is your family and your health.”

On the subject of family, she jokes that she and Dingdong are probably the “most praning” couple when it comes to safety protocols. “Nag-Singapore kami, so talagang sinusunod namin yun mga protocol at kung anong kailangan namin gawin, like distansya sa tao, naka-face mask pa rin, sabon pa rin kamay, naka-alcohol pa rin kami. 'Pag medyo crowded [sa isang lugar], lilihis kami. Parang ayaw namin masyadong maging panatag kahit pa sabihin natin vaccinated na kaming lahat, except for Sixto. Mas maganda pa rin siguro mag-ingat pa rin kahit na sabihin mong parang okay na ang lahat. Better safe than sorry.”

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On Marian: Gold dress, FENDI

On being an entrepreneur

Growing up, Marian has been taught to have a practical approach in life. It's a mindset that's been ingrained by her lola since her childhood. “Well-trained ako ng lola ko," she explains. "For example, sa pagiging masinop talaga, turo sa akin na wala naman talaga kasing permanente sa mundo. Lahat ng ito ay dadaan, mawawala, minsan babalik, pero kailangan alam mo kung paano papahalagahan itong mga bagay na ito, which is maging praktikal ka.”

Meanwhile, she credits her mother as the one who developed her being business-oriented. “Si Mama kasi ma-business at ma-investment talaga siya. Pinapakita nia sa akin ang mga investments niya tapos tatanungin ako kung ano ng balak ko sa mga kinikita ko,” she shares, noting how her mother urged her to look for investments and be forward-looking with her earnings.

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While her mother and lola are two of the people who've had the most influence on Marian, the actress also acknowledges the big role her husband plays in all the decisions she makes. This, of course, includes growing their businesses. For Marian, Dong is a constant source of support, especially because it's always been his personal advocacy to help Filipino start-ups. “Maraming tips sa akin si Dong. Isa siya sa mga mentor ko pagdating sa ganyan,” she reveals.

Even her children have inspired her to seek a sustainable business model. When she makes decisions on Flora Vida, there's a conscious effort to be sustainable and eco-friendly in consideration to today's youth and the future generation. “Parang sabi ko ito ang isa sa mga contribution ko sa mundo, for the next generation. Gusto ko makita pa din nila at ma-enjoy pa rin kung ano ang nae-enjoy natin ngayon.”

Other than being sustainable and eco-friendly, Flora Vida champions the sensibility that its founder is known for. Its products and offerings proudly reflect Marian’s personal sense of style. “Sa damit, gusto ko yung style na comfy at timeless. Sa totoong buhay kapag hindi ako uma-acting sa TV, ganun talaga ang suot ko,” she says, also noting how people usually point out that the simple, timeless appeal that their selection offers.   

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She also talked about the home fragrance brand Reverie by Beautéderm Home, for which she's a premium endorser. Revealing that she's been 100 percent hands-on with the brand's concept, from the packaging to the making of scents, she explains: “Gusto ko ginagamit ko talaga yung produkto na ine-endorso ko.” She personally loves the scents that the brand has released, which range from rose, to calming lavender, to sweet candy variants, to a refreshing eucalyptus scent. She adds, “May variation for the boys, kasi ayaw nila masyado ng florals.”

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For those who want to start their own entrepreneurship journey, Marian has this advice: “Dapat gawin nila yun nang may passion sila, makakatanggap sila ng joy kapag ginagawa nila yanDapat love talaga nila yun gagawin nilang trabahopara hindi mo nararamdaman na nagtatrabaho ka kasi nage-enjoy ka. That is the ingredient for success.”

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On self-care and self-love

While Marian is unquestionably a dedicated wife and mother, she manages her time well to balance work, family, and self-care. Not forgetting the importance of her own well-being, she makes it a point to also do things that she enjoys. “I find time kapag tulog sila, or nagbo-book ako ng service para sa massage, foot spa and cleaning. Kapag nasa room ako, kahit hindi ako solo, I listen to music o nag-a-arrange ng flowers, me-time ko na iyan,” she shares. 

For Marian, becoming a mother doesn't mean she needs to let go of herself. She advocates for 'me-time' for moms as means of self-care. “Hindi ko masisi ang mga mommies na walang time sa sarili dahil sa sobrang pagmamahal nila sa pamilya nila. Pero paano ka makakapagbigay ng 100 percent na pagmamahal, kung yung sarili mo nakikita nila hindi mo inaalagaan?” Additionally, she says self-discipline is the key. “Dapat isipin nila, kapag buo ako, kaya kong gawin lahat para sa iyo. So kailangan ko maging complete, buo, at happy ako so ginagawa ko, which is ang nakikita ng mga anak ko sa akin kaya lumalaki silang grounded at lagi silang sweet sa akin. Okay na ako doon.”

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As a Psychology graduate from the De La Salle University in Dasmariñas, Cavite, Marian speaks up on the importance of having conversations about mental health to help remove the stigma around it. “Serious matter yan. Parati kong sinasabi kapag iyan ang topic, ‘never, ever compare yourself to other people. You are special, you are unique, and you are loved.’”

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She underscores the importance of having faith and believing in God’s perfect timing, and surrounding yourself with people who understand, support, and love you. “Openness about your feelings is very important, and so is seeking help kapag pakiramdam mo hindi mo na kaya.” 

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On her future goals

At this point in Marian's life, she has achieved many things that others couldn't even think of. She's a top-notch actress, a successful entrepreneur, and a sought-after endorser. Recently, she was even invited to become one of the judges in the prestigious Miss Universe pageant.

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All that being said, Marian is clear about one thing: She will always put her family as her priority. “To be honest, gusto ko mas i-achieve yung maging good mother sa mga anak ko at good wife sa husband ko. Gusto kong irurok yung pagiging the best of the best for them, kasi nitong pandemic, na-realize ko na para sa akin, walang mahalaga kung hindi sila. Sila talaga yung kayamanan ko at gusto kong i-achieve na maging mabuting ina para sa kanila, hanggang kaya kong ibigay kung ano yung para sa kanila.” 

She concludes, Iyon ang aking priority.” 

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