The influencer opened up about many things, including her latest controversy.
On The Interviewer—a series of YouTube videos by Boy Abunda—influencer Zeinab Harake looked back on all she’s been through. She opened up to the King of Talk about the issues she’s faced since finding fame online.
So far, her journey can be described as traumatic. Her ex cheated on her, she lost what would’ve been their second baby, and she had a very public falling out with talent manager Wilbert Tolentino. When Tito Boy asked Zeinab how she was, she struggled to find the words to answer him.
“Hindi ko po masabi kung kamusta talaga ako. Kasi pag sinabi kong oo, parang nagsisinungaling naman ako sa sarili ko. Kaya ko pong maging OK at kaya ko rin pong damdamin nalang lahat nung mga dinadala ko talaga,” she said.
Tito Boy then brought up something from the first vlog she posted in 2019: “Five years from now, ano si Zeinab Harake?” Although only three years have passed since she uploaded that video, it made sense for Tito Boy to bring it up during their interview. It prompted Zeinab to reflect on everything that happened to her recently.
“Nawawala talaga ako. Hindi ko pa rin alam kung nasaan ako ngayon,” she answered.
Zeinab Harake on forgiveness
A relationship is a commitment. If you’re not in an open or polyamorous relationship, you commit to one person and one person only. So if you cheat, it’s unjustifiable. Cheating destroys someone, plus their ability to trust. If you’re married with children, cheating can also hurt your kids.
When he sat down with Zeinab, Tito Boy reminded her of something she said a while back. She once said that she’d still love someone even if they caused her pain. Tito Boy asked if she still feels that way now. Unsurprisingly, Zeinab said her opinion on that particular topic has changed. “Nung sinagot ko yun, ang bata ko pa,” she replied. “Hindi pa ako nakakasubok ng malalang relasyon. Ngayon, hindi na po [ganun ang pananaw ko].”
But when asked if she’s willing to forgive her ex Skusta Clee, she became evasive. “Sabi ko nga po sa mga interview ko before, kung papatawarin ko po siya, sakin nalang po yun.”
One of the things that drew people’s attention was how she discovered her ex was cheating on her. She said she confirmed all her suspicions after reading private messages on his laptop. But Zeinab said that wasn’t her breaking point. “Hindi po. Nagtiis pa ko nun. Pero may one day na parang ayoko na. Hindi ko na talaga kayang magtiis.”
The price of fame
When Zeinab faced Tito Boy, he asked her if she thinks all the pain she’s suffered is the price she has to pay for fame. She responded in the affirmative.
“Tingin ko din po. Hindi ko rin naman po gustong magkaron pa ng issue. Akala ko noon last issue ko na yun eh. Pero hindi eh, marami pa din. Hindi lang din natatapos dito. Tingin ko marami pang dadating na hindi ko mapipigilan,” she said.
Zeinab calls these experiences a culture shock, but recognizes that they’re part and parcel of life as a public figure. “Ganun po talaga pag kilala ka eh. Totoo po yung mga sinasabi ko sa mga interview ko na hindi ko naiisip na sikat ako. Hindi ko po yun sinasautak. Pero nakikita ko na ganun yung epekto, hahanapin nila yung pinakamaliit may makuha lang silang bagong impormasyon, hanggang sa lumabas at lumaki po yun sa media,” she added.
The vlogger also addressed her detractors, saying, “Hindi niyo talaga alam yung kabuuan ng kwento. Hindi sa pagmamalinis, pero wala na akong time. Hindi ko na rin kayang mag-explain ng mag-explain ng sarili ko. Parang napagod na rin ako. Kaya yung mga ibang bagay na hindi ko inilalantad sa social media, kinikimkim ko po yun ng mag-isa.”
She has come to believe that she doesn’t have to post about everything on social media. Sometimes, she chooses to not share certain things with the public. “Hindi ko naman talaga kailangan ang social media para ilantad lahat ng nangyayari sa buhay ko. Kasi sa totoo lang po, yung nangyari sa amin ng ex ko, OK na po ako diyan eh. Done na ako talaga diyan.”
Wilbert Tolentino’s exposé
Tito Boy got Zeinab to comment on the screenshots Wilbert used in his vlog, in which Zeinab called Jelai Andres “pinakasabaw.” Wilbert branded Zeinab a traitor, a statement seconded by thousands of netizens. But after the exposé made headlines, Zeinab filmed and uploaded a video with Donnalyn Bartolome and Jelai. The video proved the influencers were on good terms despite what happened.
Zeinab says Jelai understands why she said that. “Kasi totoo naman yung [pagiging] sabaw naya. Kaya lang naman naging masama kasi nag ‘shhh ka lang’ ako. Hindi ko rin po maisip kung bakit ko yun sinabi, eh nilalantad naman po namin sa vlogs namin yung sabaw sabaw na yan.”
Zeinab Harake on regrets
Eventually, talk turned to Zeinab’s YouTube anniversary. Tito Boy said he remembered Zeinab saying she amassed millions of followers because she’s an open book. She’s not scared to be her authentic self online. But Zeinab now says she regrets being so forthcoming with her personal life.
“Kasi pinagpiyestahan talaga yung kwento ng buhay ko,” she explains. “And nakaka-trauma talaga siya. Wala ka nang ibang choice.”
She acknowledged that she was also at fault in her latest controversy. “Masama na yung binibitawan kong salita. Yung mga nakalabas po na screenshots, pagkakita ko, ‘Oh my God,’ napaganun na lang ako. Hindi ko dine-deny kasi ako yun eh. Inako ko tapos nag-sorry ako agad, kasi pagkakita ko palang, alam kong mali, alam kong nakasakit ako.”
She contacted everyone she talked ill about, and thankfully they’re now on good terms. “Hindi ko na mapipilit kung ano yung magiging tingin nila sakin, pero totoo po yung paghingi ko ng tawad.”
Zeinab admitted to Tito Boy that at a certain point, she became mayabang. “Opo, meron. Hindi tayo magpapaka-plastic. Pero hindi ko naman po intensyon na makasakit ng iba. Nami-misunderstood lang. Kasi yung bunganga ko taklesa talaga eh. Natural lang yun sa bunganga ko, pero minsan namamasama. Ang dating sa iba mayabang, pero para sa akin, random thoughts ko lang naman sa utak ko.”
But despite her tendency to be tactless, she said she always returns to her core—to who she truly is. She also said this controversy helped her see who’s really there for her. She also believes that it happened for a reason. But despite the incident, she says she’ll continue to be herself.
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“Hindi po magbabago yung pagiging totoo ko at kung paano ako magmahal bilang tao, nanay, kapatid, kaibigan,” she said.
Featured Image Paulo Correa