Why are Angelina Cruz Montano, Hannah Pangilinan, and Lorin Gutierrez Bektas Rebelling Against Traditions?
Angelina Cruz Montano, Hannah Pangilinan, and Lorin Gutierrez Bektas go all-out Gen Z through style, outspokenness, and authenticity
This is an excerpt from the MEGA November 2023 issue.
After years of sharing some parts of their life with their different audiences, along the way, these young influencers have realized that they have been offered a bigger task: to send a message or to bring awareness to issues that matter. Fortunately, they didn’t squander the opportunity.
“Social media jump-started my career, and it plays a very vital role in what I do,” Angelina says. To start, her accounts make it easier for brands and possible business partners to get to know her even before they contact her management team. But even if one were to take away the posts that directly build her image, her seemingly mundane posts about hanging out with friends, having dinner with family, and going to school already send a message to her followers, like how important education is for her. “I really value education over anything else,” she says, adding that she might only find the time to actually write her own songs after getting a degree in marketing management at the De La Salle University in Manila. “In high school, I still prioritized my studies before accepting any offers that had to do with singing. So, it was really just balancing all of that. School always came first. And my mom also made sure of that.”
Hannah has a platform that further fuels her creative fire: film. Soon, she and her team will release their movie called, GG, which she co-wrote and where she serves as creative producer. The movie, which is about the booming gaming industry, will star her mother and brother Donny.
While her social media accounts have the widest reach so far, Hannah wants to make sure that whatever platform she uses, her creations should have meaning. “I really hope to grow not just in skill but in-depth,” she says. “There are lots of people who are doing stuff but are not saying anything at all. If I’m not careful, I can just do that. I can just show up and look pretty, or I can just make interesting reels. But how is that going to affect and grow the lives of the people that are watching and listening? And I think I’ve realized that as much
as it’s great to live a private life—and I love it, being abroad and traveling—I also have to be responsible with the amount of influence I was given. To walk away would just be such a waste. There’s sometimes weight on my shoulders, but if I was given this influence, I’m imagining that there’s something that God wants me to do with it.”
She has such faith in her path, that if social media were to vanish, she’d still be able to express her passions and bring awareness to her advocacies, like anti-human trafficking policies (Her father leads the anti-human trafficking organization, Called to Rescue). She shares, “I love in-person gatherings. I love public speaking. I love attending conferences where I can do panels, where I visit schools and I talk to specific groups of people, especially middle schoolers and high schoolers. So, I feel like even without social media, I can do that, and I can show up.”
Currently, Lorin is taking up integrated marketing and communications at Pepperdine University, California, and she is fully utilizing her knowledge of social media. “I have an understanding of how to engage consumers, how to engage an online audience, how to build that,” she says, turning serious. As she continues, we find it easier to imagine her presenting her ideas to clients one day. “I think that my experience with social media can also be applied to a business: how to get people interested in your product, how to market it. But my goal really is to make an influence in as many fields as possible. And I hope to one day start my own business and expand my social media presence into other platforms and also use it for good.”
The last one has affected her the deepest. In the past years, Lorin has been vocal about her support for organizations that fight violence against women. One day, she tells us with much certainty, she’ll start a foundation focusing on this advocacy, which she shares with her mother. She doesn’t need to go into detail: Anyone who has read entertainment news more than 16 years ago knows the trauma that her mother went through while they were still living in Turkey. While the family’s relationship is better now (last year, Lorin and her sister visited their father in Turkey for the first time in 15 years), she knows that many women aren’t as lucky.
“I think because we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to make it out of a situation like that (because of our access to resources), there’s some responsibility that falls on me to make sure other women can be free, especially in our country where divorce is illegal,” she says. “A lot of women are stuck in marriages that they can’t get out of. It’s our responsibility to try and help them out. So, that would be my goal.”
Photography CHARISMA LICO
Creative Direction NICOLE ALMERO
Fashion Direction KAT CRUZ-VILLANUEVA and RYUJI SHIOMITSU
Beauty Direction AGOO AZCUNA-BENGZON, assisted by MIA CASTRO
Sittings Editors PEEWEE REYES-ISIDRO and BAM ABELLON
Makeup LALA FLORES, assisted by RAQUEL ROCHA (Lorin), ANTON PATDU, assisted by BETTINA ERQUIEZA (Hannah), and TONI AVILES (Angelina)
Hair ARCHIE GILBERO (Lorin), BOGGY DIAZ (Hannah), and MARK ANTHONY ROSALES (Angelina)
Production Design ADSET
Fashion Assistants BITHIA REYES, JOHN KARUNUNGAN, GABBY GAMBOA, and CJ ALBERTA
Multimedia Artist GJ FAJILAN
Video Production REGINA ACERON
Videography LORENZO CORRO
Shoot Coordination SAMANTHA ESTANIEL and LAURD SALEN
Production Design ADSET
Shot on location RED APPLE MANILA