The Graduating Class Of 2020
The Graduating Class Of 2020: Rain Matienzo
If 2020 was a test, it was the worst kind of surprise. We all remember what it was like to walk into school thinking you had that day in the bag: your homework is done, your books are in order, that one presentation you have is fresh and firm in your head and there is nothing you haven’t prepared for. But in that first class, you see your professor with a stack of papers that give you an eerie feeling and you know the day has officially—and quickly—gone downhill.
“Pop quiz, everyone.”
Suddenly, everything flies out of your head and you are in survival mode. What do you remember, what do you have to work with? Were you absent the day of the lesson? Do you even have a fresh piece of paper to write your half-guessed answers on? And, at the end of the class, you and your classmates are beat, each one wondering the exact same things:
“How did I do?” and, maybe more importantly, “Can I still pass this class even if I fail this quiz?”
For most of us, 2020 was the pop quiz we didn’t see coming. We had our eyes on our respective prizes; each of us eager to graduate to our personal next levels. Some of us got stuck and others unfortunately lost their footing completely. But some of us—with grit, flexibility, strength and a little bit of luck—thrived.
One such individual? Rain Matiezo, our graduating class’ self-appointed Prom Queen.
Despite calling herself an introvert, Rain Matienzo is no stranger to the camera. She was, after all, Adamson’s UAAP Season 82 courtside reporter. But with the pandemic and all local sporting events currently on hold, Rain took to Tiktok, channeled her inner conyo girl and became a household name.
So why did the conyo girl choose to channel Prom Queen in Wonder’s graduating class of 2020?
“I seem like such an extrovert, but I am an introvert,” she begins to explain. “Before going on Tiktok and before creating videos and before becoming a content creator, there were a lot of things that I had to overcome. Like, ‘What will people think?’ I definitely didn’t feel very confident like a Prom Queen.”
But this year taught Rain that there’s much more to explore of the world outside of her comfort zone. “I just felt like it’s time that I step out of my shell and stop closing myself to these things that I already am doing,” she says, as her voice reaches an excited pitch. “So I’m just like, ‘Okay, let’s get into content creation! I’m going all in. Let’s go; let’s be Prom Queen!’”
Let’s not minimize ourselves to the tropes of the Prom Queen, however, because Rain is definitely not the clichéd version of the persona. It’s not just about curling your hair, becoming popular and going viral. Instead, think of Cady Heron as she split up her crown and shared the limelight—because while Rain’s intention was never attention, she’s learned to use the same for actual conversation.
Her videos have sparked the kinds of conversations that we want to be part of, whether they’re about as casual as dating or as serious as dealing with friendship troubles. But the real conversation she’s so passionate about? Equal education.
Coming from a science highschool and enrolling in a campus as big as the University of the Philippines, Rain’s come across her fair share of individuals, and she’s seen the inequality of it all—especially with the shift to online learning.
It’s at this point that Rain starts to raise her voice; it becomes clear that this is a theme that hits close to her heart (if not right smack in the middle of it). “I always tweet about how online classes have been unfair to those without access, and it just really breaks my heart,” she tells us. “I’m just really mad, like, come on! Come up with a plan for these people.”
Clearly, 2020’s hardest hits can break even the most energetic and charismatic of us. In a letter that she pens to our country, she says, “Dear Philippines, I love you, but I don’t think you love me back.” It’s difficult, she explains, when you see so much struggle and know that there is better, and when you know that people deserve better.
But not all is lost. People have risen to the call that 2020 has punched us with—again and again, and again.
There’s one more thing our Prom Queen tells us: “We depend too much on the idea of a new beginning that’s a new year or a new month, [but] you have to create these opportunities; you create a clean state [of] your own. A new year is not going to bring that.”
So, you know what? Let’s have all the hope of a better 2021, but let’s not place all our bets on it—because you never know. You might want to get rid of everything that plagued and defined 2020, but you get nothing from leaving it all behind. There is so much that we’ve gone through and are overcoming, and it’s a disservice to start from scratch.
We’re better off shaking some things off and using the rest to move forward. We can leave behind the hate and the indifference, arm ourselves with the lessons and fan the flame that 2020 ignited.
Photography Ed Enclona
Art Direction Matthew Fetalver and Alexandra Lara
Art Matthew Fetalver
Interview and Cover Story Adie Pieraz
Fashion Direction and Styling Nicole Blanco Ramos
Beauty Direction Cessi Treñas
Beauty Consultant Slo Lopez