Kath Arado doesn’t shy away from her true personality. She’s jolly. She’s sweet. She’s also tough. And she’s proud to be "one of the boys."
“First sport ko talaga is basketball,” the UE libero shares. Back in her hometown in Iligan, she shoots hoops instead of hitting strikes; she strategically steals the ball instead of shouting, ‘mine!’ to get a score. Growing up with an all-boys troop of cousins, Kath’s eyes were opened to the boyish lifestyle.
Fifth grade came and volleyball entered her life. The shift didn’t change her, though. She remains the Kath that people know—boyish moves and all. “Lahat ng ginagawa siguro nga mga lalake nagawa ko na. ‘Yung nagagawa ng mga pinsan ko, nagagawa ko din. So ina-apply ko pa din siya until now,” she shares.
In fact, when Kath isn’t in her volleyball uniform, you can spot her donning her favorite outfit, a look that can pass up as your kuya’s daily clothes. “Kung gaano ako kaikli mag-shorts sa volleyball, gano’n kahaba ‘yung shorts ko sa labas. Lalo kapag nasa dorm ako, wala akong ginagawa. Mahabang shorts tapos malaking T-shirt, gano’n lang ako,” the 20-year-old reveals.
But it doesn’t stand in the way of her femininity. Yes, Kath can be rugged and mannish at times, but this doesn’t make her any less of a woman. She may hide her curves in loose garments, but the way she dresses doesn't define who she is. She knows her strength as a woman, and she found it within herself. Conforming to societal standards of a ‘lady’ isn't a priority; staying to her core is.
“‘Yung pagiging strong woman para sa akin, ‘yun ‘yung hindi ka matatakot na ipakita kung ano ‘yung totoong ikaw,” Kath shares. Instead of thinking how others perceive her, she lends her precious energy on more valuable matters A.K.A. her future and dreams.
Apart from playing volleyball, the Lady Warrior aspires to take up culinary after university. Her plan of building her own restaurant and a coffee shop is the foundation—a goal she believes achievable with the right amount of dedication, passion, and hard work. Cooking is an influence from the family, while coffee is part of Kath’s everyday life. A day isn't complete without a cup of joe for this volleyball star. It's her instant pick-me-up treat.
So no matter how hard juggling academics and the UAAP games could get, it will all be worth it in the end. The time put in every single effort in the things she's currently doing will result in success, and as a positive soul, she already claims it. Kath relieves herself of the pressures by simply enjoying these moments and taking them in as learning experiences to assist her in becoming the person that she dreams of.
Kath Arado is Kath Arado, and it's what makes her strong—she values her realest self and doesn't get carried away by the weight of the world. She's confident in her skin, and doubt is thrown out of the window. She wants other people to do the same, too. “Kung ano ka, ipakita mo. Kahit gaano pa kalaki ‘yung achievement na nagawa mo sa sarili mo, same person ka pa rin dapat, kung paanong nakilala ka nila. Kasi do’n ka mamahalin ng mga tao,” she urges.
Photographed by Erwin Canlas
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Aldrin Ramos
Assisted by Daphne Aranilla and Sammie Rodriguez
Makeup by Janell Capuchino, Andi Sapina, and Jean Lim
Hair by Francis Guintu, Nikko Bruel, and Jhear Abellar
On Kath: Top by H&M, Skirt by Forever 21
Catch the UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball games starting on February 16 on ABS-CBN Sports+Action.
ALSO READ: #TheStrongSide: These UAAP 81 Volleyball Stars Get Real On Embracing Their Truest Selves