Liza Soberano opens up about her hopes and anxieties as she goes back in front of the camera—and finds out what it’s like to be behind it
This is an excerpt from the MEGA August 2023 issue.
Less than three months ago, Soberano took a break from the world that has placed her on a pedestal for more than a decade. But it’s not to say she hit the pause button and bummed her way through those days.
During the break, Soberano was busy working on many of the endeavors she has been thinking of pursuing for a long time now. This includes learning how to direct, write, and produce different projects.
It took a while, but Soberano has found the perfect spot in her big and unbalanced worlds. The time it took to get there was one that was tainted with a bit of disquiet. See, Soberano likes routine and certainty—and these two that have been thrown out the window in the past few months.
“I always had a hard time accepting change just because my whole childhood was always very unstable,” she opens up. Soberano was born and raised in the United States. She was 10 years old when she moved to the Philippines with her father, who is a Filipino. Her mother, an American, stayed in the United States with her other siblings. At 12, she started modeling, and before she had turned 13, she already tried her hand at acting.
“When I started working, that’s when I started getting a sense of stability,” she recalls.
When the pandemic happened and her former home network was shut down, Soberano’s show was canceled, and she was left with days without much to do. It forced her to recalibrate, weigh her options, and ponder on her long career. When it was time to take the leap, she was ready to put everything on the line, to test her limits.
“For a time, it was very disheartening because I really, truly, felt misunderstood by every single person,” she says, looking back at those days when people hounded her for the things she said after she had left her former network. “For a time, the walls were definitely up. People wanted to interview me, but I didn’t want to speak. I felt like there was no point in defending myself because they were not going to understand me anyway or they were going to choose to believe in what they wanted to believe. But I think I made the conscious decision—probably like two or three months ago, after I was able to fully process the situation—to just be my authentic self at all times.”
She still struggles about that last statement to this day, she admits. Growing up in show business, being molded as a leading lady whose reputation was flawless and pristine, she understood early on what the world wanted from her. But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, she reiterates. “I thought I was only supposed to think of bright and cheery and positive things,” she says. “But I’m a human being, and I go through dark times, too. I also have negative thoughts. Those were moments that I would try to hide from the world before because, I thought, nobody wanted to hear a sad story. I think it’s inspiring to find somebody who’s vulnerable and honest that people can relate to so that they don’t feel alone.”
She adds, “When I look back at everything that I’ve done, I’m happy. I feel blessed. I’m grateful for everything and for the lessons that I learned, and at the same time, I can’t help but feel that I could have done more.”
Photography CENON AT MAV
Creative Direction NICOLE ALMERO
Styling KAT CRUZ-VILLANUEVA and RYUJI SHIOMITSU
Beauty Direction AGOO AZCUNA-BENGZON, assisted by MIA CASTRO
Production Design JUSTINE BUMANLAG
Makeup MICKEY SEE
Hair RENZ PANGILINAN
Nails MIMI QIU REYES
Sittings Editors PEEWEE REYES-ISIDRO and BAM ABELLON
Fashion Assistant BITHIA REYES
Shoot Coordination LAURD SALEN and SAMANTHA ESTANIEL
Video Production REGINA ACERON
Videography LORENZO CORRO
Multimedia Artist GJ FAJILAN
Shot on location ILLUMINATION STUDIO
Special thanks to CARELESS MUSIC