The Philippine Star


- not-so-young adult MAE COYIUTO

‘Tomorrow I will pick myself up, dress up as if I’m already a courtside reporter, a radio jock. I wasn’t my highest self yet, so I kept going,' says Rain Matienzo.

I’m a self-identified TikTok lurker. I never post videos (at least, not publicly), but I’m always there, losing hours of sleep scrolling through whatever’s trending. I’d joke that social media platforms require different qualificat­ions nowadays: you need to be witty on Twitter, attractive/great at aesthetics on Instagram, and dance to WAP without pulling a groin muscle on TikTok.

During my nightly deep-dives, I found myself getting hooked on Rain Matienzo’s “Conyo Girl” videos. Aside from laughing at how she nails the accent, what I found really interestin­g is how she went beyond the “tusok-tusok the fishball” stereotype. Rain’s conyo girl can still push your buttons, but it’s not because she uses “parang like” in every sentence. It’s because she manages to capture that one classmate you had back in high school or college. In her videos, you’ll meet the classmate who says she didn’t even study after getting a perfect score on the exam, your boyfriend’s suplada sibling that makes you second-guess if the relationsh­ip is really worth it, and your best friend’s “other best friend” who subtly mentions that tita loves her way more.

When I got the chance to talk to Rain, she told me that she never really set out to create content. A fairly new term, especially in spaces like TikTok, I feel like content creators don’t get enough credit. A content creator pens their own script, acts out their own material, edits their videos, and on top of all that, is the sole receiver of any feedback, good or bad. So if Rain didn’t set out to be a viral content creator, where did she start? When I asked Rain this, she laughed and said, “I have a long life story. Are you sure?”

A former radio jock and courtside reporter, Rain told me she was never actually tapped by her teachers to do any radio broadcasti­ng growing up: “I went to a science high school and wanted to be a cardiothor­acic surgeon.” Watching lots of Grey’s Anatomy made her point at the screen and think kaya ko rin ‘yan. She only considered another option when she attended a panel that showcased her two interests, medicine and broadcasti­ng.

Inspired after the program, Rain approached the broadcaste­r panelist and said, “Sir, I hope we can work together in the future!” To her surprise, he answered, “Why in the future pa? We can work together tomorrow.”

Rain was only 14 when she got her shot to see a booth for the first time, but it’d take a lot for her to find her way back. “Everything went towards taking Broadcast Communicat­ion at UP,” she shared. But when she graduated from high school at 15, she was instead admitted to UP Baguio. Struggling with homesickne­ss and depression during her time in Baguio, she decided to transfer to Miriam College — her main goal was to collect enough units so she could take BroadComm at Diliman.

At 18, she finally made it to her dream course and set her sights on a new goal: being a courtside reporter. Rain wasn’t a sports fan, but she’d sit with her friend and practice discussing basketball the whole day, as though it came naturally to her. It seemed to have paid off. She got through three audition rounds, made it to the final 10, until she found out she wasn’t part of the chosen five. “It wasn’t going to stop me from applying again. If anything, it’d give me an edge.”

The next season’s audition process had a different ending. “Let’s see how you will grow this year,” the judges said after recognizin­g Rain from the previous year’s tryouts. “When it happened, I thought, finally I’m going to be a courtside reporter!” Rain said. But then she got assigned to a different school.

Through her two years of auditionin­g, Rain had only studied UP basketball, and now she only had a week or two to study the Adamson team. “I basically lived in arenas for two months of my life,” she recalled. “I lived really far, so it was a lot of late nights and early mornings. I’d wake up at three so that I could make it to the 6 a.m. trainings.”

After reporting on basketball and cheerdance last year, Rain was on a high coming into 2020. Not all courtside reporters get to do a second season, and Rain was already planning to give it a shot. While working a NU Adamson volleyball game, she remembered that she no longer held on to her notebook. “I finally let go and reported spontaneou­sly off the top of my head.” She felt like she was moving forward — and then COVID happened.

Noticing a pattern of roadblocks in her story, I had to ask Rain what that felt like. She mentioned that she always repeated this Pinterest quote: “Visualize your highest self and show up as her.” “Tomorrow I will pick myself up, dress up as if I’m already a courtside reporter, a radio jock. I wasn’t my highest self yet, so I kept going.”

It’s funny how that path led her to TikTok fame. Her first video that really went viral was her POV skit as the classmate na nilaglag ka sa groupwork. Missing face-to-face learning, Rain thought it’d be fun to call back to her own college experience­s. People would download her video off TikTok, post it on Twitter and college groups. “Rain, you’re everywhere!” her friends messaged. She began making more college scenarios and some people started dubbing her “Conyo Girl.” To Rain, it was funny, catchy; so she rolled with it.

At this point, I felt like it was time for the question I was dying to ask: Are you Conyo Girl?

Rain shook her head but also said that it’s drawn from a part of her personalit­y. “It has to be a part of you for you to effectivel­y portray it. It stems from my experience­s and interactio­ns with other people, like my best friend who’s the conyo girl in my life. I’m not exactly the suplada ate, but I have the potential.”

What she loves about being a content creator on social media is the ability to keep her authentici­ty. “There are fewer people controllin­g your moves, especially those not managed by anyone. A lot of my content is organic and really my own personalit­y.” Finding this agency in social media, she doesn’t want to be a figure that others force to stay silent. Even when she inserts more serious and political messages in her content, Rain values the freedom to speak her mind on things.

When I asked Rain what she wanted to be famous for, she smiled and said she liked making people happy: “I like exploring my creativity and being that relatable online girl to people. I also dream of becoming a TV host, or maybe having a show. There was no experience or career opportunit­y that became useless to building up who I am, so I guess I’ll keep going until I get there.”

The way this Conyo Girl’s goals keep aiming higher and higher, there seems to be no limit to where she’ll end up next.

 ??  ?? A former radio jock and courtside reporter, Rain Matienzo unexpected­ly garnered more notice as her conyo girl TikTok personalit­y. Photo by NADINE LIM
A former radio jock and courtside reporter, Rain Matienzo unexpected­ly garnered more notice as her conyo girl TikTok personalit­y. Photo by NADINE LIM
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 ?? Photo by IAN CAPOQUIAN from The Adamson Chronicle ??
Photo by IAN CAPOQUIAN from The Adamson Chronicle

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