Queenee Mercado skyrocketed to Internet stardom with her variety of content on the video-sharing app TikTok.
However, it was videos of her speaking in a Batangueña accent that made a mark among followers.
Leaving viewers entertained, Queenee would pursue this unique content creation, especially since it is an opportunity to showcase her talents.
“My main goal back then was just to share my talent, mag explore at mag gain ng friends. Hindi ko po inisip na sumikat kasi ang alam ko lang po ay nag eenjoy lang ako sa ginagawa ko,”
With TikTok being her avenue for her talents, Queenee proves that she is one of the app’s rising stars today.
A motherly encouragement
As a child, Queenee was one of the boys, simply playing games with her male siblings.
Still, her Inay encouraged her to do modeling, she pushed herself and found her first opportunity in front of cameras.
Although, Queenee did not aspire to be on-cam as a child, citing her shyness as the main reason.
“Sobrang mahiyain talaga ako. Wala akong enough confidence na humarap sa camera kasi tingin ko rin talaga sa sarili ko noon ay hindi ako kasing ganda ng iba para humarap sa camera. Pero ngayon, hindi ako makapaniwala na kaya ko pala.”
Then, one normal day, Queenee’s ever-so encouraging Inay saw another way for her daughter to present her talents to people.
Seeing Queenee’s friend Hazel join the TikTok craze which started this pandemic, she urged her daughter to join in.
“Napansin ho ng aking Inay na nag ti-Tiktok si Ate Hazel at sinabing bat daw wala akong ganon. At dun na nga nagumpisa na nagdownlaod ako [ng app] at nagpaturo na rin kung paano iyon gamitin,”
Then, she began doing different kinds of viral content for her own fun, from acting skits to cosplays.
Loud, proud, and authentic
However, when Queenee began interacting with followers in her strong Batangueña accent, it started to catch on with them.
In fact, one of her earliest viral videos doing such received 12.1 million viewers, much to the joy of her followers.
Yet, what pushed Queenee to do such segments? The concept of authenticity and the proudness of being Batangueña.
“Natural naman po sa akin ang magsalita ng Batangueña accent, lalo kapag nasa aking safe space which is ang aming tahanan, at ang isang bagay na nagtulak din sa akin ay ‘yong konsepto ng pagpapakatotoo. ‘Yong tipong hindi ko iniisip ‘yong sasabihin ng tao basta ako, totoo ako. Hindi na rin ako natatakot i-explore at buwagin ‘yong standard ng beauty na kinamulatan ko, kasi alam ko sa sarili ko na, noon, nahihiya lang talaga ako magsalita ng Batangueña pero ngayon ako ay proud at ipinagsisigawan kong Batanguena ako.”
Further, learning of her virality, Queenee was elated and grew grateful that her talents were being recognized.
The beauty of self-expression
“Sobrang saya ko. Kasi hindi ko rin talaga inaasahan na mangyayari yun. And Thankful talaga ako kay God kasi ang dami niya surprises na binibigay sa life natin. Nagpapatuloy ako kasi alam ko hong may napapasaya, naiinspire at naniniwala sa akin,”
Of course, one norm of Queenee’s TikTok videos is her interaction with a follower and her Inay, the latter making comments about the former’s romantic pursuits towards her.
Evidently, Queenee feels her mother is proud of her for pursuing what she loves the most.
“She’s very happy and proud of me. Hindi man niya sabihin ‘yon araw-araw pero nararamdman ko sa mga ipinapakita niya. Silang dalawa ng tatay ko, [they] always remind me na ‘No matter what happens I should always put my feet on the ground.’ Dapat marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan,”
In relation, Queenee believes her videos not only shows uniqueness, but presents a rare relationship between mother and daughter.
“Siguro dahil bibihira tayong makakita ng mga babaeng maamo ang mukha pero BARAKO. Tapos napaka bihira lang din ng mga contents na nagpapakita ng relationship ng mag nanay. Kasi ito yung isang bagay na gusto kong ma highlight, yung pagiging mabuting anak sa magulang in different ways.”
Facing people’s expectations
Moreover, Queenee sees TikTok as an avenue to practice creativity because of how short the videos you can make on the app, yet opens her mind to different possibilities she can create.
“[M]alawak ang tiktok. Mawalak ang reach and mabilisan siya. Short videos lang ‘yong nagagawa ko pero na-pu-push ako nitong maging creative and maging aware sa kung ano ‘yong possibilities at limitations na pwede kong magawa,”
However, it would not be stardom if she did not face any struggles. In fact, it began after seeing her friends grow in their chosen professions.
Queenee began questioning where she is in life because of it and pondered on quitting TikTok.
“May mga kaibigan kasi ako sa industriya na malayo na ang narating. [‘Yong] iba naging artista na, [‘yong] iba naging model at endorser. May mga pagkakataon na ikinukumpara ko ang sarili ko sa kanila at naitatanong ko sa sarili kung ‘Nasaan na ako?'”
Additionally, people started expecting from her as she grew her content, seeing how they judge every move she makes.
“‘Yong parang ang hirap magkamali. Kailangan conscious pa rin ako sa mga ginagawa mo habang nagpapakatotoo. Kasi natatakot akong i-let down ang mga taong naniniwala sa akin.”
Yet, Queenee chooses to look at the best moments she ever had amidst TikTok stardom, specifically her loyal followers.
Moreover, through her entertaining content, they have considered her as family or friend.
“Masaya ako sa tuwing nagkakaroon ako ng interaction sa aking mga followers. Tipong iniimbitahan ako kapag may fiesta o kaya birthday nila at ipinakikilala na rin nila ako sa kanilang pamilya. Ang sarap sa feeling na maituring kang bahagi ng isang pamilya,”
A much-wanted collaboration
Being on social media allows Queenee to meet a lot of her fellow creators.
Yet, one viral star comes to mind when asked who she wants to collaborate with next for a future video.
“I really want to collaborate with Ms. Donnalyn Bartolome. I really admire her beauty and her personality as a content creator. She’s someone na gusto kong maging in the future kasi napaka strong independent woman ng dating niya and napaka matulungin,”
Her next plans
Furthermore, she adds a simple piece of advice for aspiring TikTok content creators, which is to be happy and show authenticity.
“The best advice that I can give for those people who want to pursue making viral on Tiktok is to just be YOURSELF. Be happy while doing contents at huwag susuko kasi kong para sa atin ang isang bagay darating at darating ito basta marunong tayong maghintay. And of course always consider your audience maging magandang example sa iba,”
Lastly, when asked what is next for the viral TikTok star, she goes big and reveals that she has been doing local TV guestings under Cornerstone Studio Entertainment.
Additionally, she is launching a beauty brand with friend Verniz Buenaflor, which will commence on September 9.
Finally, with all these opportunities coming in, Queenee will not forget what started it all.
“Pero siyempre kasabay nito ay magpapatuloy ako kung saan ako nag simula: sa TikTok,”
Indeed, we cannot wait for what is to come. Continue showing your true self, Queenee!
Publisher | Richie de Quina & Gwynn Crisostomo
Editor-in-Chief | John Luke Chica
Junior Editor | Kobe Adam Joshua Laurena
PR & Advertising Manager | Josh Austria
Digital Manager | Allen Esteban
Words by Kobe Adam Joshua Laurena
Kobe Adam Joshua Laurena is a writer who loves to tell stories from the perspectives of different people and everyday life. Apart from the pen, he loves to pick up the lipstick to transform into his frustrated drag persona: Anita Good Lovin’. He aspires to combine his love for writing and drag by creating a novel, short story, or screenplay about local drag queens in the future. He also has an obsession with sitcoms, women’s pro-wrestling, and Funko Pops.