TAGS: celebrities, celebrity, Charles Kieron, CK, KierVi, love team, new love team, starstudio, Vivoree Esclito

Maria Vivoree Niña Matutes Esclito has a name that perfectly suits her. Vivoree, also her nickname, is a play on the word survivor, because the pretty girl with happy eyes that we see more often on TV these days barely made it to this world. But just as she is a fighter today, that little unborn baby was determined to stay alive.

 

 

And thank heavens for that because this fast-rising star is lighting up the small and big screens and giving show business new energy and excitement.


The Little Fighter

 

 

“Sabi ng doktor sa Mama ko na kapag ipinanganak daw niya ako, kaunti lang ’yung chance na mabubuhay ako,” she says about the story behind her unique nickname, which was coined by her mother, who’s a fighter herself. “Si Mama, sabi niya, ‘Ah, bahala kayo, basta ipapanganak ko ’to.’”

Born on August 3, 2000, in Bohol province, at seven months, the little Vivoree was expected to have complications. But the people in the delivery room were amazed to find out that the pre-mature baby was fine.  Vivoree now tells StarStudio.ph, “Paglabas ko daw, parang strong daw ’tapos healthy daw. ’Tapos hindi na daw kailangan i-incubate.”

 

Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)

 

The survivor baby grew up to be an energetic child who loved to play outdoors. When Vivoree was around two or three years old, her family (at that time, it was her mother, her father, and her brother, named CN, who is one year her junior) had to move to Davao Oriental, her father’s hometown. It was there where she lived until she was seven years old, and it was where she had some fond memories of childhood. She looks back at that time with a smile. “Masaya ’yun kasi lagi kong kasama ’yung mga pinsan ko.”  

 

 

She also knew how to entertain herself. “I had friends so nakikipaglaro naman po ako sa kanila,” she recalls. “Pero may times din na gusto ko sa bahay lang, naglalaro akong mag-isa, o naglalaro kami no’ng kapatid ko ’yung mga nasa kalsada, mga tumbang preso. Active ako no’ng bata pa ako.”

Vivoree and her family then moved back to Bohol, where she finished elementary at the Holy Name University in the province’s capital, Tagbilaran City, and high school at the Tagbilaran City Science High School.

When they had free time, she and her siblings (Vivoree’s sister, named Angel, who is 10 years younger than her, had been born by then) would bond over the arts. “Mahilig po talaga kaming mag-drawing, mag-sketching,” she says. “Di po namin alam saan galing, e, kasi si Mama marunong siya, pero hindi siya ’yung pro talaga na artist. I think si Papa medyo parang nagdo-drawing din siya. Naging passion na lang din namin sigurong tatlo. Pero mga kapatid ko, talagang magaling sila. Ako lang ’yung medyo lang. Haha!”

 

Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)


Unlike most children, too, the siblings enjoyed doing some household chores, especially washing clothes. Vivoree says chores are a way for their parents to teach them about discipline. “Favorite ko maglaba!” she exclaims. “Kasi dati pag naglalaba kami, no’ng bata pa kami ng kapatid kong lalaki, naaaliw kami pag naglalaba kami nang magkasama kasi parang way of bonding na rin kasi namin ’yun dati, e.”

 

Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)

 

When they were not having a good time, the siblings were serious with their studies, which, according to Vivoree, was made easier by having a teacher as a mom: “Kapag may questions ako or confusion sa school, puwede ko siya itanong. Si Mama kasi para siyang dictionary,” she beams.

Her father works in a ship, which can be hard for the family, says Vivore. “Mahirap po kasi siyempre nami-miss ko siya. ’Tapos wala kang father figure na kasama. Walang mag-guide sa ’yo in a fatherly way. Nagcha-chat naman kami sa Messenger, pero minsan lang talaga kasi siyempre ’yung work ni Papa, and then ’yung time difference.”

But whenever her father is in the Philippines for a vacation, the daddy’s girl and her siblings make the most of their time together. She enumerates some of their activities together: “Naglalaro kami ng mga games, ’yung parang cards, scrabble, mga gano’ng games. Then nagpapasyal kami sa parks, sa malls, pinagsha-shopping niya kami, kumakain kami sa labas. Dati, before ako mag-showbiz, talagang ’pag may gusto ako, sino-spoil niya kaming magkakapatid. Si Mama kasi more practical siya. Si Papa naman, quality, parang gano’n. So may balance. Gusto namin siyempre kay Papa. Haha!”

 

Vivoree goofs with her dad.  Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)

 

Vivoree sums up her childhood and early teens in Bohol province as “masaya naman, simple lang, ordinaryong lang kaming family.” But in 2016, her simple life made a different turn.

 

Stepping into the Spotlight


Vivoree admits that she has always loved performing even as a child: “Sumasali din po ako sa mga choir, sa mga dance club. And then siyempre nanonood din ako ng TV. Iniisip ko minsan na ‘Paano kaya kung isa ako sa mga magpe-perform na, and like magpe-perform sa harap ng mga tao, entertain them, make them happy?’ Wala, naiisip ko lang, random thoughts.”

 

 

Then, one day, in 2016, she read on Facebook that ABS-CBN’s reality competition show, Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7 (PBB) was holding auditions in Bohol for the first time. “Naisipan ko lang mag-try,” she recalls. “Then sinabi ko kay Mama na, ‘Ma, try ko lang mag-audition sa PBB. Support mo naman ako.”  No’ng una, nag-hesitate pa si Mama kasi ano daw, ayaw niya lang ako malayo sa kanya, e. Haha! Pero in the end, sinuportahan naman niya ako.”

 


Vivoree's mom.  Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)

 

It was also a point in her life when her self-esteem was not doing so well, especially when it came to her talents. She revealed that there was an incident in her elementary years that made her rethink pursuing her passion for singing.

“Nakitaaan na nila ako nila Mama at Papa na may ano ako sa singing and dancing,” she begins. “Like no’ng three years old ako, parang nagkakakanta na ako ng random songs. And ’yung mga sinasalihan kong contests sa school, lagi akong first. Pero no’ng nag-grade-five ako, may transferee kasi, may bagong estudyante, ’tapos ang galing niyang kumanta. No’ng sumali siya, nagkalaban kami, lagi na akong second, third place. Since that, parang bumaba ’yung confidence ko, ’tapos nag-stop ako.”

 

Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)


But that PBB audition called out to her. And she was right to answer that call. Vivoree can’t forget that she was in school when someone from ABS-CBN called her for an interview about her audition for the reality TV competition.

 

Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)


“Inisip ko, hindi pa naman siguro ’to final,” she remembers herself thinking. “Siguro part pa ’to ng test or ng challenge. Parang hindi ko lang inisip na pasok na ako. ’Tapos biglang binisita na kami sa bahay. ’Tapos biglang sinabi na pupunta na sa Manila. Then na-find-out ko no’ng nando’n na, na-hotel-arrest na kami, may mga kasama pa pala kami na galing sa Bohol. ‘Ah, baka pagpipilian pa nga.’ Nalaman ko na ako na ’yung nakapasok dahil ako na lang ’yung mag-isa sa hotel, wala na si Mama. Wala na si lola.”

Going inside the Big Brother house for the first time made her question her confidence once again. “Conscious ako!” she says, shaking her head. “Na-anxious ako, ’tapos ’yung self-esteem ko talaga nando’n na sa pinaka-underground ng Earth. Haha! ’Tapos no’ng nakita ko ’yung ibang housemates, ang gaganda nila! Oh my god!

“’Tapos una pa lang pagpasok do’n, may challenge na agad kami, e. The boys have to find out kung ano ’yung names naming girls. Siyempre nahulaan din naman nila. Naka-mask kami no’n, mga girls, ’tapos pag nahulaan pangalan mo, tanggalin mo ang mask. No’ng tinanggal ko na, siyempre ’yung insecurity ko talaga—’yong facial hair, sa upper lip. So, like, ’yung self-esteem ko talaga sobrang baba po talaga. Iniisip ko baka jina-judge nila ako.”

 

Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)

 

As the days went by, Vivoree slowly regained her confidence because of this realization: “Hindi sila nag-judge sa akin talaga, so siguro ’yun ’yung way na nabalik self-esteem ko. Tanggap nila ako. So okay, ‘Thank you guys.’ And na-transform ako ni Kuya [Big Brother] no’n.”

But that first foray into showbiz was not the last time Vivoree had to deal with her doubts about herself. When she left the PBB house, placing sixth, her projects were few and far in between. “Inisip ko siyempre ’yung big winner talaga ’yong mabibigyan ng mga big breaks,” she says. “’Tapos, one day, sabi ni Papa, ‘Kapag wala ka pang project next month, uuwi ka na talaga ng Bohol, ipagpapatuloy mo ’yang pag-aaral mo.’ Nagising ako doon, na ‘Hindi, hindi puwede. Dapat gumawa ako ng paraan.’ Parang ’yun ’yung naging motivation ko. Kasi parang ang hirap na ng pinagdaanan ko dito, ’tapos parang wala lang mangyayari?”

 

 

While waiting for her turn in the spotlight, Vivoree took acting workshops, voices lessons, and dance classes. She also had fans who supported her. “Talagang sariling sikap,” she says proudly about that time. “Alangan naman wala kang gagawin, walang mangyayari.”

In the end, her hard work paid off. The following month after her father gave her the ultimatum, she was cast in an episode of the drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya. So she was allowed by her parents to keep trying at her craft. A few months later, her projects dwindled again.

 

 

“That was last year, 2017,” she recalls. “Last year talaga parang sobrang down na down ako. That was the time na medyo nade-depress na ako and then I really lost hope. May kaunting hope, pero alam mo ’yung iniisip mo na, ‘Bakit wala?’ Gano’n. ’Tapos parang nag-tweet ako na kine-claim ko ’yung year na 2018. Nag-tweet ako na parang ‘2018 is gonna be my year.’”

And she was right. In 2018, she appeared in a number of TV shows and one movie, Petmalu.  She is also currently starring in the fantasy anthology Wansapanataym with love-team partner Hashtag CK. In 2018, too, she got her first endorsement for the cellular service TNT. She reveals that there are others on the way, which she cannot mention yet.

Indeed, 2018 is her year, and 2019 is looking good, as well.

 

Photo from Instagram (@vivoree)

 

It Keeps Getting Better


Vivoree says that while she did work hard on her achievements, she is still amazed at how things are working out for her. “Hindi ko ine-expect talaga na at this age, mararating ko na

’yung mga, like may part ako sa teleseryes, may supporting roles na, gano’n, endorsement.  Parang, oh my god. Wow! Dati pinapangarap ko lang.”

In the process of taking it all in, she also continues to learn by reading books and even scanning her notes. She also tries to do cover songs when she has time, and she takes dances classes—all while continuing her studies through homeschooling.

And even when PBB was already two years ago, she remains overwhelmed by her level of popularity. “Until now, parang ayaw i-sink-in ng utak ko na people know me,” she admits. “Kasi every time po talaga na lumalabas ako, lagi kong nakakalimutan na, hala, lalo na ’pag may nakakilala sa akin, sinasabi ko, ‘Hala kilala niya ako.’ Lagi po talaga gano’n ’yung reaction ko.”

Now, Vivoree is just focusing on her work and her goals for her future, which includes getting her own condominium unit and buying her own car. For her career, she would love to star in her own movie and start her career in music.

But even with her continuous rise, Vivoree has not forgotten her real purpose for doing this: her family, who, she says, also feels a little overwhelmed by her status. “Nandito ako dahil din sa kanila, sa pamilya ko, sa mga kapatid ko,” she says. “I’m doing this also for them. And parang ina-asure ko sila na, ‘I’m still your ate, tulad pa din ako nang dati. Kaya huwag n’yo isipin na artista na ako. Isipin n’yo na ako ’yung ate n’yo.”

 

 

Photography: Stephen Capuchino
Art Direction: Alfred Amado
Hair & Makeup: Jean Pineda
Shoot Assistants: Miguel Broño, Ryan dela Cruz
Shot on Location: Zoomburst Studios