#THEIREMPIREINTHEAIR @colleen_mercado & @childishmaulino

What drives you? brings you at peace? makes you ready to get-up-and-go in the morning?

Is it dance? Tricking? Music?

Because we hope to encourage others to build their own Empires, each collection represents that message for you (our supporters) to proudly wear. Whether it be dance, tricking, music or any other vocation, we are a lifestyle to support all your passions.

We feature others’ Empires right here on the blog and we want you to be part of the journey.


From hanging out as “teeny-boppers” at the mall, to attending (almost) every high school dance together, to now, going to the same college in a city where many leave their hearts, Colleen Mercado and Jordan Maulino have been building their relationship’s Empire for quite a while now. They met through mutual friends when Colleen was approaching 8th grade and Jordan was preparing to enter high school. What started as a great friendship blossomed into their now relationship. As they approach their five year anniversary in December, they had a lot of history to cover as they sat down with Empire to tell us their story.

C: Okay, Jordan likes to talk so..
J: Can you talk too? I don’t wanna be the only one. Okay so, the abridged version, is that we met in middle school, through mutual friends, and I could tell we liked each other for a while, but it was weird cause I was going to high school and she was still going to be an eighth grader, so I was like nah..
C: Ugh, that makes me sound like a fetus.
J: And then I had a few flings my freshman year and then she was always there for me because those girls broke my heart.
C: But we were just friends.
J: But we liked each other.
C: Secretly, but it was lowkey.
J: It was obvious to everyone else, except for us.
C: Yeah.
J: And then, my sophomore year, after I was kind of done [with girls]— cause I had those two flings and they were really weird for me, Colleen’s friend was like, “Hey, do you like colleen?” and I was like “Uhh..yeah, but i’m not trying to do anything.. like that.”
C:  We were really good friends at the time.When we first started going out, I was like.. 15?
J: WERE YOU 15?!
C: I think I was four—
J: No, you were fourteen!
C: —teen, I was fourteen.
J: OHMYGOD!! *takes a lap around the quad*
C: *laughs*
J: *comes back* That’s so long ago!


C: Yeah, so, I was 14 and Jordan was 15 so we didn’t drive yet. Our parents had to drive us and so I only saw him once every two weeks.
J: So, the night I asked her out, it was really awkward because we both knew that it was gonna happen!
C: Oh yeah, that was so freaking awkward.
J: And everyone around us knew it was gonna happen, so they made an effort to leave us alone. Qe went to the mall cause like, we were stupid high schoolers.
C: We were teeny-boppers!
J: We went to this boba shop beforehand because D-Trix was there from Quest Crew and he was hosting a cypher … and it was really cool actually … but yeah, we all just went because all her friends decided to go to the mall. And they left us alone, and it was just like, awkward. And I remember I tried to hold her hand in the car, but—
C: I was holding my phone..
J: —and so it was really awkward!! It was just the most awkward night of my life. And so I asked her out at the mall in front of Aerie—
C: But that’s so us! We’re just so awkward. We’re like.. an awkward couple..


J: We kind of, grew together, I would say. I don’t know, I feel like I grew up with [Colleen].
C: Yeah. Me too.
C: Jordan’s one of my oldest friends, and there’s only a handful of old friends that I still talk to.
J: Yeah. Aw, man. So long ago. And so, it’s kind of weird. We went out for a few years in high school, I went to college, we had a falling out my second semester, and so we broke up, and I was super sad. There were just some complications that happened over the summer—we were supposed to get back together but it didn’t happen because we both kind of did some stuff that was not cool each other .. so .. then she came here, and then I was like, “I’m gonna get her back!”
C: *laughs* Yup!
J: It was weird because as much as she liked me, she didn’t want to go down that road again, my side was just kind of like, “Please.” I don’t know. We would talk about this and we’d be in my room and I’d walk her back to Fromm [Residence Hall] and I wouldn’t tell her to go upstairs yet because I’d be like, “No we need to talk about this.” So we’d sit right there *points at the steps outside of the library* and it was hella cold, at 1am, the Church was still lit, and it was hella sad. And she’d go to her room and I’d just sit there………SO THEN we go back together and now we’re going super strong, right?!!
C: Yes.
*High fives*


If we gave this another shot, then he knows it’ll work out

J: Tell her about what I did for your birthday.
C: Jordan wrote me a song on my birthday.
J: I wrote her a song, and it was tailored for me asking to get her back. It was called, “Try Again” or something like that.
C: Yeah.. except now, Jordan doesn’t remember it!
J: It’s on my old phone.
C: It was really sad. When I came to college, I wanted to be single, but, I don’t know.. Jordan and I hungout, and we went to church together, and
J: I took her out to dinner, we studied together, we’d hangout in my room and listen to music and not do anything and it was like .. I don’t know.. like, ahh. Just like old times.
C: Yeah, it was nice. And it felt .. it felt good, so. Yeah. And then so on my birthday, he took me out to dinner, and then he brought me back to his room and then he made this little thing on a note card and it was a ticket stub. So it was like, one ticket, or like.. what’d it say?!
J: Admit One *laughs*
C: What was it? It had the location—
J: —and the time, and the date.
C: And it was like a private showing or a private performance. It’s hung up on my pin board.
J: And it took me so long to sing it to her — I can’t sing in front of Colleen, like if it’s just me and Colleen, I can’t do it.
C: Not seriously.
J: Yeah.
C: And then he started singing the song and then I started crying.
J: And then I started crying.
C: Cause it was basically like, if we gave this another shot, then he knows it’ll work out.
J: The feels. I’m keeping my sunglasses on.
C: Jordan, please. *laughs*
J: No, honestly though. So.. that’s our story. And that brings us back to here now.
C: And the reason I broke up with Jordan his freshman year — cause Jordan wasn’t good with compromising.
J: Well, neither were you!! You like wanted me to — like — ugh okay.. let’s not open up this can of worms. Man, it’s just like. There was all this misunderstanding that went on when I was a freshman, and I personally felt like that she wasn’t letting me do my thing.. but I don’t know. Let’s just not open up that can of worms.


J: It definitely got a lot better when she came here and understood what it’s like to be here. And so it’s just that mutual understanding of like….I don’t know it’s hard to explain. Cause it was a really complicated time. We’ve been together for so long, yknow? So, we really know each other, we really understand each other on a personal level, and whatever difficulties we’ve had, those were a long time ago, and now, we’re just chillin. It’s just like this .. long.. relationship.We understand our intentions and each other’s goals. I guess that’s how we overcome any difficulties. And if we ever really fight — which is really really rare—the only time we fight, is like, we’ll just do something that annoys each other.
C: Yeah, and I’ll just tell him that he’s annoying.
J: And it’ll be fine twenty minutes later.
C: No, it usually works out because I’m the stubborn one and Jordan’s like .. not submissive, but he’s more willing to —
J: I’m a people pleaser.
C: OOOokay.
J: I am!
C: OooOkay.
J: And you’re just like, “FINE. Fine! We’ll do what you want to do.”
C: UH, no, okay, literally, the first three years of our relationship, I literally ate out at every single place that Jordan wanted to eat out at just because I loved him.
J: Wait, that’s so cute. I didn’t know that.


We should feel complete on our own, and compliment each other.

C: Is there something that really just keeps us going? It just works for the two of us. I think it’s been able to work because not only have we been friends for a really long time, but we connect on a lot of different levels.
J: Yeah, and we don’t necessarily have the same interests or anything, but I don’t know. We kind of click.
C: We don’t just connect physically, but emotionally and spiritually too, and I think that’s really important to us.
J: People are always like, “Do you guys think you are gonna married?” And I’m always like, “Man, I don’t know man.” Sure, I remember in high school, I’d be like, “Yeah I’m going to marry her!” but I don’t know, you can’t say that, yknow?
C: Yeah.
J: I would love to.
C: Yeah, I can definitely see myself marrying Jordan or someone like Jordan.
J: Hey. You’re not gonna find anyone like me.
C: Okay..
J: Yeah, I would love to, but it’s too early to say anything like that still, because it’s been so long. We’re still super young, figuring our own things out.
C: Okay, the way I kind of see it is that, we’re both individual people who go in the same direction. Do you know what I mean? We’re not one. We’re two separate people who both do our own thing but we both go in the same direction.
J: I think that’s how relationships should be. We shouldn’t necessarily complete each other. We should feel complete on our own, and compliment each other. And that took a really long time to get there.

Colleen is a sophomore biology major and Jordan is a junior data science major. While both attend the University of San Francisco, Colleen is an active member of the University’s Filipino American Club, Kasamahan, and the biology club, Tri Beta. Jordan is the Vice President of the social justice fraternity, Chi Upsilon Zeta.

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