Donny Pangilinan On Finding The Right “Family” For Success
There's no formula for success, but the key lies in surrounding yourself with the right people. Here, phenomenal young actor Donny Pangilinan talks about his career, inner circle, and aspirations
The name Donny Pangilinan has already achieved nationwide glory. When he became a heartthrob and elevated to a matinee idol status, the showbiz royalty skyrocketed to even greater expectations. As the son of actress Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan and motivational speaker Anthony Pangilinan, Donny’s grand entrance to the world of entertainment was quite a spectacle.
“I started my workshops with Star Magic. That’s when I was still a senior in high school and I think, du’n ko talaga nakita na iba talaga ’yong craft ng pag-arte,” he quantified. “Ang daming kailangang pag-isipan. You really have to work hard in order to execute a scene to the best [of your] capabilities and at the time, hindi pa ko marunong mag-Tagalog masyado,” Donny reasons out, remembering how it all started for him.
Donny shovels his memory. “Nu’ng bago pa ko—siguro ’yung pinaka-first audition ko—[I was] just entering the room and they are sitting there. Maybe I did a few lines from a scene. Tapos ’yun, sinabi nila na kulang pa, tapos kailangan ko pang mag-Tagalog more and more.” He meditates, pausing for a second. “Pero okay lang, kasi du’n [mo makukuha] ’yung learnings, e, tsaka mas ganado ka pa na magtrabaho saka mag-grow.”
“When I started auditioning, parang ang mindset ko is okay lang kung hindi ko nakuha [’yung role]. At least, na-try ko. Pero siyempre, may hurt pa rin, ’di ba, kasi you traveled here, you prepared.” Pining for what was lost is not in Donny’s language. As they would say, “Do not cry over spilt milk.” Working on defeating his waterloos was dead tiring, though, but thanks to his bulletproof perseverance—he was able to push through.
“Star Magic really paved the way for me to learn all these things. Nu’ng time na ’yun, si Mr. M [Johnny Manahan] ang nagsabi na ipasok [ako] sa Myx din kung kaya ko, kung gusto ko—kung gusto kong matuto kung pa’no mag-host and not just to see how things are in front but also behind the scenes.” From stepping into the entertainment scene as a Myx VJ to being in a breakthrough love team, Donny has long charted his own course—far from the shadows of his showbiz-bred background.
Making his debut in the movie Walwal (2018), Donny has a filmography that includes James & Pat & Dave (2020); Love Is Color Blind (2021); and his recent comeback release with Belle Mariano, An Inconvenient Love (2022). The He’s Into Her leading man—who is set to star in the upcoming teleserye Can’t Buy Me Love (a first for him and love team partner Belle Mariano)—also made his appearances in a line of music videos while making his own songs on the side. As a singer, he has recorded singles with record labels Star Music and Universal Records.
Launching him into fame, Star Magic helped maneuver Donny’s honeyed success. He speaks highly of his superiors, honoring them. “Star Magic really helped me get comfortable, and gave me so many opportunities to learn. I’m always going to be grateful for the amazing family that they are.” As overwhelming as it is, Donny can also vouch for his co-artists. “’Pag kailangan ko ng extra push, sila ’yung tinatawag ko—’yung mga taga-Star Magic.”
“[It is] not just the artists, even the handlers, the RMs. They’re really part of the family. They make you feel that. Kunwari, ’yung handlers, sila ’yung second mom mo. Pinapa-feel talaga nila sa’yo na pamilya tayo. We’ll go through this together—the ups and downs,” Donny explains to Metro.Style. “What I love most about being part of the Star Magic family is that since nasa [iisang] industriya kami, alam namin ’yng mga pinagdadaanan ng isa’t-isa.”
“When we share [with] each other what we’re going through like our problems, our successes—nakaka-relate kami sa isa’t-isa,” the actor expounds. “When you find that right group—and a lot of them of course are from Star Magic—you really feel that mas nakaka-inspire magtrabaho and na-mo-motivate ka.”
Photography by Jharwin Castañeda
Sittings editor and interviewer: Grace Libero-Cruz
Grooming by Jam Pareno
Styling by John Lozano
Shoot assistant: Carla Buyo