How To Be Invincible: A Look Back Into Maine Mendoza’s Year
Being in the moment, being true, and becoming invincible—some of the lessons we gleamed from Maine Mendoza’s epic 2020, as she steps into 2021 with vivo V20 Pro
One of the last vestiges of the normalcy, one of the last of our pre-COVID-19 late-night parties, was our last interview with Maine Mendoza. She had just launched her latest collaboration with a makeup brand, and Maine, naturally, was giddy. This was late February 2020, a totally different world back then.
Now, that world seems so out of reach, so different from we were now. So much has also happened to our heroine, Maine, who just finished celebrating her fifth year in showbiz, the second year of her relationship with actor Arjo Atayde, and her big milestone—her 25th birthday amidst the beginning of the pandemic. We look back at Maine’s fantastic 2020, as look out for what’s ahead of her in 2021.
Before The Pandemic
We were at the rooftop of a building in Pasong Tamo, and COVID-19 was still out of mind, far from the daily lives of Pinoys, albeit constantly being discussed in whispers. Dinner parties were done without social distancing, men and women talked unmasked, no one stayed home to be 'safe.' It was the calm before the storm, and a full party was in the agenda.
Maine came in full bangs and gorgeous red lip. She matched the look with a black, off-shoulder dress with scalloped sleeves, her toes painted red, her thin ankle shackled in red strapped heels. She was radiant and happy, this was her dream come true, and her supporters, her friends, all came that night to celebrate with her.
“To be honest, I feel nervous,” she begins as she talks to Metro.Style—then rattles off all her thoughts: That this moment was her dream, as the first Filipina collaborator, and the first ever who got to create her own lipstick twice. She wanted to empower and inspire, whether in her art or her career, and having something tangible, like lipstick, was the easiest way to get into the purse and the psyche of a female. That by making themselves feel empowered even through a product, they will actually get there.
The Law of Attraction
After all, she believes in the law of attraction, because she has practiced a form of it herself. By believing, she has achieved much: Actress and host with 3.8 million followers on Instagram and 6.3 million on Twitter, a phenomenal rise to fame by just relying on something she does so well—making people laugh with her. She talks about all of this in her blog, The Pessimistic Optimist Bella, in a September entry.
This self-examination commenced because some of her old Tweets resurfaced, demonstrating how she dreamed, even as far back as May 2010 (some five years before she would get really famous) about secretly wanting to become an artista. From yearning to be slimed in Nickelodeon to actually being proclaimed 'Pinoy Favorite Personality' at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2016, to admiring the Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga M.A.C collabs and then getting her own, to promising that she will one day be seen on television, and the rest, is history—each and every one of her dreams that was 'declared' in social media, seem to have come true.
“I believe that anyone can manifest the life they want through the Law of Attraction—plus hard work and perseverance, of course,” she says in her entry. She believes you can use it to attract anything and manifest goals, and while these can be different for people, “it can definitely bring change to our lives if we make it a habitual way of being,” she says.
Though she believed in it, she didn’t take it as gospel. “I believe it works but I never really fully relied on it. I mean, I am the most pessimistic person I know to begin with. However deep down there is this bit of optimism and hopeful side that people don’t always get to see,” she shares.
That pessimistic side is a surprise, because to many it is her other side, her cheerful side, that people know more about. It is this optimism that draws people to Maine—that she is a ray of sunshine wherever she goes, and she is someone who is able to see the joy and comedy in every situation.
Ray of sunshine
At first glance though, most would think that Maine is guarded, even snobbish. She even mentions it during Metro.Style’s last shoot with Maine for a cover collaboration with vivo, whom she started endorsing in 2019, continuing the partnership until this year through their vivo V20 series.
During the shoot in November last year, she just finished her successful promotional run of Isa Pa With Feelings, a film under Blacksheep, the experimental brand of ABS-CBN films. Co-starring with Carlo Aquino, she earned praises for her portrayal here, showing everyone that she was not just one for comedy.
During the interview then, we had been anticipating her fifth year in the business. And while there was no big party this year because of COVID-19, she instead create a commemorative entry in her blog, dated July 2020, as she went through her filmography: A total of four films under her belt, tv shows, and her very own screenplay entitled “The Morning After.”
“5 years today and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 5 years of countless blessings showered upon me and my family. 5 years of extreme rollercoaster for trying to grasp the bewildering complexity of showbiz as best as I could. 5 years of inspiring (some) people and making them happy without knowing exactly how,” she says in her blog. Yet, she said that if she were to be asked what her greatest achievement in those five years are, “it would be touching people’s hearts and making them smile/laugh/happy at one point in their lives or another,” she adds. And for all this, she has no regrets.
And perhaps that is why Maine is more real that you can imagine, because unlike many who rise to fame, Maine was liked precisely for being herself, and not for playing a part. Her joys, her laughter, her sorrows, she lets you in her life and shares her thoughts without concern about what others might think. She takes time to live her life, even away from the prying eyes of the public.
Wherever you go, there you are
Around the same time last year, Maine Mendoza got away from everything and hied off to El Nido, Palawan. Clad in a neon yellow swimsuit, she beamed at the camera, hair wet, as if just getting out of the water, and grinned with her trademark full smile, not caring about the sun or the wrinkles that squinting might bring. This year, she did the same, declaring “happy as a clam” in one of her posts on Instagram. Here, she gives off a carefree vibe, hair blowing in the wind while as she rides in a yacht.
Maine, and her boyfriend Arjo, celebrated their two years together, copping a selfie which they posted on each other’s social media accounts. This semblance of normalcy, this expression of utter happiness—she deserves as much with how hard she has worked this year: A collaboration launch, a music video for "Parang Kailan Lang," attending a writing and directing class, then going back to work amidst the new setup.
This comes at the heels of one of the most challenging weeks of the year for her. A little before Christmas, she was alerted by a follower on Twitter on a screenshot of a video circulating about a woman who looks like Maine, in an explicit video. “Wtf???? Sobrang kamukha ko kinilabutan ako pero hindi ako to!” she replied.
Setting off a series of events that placed Maine deftly in the spotlight again, with her manager, Rams David, making a declaration on Twitter that the video is fake. “It has been digitally manipulated using deepfake technology,” said the message from All Access To Artist, Inc. He reminds everyone again “to be more discerning of the content they see online and to help us take down this voyeuristic and defamatory content.”
Deepfake technology happens when a person’s image is replaced by someone else’s through artificial intelligence or machine learning methods.
Public figures, like Maine, are prone to this kind of manipulation by virtue of being in the public eye. It can be deeply disturbing as it really creates an uncanny likeness of the person—and this technology improves over time.
But Maine refuses to let this faze her. Instead, she continues on in celebrating her life, and deals with the matter, not by speaking about it, but in her own way.
Just this week, a little before New Year, Maine’s mother, Mary Ann, and her lawyer reached out to National Bureau of Investigation’s Cybercrime Division to look into this matter. She urged them to take down the video, and to find the perpetrators, she said in an ABS-CBN interview.
The women in her life, her source of strength
Her mother, always, is a bastion of support for Maine. As she shared with Metro.Style in February, her mother, along with her two sisters, always make her feel empowered. “I admire their strength during touch times, especially when I have a problem. I look up to them,” she says. “Especially here in showbiz, there’s so much drama, and they encourage me to be invincible all the time,” she says.
To be invincible is to be strong and brave amidst chaos, to not be swayed or defeated by anything other than themselves. To be invincible is to take charge of your story, be your own heroine, and conquer the world in your own terms.
Onwards to 2021—The right time for everything
Then again, her life is also about being in the right place, at the right time. She captured this perfectly in her post about the truths in life, which could also be her wish for everyone in 2021:
“Continue to dream big. Believe in yourself. Believe that you are capable of achieving big things. Don’t stop believing. Hold on to the feeling. Char, not char!” she adds with a comedic bent.
“Send that feeling out to the universe and let the universe respond to it. Practice optimism. Keep doing what you love. Work hard. Celebrate small achievements. Accept failures. Don’t be hard on yourself.”
“Take breaks but don’t stop. Walk at your own pace. Trust the process. Trust His timing. Enjoy life,” after which, she couldn’t help but add: “Bawal tumawid, nakamamatay.”
And finally, despite the cliche: “Live. Laugh. Love.”
She has been invincible with the support of her family, but her success remains her own because she dreamed it all first.
“No matter how big or impossible you think your dreams are, believe you can achieve them—because YOU CAN. If others can do it, so can you. Life has ways of surprising us when we least expect it. Just like what happened to me, I never imagined I’d be here—but I am here,” she says. “What happened to me can happen to anyone,” she says in her blog.
She ends the year with much hope: “2020 may have been difficult for everyone but there are still so many things to be grateful for. And I hope we all get to have a moment to just thank the Lord for all the blessings despite the series of unfortunate events that transpired this year. Let us all pray for a better year—a better 2021 for everyone. We deserve it for making it through 2020. All will be well in time, #KapitLang tayong lahat… Happy New Year, everyone!”