1 on 1: Belle Mariano on navigating fame and her phenomenal breakthrough

Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2022 08:02 PM

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Following a breakthrough year with a series, movie, and album each released to massive success, Belle Mariano is now widely seen as one of the budding superstars of her generation.

Mariano, 19, is admittedly still in disbelief over her meteoric rise to stardom, given her early start in showbiz. Her acting career spans nearly a decade, dating back to 2012.

After that long wait, Mariano is among the most visible and in-demand artists in local showbiz. She’s set to headline her first major concert, “Daylight,” on January 29, and will reprise her lead role in the sophomore season of “He’s Into Her” opposite Donny Pangilinan.

Speaking with ABS-CBN News, Mariano opened up about how she has learned to navigate fame, and the expectations of both fans and critics that come with it.

“For me, it’s all about balance — balancing everything in your life. It doesn’t mean naman na you’re in this industry, na wala kang life outside. Balance: you know where to put yourself, you have time for your family, your friends, the people you love, the things you’re passionate [about]. Doon ka lang magkakaroon ng magandang pace. Even if I weren’t in this platform, it’s really important to save some for ourselves,” she said.

In the age of social media where opinions come in floods and feedback instant, Mariano has also come to understand that there’s no one person who can please everyone.

“As much as possible I engage with the people who support me. But sometimes when I read, say, negative or hurtful comments, I just don’t let them affect me. If I do, I take it as constructive criticism, something that will help me improve.

“I feel like hindi naman puwedeng lahat maganda lang ang comment sa ‘yo. Kailangan din natin ng… Maybe that’s their way of tough love,” she said.

On days when demands may take a toll on her, Mariano fortunately has a firm grasp of how to regain her mental balance — primarily by turning to her family.

“The things and the people that keep me sane are my family, doing other hobbies as well, not just this. Sa downtime ko, I paint, I do other stuff, not just focus on one thing. Really, it’s about your surroundings, too. I feel like iyon ‘yung big factor na nakakaapekto sa atin,” she said.

The same mindset, of anchoring herself to what’s most important, has helped Mariano weather “down moments” throughout her decade-long career in the limelight.

Asked what achievement of hers she is most proud of, Mariano answered: “The fact na I never gave up on the things I love doing, I’m really proud of that. Despite down moments, na hindi naman talaga maiiwasan, I just go back to the reason why I’m doing this: because I’m passionate about it, and I love what I’m doing. I love entertaining, I love making other people smile. I just go back to my purpose — ‘Why am I here?’”

That perseverance has certainly paid off, as Mariano marks another milestone with her concert. The show, to be livestreamed on KTX.ph, will feature Mariano’s original tracks from her debut album “Daylight.”

“I can’t believe it’s all happening,” she said. “I’m out of words, honestly. I always pictured myself singing live, but I never really thought it would happen. Just being in that moment is just so amazing, and I’m so grateful it’s happening.”