StyleBible Preview

Marian Rivera Is the True Definition of a Classic

by Em Enriquez | Dec 16, 2022

As the headliner of Preview's Best Dressed list for 2022, Marian discusses her style, her family life, her values, and how these are all fashionably intertwined.

From operatic symphonies to obra maestras of centuries gone by, history has borne witness to the birth of several classics. Each era humanity lives through presents trends that resurge every now and then, but classics are highly regarded for their timelessness and irreplaceable quality. These are articles of culture that bear established value and are able to uphold such gravitas over a significant period of time. It’s rather easy to distinguish which works of music, film, or fashion fall under this distinction, but what makes a person a “classic”? And how do they maintain such a respected but capricious status?

GMA’s Primetime Queen Marian Rivera may not have starred in any black-and-white dramas—she’s obviously too young, still three years shy of her 40s—but to already dub her as a “classic” doesn’t feel erroneous. In the dynamic realm that is Filipino show business, the actress has firmly situated herself as an institution, one that many look up to and can only aspire to emulate. Just direct yourself to her 12.5 million Instagram followers, her filmography that spans 17 years and counting, and her seat as a judge at the 70th Miss Universe pageant if you lack convincing.

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Marian Rivera for Preview December 2022

Marian has long been a staple on our TV screens, and even in the digital spaces of social media, it’s difficult to not catch a whiff of whatever she’s up to. It appears that in 2022, the actress and celebrity mom has achieved her fullest, most authentic form as a style maven, making her a befitting headliner for Preview’s annual Best Dressed list.

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To the Nines

“Classic” is the first adjective that comes to mind when you ask Marian about her fashion sense. “My style has always been classic and feminine,” she tells Preview, “Through the years, I’ve played around with prints and different silhouettes until [I found] the perfect balance that works for me.”


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ON MARIAN: Custom Ball Gown, JOE SAN ANTONIO

From floral mini dresses and traditional local weaves to tattered punk rock denim and funky colorful motifs, she’s pretty much dipped her toes in every fashion aesthetic there is. This current era she’s in finally has her settling with a style DNA that resonates with everything she aims to uphold and showcase, not just to the public, but even to herself. In her own words, “There’s a certain look that’s very ‘Marian.’”


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“Sometimes, I try something new and go out of my comfort zone,” she explains. “Being part of this year's Best Dressed, for me, means I’ve established a look that I’m comfortable in. It’s always classic and timeless. Aside from the outfit, I think being stylish also comes from within, [in terms of] how you carry and present yourself to others.”


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Like any other affluent personality that can afford them, she’s often clad in designer ensembles from head to toe. On the Tuesday morning we shot her cover, she stepped out of her car in a sunset-hued Carolina Herrera loungewear set and beige Hermès Oran Sandals. Scrolling through her social media pages can be likened to flipping through a catalog of the freshest pieces from the most sought-after luxury labels in the world. But the monogram logos and the twinkling Swarovskis are only accessories to the star power that the actress has honed in her decades-long career.


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ON MARIAN: Custom Black Gown, EHRRAN MONTOYA

“I really enjoy investing [in] and collecting fashion pieces, and I have fun creating looks with them. Fashion is supposed to be fun, and I see it as an outlet to express myself,” says the stylista. Her faithful styling team, composed primarily of Melville Sy and Maita Bello of Studio 24c, attests to the constant experimentation Marian willingly dives into whenever she dresses up. On one occasion, she’s a vision of regality in a Joe San Antonio ball gown, and on the next, she’s swiveling around in a hot pink fringe dress from Cult Gaia. What always remains constant is a certain aura that just naturally radiates from her. Marian is always the one that’s wearing the clothes, and never vice versa.


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Worth Her Weight in Gold

Even before she was a TVC model who got discovered by a talent executive, Marian has always viewed fashion as an extension of herself. When it came to dressing up as an artista for the first time, it was all about giving what was needed without compromising her authenticity. “Kung may requirements [sa attire], masunurin ako, just like any of my colleagues,” narrates the 37-year-old. “But of course, I put a little twist.”

“I think there isn’t [a stereotypical] outfit [in] our profession. We are artists and we dress according to how we want to express ourselves, and that in itself is subjective,” she adds.


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ON MARIAN: Custom Polka-Dotted Gown, JO RUBIO

Being a family woman has also impacted her approach to styling herself. After getting married in the Michael Cinco wedding gown that ended all other wedding gowns, she and Dingdong Dantes have become full-time parents to Zia and Sixto. “My whole family serves as the backbone of why I do what I do,” she declares.

However, running a household isn’t necessarily a hindrance to how she dresses, and for someone who’s been hailed as the “The Philippines’ Sexiest Woman” by FHM three times in the past, it all just means a little bit of compromise.

“Now that I am a mother, I have to make sure I am more functional in terms of clothing dynamics. It has to be comfortable enough to bring my kids to school in the morning, cool enough to appreciate the breeze while having breakfast in the garden, basic enough to fit in my white-walled workshop area for flower [arrangements], and pretty enough to squeeze in a date in the later part of the day."

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Aside from the clothes she puts on her back, another thing the Kapuso queen never fails to prioritize is punctuality. It’s a trait she picked up as an ingénue, and it’s something that she’s proudly become notorious for.

Our team witnessed it firsthand during the cover shoot. We expected her to arrive at the Quezon City studio at 9:00 a.m., but there was already a chorus of "Hi, miss Marian" when she arrived a full 30 minutes earlier. She breezed through all of the layouts in record time, and photographer Shaira Luna merrily clicked away at the camera as chanson française played in the background. Glam, pose, repeat, glam, pose, repeat. Hours before dusk, things already wrapped up. I walked with her back to her dressing room, and, unabashedly impressed by her work ethic, told her, “Ang bilis n’yo po gumalaw, miss Marian.”

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She gingerly placed her hand on my back and replied, “Oo, dapat ganon. Para may life pa tayo after this.”


ON MARIAN: Custom Black Dress with Velvet Details, RICA RICO; Rose Heel Sandals, LOEWE

ON LOLO DRIPPP: Black suit by CHRIS NICK

So, we know that two of the dos in her career are authenticity and punctuality. What about the don'ts? Well, for Marian, things have to line up with the principles and values she's stood by ever since, or else, it’s a no-go. “While I respect that artistry should have a very wide spectrum in terms of limitations, I set my own."

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The script is god when it comes teleseryes and movies, and Marian, in some way, has to worship it in order for her to get on board. "It has to be a project that I truly believe in, and something I’ll enjoy doing too.”


It’s because of these characteristics and ideals that many starlets would want to pattern themselves after the thespian. While there’s certainly no template to the success she’s reveling in, there was one thing she consistently abided by throughout her career: “[You have to] love your work. It will reflect on your final take. There are no small roles—every actor is important."

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Feathers in Her Cap

For someone who’s virtually on everyone’s pedestal, there must be a challenge to always be that Marian, but, at the same time, to constantly evolve into a new, fresher Marian. As it turns out though, the tenured celebrity is taking it easy when it comes to staying in style. She knows damn well who she is, and how good she looks just follows suit at this point.


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Individuals of her magnitude are often burdened with the pressure to always “look good.” Over the years, it’s become an expectation she can fulfill with finesse—practice makes perfect, as they say. “I just constantly remind myself of the principles I have stood by all these years when it [came] to how I present myself—either in public or in private.” 

“I make sure that how I feel will reflect on how I look. The goal here is to constantly make sure that I feel comfortable with whatever I am wearing and that what is on me highlights the good qualities of my personality. When I feel comfortable, I feel empowered.”


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One simply needs to feel empowered in an industry as fickle as the entertainment world. Clothing becomes armor somehow, just like the red and gold costume she donned as the superheroine Darna in 2009. Amidst all the brouhaha that Marian gets laced into in as one of the nation’s biggest personalities, the actress keeps a level head. And when it’s difficult to do so, there are two Ds she can always fall back on: Dingdong and dedma.


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ON MARIAN: Black and Red Dress, MARC RANCY; Heels, MUGLER x JIMMY CHOO

She explains, saying, “My husband is very supportive of what makes me happy. My career makes me happy, my hobbies make me happy, being a mother and wife makes me happy. In these endeavors, what is important is [that I] have that support group who will help [me] grow in all aspects.”

When it comes to unruly netizens and critics that no celebrity can ever catch a break from, Marian chooses her battles. “I’ve always been true to myself and I think being real is a good quality to have, especially in this business… And the best frame of mind [to bashers] would be dedma,” she laughs.


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Having said all of that, there are still versions of her that we’ve yet to meet. So far, we’ve met a Marian who can glide through the skies as Darna, coast through the seas as Dyesebel, and sway her hips as Marimar. We’ve met a Marian who can teach beauty queen Urvashi Rautela the “Sabay-Sabay Tayo” dance right on the Miss Universe stage. We’ve met a Marian who can turn on her model mode in exquisite Schiaparelli and Loewe frocks, but this is also a Marian who can seamlessly switch back to her endearing Caviteña self after the camera flashes.

She assures us that she’s just as excited to discover what’s next. “I really want to take on new roles that I haven’t done before. There’s still a lot to explore, so I’m open to trying anything.”


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Perhaps one of the only things that we can expect is that she’ll always be well-dressed. And even when all the regalia and luxury is stripped off, Marian will remain to be the unforsaken classic she's evolved to become. They just don't make them like Marian Rivera anymore. We, as onlookers and witnesses to her storied life, are tasked with nothing more than to be hopelessly devoted to her.


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ON MARIAN: Floral Dress, MARK BUMGARNER

Produced by Reg Rodriguez

Co-Produced by Katrina Maisie Cabral

Photographed by Shaira Luna

Photographer’s Assistant: Emelito Lansangan

Art Direction by Bacs Arcebal

Associate Art Director: Pau Moyano

Sittings Editor: Steph Sison-Cruz and Marj Ramos-Clemente

Styling by Melville Sy and Maita Bello of Studio 24c

Stylists' Assistant: Vincent Corioso

Makeup by Juan Sarte

Hairstyling by Nante Alingasa

Set Design by Studio Tatin

Words by Em Enriquez

Special thanks to B&B Studios, Lolo Drippp (Karl Tabuzo), and Sofia Tabuzo Osorio

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