Big Things Ahead: It's Belle Mariano's Time To Shine Brighter
From the next big thing, Star Magic’s girl-next-door charmer, Belle Mariano, has turned into a certified star
Prior to being one of the hottest young actresses of today’s generation, Belle Mariano started out as a commercial model and as a child actress. Her first-ever acting project was for the teleserye Lorenzo’s Time with Zaijian Jaranilla and Carmina Villarroel-Legaspi. It was then followed by several acting projects in movies and TV and she eventually became a regular cast member of the kiddie comedy show Goin’ Bulilit in 2012.
She still remembers the first time she set foot in ABS-CBN and gets sentimental about it: “I started when I was 10 in the industry and started doing Goin’ Bulilit then. I remember just the first time I set foot in this building. Naalala ko pa pumipila ako kumukuha ng access ID, and I just remembered ‘Oh my gosh! This was just once my dream and now I’m able to live it. Now I’m actually fulfilling that little girl’s dream.’ And I’m glad that I’m still here.”
In 2019, Belle was named as part of that year’s Star Magic Circle and subsequently worked as a support in the drama Kadenang Ginto. That same year, Belle was announced as the female lead of He’s Into Her opposite Donny Pangilinan. While the series experienced immense success and took her entertainment career to a whole new level, the 20-year-old actress said the start of it all was one of her most painful moments in the business.
“When He’s Into Her was just released, a lot of people really didn’t like the idea of me portraying Maxpein’s role. But then, in order for me to deal with that, of course, I’m surrounded by such amazing people. I really focused on the positive side more than the negative. I’m surrounded with my family, my Star Magic family as well. And instead of taking what they’re saying to me as negative, I took it as something that would help me grow and strive for excellence,” Belle smiles.
“It was one of the biggest challenges because I had to prove myself to a lot of people. But you know, taking that role… I can say that I’ve grown so much kasi honestly nag-improve din confidence ko. Now, seeing things that way, I can say that I would want to do better and absorb everything I learn and I grow,” she adds.
In 2020, while the production of He’s Into Her was postponed due to the pandemic, Belle further made her presence in the industry felt, when she was tapped for the prequel of hit 2013 film Four Sisters and a Wedding, titled Four Sisters Before the Wedding, where she landed the role of Gabbie Salazar (previously played by Shaina Magdayao).
Encouraged by the people around her and armed with the right mindset, Belle ultimately succeeded in headlining He’s Into Her with Donny, with the show’s premiere receiving a record-breaking high number of views on iWantTFC and ranking on top of Netflix’s trending list in the Philippines. The success of the show saw the actress scoring brand endorsements and movie projects with her partner Donny. The DonBelle love team has since been unstoppable, as they later starred in films Love is Color Blind and An Inconvenient Love.
Belle thrived as an actress during the pandemic, and one of the most notable highlights of her career, in fact, happened then. She made history as the first Filipina to win the Outstanding Asian Star award at the 2022 Seoul International Drama Awards in South Korea for her portrayal in He’s Into Her.
She attributes a part of her success to her Star Magic family, saying, “One of my best learnings from Star Magic is to always strive for excellence. I think that’s one thing that I’m really going to carry on not just this year but throughout the years I’m with Star Magic.”
Belle notes that while being with the talent management arm inspired her to do her best in her craft, it’s how she’s being treated and the relationships formed that mean more to her. “Other than the fact that, they’re really taking care of me, it’s the bond we’ve created. I’m really close with my managers and with my fellow artists in Star Magic. It’s like my second home na rin,” she shares.
With the training and background, as well as wisdom gained from her showbiz experience, Belle intends to move forward with renewed passion that reminds her of why she does what she does in the first place. “What I love most about my work is, ever since, it’s been my passion—acting, just being on screen and entertaining people. Just being able to inspire people and being able to put smiles on their faces—that’s how I see my purpose is here. Up to this day, iyon pa rin talaga iyong feeling kong purpose ko na mapangiti ang ibang mga tao at maimpluwensyahan sila sa mga ginagawa ko,” she concludes, beaming.
Photography by Dookie Ducay
Creative direction by Eldzs Mejia
Art direction by Raff Colmenar
Sittings editor: Grace Libero-Cruz
Makeup by Jake Galvez
Hairstyling by RJ dela Cruz
Styling by Adrianne Concepcion
Interviewer: Grace Diez
Shoot coordination: Red Dimaandal and Kate Paras-Santiago