Currently playing the role of the sexy Maria Mercedes on Primetime Bida, Jessy Mendiola admitted she can relate to her character more than people think after growing up from humble beginnings and a single-parent household. “First, I grew up without a dad kasi may mga problems and my mom had to take a lot of jobs just to support us because she was my dad and my mom at the same time. Kapag tungkol sa mom ko yung pinag-uusapan talagang very sensitive ako kasi I never really talked about her so ngayon, sorry kung iyak ako ng iyak kasi matagal ko itong tinago and now I’m given the chance to tell you kung sino talaga ako. I’m really overflowing with emotions,” she said.
Jessy admitted she wants to reconnect with her dad who is in Dubai where she was born. “I saw him already once when he came here to the Philippines, but I grew up without him. Six years old ako nung huli ko siyang nakita. 14 years na kaming hindi nagkikita. But last time I talked to him through phone was last year Christmas. I think lahat naman naghahanap ng father figure. Sana growing up I had a dad but I didn't so I took the role of being the man in the family. Before I really didn’t dress like this and masarap sa feeling yung kapag may nanliligaw sa ‘yo or kapag merong pumuporma sayo, pagdating ng bahay ay tinatakot na ng tatay (laughs). So walang gumanon sa akin. Nanay ko ganun pero iba pa rin kapag may tatay, iba pa rin kapag may lalake sa pamilya. So sana ganun ako dati pero hindi. But I learned to accept it and tanggap ko na lumaki akong walang tatay,” she explained.
The pretty mestiza said she was hoping to visit her dad in Dubai for the holidays so that their family can be reunited. “Pinaplano ko this year na dalawin siya kasama yung mga kapatid ko. Last contact ko sa kanya was nung Christmas at nalulungkot din ako dahil hindi ko alam kung anong nangyayari sa kanya dun. Kung sino yung kasama niya, kung okay ba siya, kung kumakain ba siya ng maayos. I’m turning 21 this December. We rarely communicate now, but he still makes an effort to talk to us,” she said.
The 20-year-old actress said she owes a lot to her mom who did her best to raise them well. “I grew up here in the Philippines. Nag-aral yung mom ko ng Nursing kasi my relatives from my mother’s side, inisip nila baka mas mabuti na mag-nursing siya para pumunta siya ng ibang bansa para dun na siya magtrabaho para sa aming tatlong magkakapatid. Sakto nung time na yun, nag-start ako mag-modelling ulit. Kasi nag-start ako mag-model when I was three pero I stopped lang. Naranasan ko yung time na nung nag-aaral ng Nursing yung mom ko, nag-aaral din kaming tatlong magkakapatid, lahat ng tuition fee binabayaran namin ng sabay sabay so we really can’t afford to buy too much. Yung expenses namin we have to lessen so ang kinakain lang namin yung mga simpleng pagkain like cup noodles, ganun. Dumating yung time na sabi ng mom ko, ‘Gusto niyo ba mag-workshop para may magawa kayo sa summer?’ Nung nag-modelling ako nung 12 or 13, pinasok na rin ako sa workshops dito sa ABS-CBN for acting and everything just fell into place. Nakita ako ni Mr. M (Johnny Manahan),” she recalled.
Jessy said she learned the value of hard work and persistence from her mom and loved ones who have always been there for her. “Sa nanay ko na palaging nandiyan, palaging kahit nag-aaway kami, kahit hindi niya ako minsan pinapansin at saka marami rin akong ino-offeran ng aking pasasalamat. I’m not saying naman na sobrang successful na ako but slowly I'm building it up and sa mga tao sa paligid ko, sa mga taong tumutulong sa akin ngayon, Star Magic, my handlers, hindi nila ako binitawan sa simula pa lang. Ako many times I wanted to quit, gusto ko na tumigil, gusto ko na bumalik sa normal na buhay. Ngayon masasabi ko na masaya ako and I feel free,” she said.