Get to know Marian Rivera-Dantes, the grand-slam FHM Sexiest Woman, Facebook Queen, and Kapuso Primetime Queen, in this 10-point list!
1. Marian Rivera-Dantes was born Marian Gracia y Rivera on August 12, 1984 in Madrid, Spain. Her father is Francisco Javier Alonzo Gracia. He is a restaurateur in his homeland Spain. Marian’s Instagram can sometimes be seen with a photo of his Dad “plugging” her shows in his country. In case you are wondering why Marian uses her maiden name Rivera, instead of Gracia, well, by Spanish tradition, the paternal family name succeeds the given name. This resulted to “Marian Gracia Rivera,” which is opposite of what we are accustomed to here in the Philippines.
2. Marian Rivera-Dantes has been a ramp model since her elementary years. Before starting a career in acting, Marian appeared in various commercials. She’s appeared on TV as a TV commercial model for SkinWhite lotion, Skyflakes biscuits, and other labels. Despite her busy schedule since her toddler days, Marian Rivera-Dantes obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from De La Salle University in Dasmarinas, Cavite. She majored in Psychology.
3. Marian Rivera was discovered by TAPE Inc. executive producer Tony Tuviera. Tuviera commissioned her for roles in the afternoon TV soap operas Kung Mamahalin Mo Lang Ako, Agawin Mo Man Ang Lahat, and Pinakamamahal. Rivera made her first supporting role film appearance through OctoArts’ Enteng Kabisote 2: Okay Ka Fairy Ko: The Legend Continues in 2005 as the fairy Alyssa. In 2006, she signed a contract with Regal Entertainment that featured her debut in the horror film Pamahiin.
Marian’s first ever appearance on TV as an actress was via Kung Mamahalin Mo Lang Ako. The afternoon serye was produced by TAPE Inc., aired over GMA and also starred Oyo Boy Sotto, Camille Pratts, and Ehra Madrigal.
4. Marian Rivera-Dantes was inducted to full stardom when she assumed the leading role for GMA Network’s TV adaptation of the popular Mexican TV series MariMar. The show gained traction. It became the highest-rated drama show on Philippine television. This catapulted Marian Rivera-Dantes to full stardom. Kapuso artists Nadine Samonte, Katrina Halili, Bianca King, and Jennylyn Mercado likewise auditioned for the Marimar role.
She also appeared in celebrated TV series like Amaya, Temptation of Wife, and Temptation Island among others. She was also the lead role for Darna – a legend in the Philippine entertainment industry created by Mars Ravelo. The “super heroine” had an ordinary townsfolk alter ego, Narda. This much coveted role has been played by Vilma Santos, Rio Locsin, Nanette Medved, Angel Locsin, and most recently, Marian Rivera.
5. Marian Rivera-Dantes, although she’s been in TV commercials even prior to her acting career, became part of the Top 20 TV Endorsers of the country in 2011. She’s also the Facebook Queen with over 17 million likes. She’s also the only woman to be hailed three times by FHM as the Sexiest Woman (2008, 2013, and 2014).
6. Marian hosted the return of Philippine TV’s original reality show, Extra Challenge. She became good friends with co-host Boobay during the run of the show. In the said program, Marian showed her light and funny side, which was seldom seen because of the heavy acting asked of her in teleseryes.
7. Marian Rivera-Dantes is an astonishing terpsichorean. Her splendid performance in MariMar is a testament to her talent as a dancer. Remember Marian’s anatomy-defying dance moves in Marimar? She is one hell of a dancer and released a dance album entitled Retro Crazy, containing the LSS-worthy song Sabay-sabay Tayo back in 2009.
8. Marian loves butterflies, in fact, she has a small butterfly tattoo on her back. It is just right that her beau Dingdong Dantes first proposed to her in a butterfly dome in Macau last 2012. Marian and Dingdong first worked together in Marimar but were both committed to other parties then. Their romance sealed when they worked together again in the teleserye Endless Love.
9. Marian remains young at heart. She prefers to be called by her childhood nickname, Yanyan, by her family, friends, and fans. Her childhood nickname is “Yan-Yan”.
10. Marian Rivera-Dantes is also a philanthropist. She lent her star power to promote the rights of women and children with disabilities in the country as she was appointed by the Congress of the Philippines as Ambassador for Women and Children with Disabilities. She proposed a public-private partnership for the establishment of a special school for children with disabilities so that they can have better access to education. On the latter part of year 2014, Rivera adds another advocacy to her list as she actively supports “Smile Train”, an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate.
In 2009, Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, with assistance from Yes Pinoy Foundation, Philippine National Red Cross and Philippine Marines went to Cainta, Rizal to help the victim of Typhoon Ondoy. Aside from being a volunteer in GMA Network’s telethon, she helped repacking relief goods from the GMA Kapuso Foundation, a charitable institution from the network.
In 2011, Rivera joined “Marriott Manila”, in reaching out for victims of Typhoon Sendong particularly the children in Pasay City.
In August 2012, Rivera joined the Philippine Red Cross team during their mission in Quezon City to help out the victims of the flooding. Rivera, together with former senator Dick Gordon, waded through floodwaters to get to an area where some 500 families sought refuge from the floods caused by the non-stop rains. She stated that helping out the victims is her 28th birthday gift to herself. She also said that she didn’t mind getting wet and tired during the mission, as she says it was a small sacrifice compared to the hardships that the victims are experiencing. According to Rivera, she went as a volunteer and not as a celebrity.
Rivera joined Kris Aquino in visiting affected areas throughout Metro Manila. Rivera organized a blood donation program for the Red Cross at the Ever Gotesco in Quezon City in celebration of her 28th birthday wherein it was attended by lot of people including celebrities.
In 2013, Rivera and her boyfriend Dingdong Dantes contributed for the fund-raising event at the annual Noel Bazaar, the long-running Christmas shopping event in the Pasay City for GMA Kapuso Foundation. During the Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon ever recorded, Rivera also helped in the packing of relief goods to be distributed to the affected families and supported the Yes Pinoy Foundation’s victim assistance program. In addition to that, she launched Oplan: Bangka, a livelihood project in which Rivera will shoulder the expenses for the construction of fishing boats that will be given for Cebu’s fishermen.
In 2013, Rivera, along with Dingdong Dantes, joined PETA in their campaign to free the elephant Mali from Manila Zoo, where she has been kept for the majority of her life in a tiny enclosure and in need of proper care.