“Ay oo, marami na ang nagsabi nyan. I get that a lot. Malakas dugo ng mga Soriano e,” says Meryll Revillame when I told her that she looks so much like her Tita Maria (actress Maricel Soriano). Meryll uses her middle name but she is a Revillame. She’s the daughter of Willie Revillame, that guy who loves giving jackets and mobile phones. But we’re not going to talk about him here because I’m far more interested for you to get to know his brilliant and fun-loving daughter, Meryll Soriano.
She’s probably one of the most exceptional local actresses of her generation. Every time I get to watch her in TV series and films, she lives and breathes the characters that she portrays. When the camera is away from her, she’s a loving mother to her son Elijah and a student of the world. She thrives on learning new things, enjoys her routine, but at the same time, gets pleasure from the comfort of her short-lived solitude. She loves to converse, that’s why I think we clicked and got along so well because I love communicating too! She seeks adventure, you can see it in her eyes, and the way she gets excited when she would tell stories about her travels. Meryll loves taking photographs that’s why she published a coffee table book of the photographs that she took while living a student life in London and called it Playground: London. She studied Production Design at Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts in London. While planning this blog project, Meryll was already one of the first people that I had in mind to interview because I know that I would enjoy her stories, which proved me right when we sat down for dinner and drinks, as revealed in this installment of Drinks with Denise.
I asked her to meet me at Wildflour Cafe + Bakery at the Podium. I saw her reading a script for an upcoming movie with John Lloyd Cruz, which will be directed by Erik Matti. I am truly excited for her and her forthcoming adventures, because a woman like Meryll needs to be happy and unbound.
HOW DID WE MEET?
MERYLL: Hhhmmm…Pano nga ba? Parang ang tagal na kasi natin magkakilala. Sobra! Ang grabeng vivid sa utak ko yung nanuod tayo ng movie ko, yung Kabisera tapos nakilala mo si Antonio, pero hindi ko matawid yung kung pano tayo nagkakilala talaga. May clue? Ha ha!
The first time I met Meryll was at Xander Angeles’ studio, Edge of Light. I went there because I got an invite from X to celebrate his birthday. Meryll was there shooting with X’s apprentice photographer Niko Villegas for a magazine feature and she was being styled by our common friend, Patrick Galang. We we’re introduced by Pat and from then on, we just started being friends.
WHAT THREE SONGS MAKE YOU EMOTIONAL?
MERYLL: “Christmas Lights” ng Coldplay. Nag Christmas ako sa London, bilang sa culture natin dito sa Philippines, tuwing pasko parang pyesta, it was very melancholic because of the time difference, iba yung oras ng batian ng “Merry Christmas!” mas una dito, late dun, tulog na yung pamilya ko dito, tapos magcecelebrate pa lang doon. That song made me feel the cold of winter when I was there, and that’s how I felt when I spent my first Christmas in London na wala naman akong pera para gamitin umuwi. So that’s one, next would be Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird”. Yung song kasi parang kinakantahan nya yung taong mahal nya, sinasasabi nya how he deserves to be happy and loved, but at the same time, she also wishes it for herself. Grabe lang yung magnitude nung kanta even though it’s such a simple song. Last, kanta ng Up Dharma Down sa album nila na Fragmented, “We Give In Sometimes.” Ganda kasi talaga e, ibang klase. Nung nanuod kami ng gig nila recently, yung mga kapatid ko hindi sila masyadong nasastarstruck sa kahit sino, kay Armi lang. Nung gig tinugtog nila ito, halos di ko makaya.
WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT AND YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING A MOM?
MERYLL: The most difficult part of being a single parent would be stability, most common naman yun. Other than stability, hindi pa ako tapos sa mga dapat kong gawin, and that takes the toll on parenthood and my personal fulfillment. But then again, that’s also my favorite because it pushes me to go and do it so I can live by example, especially to my son that when the time comes that he would have certain ordeals in his life, kahit gano kahirap, pwede ko sabihin sa kanya that there’s always an answer to everything and it can be done. It’s a bittersweet thing, really. Gusto kong mag-aral ng mag-aral pero may anak na ako, kaya nung first year ko sa London, I was so overwhelmed, hindi pa ako nun naapektuhan ng distance tsaka bata pa sha nun. Pero ngayon, kapag matagal na akong nawawala, mas namimiss ko agad ang anak ko because now, there are more conversations and interactions between the two of us. But going back, when I was still studying in London, I did that for him but mostly for myself because then it becomes a story that I can tell him. It’s inevitable for people not to judge me, and call me selfish kasi nga naman bakit ko kailangan mag-aral sa London e meron naman akong magandang trabaho dito, yun agad yung mga pumapasok sa utak ng mga tao. People will always see that factor, but at the end of the day, fuck it! This is my life. I can’t explain these things to everybody. What’s important is my relationship with my son.
DESCRIBE A GOOD DAY FOR YOU
MERYLL: Wake up. Hatid si Eli sa school. Nakapagbasa ako ng news. Answer emails. Hindi ako nag Candy Crush. Nakain kasi ako for a time ng social media life, at ang Candy Crush, kinain nya ako, nacrush nya yung life ko! A good day for me is when I get to implement the routine that I want. At times I really like my solitude, but sometimes to a fault. A good day for me is to be able to get things done, to be productive, and then sleep early. Bipolar ako, so I know when I’m down and I know when I need to stop doing things.
ME: Can I mention that?
MERYLL: Oo! I don’t have a problem with that; I think kulang tayo sa awareness sa ganyan. Sometimes people tend to be ashamed of this condition when there’s nothing to be ashamed of anyway because there are really measures to be done. Fortunately for me, hindi naman ako grabeng grabe. So going back to having a good day, it would also be having a routine, to insert things that I want to do. Read a little; write a little. Spend a good amount of time with Eli. Pati sa kanya, ang good day sa kanya is walang iPad. A good night naman for me is reading with him.
ARE YOU SCARED OF BEING ALONE?
MERYLL: No. I’m not scared of being alone, I like it too much. Ha ha! Fear ko nga yan e, why am I not scared to be alone? I enjoy it! There’s so much room to breathe. Although, yun nga, kinekwestyon ko rin ang sarili ko tungkol dyan, na bakit gusto ko na nagiisa lagi? Why do I find happiness to a certain distance with any person? Basta, I just love my space.
ME: That’s why I travel alone.
MERYLL: Me too! Ayokong ayoko na may kasama sa airport. Di ko kaya yung magtatravel kayo in a group, maximum na ata tatlo.
IF THERE’S ONE THING IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU WANT TO RELIVE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
MERYLL: Shet and dami nyan, teka lang. One lang di ba?
ME: Ha ha! One lang!
MERYLL: Ballet, nung bata ako nag ballet ako. Binitawan ko. Dance is my first love. Sana di ko yun binitawan. I was too young to appreciate it but if given a chance to relive it, I’d go the other way, I would not quit.
WHO WOULD YOU RATHER BE TRAPPED IN AN ISLAND WITH: YOUR DAD, AN EX, OR YOUR SON?
MERYLL: My dad.
MERYLL: I’d rather be trapped in an island with my dad because I’d like to figure out things and to sort of seal it, and have a relationship with him. My dad and I, lagi kaming may kasamang ibang tao, and being trapped in an island, wala kaming choice kung hindi kaming dalawa lang ang magusap, and I think I’ve asked God for that chance. I would love for him to get to know me, and I would love for me to get to know him. I would say Johnny Depp but since hindi sha kasali sa choices…Ha ha!
WHY IS ORANGE JUICE YOUR FAVORITE DRINK?
MERYLL: Refreshing sha e. Binibigyan nya ako ng nutrients, ng vitamins. It brings me life.