Capturing Home with Maine Mendoza
Throughout all my years working in the local entertainment industry, nothing has quite besotted me as much as Eat Bulaga’s groundbreaking Kalyeserye. During its run, I was working for a TV network and, for months, noon time was sacred. As soon as the clock struck 12, everybody stopped what they were doing—emails stopped being sent and lunch breaks were delayed—only to pay attention to our TV screens as we watched two star-crossed lovers patiently in pursuit of “ang tamang panahon” (the right time).
The afternoon show’s segment was a welcome reprieve for countless men and women of the Filipino diaspora. It contrasted soap opera tropes that, until now, continue to dominate local TV, filled with endless lurid affairs and scandals. It was a refreshing take on love—love so dutifully and cautiously pursued, and love that perseveres through all things. Honest, worthy love that I would like to think is out there for you and me.
Many things have changed for Maine Mendoza, the beloved “Yaya Dub,” since then. She may still be fairly young in the industry, but the unconventional route life took her on—becoming part of a love team that made history—has greatly affected her perspective in the greater scheme of things.
In an exclusive interview with Wonder, Maine shares about that unforgettable time in her life: “It was a pleasant surprise and very heartwarming to receive that much love and support from a lot of people. I was mostly very private and, you know, just a regular girl, so it was all very exciting for me to be working with people I admire.” She adds, “It was also quite challenging because, suddenly, all eyes were on me. But it also helped me mature and learn a lot of things, especially when I realized that some people my age, or younger, think of me as a role model.”
As a Culinary Arts graduate from De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, being part of the entertainment industry wasn’t exactly how Maine planned her life to go. But after her lip sync videos became viral, thanks to video sharing app Dubsmash—yes, before TikTok was a thing—fate found her ready for life in the spotlight. She recounts, “I think by now, many [already know] that being a celebrity wasn’t part of my plans when I graduated from college. Things fell into place when I auditioned for Eat Bulaga and, since then, the industry has been granting me many opportunities to grow as a person and as an artist. While yes, a lot has happened since my Eat Bulaga debut, I definitely still have a lot to learn in terms of my artistry. Who knows, maybe someday, I get to work behind the camera and perhaps even write and direct a film of my own?”
Maine is keeping a part of the popular character deeply rooted in Filipinos’ minds (and hearts) with her, but is moving forward with different projects. She’s currently a host of TV5’s POPinoy—a nationwide search for the ultimate P-Pop sensation—and a regular on GMA’s Daddy’s Gurl. For her 26th birthday, she even released a single about exploring new places with a lover, Lost With You.
Most of us are acquainted with her candid, down-to-earth humor, but there’s more to her than just that. Her personal blog, aptly named Pessimistic Optimist Bella, though untouched for years, reveals this contemplative side of her. She shares with Wonder, “[I want people to know] that I actually have a serious side, too! It rarely happens on screen, but off-screen, I put a lot of effort in my artistry, since I, too, carry a role of bringing positive vibes to people. And since I’m usually out on tapings, I really take the time to somehow unravel my thoughts or ideas—may it be [through] little notes of anything good that has happened earlier that day or an idea that I might want to share with production. It’s something that I push myself to do more just so I can somehow reconnect with my thoughts, and be busy with [them].”
Through the years, Maine has fully embraced her sense of self, albeit while having to play diverse characters on-screen. She expounds, “Since I work in an industry that entails me to embody certain roles and give laughter, or even a sense of joy at the very least, sticking to your gut and showing your true self to the people around you will likewise lead you to greater things. I may pursue different roles, but I always make sure that I get to relive that in a way that my real self would still act.”
Do a quick browse through her Instagram, though she posts sparingly, and you’ll find the very titles she treasures—daughter, sister and aunt. She reveals the special relationship she has with her loved ones, “My family and I are very close, and up to this day, I still see my nieces and nephews often to hang out with them, and my siblings of course!”
Maine finds solace in the people she loves, who constantly ground her amid such an undeniably demanding job and lifestyle. She tells us, “I’m beyond thankful to be surrounded by loved ones who have always been supportive [of] my career and my choices in life. Especially in times like this, when things lie on a definite uncertainty, I hold on to my family, friends and colleagues to help me see and understand things [and put them] back to perspective.”
Making memories with the people she loves, especially given her unpredictable schedule, is non-negotiable. She explains, “I love capturing moments and taking stolen photos of my family and friends—they’re my favorite people to spend time with! Because we’re so busy, sometimes we can overlook the everyday moments or not live in that moment, so it pays to have a good selfie phone to document these things that are worth remembering.”
Her choice for a trustworthy smartphone, the vivo V21. She shares, “I’m a fan of the ultra-sleek vivo V21 5G. It’s the thinnest 5G-capable selfie phone in the market today, so it’s easy to carry everywhere. A really cool plus is that it’s very stylish; it can easily function as a fashion accessory and completes my look. I’m so torn between the two colorways, Sunset Dazzle and Dusk Blue, though!”
Maine has long perfected the art of the selfie and gives us tips for the most flattering ‘gram-worthy photos. Maine shares, “I think first would be to find your best and most flattering angles. Keep practicing in front of the mirror and don’t be shy about taking lots of selfies! Often, you’ll get one really great shot after a series of shots. You can also play around with your poses as you’re clicking the button.”
She adds, “And it helps when you use a powerful selfie phone like the vivo V21 series, available in two models: the V21 5G and V21e. [These are] equipped with Dual Selfie Spotlight, Dual-View Video and Ultra Stable Selfie Video, and can make anyone a portrait master. Its powerful 44-megapixel OIS technology also takes really clear selfies at low light, so you could capture every moment.”
Now at the age of 26, Maine Mendoza has grown so much, although she knows there’s still much more of herself to grow into. She shares, “It’s inevitable to have certain insecurities whilst growing up, and now I’m at a stage where I feel more carefree and accepting of what is. I’ve become more confident and open to the people around me.”
Through the years, life has taken her to many places, but she keeps coming back to those she holds close, to people and places she calls home.
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