One of the joys of browsing through Preview’s Instagram account is seeing the photos people usually tag us in—from double tap-worthy OOTDs to impressive fanart. We take the time to check what you, our readers, want to share with us. One particular post that recently caught our eye was by Albay-based graphic artist Hilrey Gonzales Batalon or @hilreygonzales on IG.
We did a double take when we saw this photo for the first time because of how much it resembled our October cover story with Ivana Alawi. Even his model’s hair and makeup made her look so unbelievably similar to Ivana—and they only used outfits from the ukay-ukay to recreate all of the looks! Our jaws were on the floor.
We just had to reach out to Hilrey to ask more about his equally beautiful version of our October Preview cover. In this exclusive interview, the photography enthusiast and fashion lover talks about how he produced the shoot in three days, being a fan of BJ Pascual, and why he turned to thrift-shopping to get that stylish labandera look.
Hi Hilrey! We absolutely love how your photos turned out. What made you decide to recreate our cover shoot?
"When Preview released the photos of Ivana, agad ko kinontact yung best friend kong makeup artist, and telling him if kaya naming [i-recreate]. Sabi nya kaya. We were very excited but still anxious, kasi baka di ko maabot yung expectations ko.
"Nagpaalam ako kay BJ sa IG and he sent me a heart emoji as a reply. So sabi ko tuloy na tuloy na to. I decided to do this shoot because of BJ, because baka makita nya yung work ko. Kasi a recognition from him is a big check off of my bucket list."
Who is your model? Because she DOES resemble Ivana!
"Her name is Shane! She's my friend and we did a lot of shoots na din together. Yes, madaming nag sasabi kamukha nya si Ivana so I grabbed her to do the shoot. Ang bilis lang [lahat], kasi Sunday [yung] planning [then] Monday shoot."
How about the hair and makeup?
"My best friend, Jomarie Cielo did the makeup. Actually, kilala nya na ako pag dating sa shoot, at alam nya ang gusto kong look. I-send ko lang ang peg sa kanya then alam nya na gagawin niya. Very hands-on kasi talaga ako sa photoshoot, dapat alam ko yung looks and style para alam ko kung ano klaseng filter at poses ang papagawin ko sa model. Masasabi ko na si Jomarie is one of the best makeup artist of his generation here in Albay."
You said in your vlog that you bought all the outfits from the ukay-ukay? Who shopped and styled for you?
Where did you take the photos?
"We did the shoot sa ilog sa Malinao, Albay. I did the vlog too to show how beautiful the municipality is. To be honest, we were disappointed nung nakita namin na may construction sa river so naghanap kami ng area na pwede namin mapag-shoot-an. And yes, may nakita kami maliit na ilog—actually dun naliligo yung mga kalabaw at baka. Di madaling mag-shoot dun kasi kahit maliit lang sya pero malakas ang agos at maputik. Pero dahil strong ang team namin ginawan namin ng paraan at nakaraos din."
You also copied BJ’s vlog format for this which is pretty cool! Are you a fan of his?
"I'm a big fan of BJ Pascual’s work ever since I watched him sa Asia's Next Top Model. I like him so much dahil sa kanyang talent. Nagpaalam pa ako sa kanya before ako nagshoot and he sent me his approval. I love yung format niya sa vlog kasi di lang yung photos ang narerecognize but also the people behind the photos. I'm so thankful kay BJ, kasi siya yung reason why pinagpatuloy ko ang photography. Kasi di lang siya magaling sa photography, napakabuti niya pang tao lalo na sa mga fans sya."
Watch Hilrey’s vlog here to see what really happened during his fun shoot!
*Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.