When Hana, a Japanese shampoo brand made of 100-percent natural cleansing ingredients, decided to have its first celebrity ambassador, it went looking for someone who embodied the brand’s campaign for natural beauty.
For a greenhorn to penetrate the fiercely competitive and highly saturated beauty market in the country, Hana needed somebody who was not just another pretty face, but whose personality resonated with Filipino women.
And that’s how Marian Rivera came into the picture. Although the 29-year-old actress has figured in a number of controversies, Rivera is also known for being candid, blunt and unassuming. To wit, she personifies Hana’s essence of natural beauty.
“Ang mga pictures ko hindi ine-edit. No filter ’yan. Just like the shampoo that has no chemicals. At transparent ako. I don’t have pretensions. This is how I really am,” Rivera said.
To an outsider, Rivera can appear distant and aloof, and even unapproachable. If she can’t remember your name, for instance, she will not pretend she recalls who you are just to get on your good side. There will be no fake smiles. Instead, you will get a straightforward response: “I’m sorry. I don’t remember meeting you.”
Cut her some slack. She does meet a whole lot of people every day. If some people are offended, she said that’s just how she is. She was raised by her grandmother Francisca to never pretend to be anything other than what she actually is.
As a child, for example, she learned early on that adults liked the way she looked. But this did not make her believe that she was a cute little girl.
Growing up, she said, she learned what most girls already knew—that she has to put in a little bit of effort to be beautiful.
“Hindi naman pagkagising mo maayos ka na,” she said, laughing. “Ang babae kasi, ’pag maganda ang buhok nadadala na lahat. You become more confident. Bukod sa lahat, ang nagpapaganda sa ’yo ay ang pamilya, trabaho at love life… Yung mga nagmamahal sa ’yo because they’re the ones always there for you. These are the people who lift you up when you’re down,” she said.
She thanks her grandmother for taking especially good care of her—and her skin. (Her grandmother never leaves the house without lip gloss.) She recalls how her grandma always made her wear pajama or below-the-knee shorts as a child, so that if she fell or slipped, it wouldn’t leave scars on her skin.
To this day, Rivera can’t wear shorts without feeling self-conscious. It’s strange, she said, since she is comfortable in a two-piece bikini, wearing them in a heartbeat. But the minute she tries on shorts, she keeps pulling them down to cover her legs.
With her grandmother keeping an eagle eye on her beauty regimen, Rivera said she was never without skin lotion, sunblock, moisturizer, toner or loose powder. In fact, to this day, even inside her air-conditioned room, her grandmother insists she still sleep with a mosquito net up.
“Feeling niya may lamok! Malaking pasasalamat ko na inalagaan ako ng lola ko nang bonggang-bongga,” she said.
Lots of water
But the most important habit she learned from her grandmother is drinking water—lots and lots of water. Rivera drinks up to three servings of 1.5 liters of water each day.
Rivera eats anything, she said, but she has always led an active lifestyle. In high school she enjoyed track and field competitions. Sporty and boyish, she even tried to join the basketball team—and she may have made it, had her grandmother not put her foot down.
Preferring jeans, tees and rubber shoes, she learned to wear dresses only in show biz—and just when her manager says so. It was only during “Marimar,” the TV series that catapulted her to fame, that she learned to love dresses.
“Kailangan ko pala maging girl. I like wearing dresses now. Nakakababae at madaling isuot,” she said.
She also engages in muay thai, boxing and Zumba. Rivera loves to dance.
“Malaking tulong ang pagsasayaw para pumayat,” she said. “I feel most beautiful when I wake up. Parang ang bait-bait ko, wala pang tumatakbo sa utak ko. Antok lang ’yun,” she said, laughing.
“But it’s good to wake up and condition yourself for a good day, to thank the Lord for everything,” she added.
What keeps her grounded are the lessons she learned, and are still learning, from her grandmother. Rivera said she’s not going to be on top for long. She said someone younger and better will come along one day.
“I believe in destiny. If it’s for you, it’s going to be yours. If it’s not meant to be, no matter how popular you become, it will never happen,” she said.
Hana shampoo, from the Japanese brand Shokubutsu, comes in three variants: Soft and Silky, Anti-Dandruff, and Anti-Hairfall. All are composed of 100-percent natural ingredients, such as sophora root extract that helps extend the hair’s natural growth process and improves blood circulation in the scalp.
Hana also has a Smooth and Soft conditioner, with all-natural moisturizing ingredients, as well as hand wash in liquid and foaming forms, and body wash.
“Basta maganda ang buhok mo, maganda ang isang babae. Hana works perfectly okay for me. It has no chemicals, has a long-lasting smell and makes my hair soft I don’t need to iron it anymore,” Rivera said.