At one point in time, a troubled man locked up in an asylum grabbed a brush, a palette, and a blank canvas, and went on to paint what would become one of the most famous paintings in history. But before it became the treasure that it is today, it was considered a failure by the very man who painted it.
It would be laughable and perhaps even infuriating if someone today would call Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” anything that means less than perfect. For someone to doubt its beauty would seem blasphemous, but if one were to take a step back and realize how beauty is formed, it would make sense how a few seeds of doubt could grow into the most abundant tree.
At one point in time, a young woman put herself in a canvas of big dreams, colored her story, and painted her own path – only for her to think that she had stained her masterpiece with a few drips of doubt and insecurity and call her work a failure.
This seemingly stained canvas was Vivoree Esclito’s life.
At 18 years old, Vivoree has become one of the most popular celebrities in the local scene. With over 695,000 followers on Instagram, over 192,000 followers on Twitter, and a leading role in Wansapanataym under her belt, it’s hard to imagine a time when Vivoree wasn’t busy taking over the Philippine entertainment industry by storm.
Vivoree was first introduced to the industry as one of the housemates in the 7th season of hit reality TV show Pinoy Big Brother (PBB). Before that, however, she led the life of a normal 16-year-old.
The eldest of three, she studied and lived in Bohol under the wings of her public elementary school teacher mother and her seaman father. She had said that joining PBB was her dream, and so she went and chased after that dream like the determined young woman she has always been.
Her life in the PBB house was marked with newfound friendships, a few arguments with fellow housemates in between, and of course, the makeover she received that drew in awe and praises from a significant number of social media users.
“I was bullied for my appearance. They used to call me unggoy.” She said. “They chopped off my hair and removed my facial hair. After my transformation, I felt like sobrang laki ng nabunot na tinik sa heart ko. I was really longing for that transformation. Kahit kinabahan ako, nangibabaw yung excitement and happiness.”
(I was bullied for my appearance. They used to call me a monkey. [So in PBB], they chopped off my hair and removed my facial hair. It felt like a relief. And even though I was nervous, the excitement and happiness overpowered.)
Vivoree didn’t finish as the Big Winner, but everyone knew that she was going to be one of the biggest stars.
“After PBB, I saw all the people supporting me on social media. I thought I was just a nobody on PBB [laughs], that’s what I expected. But they were there and it makes my heart warm, knowing there are people who believe in me.”
On the surface, it seemed like she had an advantage.
An aspiring star who already had a dedicated fanbase despite having no projects yet? It’s a formula for overnight fame! But it wasn’t the correct formula for overnight or long-term success.
Vivoree had expected that things would be smooth sailing after her PBB exposure, but fate had other plans.
What looked like a slow progress in her career took a toll on her emotions, as she admits to feeling depressed and hopeless at one point.
“Nagpile up yung mga problems ko; family problems, school, and my insecurities. Emotionally, I was drained. I was drowning and that made me really emotional. Every night, umiiyak ako kasi sabi ni Papa, ‘pag wala ka pa ding project next month, uuwi ka na sa Bohol.‘”
(My problems piled up… Every night, I cried because my father told me that he would bring me back to Bohol if I had no projects within the next month.)
Though Vivoree pointed out that going back to her hometown wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, she still wanted to stay in Manila to chase her dreams.
Galaxy gown by Steph Tan
“It kind of broke my heart. I thought that that was it: I wouldn’t be able to come back to showbiz anymore if I left.” Vivoree confessed. “But even when I felt depressed, even when I cried every night, [I didn’t let it] take over my life. Each day, I think there’s new hope.”
Vivoree knew that it wasn’t the time to give up yet. Life was getting difficult, but her dream was on fire and she was too fueled by her motivation to burn out. And so, she kept going.
The shy, introverted girl worked her way up, and it looks like she’s bound to stay there for a long, long time.
“To be honest, I’m still in the process of knowing myself. I think ‘Vivoree’ is someone who is really genuine, someone who cares for you, someone who you think na masungit but deep inside really cares for you! I’m boyish and maangas, but sweet. That’s how people know me,” Vivoree said.
The 18-year-old rising star is now enjoying life as a young woman with a celebrity status. It also isn’t so bad that her signature brows-on-fleek, contagious smile, and vibrant personality is loved and adored by a couple of hundred thousand.
“I want my fans to remember me as the one who inspired them.”
Something tells us that although Vivoree seems to be at the top of her game now, she has higher places to go to. She doesn’t see herself closing the curtains any time soon, but when she does, it’s going to be at the moment when she feels like she has achieved her one true goal.
As to what would make her feel the curse of the being the celebrity, she said, “If sasabihin nila sakin na, ‘you have to change yourself’ – I can’t do it! That will really make me feel so mad about the idea” She shook her head. “Hindi ko siya kakayanin. Siguro kung ganun man mangyayari, I’ll just chase my dreams by myself, without depending on anything.”
Vivoree Esclito: MEG Digital Cover for November 2018
Vivoree has successfully painted her dream career, and the doubts that she once saw as stain marks in her canvas are now seen as tiny little patches of gold paint that brighten up the masterpiece.
Just like Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”, Vivoree’s career is now shining brighter than she ever thought it would.
Imperfections complement beauty and doubts ground humility in success. Vivoree is the walking, living proof that no matter how many swivels, patches, and stains there are in a canvas, something beautiful could be created with the right perspective and the right amount of hard work.
Vivoree is now her own Starry Night.
Photography by: Yukie Sarto
Art Direction by: Suzanne Allbabidi
Art by: Shaira Buncag
Sittings Editor: Elyse Ilagan
Make up by: Mickey See
Hair by: Francis Guintu for Revlon Professional
Styling by: Vanessa Mercado
Assisted by: Gabby Gamboa & Steph Domingo
Nails by: Jomae Bondoc
Words by: Samantha Valmonte
Associate Publisher: Erika Austria
Publisher: Archie Carrasco
Special thanks to: BYS, Captain Luz, Secret Burger, and Coffee & Protein