Here’s What It’s Like Getting To Shoot DonBelle For A Fanzine Cover

Go behind the cover.

A lot of planning went into the shoot. But it was worth it seeing all the efforts come to fruition for this special collaboration between NYLON Manila, Samsung, and DonBelle.

Related: Independently Awesome: DonBelle Is Embracing Their Main Character Era With Samsung 

In our bucket list of personalities we want to have on our cover, Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano are near the top of that list. As two of the hottest Gen Z actors, it was a goal of ours to get them on the cover of one of our fanzines. So, when the opportunity presented itself to have DonBelle be the cover stars for a special Independence Day fanzine with Samsung, we jumped at the chance. 

Through the creative direction of NYLON Manila’s Kenneth Dimaano, we went for a shoot that emboldened Donny and Belle as the main characters of their stories with the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G and Galaxy A34 5G being their go-to tool to achieve independent awesomeness. Admittedly, we had our work cut out for us preparing this massive undertaking, but we feel it was worth it in the end. Curious to know how it all came to be? Let’s give you a quick look at the process.


Before we shot Donny and Belle at the studio, first came the pre-production stage, which required the editorial team to be in constant communication with Samsung Philippines, DonBelle’s team, the production crew, the studio staff, and other parties involved in this shoot. For this cover, we went with the theme of “Main Character” and wanted to envision DonBelle as the Gen Z stars that they are.

“For this NYLON Manila cover shoot, we aimed to create a set that would truly showcase the star power of Donny and Belle. Working closely with the NYLON Manila team, we collaborated on an exciting set design that would bring their youthfulness and fun-loving personalities to life,” explains Kenneth. This manifested in two layouts, one featuring an LED screen backdrop, and another with a chain link fence setup. “We decided to incorporate a striking LED screen backdrop and a soft silver couch, providing an energetic and visually captivating environment. We added a fence prop that symbolized breaking barriers and pushing boundaries. This fence not only added visual interest but also represented the idea of DonBelle transcending limitations and embracing their individuality.”

The team, along with production designer Priscilla Zialcita and the rest of the talented creatives, brought the concept to life in what became NYLON Manila’s biggest shoot to date. All that hard work came together on a breezy Saturday at Secret Studios in Mandaluyong. With crew being there as early as 7 AM for the setting-up of the LED screen backdrop and the final video being shot just past 5 PM, it was a long day for everyone involved.

But everyone’s spirits were high, thanks in no small part to DonBelle’s energy they gave on set. Stylists John Lozano and Adrianne Concepcion worked their magic to make Donny and Belle be the personification of independent awesomeness as Dookie Ducay’s photography brought that vibe to life. As for Donny and Belle, both were equal parts fun and professional, not to mention radiating Gen Z energy with their Galaxy A54 5G and A34 5G.


Here at NYLON Manila, we don’t just ask our cover stars to pose in front of the camera and call it a day. We want to tell a story in our editorials and portray them in a different light. For DonBelle, we wanted them to embrace their main character moment, and that meant doing more than just the normal poses.

“The thing I love about NYLON Manila is when I see the artists that we put on the cover feel challenged to do something out of the ordinary. Like the poses, makeup, styling… The youthful and creative energy in the studio was felt all around,” shares Elyse Ilagan, NYLON Manila’s Brand Associate. In three layouts, Donny and Belle served with face cards that were never declining. And even if Donny and Belle were on set for hours, weaving between photo and video shoots, there was no diva behavior as they gave what needed to be needed.

Adds Elyse, “This is actually the first shoot we did in a while that I was able to help in the creative aspect. I’m very happy with how it turned out. Working with Belle and Donny was a breeze. They’re such kind and fun people to work with.”

As the one who spent the most time working with Donny and Belle as he directed the shoot, Kenneth had nothing but praise for the power love team. For Belle, he praised her versatility and professionalism, especially coming from previously working with her for our January fanzine. “While directing her in the past, I was pleasantly surprised by her professional modeling skills in addition to her acting and singing talents. Belle’s ability to adapt and excel in different creative realms is a true testament to her multifaceted abilities. She approaches every project with a commitment to bringing her best, understanding the importance of collaboration and achieving the desired looks. Her dedication and enthusiasm make me excited to work with her more on future fashion films and photoshoots.”


And when it came to Donny, working with the actor for the first time was an “absolute delight” for Kenneth. “He truly slayed in every frame, showcasing his professionalism and dedication to his craft. What impressed me the most was his clear vision and his ability to balance my direction with his own creative ideas. There was a seamless collaboration between us on set, resulting in an incredible outcome. Donny’s willingness to contribute his own insights while staying open to guidance made the shoot truly amazing. I appreciate his collaborative nature and his commitment to achieving the best look.”

If you’re itching for more looks at the cover, check out the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot, which, among other things, sees Donny and Belle share their thoughts on being awesome and their favorite feature of the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G and Galaxy A34 5G, as well as their fashion film.




Fashion film director KENNETH DIMAANO
Videographer JR RAMIREZ

Creative Direction KENNETH DIMAANO
Photography DOOKIE DUCAY
Sittings Editor RAF BAUTISTA
Brand Associate ELYSE ILAGAN
Styling ADRIANNE CONCEPCION (for Belle) and JOHN LOZANO (for Donny)
Makeup JAKE GALVEZ (for Belle)
Hair JERRY BUAN JAVIER (for Belle)
Nails by Nica
Grooming JAM PARENO (for Donny)
Shoot Coordinator MIKA TAFALLA
Shot on Location at SECRET STUDIOS