IN a sports-loving country, an athlete's presence goes far beyond the bounds of the court.
Hundreds and thousands of fans aren't just closely following their every move. With social media, online discussion can quickly edge into an athlete's personal life.
This is a double-edged sword... one that Jia Morado and her volleyball peers are acutely are of.
On on hand, they are thankful for the influence they hold as celebrity-athletes.
"That's something my teammates and I talk about a lot. We remind ourselves to be grateful of the platform. It's a privilege to have one," the Creamline star shared.
The Ateneo graduate has over 454,000 followers on Instagram and 549,000 on Twitter. She revealed, these numbers are pretty much helpful when she advocates for a certain cause.
"I am able to speak about the things that matter to me," she added. "But as there are a lot of people watching our games, our every move, a lot of opinions can turn out to be more harsh or unnecessary."
And that's when it becomes difficult.
Recently, after one full season in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, one of her teammates, Jema Galanza, even asked for some respect and privacy.
"Let us give her the privacy she needs to attend to her personal matters," said her managers in a statement.
How Jia Morado takes care of her mental health
The 26-year-old, who rose to fame back in college days in Katipunan as an efficient setter of the Lady Eagles, has also had to deal with situations when she felt how hard it was to keep her private life separate from her public persona.
Through a two-hour webinar on mental health and strength facilitated by athletic brand Under Armour, some local athletes, including Morado, joined a round-table discussion to talk about the matter.
"How I cope with that is I try to remind myself of the people who really know who I am and what I go through, and how hard it is to get where I am," she said.
Morado continued: "People only see what we put out in the game, but there's more. We just try to remind ourselves whose opinions should matter to us as athletes."
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