Defining herself in self-realized tenets of beauty and humanity, Maris Racal smashes assumptions and expectations sets before and emerges as a woman of her own making.
Whether we don’t realize it or care to admit it, sitting on the other side of the business of entertainment as an ardent audience doesn’t excuse us from contributing to the collateral of assumptions and expectations that has become part and parcel of every wide-eyed ingénue’s stake to a claim over a reasonable fraction of the industry they have long dreamt to be part of. From impossible standards of beauty to a more concerning drumming of skewed projections, a lot are piled up on these people we elect to a pedestal almost unreachable. What was once a chase of passion and dreams become marred with what we think of them that we forget that they are human beings, too—and in this particular case, young ones at that.
“In my career so far? ‘Yung mga fall back na nangyari sa akin, it was thankfully bearable. There are times na nagmi-mix ‘yung personal life and public. So, ‘yung pagiging walang privacy, ‘yun lang ‘yung challenge. You know, you want to enjoy things privately, but sometimes you have no choice but to show it to the world, because they are asking for it, and sometimes it can be very toxic,” reveals Maris Racal of the reality that many personalities and performers go through on an excruciating daily basis. “’Yung natutunan ko is to find balance in everything. You should always have someone na makausap kasi nangyari sa akin before ‘yung nami-mix na talaga lahat, ‘yung personal life and work, and nagkaka-problem and affected lahat.” This profession isn’t unfounded, especially in the paradigm of the internet and social media where the reach is almost too easy and the lines between have been blurred too much.
While this access has carved them to be more human and vulnerable, it has also siphoned the life out of them, often forcing them to get lost in the process—and not even in an artistically proficient way. “What I learned is that you don’t have to share everything, the things that are precious to you. You should just keep it in private and eventually, people won’t ask too much about you or everything about you, everything that’s happening in your life. Parang they grow with you eh. The more that you share, wala ka ng maiiwan sa sarili mo na precious, and then ‘pag nagkaka-problema, sira talaga lahat,” she says.
But with a good head on her shoulders, Maris Racal was able to sort through this curious facet of her growing up, one that many young women her age aren’t necessarily privy to, at least to the exponential degree her stature necessitates. Rather than be swayed by the emotions of these moments, she has remained steadfast, anchoring herself on her family and friends, values and principles, and as it goes without saying, her music. “I don’t want to say it, but life ko talaga siya,” she begins to explain. “Other than being my life, music is like my diary. In my world, it’s my freedom of expression, like you can give life to your imagination, to your feelings and what you’re feeling at the moment. In any song that I release, it comes from my heart talaga and my experiences.”
This isn’t a far cry from a younger, more impressionable Maris Racal, who in high school never really saw herself dipping her toes in the tempestuous, often tormenting waters of show business. “There were times when my classmate would ask me: ‘Anong gusto mo gawin?’ Sabi ko: ‘I just want to sing. I just want to perform.’ But then you are reminded that you need to go to college, ganyan. So maybe, hindi lang talaga muna, and then may opportunity nasa harap ko, which I took,” she recalls, of course talking about her eventual entrance into the business through the reality TV show, Pinoy Big Brother. “Parang hindi ko pa iniisip na mangyayari ito lahat. Baka ito lang ang maabot ko, and then mare-realize mo din na ang daming possibilities and pwedeng mangyayari.”
A whole world of potential has opened up for her, one that included TV shows, film opportunities, albums, digital concerts, and a slew of endorsements that bank on her radiant charm and unique beauty to relate to a dynamic and surprisingly very discerning audience. One in particular stands out for Maris, especially because of the underlying message it wants to send out. “I’m very proud na ‘yung physical appearance ko, super Pinay, and super happy ako na ganun kasi I get to inspire other people to love themselves,” she relates of her being the face of beauty brand, Careline Cosmetics. “You know, you should always love yourself, and konting improve lang with makeup and all of that. ‘Yun ‘yung main goal kasi ng Careline, is to let teens and young girls to love their natural features.”
And this communication couldn’t be any more timely than it already is, where in this age of empowering and self-love, any form of reinforcement is definitely welcome to insulate from any impending attack of negativity or the unavoidable self-doubt. “I’m very happy na ganun ‘yung main goal namin with Careline,” she says. “Nakaka-inspire kasi parang for the past years, sobrang hindi pa conscious ‘yung mga tao sa diversity. So, eto talaga, it’s a change kasi it’s celebrating your natural looks.” A dream come true for her, Maris Racal swears by the Careline’s range of products, especially the Kiss Sticks in Pinch, which she says is the perfect wash of color for her morena skin. Going further along the natural route, she also uses the StrobeSticks, which is the right amount of shimmer to top off a look, and then finally, the powder that is “super light lang siya, and hindi siya too heavy.”
A far cry from the girl who used to be insecure after being told off by people how and who she should be, she has since stood on her own ground, sticking to what she knows is her truth of truths. “’Pag nag-stick ka sa kung sino ka talaga, ‘yung wala kang mask, kahit may makeup ka, ilabas mo yung totoong personality mo. Pero of course, with respect sa lahat ng mga tao,” she says with a warning. “Knowing yourself is a process eh. To be honest, ‘yung alam ko lang sa sarili ko is ‘yung roots ko. ‘Yun lang pinanghahawakan ko, the values that my mom and dad taught me. I don’t know myself fully, but I’m so excited and inspired to know myself even better.”
And as it goes without saying, so are we.