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Vivoree Esclito Is the Name You Ought to Remember

After a year of firsts, the triple threat (and then some) is ready to prove her worth as more than just another ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ success story.

by Fiel Estrella | Nov 13, 2018

Since joining the country’s premier reality competition at age 16, emerging actress, singer, and dancer Vivoree Esclito has battled and overcome depression and self-doubt—learning, in the process, what it really takes to survive.

On Vivoree Esclito’s Instagram, she declares herself to be “just an ordinary girl chasing dreams.”

She’s not too far off the mark. Not too long ago, Vivoree was leading the life of a normal teenager in her hometown of Bohol, spending weekends hanging out with friends and fawning over Korean dramas and K-pop idols. “I went to school,” she recalls, “and then after school, I just went back home.”


Vivoree Esclito for Preview.ph November 2018

When, at 16, she found out that Pinoy Big Brother would be holding auditions for the first time ever in her province, she decided to try her luck—it was, after all, subtitled Lucky Season 7. Her spirit and bubbly energy must have caught the eyes of the scouts, and before she knew it, improbable as it was, Vivoree was on her way to the famed PBB House. Her parents would be proud of her, and she could help them make ends meet. “Pero kinabahan ako [pagpasok],” she laughs. “Gusto ko nang lumabas kaagad because I was homesick and I missed my family.”

True to her word, she’s been able to help her family get by and live comfortably, and the exposure has given her a platform to show off her talents.

She ended up staying roughly 100 days inside the house. And while joining the country’s favorite reality competition was already surreal in itself, Vivoree reveals that going back out there, to the so-called “outside world,” was even more overwhelming. “Pagkalabas ko kaagad ng Bahay ni Kuya, may mga tao na nakaka-kilala na sa akin,” she muses. She wasn’t called a “go-getter” for nothing, either: True to her word, she’s been able to help her family get by and live comfortably, and the exposure has given her a platform to show off her talents.


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A performer in the wings

It wasn’t like before, Vivoree observes, when it was difficult to be acknowledged and taken seriously because people underestimated her. “Ngayon people can see [what I can really do]. May mga taong nandiyan para sayo, para suportahan ka, at may mga taong nai-inspire din sayo.”

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Naisip ko na ‘yun ‘yung magiging stepping stone ng pag-tupad ko ng mga pangarap ko,” she adds. “I’ve always dreamt of being a performer.”

Vivoree is among the few who figure out what they’re good at and what they want to do for the rest of their lives at a young age. She’s lucky and, more importantly, passionate and hardworking enough to be able to develop her skills and keep getting better at what she loves. “Kapag hindi ka nag-i-improve, hanggang dun ka na lang,” she says.

Singing, she reveals, is her first love, and the rest—songwriting, dancing, acting, even doing makeup and having an eloquent way with words when speaking to the public about issues and experiences that have been important to her—soon followed.

For her, performing is an avenue of self-expression—and people are now paying attention, because as it turns out, this 17-year-old has got a lot to say.


Speaking with Boy Abunda just before she was to enter the PBB House, Vivoree was already goal-oriented, telling the late-night host that the opportunity that she’d been given was something she had always aspired to, and one could tell even then that she had planned to make the most of it. Inside, whether it was for a challenge or task, or just another mundane moment spent goofing off with her newfound friends, her talents shone through. She even wrote a song, Kaya Pa, joining the likes of Sam Milby and Ylona Garcia in creating the original musical history of PBB. It eventually became her debut single. 

And through it all, Vivoree, it must be said, was simply being herself.

Her voice is strong, but clear and sweet. Her dancing is a balance of attitude and grace. And when she’s acting, she’s endearing, genuine, and exciting to watch. For her, performing is an avenue of self-expression—and people are now paying attention, because as it turns out, this 17-year-old has got a lot to say.

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She fills her free time with acting workshops, dance classes, and recording song covers and dance videos at home to put up on YouTube. She is also considering makeup tutorials. “And I’m always writing songs,” she adds. “I always write random thoughts down in a notebook.”


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A girl who rises above

Sure, most "ordinary girls" don’t cater to over 729K Instagram followers, pose for their own Folded & Hung campaign, or hold their own slot alongside Piolo Pascual and Alessandra de Rossi on ABS-CBN’s primetime block. But Vivoree is following her dreams—it’s just that, for once, she finally gets to live them. Looking back, though, it didn’t come easy.

For a year, she hadn’t booked any projects and was beginning to doubt her place in show business... She began to question herself: Was she not good enough?

Vivoree admits that things were slow-going following her exit from the PBB House. “After PBB, iniisip ko na bakit wala pang [nangyayari sa career ko]. Wala pa rin ako sa place kung saan ko in-expect ‘yung sarili ko.”

For a year, she hadn’t booked any projects and was beginning to doubt her place in show business. After all, Maymay Entrata and Kisses Delavin—her housemates from PBB—were everywhere, it seemed. They had transitioned almost seamlessly from being largely unknown to overnight sensations and rising names. And with the image Vivoree had built up and the talent she had demonstrated, it was only natural for her to have been on the same path. But she wasn’t.

She began to question herself: Was she not good enough? Was she not cut out for performing after all? Did she not have what it takes? It was beginning to take a toll on her to a point that it affected her mental health.


Her parents, trying to be practical, advised that the lack of projects and exposure might be a sign that she would be better off packing her bags and going back home to Bohol to continue her studies. “I got depressed,” Vivoree says. She spent nights crying, feeling like she had risked it all and gone through so much, only to have it be for nothing. She was beginning to think—to fear—that she had missed her chance.

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“It all came together,” she says. “It led me to deep sadness, until it came to the point na sobrang emotionally drained na ako pero ayaw kong ipaalam sa mga tao talaga nade-depress na pala ako. Mukha akong okay pero hindi nila alam talaga kung ano ‘yung tunay na nararamdaman ko. I never really told anyone about it.”

Like many other young women who’ve struggled with depression and mental illness, Vivoree eventually realized that it wasn’t healthy to isolate herself and deal with her problems on her own. Opening up was difficult, but it played an important role in helping her get back on her feet. “I [rose above it] through the support of the people around me,” she recalls.


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Her faith, along with the realization that she was loved and supported, that she wasn’t alone, gave her the initiative to get better and move forward. “I’m lucky there are people around me who cheer me up and lift my spirit. Aside from [my own efforts] to lift myself up, may mga tao na rin na nandiyan para i-motivate ako and ma-inspire ako na gawin ‘yung mga bagay na gusto ko.”

Put simply, she says, “Nabigyan ulit ako ng hope.” Her efforts to overcome her struggles have been a constant but necessary process. “I’m really trying,” she insists. “I said, ‘It’s time for me to move on. I can’t let my depression take over my life.’”

“[My name] came from the word ‘survivor,’” Vivoree explains.


A survivor who can take on anything

Everyone’s name is an ineradicable part of their identity, of their story—and Vivoree’s is no exception, if not more so. “[My name] came from the word ‘survivor,’” she explains.

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She was born in the August of a brand-new millennium, seven months premature. “The doctor told my mom na maliit lang daw ‘yung chance na mabubuhay ako,” she shares. Her mother decided to push through with the birth, and, defying expectations, everyone in the room welcomed a healthy baby: “Surprise!” she laughs.

In 2018, after a year filled with uncertainty and rejection, Vivoree turned 18 and celebrated the milestone with a number of firsts: She was cast in a supporting role in the teleserye Since I Found You; she filmed her first movie, the ensemble teen comedy Petmalu; and she landed her first lead role on the classic children’s show Wansapanataym, opposite her first major love team partner, Charles Kieron, also known as Hashtag CK.

She’s also a senior high school student in grade 11, where she’s chosen to take the Humanities and Social Sciences strand. She is, however, considering studying business when she goes to college.


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If there’s one thing Vivoree can attest to, it’s that giving up should never be an option. Dreams and success take time, and moving up sometimes means having to traverse downward slopes and take a few detours. But she always stayed the course. And now, her resilience, tenacity, and the risks she has taken have finally paid off.

Vivoree is a Leo, the sign known for warmth, optimism, ambition, and magnetism. It’s evident at her cover shoot, whether she’s freestyling to the songs on the radio or unafraid to laugh at herself after making silly faces at the camera.

Her energy is boundless, bouncing off everyone else in the room even when it’s been several hours and the sun has already begun to set. In the studio, she transforms from a shy teenager into a fashion muse, an ingenue—fearless and unapologetically real.

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“I always remind myself to be true to myself,” says Vivoree. “Hindi na ako kikilalanin [ng mga tao sa buhay ko] kapag magiging fake ako o hindi na ako katulad ng dati.”


It was through experiences both life-altering and difficult that Vivoree was able to become stronger and more sure of herself. “I used to be that kind of girl na sobrang walang tiwala sa sarili,” she recalls.

“I didn’t let it get me down because I’m a survivor,” Vivoree adds. “I rose above the criticism and the judgment, and [I’d like to think] I became a person people could look up to.”

Since childhood, she’d been made fun of and put down for her appearance, particularly her facial and body hair, and for not fitting into certain definitions of “beauty.” Most days, she would shrug off the callousness of her peers, but in the long run, it got to her and resulted in a lack of confidence.

“Sobrang insecure ako [dati] sa sarili ko because of the way I look, and [the bullying I went through],” she shares. “Pero ngayon, mino-motivate ko ‘yung sarili ko na, ‘Kailangan mag-survive ka sa mundong ito, kahit ang dami-daming negativity and ang dami-dami nang dahilan para sumuko, kailangan mo pa ring tumuloy.’”

“I didn’t let it get me down because I’m a survivor,” Vivoree adds. “I rose above the criticism and the judgment, and [I’d like to think] I became a person people could look up to.” She flashes a smile and declares, “And [what I went through] honed me to be the person that I am today.”

She’s defying and redefining perceptions of  what beauty is supposed to be. And more than anything, she knows what she wants—and she will do whatever it takes to get it.

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A breakout star stepping out

By all accounts, Vivoree has earned the right to be called a full-fledged artista, but it’s her qualities as a dreamer that set her apart and make her one to watch. She’s got style and flair, but she also has individuality, creativity, and personality. She knows herself beyond branding or anything else other people might built her up to be. She’s defying and redefining perceptions of  what beauty is supposed to be. And more than anything, she knows what she wants—and she will do whatever it takes to get it.

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On set, she’s eager to learn and grow, studying and taking cues from the director and her fellow actors. She gets giddy over the mere thought of headlining her own movie. She has her sights set on releasing an album. She wants to play an action girl, but she’s game for any role because she likes the challenge of figuring out a new character. Asked whether she’d prefer to be known as half of a love team or to carve a name out for herself, she exclaims, “Interesting question!” She reveals, however, that she’d rather not choose: “I’ll just take it as it comes.”


Is she in talks for any new projects? “Yes!” Vivoree enunciates it so it comes out more like yizz. “But,” she adds, eyes twinkling, “I can’t reveal them just yet.” 

There are no longer any doubts. She’s got it; she has what it takes. And she doesn’t have to live up to any standards—she’s setting them instead. “Ako ’yung tipo ng tao na gustong ma-try lahat,” she says. “I want to achieve as much as I can. I’m up for anything.”

Produced by Marj Ramos

Photographed by Mario Genoveza

Styled by Loris Peña

Contributing Creative Director Vince Uy

Art Directed by Mark Buenaobra

Co-produced by Steph Sison

Makeup by Mickey See

Hair by Mycke Arcano

Production Design by Something Pretty Manila

Nails by Nails.Glow

Shoot Assistant: April Lozada

 

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