23-year-old Kapamilya star Ivana Alawi is known as one of the most popular YouTuber in the country today, she is also a fast-rising celebrity as she is now set to star in her first lead role in the upcoming series, “Ang Lihim Ni Ligaya.”
While this young star was known by her fans and followers as a super jolly and happy person, it was recently revealed in an interview that she also experienced some challenges before she was given the chance to join show business.
Ivana whose real name is Mariam Al-Alawi is of Moroccan and Filipino descent, she grew up in Bahrain with her father Samier Al-Alawi and two older siblings. She also has a 15-year-old sister, Mona Louise Rey, a former child star from the GMA network. Unfortunately, their parents separated when they were young, that’s why her mother, who at the time was still pregnant with Mona decided to go back to the Philippines. Eventually, she also joined her mother and other siblings to live here.
During her TV guest appearance on the ABS-CBN morning talk show “Magandang Buhay,” last Monday, March 9, the actress opened up about her family, particularly on how her mother, Fatima Marbella, supported her dream to become an actress.
“Andami! Sa mga commercials, lahat reject talaga, e. Tapos after nun, si Mona lahat natatanggap. So, sabi ko, ‘Baka sa kanya… for her na lang. Maghahanap ako ng ibang gagawin. Kasi hindi ko puwede ipilit kung hindi para sa akin.”
Ivana also tried her luck by joining ABS-CBN reality show Pinoy Big Brother, as well as in GMA-7 reality show StarStruck in 2015, but both failed during auditions.
“After ko sumali sa competition, sabi ko, ‘Tama na.’ Binigyan ako one-year contract, sabi ko, ‘Try ko.’ Tapos nung wala pa rin nangyari, sabi ko, ‘Ma, ayaw ko na. Pagod na ako. Ang sakit.'”
She was already 21 years old when she was given “extra” roles on TV, but despite the small role, her mom was always there to show her full support, Ivana then recalled:
“Andun siya, tapos yung line ko, isa or dalawa. Ito-throwlines pa niya ako. Sabi ko, ‘Ito-throw lines mo pa ako?’ ‘Halika na, kailangan mo malaman yung ano…’Sobrang supportive siya, di ba?'”
The beautiful actress also shared her experience while growing up in Bahrain, the country where their family used to live. According to her, there are a few people who judge them because they have a Filipina mother. It even reached a point when one of her schoolmates initially thought that her mother is their family’s helper.
She recalled that the said schoolmate asked her, “Is that your helper?” to which she responded immediately, “No! That’s my mom.”
The 23-year-old actress explained,
“Kasi nag-aral kami sa Bahrain. So more of, like, mga Arabs ang nandun. And sinusundo talaga ako ni Mommy kasi masipag siya, hands on siya talaga sa amin. And then, nung sinusundo niya kami… May mga iilang tao, mga estudyante tsaka yung nanay, mababa yung tingin sa mga Pilipino.”
“Para sa akin, huwag mong mamaliitin ang mga Pinoy kasi masisipag kami, and we work [hard] talaga.”