MANILA — Ria Atayde is admittedly still at a learning curve when it comes to grappling with — or detaching from — “bashers,” amid rumors that have made her brother, fellow actor Arjo Atayde, a target of criticisms.
The 26-year-old “Halik” actress, who followed her brother and mother Sylvia Sanchez’s footsteps in 2015, said she had mistakenly thought she would be prepared for that challenging aspect of a career in the limelight.
“We’re all learning, actually. It’s weird, it’s different. I don’t think anything can prepare you for it… It really does something to you emotionally,” she said.
Ria spoke with ABS-CBN News Sunday on the sidelines of the shooting of “Family is Love,” the media giant’s Christmas station ID set to premiere on November 18.
Quite aptly wearing a shirt printed with the title, Ria was an image of a protective sister, as she tiptoed between addressing the “pretty heavy” stream of “bashing” directed at Arjo, and keeping private what’s for her brother to share, by himself, at the right time.
In recent weeks, Arjo has been rumored to be romantically involved with actress-host Maine Mendoza, with viral photos of the two talents from rival networks placing them together at restaurants, an upscale bar, and a concert, among others.
Mendoza is half of the popular “AlDub” tandem with actor Alden Richards. The onscreen pairing, which catapulted then-newcomer Mendoza as a breakout star in 2015, has amassed a fiercely loyal fanbase that has notable presence on social media.
Some fans have been welcoming of Mendoza and Richards having respective relationships in real life, but the sentiment doesn’t appear to be widely shared, going by the “bashing” targeted at Arjo.
In a tweet in late October seen by fans as Ria’s response to her brother’s critics, the actress wrote: “If a guy and girl are both single, they should be able to date whoever they want. And a genuine sign of support is if you let them, if you accept it and if you become happy for them even if they don’t go for the person you’re rooting for. Just my two cents.”
Arjo, meanwhile, has yet to address the speculation surrounding his relationship with Mendoza. While aware of the adverse reactions to the rumor, Arjo has managed to remain unaffected, according to Ria.
“What I admire about my brother… Sometimes ako, I’m more, like, ‘Oh my god, I want to reply already,’” she told ABS-CBN News on Sunday. “And he says, ‘You know what, Ria, don’t mind them. We know the truth, we know what’s going on, we don’t have to give them that much.’”
Arjo’s stance in spite of the situation is something Ria hopes to emulate, she said.
“I have to be strong… Because I care so much. I always overthink. I always overanalyze, that’s why I’m always so affected. Him naman, he’s very care-free,” she explained.
Short of confirming Arjo’s status, Ria went on: “I think he’s handling everything very well. He’s happy naman with everything. I guess that’s all I can say — he’s happy. He’s at a point where he’s happy and I’m really happy to see him happy.
“That’s all I can share! He will share someday. That’s for him. I keep telling him, when he’s ready, he should be the one also.”