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Franki Russell And Diana Mackey Put The Real In Reality TV

Franki and Diana are this month's Eye Candy.
IMAGE Tonio del Rosario

Franki Russell, 25, and Diana Mackey, 22, may seem like your typical reality TV stars who exited Pinoy Big Brother’s house and immediately entered stardom. The PBB alums snagged roles and appeared alongside seasoned actors in Ang Probinsyano, one of the country’s longest-running television shows. They’ve amassed a solid fan base together, collectively called FrankiAnas, and there isn’t a day that they’re not trending on Twitter. All these, they’ve done and went through in less than a year.

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At first glance, you’d think that their combined star material is what makes their tandem a force to watch for in the industry. They both have strong stunning features, sure. But digging deeper, you'll realize that there’s more to it than just God-given genes.

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Franki truly embodies her PBB moniker Wandering Stunner ng New Zealand. Her yearning for adventure brought her to Kuya’s house, and the risk she’s taken in life is starting to pay off. “For me, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. That was part of the journey,” Franki shares. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen but I’m just gonna go with it and take every moment as it comes and just have fun. My whole inspiration was just to have fun and learn a lot.”

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She may look like she isn’t a day older than Diana with her friendly face and easy-going disposition, but her maturity shines through the longer you spend time with her. During our interview, she’d answer our questions first, each time with a smile and wisdom beyond her years, and Diana would follow suit.

Diana, on the other hand, is slightly more reserved. “Dati, before PBB, hindi ko talaga kaya kumanta in front of people, as in kahit ano,” she admits. “I used to be super shy, pero after PBB, sobrang na-boost yung confidence ko.” Her calm and collected aura may often be mistaken as shyness, but it’s actually very telling of her impressive pageant experience. She knows how to handle herself under pressure and exudes that quiet confidence of a true beauty queen.

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But despite her cool and composed character, you can tell she’s got so much energy for the things she’s passionate about. Her eyes would light up with conviction whenever she talks about her fans or even about the crime thrillers she loves to watch on Netflix when she’s off-duty from being a celebrity.

What’s strikingly common between the two, however, is their unbothered and unfiltered take on life, which is one of the things so many people admire them for. Perhaps we can attribute it to their PBB days where being surrounded by hidden cameras 24/7 meant you don’t have the option to filter out what the world sees and hears from you. But it’s also apparent that being true to who they are is a shared desire for Franki and Diana even before they met, and it’s something not even showbiz can take away from them. “I think there are a lot of people that try to fit into a mold or try and be something that they’re not, and think that’s super obvious,” Franki shares. “So the moment that you’re yourself, you’re comfortable around everyone, and people love that.”

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Individually, they’d do just fine in the industry. They've each got the potential and the willingness to work hard to shine in solo projects. Together, though, their message is stronger. The way they want to inspire their fans is clear in how they live their lives: being unapologetically proud of who you are and not letting what anyone says stop you from pursuing what you love.

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Check out the behind-the-scenes video of their Eye Candy shoot here:

Producer: Mylene Mendoza

Sittings Editor: Ysabel Y. Yuzon

Photography: Tonio del Rosario

Art Direction: Hannah Villafuerte

Styling: Van Mercado

Hair: Briele Orano (for Franki) and Andrew Bryan Galleguez (for Diana)

Makeup: Janina Dizon (for Franki) and Andrew Bryan Galleguez (for Diana)

Team Art Director: Jico Joson

Special thanks to: Prima Stella Management

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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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A community page where you can share your feels and show your skills! Learn more here

"Today, I Won"

I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.

When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.

For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.

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After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.

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It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.

To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.

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Juliana Rebong 3 hours ago

Why our high school barkada is the best?

Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.

Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:

1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.

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2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.

3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.

4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.

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5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.

6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.

7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.

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