The scene that unfolded last month at Siren Studios in Makati City was a normal one by any standard. PR and marketing folks sat at the sidelines, laptops and smartphones open. Crew and assistants set up lights and other equipment. Other studio personnel went in and out of the room. Most of the action was limited to the back room, where hair and makeup and styling had been going on for a few hours at that point.

The mood and pace changed at around 1:30 p.m. A tall woman came out and walked over to the front, all dolled up and ready for the shoot’s first setup. The photographer puts his camera up, ready to do a few test shots. As if by silent agreement, everyone congregated in front of the white backdrop and at the sides, eager to get a good look at her, and not block the lens in the process. There was no fanfare, no loud announcements, and no diva behavior.

Isabelle Daza was all business—and more than ready for her closeup.

The day-long shoot was part of her duties as ASUS Philippines’ product ambassador for the 14-inch ZenBook 3 Deluxe, the latest addition to its heralded line of premium laptops. 2nd Opinion managed to squeeze in a 15-minute chat with Belle during the hectic shoot; and found out that while the words “power” and “beauty” have always been mainstays in marketing material, this time around we agreed that the perfect match has been made between product and endorser.

Belle’s different sides

We all know it’s difficult to get busy people to spare a few minutes of their time for something. The same held true for us and Belle: she’s been busy with consecutive projects since she entered show business in 2011; and for that particular day last March, she had a full itinerary that went into the late evening.

So when she agrees to something—whether it be a coveted on-screen role, hosting responsibilities, or a lucrative modeling contract—she has requirements that leave no room for negotiations or compromise.

“First, I need to see if it fits my branding,” she explains. It’s essential to play the long game in her chosen industry; according to her, “I need to be strategic with the brands that I collaborate with because it’s more for longevity, and not a one-time engagement.” This lines up with her related goals of staying relevant, and pursuing work that challenges her and are in line with what she’s passionate about. It also helps significantly that Belle’s team, led by W Talent Management’s Pia Campos, has been “very attuned to what I need.”

And there’s much to be said for staying grounded, too. When asked about work and life lessons from her parents (actress and Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz and the late businessman Bong Daza) that she still follows today, she had one in mind. “My mom gives me a lot of unsolicited advice. One of the things she’s told me is that [the key to happiness is] being grateful in every single moment. Because sometimes we find ourselves comparing with our friends, cousins, everybody,” she says. “And you build up an insecurity and jealousy, especially in this industry. So once you set your mind and you’re grateful for everything that you have, and you focus on the things that you have and not on what you don’t, you’ll reach that happiness and contentment that you’re striving to achieve.”

Of course, it’s not all about work, and Belle certainly knows how to balance her responsibilities with her personal life and interests. When not in front of the cameras, she’s traveling to places like Italy (where she married Adrien Semblat last year), Turkey (where she got engaged; “it’s so beautiful… super scenic”), Morocco, and Argentina. Within the past few months, she also visited Japan, Australia, and France.

Otherwise, she spends her off days keeping fit and enjoying an active lifestyle. “I’ve always been a sporty person,” she said. Along with once-a-week football games, going horseback riding, and playing tennis, Belle is also into cycling and strength training. For the last type of exercise, she has recently finished a week-long course and seminar with Base Body Babes in Australia; and does regular training with her friend and colleague Nina Paras.

A new partnership

Juggling all of these things sounds highly complicated, but Belle has a simple approach: “I see what I like, and I go for it.” That applies to everything in her life, whether it be work, private life, travel, and the gadgets she uses. “I always want to learn, and I always want to have the best… because for me, it’s a long-term investment,” she adds.

The same goes for her association with ASUS and the ZenBook 3 Deluxe. After seeing the laptop and asking the ASUS Philippines team many questions about both the product and its competitors, it was easy for her to make up her mind to endorse it. “There were just so many things that I loved about it. It’s sleeker, there’s more memory capacity, it’s faster and it doesn’t overheat, which is so important,” she says. “Also, in terms of my business and everything… I do need the functionality [that it offers].”

A woman who knows her own power and a laptop built with power in every aspect. It’s a done deal.

Rapid fire

Still haven’t had enough of Belle? We don’t blame you. We squeezed in here some more of our questions that delves into an important topic these days: women empowerment.

How would you define female empowerment?

I think women empowerment is about [having] equal rights as men, and being confident as a woman in being able to achieve great things.

Was there ever a time in your life wherein you had to compromise, or wherein you felt underestimated?

Definitely. As women, we are always underestimated. People see us and they, sadly… think that we have a lot of limitations. That we’re not as smart as them, we’re not as strong as them, we’re not as fit as them. So definitely, I am constantly being underestimated.

What are your earliest lessons on empowerment and the related lessons you’d want to pass on to your future kids?

One of the earliest lessons I learned was that women are strong, are fierce, and can achieve almost anything as equal to men, if not better. If I have a son, [I want to teach him] to respect women as equals. And if I have a daughter, I would say continue to prove people wrong, continue to break through the limitations and barriers that people put in front of you because of your sex, because you’re a woman.

PHOTO CREDITS

Photographer: BJ Pascual

Hair: Suyen Salazar

Makeup: Lala Flores

Styling: StyLIZed Studio

About The Author

KC Calpo is a writer and editor covering the technology, business, and lifestyle beats. She is also an MFA-Creative Writing student at De La Salle University, and an occasional book blogger at The Reading Spree (thereadingspree.com). In between assignments, she likes to read, travel, and binge-watch fantasy/sci-fi/psychological horror shows and movies.