Ivana Alawi took to Instagram to greet her mother Fatima Marbella a happy birthday on November 8, 2021.
The popular vlogger and actress shared a mix of old and new photos of her and her mother in a post captioned with a short and sweet message.
She told the birthday girl, who's also mom to her three sibligs and Mama Alawi to her social media followers: "You are that one person who never stopped believing in me and on my dreams."
She added, "Thank you for raising us to be strong, kind hearted and giving as your are," and ended her greeting with a heartfelt declaration. "You are the best mom," she said. "Happy birthday mama. I love you."
In one of her earliest vlog episodes, Ivana narrated how she got into the entertainment industry with her mother as her foremost driving force and biggest cheerleader.
Ivana recalled growing up seeing her Mama Fatima watching a lot of Filipino TV shows. They were then based in Bahrain with her father Samier Al-Alawi, a Moroccan national (now deceased), and her siblings. That's how she began dreaming about becoming an actress, specifically on ABS-CBN.
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When Fatima and Samier separated, Fatima returned to her home country with their children, except for Ivana, who would followed suit later on. In the Philippines, Ivana and her youngest sister Mona both tried their luck in showbiz. But it was only Mona who would always get acting jobs.
"Rejected," said Ivana on how she often ended up after going through many auditions. "Mama ko, pinu-push ako sa ibang tao...Dala-dala niya ang litrato ko sa cellphone, may 4x4 printout. Sobra siyang proud sa akin, pero di ko makita.
"‘Sabi ko, ‘Ma, tigilan mo na, nakakahiya, eh. Sobrang trying hard natin ibenta ang mukha ko.’"
While Ivana was ready to quit trying to get into showbiz and just pursue another career path, her Mama Fatima never stopped. "Mas malala ang ginawa niya. Hindi niya lang pinapakita ang litrato ko sa mga nakakatrabaho niya. Nagme-message na siya sa Facebook, sa mga manager. Hindi ko alam."
She added, "Sabi ko, ‘Bakit mo ginawa ’yun, Mother?’ Sabi niya, ‘Proud ako sa ‘yo. Alam kong may potential ka, hindi mo lang nakikita.'"
Finally, one prominent talent manager, Perry Lansingan, who oversees the showbiz careers of Dingdong Dantes and other stars, took notice of the Filipino-Moroccan girl. He then got Ivana a contract with ABS-CBN.
Ivana said in reflection, "After 10 years of trying, nakita ko na ang sarili ko sa TV, umaarte. Ang saya-saya lang. Lahat dahil kay Mama. Siya ’yung hindi nag-give up sa akin. Thanks, Ma!"