How does all this attention make you feel?
At first I was very nervous. Kasi it’s something new for me. Parang kinakabahan talaga ako nung shoot. I really had fun. Ang saya ng mga themes, ng staff...
What were your thoughts going into the shoot?
I was thinking, “Am I ready? Am I ready for this? It’s a new step for my life. Am I really ready for this?” But nakatulog naman ako nang mahimbing.
How did you prepare?
A few months ago I stuck to a strict diet and a workout routine. But when I found out that I was going to do a cover, parang biglaang, “Okay, seryoso na talaga ‘to.” Game face na talaga, and I’ve been sticking to fruits and veggies and have been a vegetarian for…two weeks at least! I’ll probably go back to meat sooner or later, but the thing is, thanks to this I’m going to stick to a healthier diet.
Have you ever had a phase when you had body image issues?
No. Ever since I was a kid, I have been comfortable and happy with how I look. In my younger years, I’d look at the mirror, and I was happy with what I saw. My friends and family have always been encouraging, so I never really had image problems. I guess the closest thing to that was when I was bullied as a kid. Nung bata pa kasi ako, in Grade 1, I was physically bullied—binabato ako with sticks and rocks. I think my classmates thought it was funny, but my Grade 1 self wouldn’t have known that. It hurt, and that’s all I knew then. We were kids alright, but it felt serious. The worst was this girl who slapped me. She spat saliva on my hand, and sinampal niya ako.
Yeah, it was that bad. Ayoko na nga pumasok nun eh, pero pinipilit ko na lang. I guess it was because I was the new girl in school [in Iloilo]. And siguro it was because when I was a kid, I was very quiet. I was the type of person who’d just read books and watch animé. That’s why they chose to tease me; they thought I wouldn’t fight back—and they were right. That was me then.
How much have you grown from that girl who was being bullied?
A few months ago, nag-mall show ako sa Iloilo, and I saw that very girl who slapped me. She was working in the hotel that I stayed in, and she apologized: “Sorry Myrtle ha, sa ginawa ko nung bata pa tayo.” I said, “Uy, okay lang yun. Bata pa tayo nun.” And that was essentially it. My point is we were kids then, and people change. Like her, I’ve grown into someone who isn’t just quiet all the time, who just reads and watches animé.
FOR MYRTLE'S FULL INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS, GRAB THE NOVEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FHM! OR DOWNLOAD A DIGITAL COPY NOW BY CLICKING HERE!
Special thanks to Mr. Johnny Manahan, Neneth Roxas, and Danilyn Nungka of Star Magic; Philip "Sledge" Brodial, Mark Alcoriza of Airmagination for the swimsuit anime decal; Lynelle House of Hair Fashion for the Burgundy Wig; Rejuva Skin Care; Gaoc Dental Care; Bare Naked Tomas Morato