Meryll So­ri­ano’s jour­ney to find­ing her true selves

Northern Living - - COVER STORY - TEXT DENISE DANIELLE AL­CAN­TARA PHOTOGRAPHY RALPH MEN­DOZA

Be­hind the scenes, award-win­ning ac­tress Meryll So­ri­ano is a reg­u­lar girl: one who took bal­let classes in her tod­dler years, played in her high school vol­ley­ball team, and is into all kinds of artis­tic hob­bies, in­clud­ing graphic de­sign. “I al­ways had the pas­sion and in­ter­est for it, but my step­fa­ther Hideo Naguchi was my great­est in­flu­ence,” she says.

So­ri­ano was nine years old when she met her step­fa­ther. To­gether, they would fre­quent book stores to pur­chase sup­plies to cre­ate ev­ery­thing, from toys to Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions like candy canes. Since then, her fas­ci­na­tion with hand­made ob­jects and Ja­panese cul­ture be­gan. “I started col­lect­ing mag­a­zines to the point that if the house were to catch fire, it would spread fast with all that pa­per.” With a grow­ing close­ness to “Papa Guchi,” So­ri­ano tried her hand at graphic de­sign to­gether with her friend Ryan Ver­gara of Ev­ery­where We Shoot. “We created ev­ery­thing in MS Word then; there wasn’t even Pow­erPoint.”

While Ver­gara went on to take up mul­ti­me­dia arts in col­lege, So­ri­ano con­tin­ued her show busi­ness ca­reer. “It wasn’t the great dream [to be in show­biz]; it was the most nat­u­ral thing. It was just there,” she ad­mits. “I re­ally didn’t know [if I had wanted to be an ac­tress] be­cause I grew up in the in­dus­try. I re­ally thought every­one in the fam­ily would turn out to be a direc­tor or an ac­tor, even a light­ing direc­tor or cam­era­man, be­cause I grew up on set.”

So­ri­ano re­veals want­ing to quit show­biz in high school, to try her hand at liv­ing a nor­mal life and pur­su­ing her other pas­sions, but she couldn’t just let it go as she was com­mit­ted to a sit­com. Dur­ing the sit­com’s four-year run, she dab­bled in her other in­ter­ests when­ever she could. “I started photography when I was 14 years old, and I also painted dur­ing that time. I even tried out writ­ing. But photography was my thing,” says So­ri­ano. She pur­sued it as a hobby, fo­cus­ing on shoot­ing tex­tures, still life, land­scapes— ba­si­cally any­thing but peo­ple. She needed an out­let that didn’t have any­thing to do with mov­ing and talking sub­jects, that didn’t have any­thing to do with her be­ing in front of the cam­era.

At 19, trou­bled and con­fused by what path to take as she didn’t see any pur­pose left in do­ing

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