Amazing individually, unstoppable together. That’s exactly how besties KATARINA RODRIGUEZ and MAU SCHRIJVERS should be described. Two career-driven individuals whose friendship with each other has only made them better.
When you first meet the pair, you can see right off the bat how in sync they are. From the way they talk to how seamlessly they finish each other's sentences without missing a beat. But if you know anything about these two, you'd know that they're very accomplished in their own rights. Katarina has competed as Miss World Philippines in 2018, she's a model, and an athlete, while Mau is a world-class athlete and a business owner with her swimsuit line, Sestra Swimwear.
By now, you can already tell they have a competitive nature. But inevitable hurdles will be encountered in life and that's where Katarina and Mau have found comfort in each other. They're each other's rocks in anything they do. Katarina shares, " It's just knowing that no matter what happens, she has my back and I have her back. There are times where I'm kind of spiraling out of control and she'd be my reality check."
In addition, Katarina confesses that Mau is her soulmate saying, "I think it’s important for you to have somebody, and people often think it’s your significant other who should be your go-to person. But that's not always the case. Your soulmate could be your best friend." And because of this close bond, she even says that guys who want to date her had to have Mau's stamp of approval first so would always try their best to impress her. She shares, “The guys I date are scared of her. It’s so funny! When I introduce them to her, they always try to put their best foot forward and I see that they really try to impress her."
Besides looking out for each other, they've also taught one another practical things in life. Mau says that Kat has been her go-to inspo for everything. She admits, “She’s really my peg in everything: fashion, beauty and all the other things. So whatever Katya likes, I’m gonna copy.”
On Kat: Hairclip by @L'essential
We were both so intimidated by each other before because Kat came in practice on the first day with long, lash extensions and freakin’ lip gloss! - Mau
It's amazing to see how these two empower each other and how their friendship brings out the best versions of themselves. They're taking on life's challenges and achievements hand-in-hand and we just can't wait to see what they'll do next. Below, the power duo share the funny story of how they first met, the beauty secrets they learned from each other, and the things they love most about their friendship.
How long have you guys been friends?
Kat: Feels like forever but I think 2011.
Mau: Yeah, 8 years.
How did you guys meet?
Mau: We met because of track and field. We have a favorite story to tell. We were both so intimidated by each other before because she came in practice on the first day with long, lash extensions and freakin’ lip gloss! She walked into training like that at 6 AM and I was like, can we relax with the lip gloss and the lashes? That’s what I was thinking. Everyone was so intimidated by her because she looked so foreign and she always looked so made up and if you know track and field players, most of them are from the province so they get intimidated by other people really fast. So no one was teaching her anything. And I just thought, “She’s doing the wrong things.”
Kat: And then when I think about Mau, she ran with the boys. She always raced with them. When we were doing warm-ups, she was the only one who came up to me and she kept wanting to be my partner and I’m like, “This girl’s like extremely funny!"
Can you remember your first bonding moment?
Kat: I think we first bonded in Unigames because we were roommates. It was so funny because we were roomed with a couple of other girls in the room too so we had to speed up our getting ready and we both had to shower quickly. And Mau was like “Do you wanna shower together?” and I just went, “Oh my gosh finally!” I know it sounds weird but finally a friend who doesn’t care.
Mau: Most people would say “Oh no, you can go ahead.” But we were in a hurry and that’s where we really bonded: in the shower. As weird as it sounds we talked a lot and it actually took longer to shower because we kept talking. (Laughs)
Kat: We would just tell stories. That was our first heart to heart. She would say, “Yeah, he broke my heart, can you pass the shampoo?” and then I would be like “Mau, can you pass the soap? I think this is what you should do”. I came from the States and my friends there are very liberal. Here, I kept meeting and bonding with people who were still conservative. It was nice to meet someone who didn’t care and was liberal in her own way as well. So that was the beginning of it. From there, we were always hanging out.
We would just tell stories [in the bathroom]. That was our first heart to heart. She would say, “Yeah, he broke my heart, can you pass the shampoo?” And then I would be like, “Mau, can you pass the soap? I think this is what you should do.” - Kat
Name 5 things that describe each other.
Kat: Mau’s very resilient and she’s the type of person where she wants to make her own mistakes and she doesn’t care what people think or what they’re gonna say about her. She’s gonna prove them wrong time and time again. Second one’s definitely strong. She’s the strongest person I know. Being a professional athlete’s hard. You have to sacrifice so much and she chooses to do it. She chooses to not go out, to not go on beach trips because she wants to represent our country in track and field well. The third one would be, caring. If she loves you, she’ll really care for you. She’s gonna cry. (Laughs) If I’m stuck at Antipolo at 3 AM, I’ll call her and she’ll most likely tell me, “Just wait there, I’ll go get you.” She doesn’t care where she is. She could be in the province and she’d still say “Okay, I’ll just fly back.” Fourth is resourceful. We’ve traveled a lot and there are times, you know, when you travel with other people usually one person always takes the reigns and I’m usually that person. But in our case, we really balance each other; we take turns. And I think the last, would have to be intelligent. Mau’s a fast learner. If she really wants to do something, she’ll sit there quietly and watch whatever it is, whether it would be a sport or a language, a song, she picks it up fast. And then I’m always like “How do you know Spanish all of a sudden?”
Mau: You know, we have a lot of similarities and that’s what makes us best friends. First, she’s very strong-willed. If she wants something, she’s gonna get there. Second is patient. I’ve learned how to be patient with her because I’m usually the impatient one. The third, we have the same one. I would have to say she's caring. If she thinks I'm gonna answer her call at 3am and pick her up, she would do the same. We don’t actually put our phones on silent just in case of an emergency. Fourth, she’s very philosophical. I think everybody knows that. She can expound on even the bad things,' cause she studied philosophy but she really applies it in life. The fifth one would be hardworking. I don’t think I know anyone other than my mom who works as hard as her. If she can book five jobs in one day, she’ll do it. She’s not gonna say no to someone because she loves doing it and she doesn’t like upsetting anyone. She would always put someone first before herself.
How does your friendship play into your romantic relationships?
Mau: I had a boyfriend before who made me choose my time with Kat or my time with him and I was just like “You better never do that again ‘cause if you do, I’m never gonna talk to you or see you again. You just can’t compete with my best friend.” and there are some people who don’t understand that because they don’t know the boundaries. We put each other first; guys go second.
Kat: Yeah, it should be that way. She knows how to choose. Her boyfriend now, he didn’t have to try, it was so effortless. He knew to always include me. It’s like my friendship with her taught me how I should be loved romantically or in any way properly and I should also love others in return.
Mau: Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we’ve had moments when we hated each other. But the good part of being best friends is that we always choose to fix things.
On Kat: White jacket by Yves Camigue; On Mau: Silver jacket by Yves Camigue
I had a boyfriend before who made me choose my time with Kat or my time with him. You just can’t compete with my best friend. We put each other first; guys go second. - Mau
What was your worst fight?
Kat: This was about 2015 we were about to go to Europe and she was living her best life back then.
Mau: I just came out of a 3 year relationship and I was really feeling things.
Kat: So near her birthday, I was getting messages from random guys saying they were dating Mau and asking me what gift they should give her. Apparently, she was so excited to meet people and I would get defensive with the guys who say she’s dating her. I think every girl goes through that time in their lives and I forgot she’s younger than me because of her maturity level. I remember we were in her grandmother's house and one night we were sleeping and I brought it up. I’ve never had a little sister so I didn’t know how to tell her to slow down. It was amazing because that’s how I know how resilient she is because when we had the conversation, she just went, “Okay, I got it.”
Mau: Yeah, when one is wrong we both talk it out. None of us are too proud to admit it.
What’s one thing people don’t know about you guys?
Kat: A lot of people think Mau doesn’t eat because of track. But she really eats whatever she wants. She works out to eat and I’ve never met another female who can eat as much as I eat or more.
Mau: We don’t diet. It’s more like: if we eat a lot, then we’ll work out a lot. Most people also think we’re both super maarte and high maintenance. But we’re really not. I grew up in Binondo; she grew up in the States where we both had to basically work to live. Our parents really taught us how to be independent.
On Kat: Jacket by Patty Ang, Slip dress by ZARA; On Mau: Blue trench coat by Uniqlo, Slip dress by ZARA
When one is wrong we both talk it out. None of us are too proud to admit it. - Mau
What’s the thing you love most about your friendship?
Kat: Yeah, I think it’s the honesty. There’s no judgement, we’re very comfortable with each other. It’s hard to find that especially here in the city. It’s hard to find somebody who won’t get tired of seeing you and will tell you, “Hey, you shouldn’t have done this or said that.” But then, at the same time, it’s also us looking out for each other.
Mau: Usually before we make any big decisions, we ask each other’s opinions. It really matters.
What’s the best beauty advice you’ve gotten from each other?
Mau: I think moisturizing. I used to not like it because I felt like it was only making me oily and Kat was the one who told me to keep moisturizing.
Kat: Mau was the one who showed me what lip and cheek tint is ‘cause I didn’t really know what it was. So that’s like one secret she introduced to me a long time ago.
What skincare tips can you share with us?
Kat: Well, since we both love being at the beach, I think it’s very important to definitely use the right moisturizer, to take care of your skin, and always remove any makeup.
On Kat: White jacket by Yves Camigue; On Mau: Silver jacket by Yves Camigue
We don’t diet. It’s more like: if we eat a lot, then we’ll work out a lot. - Mau
Mau: I only recently learned to love sunblock. I used to never wear sunblock even though I surf. But my dermatologist now, I really love her, she’s been saving my life, just sunblock and moisturizer because I easily get dry skin.
What’s your favorite activity to do together?
Mau: Run, gym, box, eat. Either workout or a feast.
Speaking of workout, what’s your favorite go-to workout doing with her?
Kat: Usually boxing.
Mau: When we travel we run. She’ll run about a kilometer to three with me and then I’ll keep going. But then when we're in Manila, it’s definitely kickboxing and boxing.
Who’s most likely to skip the gym?
Kat: Oh my gosh, that’s so hard! But we’ve never skipped a workout.
Mau: We’re both extremes, so it’ll be hard to answer just because we’re both so lazy or we’re both so motivated. It’s just part of the routine.
On Mau: Slip dress by ZARA, Silver jacket by Yves Camigue, On Kat: Slip dress by ZARA
I think it’s the honesty. There’s no judgement, we’re very comfortable with each other. It’s hard to find somebody who won’t get tired of seeing you and will tell you, “Hey, you shouldn’t have done this or said that.” But then, at the same time, it’s also us looking out for each other. - Kat
You guys are really active on social media. Who are you guys following on Instagram?
Mau: Before it was more of Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner just because a lot of people have told us we really had the same aura as them. But now it's different.
Kat: Now we send each other memes and family goals. So if she finds a mom who has really cute kids, living at the beach, she’ll send it to me and then, same thing for me.
What’s on your bucket list this year?
Mau: A long travel. We haven’t done that in a long time. Maybe Hawaii or Bahamas.
Kat: The first place would definitely have to be Siargao. She hasn’t gone with me and we haven’t gone surfing in like two years together and I think that’s a priority because we used to take a lot of beach trips together in Baler, La Union, Zambales and it’s been so hard because of all the things happening.
On Kat: Hairclip by @L'essentiel
What do you think is the secret to a long-lasting friendship?
Kat: Tough love and honesty.
Mau: Our type of relationship is like let’s say I messed up, I’m gonna tell her I messed up. Or if everyone’s against me, she's the type of person who would ask me what is true and what is not true. And even if I’m wrong, she’s gonna get mad at me, but in front of other people, she’ll defend me. We’re like that to each other.
What's your advice for young girls?
Kat: I think in terms of beauty, try not to go with the flow of what’s in—try to be your authentic self. I think nowadays people get so affected by having the pressure of trying to be other people. You don’t need the approval of everybody so if you think that purple lipstick will make you feel good, then wear a purple lipstick. Nowadays, it’s so difficult to find the authenticity in social media 'cause people want the acceptance of everybody and sometimes they get reprimanded for trying something different or for being different, it's a little sad. But you know you and your best friend can stick up for each other.
Mau: I agree with everything that she said, especially with the whole social media. For me I kinda woke up when my mom once told me that we have a family friend who has a daughter maybe 10 or 11 years old that follows me on Instagram. She told me, “Would you want these kids to be looking at these types of photos?” That really made me more aware of how much I influence other people. I want people to be themselves because whatever other girls and guys put on social media it's not necessarily their real lives. Just be yourself, have your own dreams and everything else will follow.
Photographed by Gio Marasigan
Styled by Style Studio BC
Makeup by Jason de los Reyes
Hair by Mark Anthony Rosales