Kathryn Bernardo’s story is not just all about teleserye roles. It’s more about her triumph in battling an enemy that lived within her for years. That enemy is self-doubt.
“Bunso ako. Sheltered ako,” she glances at her mom across her.
“Mahiyain ako noon,” she recalls. “Ayaw ko maging center of attention. When I get compliments, I say thank you, pero nahihiya pa rin ako.”
Even her biggest break, “Mara Clara,” failed in making Kathryn shed her then shrinking violet ways.
“Kinakabahan akong mag deliver ng lines ko. Minsan, nahihiya ako sa directors and co-actors ko,” she recalls.
Then came the turning point. Kathryn did the teleserye “Princess and I,” and things slowly changed for the better.
“Nagbago ang paningin ko sa buhay. Nagkaron ng maturity.”
Kathryn literally and figuratively bloomed. She learned how to choose the right clothes, fix herself for the cameras and explain herself well before the press.
“Dati, isang tanong, isang sagot lang ako sa press. Ngayon, feeling ko kailangan ma-explain mo sa kanila kung ano talaga yung sitwasyon.”
At 16 going on 17 (on March 26), Kathryn learned to move to the beat of her own music. She resisted the pressure of having a boyfriend just because people expect her and love team partner Daniel Padilla to be an item.
“Sixteen pa lang po ako,” she told the media in a recent press conference.
Besides, she doesn’t believe in having a real-life romance just to please others.
“Baka kasi ang dami mo ng boyfriends pag nagkaganon. E hindi naman ako ganon.”
The Star Magic artist admits though, that Daniel is helping her blossom to her fullest potential.
“Hindi naging distraction sa akin si DJ (Daniel’s nickname),” Kathryn giggles. “Siya ang nagturo sa akin to be a better person. Sinasabi niya sa akin kung ano ang dapat gawin, kung ano ang mali ko. Nakikinig ako sa kanya kasi trusted ko naman siya.”
But again, she insists, they have not gone beyond the friendship level — yet.
Kathryn just appreciates Daniel for being real.
“Hindi niya ko sino-showbiz. Andon siya para i-guide ako.”
Just what did she learn from her knight in shining armor?
“Tinuruan nya ako mag-ukelele. At ako naman, tuturuan ko siya mag-tumbling,” Kathryn jokes.
She has become so confident in fielding questions, Kathryn can even poke fun of herself without worrying about it.
She has surprised even herself along the way.
“Hindi ko akalain na magiging ganyan ako,” she admits, eyes sparkling.
The transformation is not only emotional. It’s also physical.
“Dati, hindi ako nagsusuklay paglabas ng bahay,” she strokes her long, lush hair. “Ni wala akong powder. Sobrang simple and ordinary lang ako.”
Did Daniel’s intense gaze transform the simple young lady into a self-assured teen?
Kathryn is not talking. It’s enough that she appreciates herself more — her hair, her skin, her over-all look.
“As you grow older, dapat inaalagaan mo ang sarili mo,” she relates.
Advice to young ladies
Kathryn’s advice to young ladies who want to be like her comes from experience.
“Don’t rush. May i-gaganda ka pa talaga. Just be confident and always smile. Yon ang perfect make-up na mailalagay mo sa sarili mo.”
Self-acceptance is also crucial. Kathryn knows she doesn’t have Anne Curtis’ mestiza looks. But that doesn’t bother her at all. Kathryn is happy with her natural morena looks, thank you.
“Kung ano ka, huwag mong baguhin,” she declares.
She should know. Kathryn has triumphed her own doubts; answered her own what ifs.
Now, it’s time to show other young ladies that they too, can do the same for themselves.