MANILA -- Actress Maria Sophia “Ria” Atayde is undoubtedly proud she grew up in a family that’s open about anything, be it her showbiz career, her love life, a simple dinner appointment or even going out of town.
The daughter of award-winning actress Sylvia Sanchez and businessman Arthur Atayde, the young actress is also the sister of actor Arjo Atayde. She is the second in a brood of four children.
“I’m more vocal,” the 27-year-old Atayde unabashedly revealed. “If I don’t like something, I can’t hide it. Even my facial expression gives me away.”
Atayde is very close to her brother, who’s only 16 months her senior. “We help each other in every way possible,” she said. “Usually, if Arjo is planning a surprise or a reservation, I do that for him. I’d like to think I’m well versed in booking in the computer. All the bookings, even family trips, I do everything for us.”
She has a younger sister, who’s 17 and a little brother, who’s nine. “Medyo malayo ang gap,” said the actress about her two younger siblings.
When talk briefly shifted to her brother’s rumored girlfriend, Maine Mendoza, Ayade simply smiled. “Yeah, I met her already. She went to the house. Arjo brought her there. The whole family was there. I came late, but I think everything went well.”
Atayde said her older brother is simply “very chill” as the eldest in their brood. “He’s very supportive. He’s just more concerned now about my rest days. I am very sickly since I was a child. Often, I always have colds. On my free days, I just stay at home. Sometimes, I go to the beach, to calm me down.”
Atayde is thankful that even her mom is very supportive in everything that she does. “She includes me in her stores as a partner, so I will also earn and have my own money,” said Atayde, who’s an endorser of Beautederm like her mom. She is also a partner of her mom, who has three Beautederm outlets to date, including one in the latter’s hometown, Butuan City.
Growth as an actress
Recently, Atayde watched her TV her acting debut on the soap, “Ningning,” that is airing replays on Jeepney TV. The soap aired a total of 125 episodes. “On August 5, four years ago, my first soap, “Ningning’ started,” Atayde beamed. “I watched the episodes recently. I was very stiff. August 5 is my fourth year in showbiz.”
For Atayde, being an actor is a never-ending process of learning. She knows she can never be complacent about her job. “I am never satisfied with my performances,” she insisted. “I give myself credit when I feel like I did okay. But for the most part, I’m still learning. There’s still so much to learn. You can’t stop learning.”
While she enjoys being in showbiz, Atayde loves acting, borne out of her love for the craft. “I remember, some people told me before, ang talino ko raw masyado para lang mag-artista. I countered that. I said, kailangan maging matalino ka para mag-artista. Ang dami mong dapat isipin.
“Molding a character, it takes some sort of intelligence to portray a role. It’s not as easy as some people think it is. That’s what I love about it. Each time I portray a role, I get challenged to make it different from the last time.”
Atayde insists she’s still a work in progress when it comes to acting. It’s continuously a challenge for her to portray roles on TV and in the movies. “My brain thinks in English for the most part or Taglish, but it’s a struggle to speak Tagalog when I’m in front of the cameras,” she allowed. “That’s the reason I don’t want to stop learning.”
Admirably, Atayde is one of the few showbiz stars who finished her studies first before she joined showbiz. She attended Poveda, then finished college at De La Salle University, where she took up Communication Arts.
“That’s rule of my parents. To finish my studies first, then figure out what I want to do,” Atayde offered.
Support from family
Her mom or her brother is always ready to critique or praise her acting. “Mama doesn’t rate me, nor does Arjo. They just comment on my acting. When I do drama anthologies, like ‘MMK (Maala-ala Mo Kaya)’ or ‘Ipaglaban Mo,’ we all watch the episodes as a family at the same time. Then we will talk about it. We are our best and worst critics.”
Her brother is very supportive with her acting. “When I do a character that’s deglamorized, Arjo is proud that I can do that well,” Atayde asserted. “When it comes to English, Arjo said there’s no acting required for me. Arjo is happy when the role challenges me.”
Yet, he never meddles with any guy linked to her. “He is very supportive with anything,” Atayde said about her brother. “When it comes to love life, we only talk about things when it’s starting, when something exciting happens or when it’s finished.
“If anything, I ask for advice. I talk to Arjo about it. In recent times, as we got older, we’re more open with anything now. When we were kids, we always fought. We’re very open with anything at this time.”
Their dad is apparently more strict, though he isn't also the type who will keep her daughter closely guarded.
She was not dragged or bullied by her mom or her elder brother to enter showbiz. “Arjo was one of the last persons to find out that I was joining showbiz,” Atayde disclosed. “When I said, ‘Yes’ and I auditioned, that was the only time he learned about it. He said, Ah, yeah, really? Cool!”
To detach herself from bashers, Atayde recently deleted her Instagram and Twitter accounts. “It became a bit toxic for me,” she said. “As much as I don’t want to get affected with the things that I read online, I still got affected. Even my mental health and the way I look at myself were affected.
“There came a time when everyday na ‘yung bashing. I understand why people bash. Sa sobrang paghanga sa idols nila. When they see something that they don’t like about their idols, they will react and resort to bashing. I think it’s an inevitable reaction for some people who don’t know how to control what they say. I respect their opinion. I will not give them a reason to bash me.”
Atayde’s love life is something that’s not in her priorities at the moment. More importantly, career first. Actor JM de Guzman was previously linked with her and they remain good friends up to this day, according to Atayde.
“It’s only been a year for him back (in the business),” she said. “That’s a lot for him to handle. We’re still friends. We still talk a lot. There are still things that we both have to fix before anything else. I appreciate the friendship that we have and I know he appreciates the friendship that we have, too.
“I’m not saying it’s not going to go beyond friendship but if it does, why not? We’re good friends. I’m not closing the door. I, myself, is still not totally okay. I still have my little anxiety attacks. I have my little quirks.”
Love life aside, there are so many things to do for Atayde lately. Busy will be an understatement as far as career is concerned. Aside from her product endorsement, she will have a new show. She is also starting a movie with Regal Films.
Apparently, she is in for the long haul. “I will stay here for as long as the industry needs me,” Atayde