Being a young actress in any part of the world is no small feat. On top of pushing yourself harder to excel in your craft, you’re also expected to look a certain part, and to play the role of one of the most alluring members of society. All the while trying not to buckle from the country’s constant watchful eyes trained on you, waiting for anything to talk about.
The Philippines’ most influential young actresses are no stranger to this ever-present feeling of pressure and anxiety from the media and the general public, and that’s only what comes with being a celebrity. What more when your platform goes beyond what a “celebrity” profile typically entails? How does society’s surveillance change when you establish yourself as, not only a beautiful face, but an impactful voice as well?
For 23-year old actress Liza Soberano, the answer is that when you use your voice for more than just “celebrity talk,” it’s a double-edged sword. Especially with the following that she has with millions of social media followers on several platforms, and the country’s general adoration of her. On one hand, you gain the support and respect of all the communities you advocate for, and on the other, you face the wrath of those who disagree. Lucky for Soberano, who advocates for the poor, the marginalized, and the youth, the Internet’s got her back. And we do as well.
Here’s a rundown of all our favorite moments of the young actress standing firm as the voice of women and the youth:
“Where is the support for the poor in our country?”
Earlier this week, Soberano trended online for voicing out what a lot of us have on our minds since “NCR Plus” was reinstated under a GCQ bubble in an effort to curb the rising cases of COVID-19 patients. She highlighted those who have no choice but risk their and their families’ lives to go out and work for that day’s meals, and expressed her genuine concern for those who simply cannot afford to choose over food and health.
Advocating for women’s rights
We all remember that incident last year when Soberano joined a webinar organized by women’s organization Gabriela Youth to talk about women’s rights, and violence against the community, only to be red tagged by the military for her activism. Although the event raised some eyebrows from the local forces, it highlighted even more the need for women to stand together and speak up on important matters such as empowerment, security and protection, and the constant threat to all women from all sides who so desperately try to drown out our voices.
Internet providers vs. the people
Another iconic Liza Soberano moment in the past year was her exchange with local internet providers. The clamor for two to get her attention, the speed in which one of the country’s biggest networks took to provide her with faster internet, and the public’s great dismay at these providers ignoring all the complaints of us common people.
After the whole incident, Soberano shared a tweet urging internet providers to treat their customers fairly, and to provide better customer service. Especially at this time when everybody depends so much on connectivity.
Filing legal cases against her cyber bullies
A follow-up story to the one above is an employee of Soberano’s original internet provider making rape jokes against her and sharing her private information online, after she called them out for unprofessionalism. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of so much trolling since she started her career, Soberano put her foot down as a young woman and said enough is enough. Later on, she filed a cyberbullying case against her harasser.
The ‘Tililing’ Discourse
Just last February, controversial video creator Darryl Yap made headlines again for the talked-about poster of his upcoming movie, Tililing, which claims to shed light on the touchy topic of mental health. Soberano mirrored the criticism of the general public on how the poster portrayed people with mental disorders, and shared that she hopes the film will ACTUALLY spread awareness on mental health without making it seem like a joke.
When Joseph Pemberton was released in 2020 for “good conduct” without completing his years due in prison for murdering trans woman Jennifer Laude, Filipinos were enraged with the injustice of it all. The LGBTQ+ community and its allies rallied against the movement, but nothing could be done once the sentence was lifted—a blatant disregard to trans lives and crimes against the community. Soberano shared her anger online over the matter, expressing her support for the #TransLivesMatter initiative.
Retweeting for help
When she isn’t posting her own Tweets to express her support or disagreement with national issues, she’s using her following to raise attention for urgent matters in need of donation or any sort of help. The young actress was especially active during all the storms that devastated the country last year, retweeting posts asking for rescue, donations, or assistance. In doing this, she’s lending her platform to amplify the voices of those in need.
These moments are just ones that we’ve listed from the duration of the pandemic and quarantine, but Liza Soberano has most definitely been using her platform for good for a long time now. She’s gotten a lot more persistent in raising her voice, and those around her, as she grew to be a young woman and she perhaps realized the need to speak out, most especially in recent years as our country has been under constant unrest.
As she continues to draw awareness for issues that plague the youth, women, the poor, and other marginalized communities, she’s ultimately educating millions of her followers and encouraging them to do the same. It’s a great example of fan culture turned towards social action.
A lot more young celebrities are gaining the confidence to speak up and voice their own opinions on such sensitive matters, and it’s a movement we must all welcome and encourage. As we all learn to speak up, we must support and educate in one another to truly move forward as one society amid these turbulent times. May more voices come from the youth in demanding justice, equality, and humanity for all.