We go behind the scenes with fashion editor Jebby Fronda as she prepares for her magazine’s anniversary issue. With a trained eye, professional know-how and a true mastery of the craft, they don’t make fashion girls like this anymore.
In my line of work, no two days are ever the same. Some days, I deal with an 8 AM call time. Other days, I need to be in by 9. Work today begins at home and for me, it starts the moment I get up. Since I have things from my house I’ll be using for the two fashion editorial shoots on my itinerary, a huge part of my morning is spent packing up items. When I’m through, I get ready for the day and head straight to the office.
While the rest of the items for my editorials are already in the studio, I head first to our office in Strata 100 to finish writing copy. We’re in the middle of closing the February issue, which is also our anniversary issue, so we’re dealing with a crucial week. The anniversary issue has always been special for Mega because it’s always been a form of rebirth. With the trends that we’re pushing as well, it almost doubles as our way of welcoming our readers into the Spring/Summer season.
The editorial team and I grab a quick lunch and then make our way to the Mega Studio in Libis. There are a lot of great restaurants around the office in Ortigas and they’re all just a quick walk away, but we usually don’t eat out.
When we arrive, makeup artist MJ Bornales and hairstylist Darwin Siñel are already set up in the dressing room. Erwin Canlas, our photographer for the first shoot, is also all set in the studio. While waiting for our model, we catch up with the team for a bit and brief them on the editorial: It’s an exclusive featuring Vania Romoff’s Spring/Summer collection. Vania’s known for ultra-feminine silhouettes so I wanted a shoot that took on a darker direction—may pangil. We’ll be the first publication to see and shoot Vania’s new collection, so it’s an excellent opportunity to reimagine the pieces and style them in new and unusual ways.
Bronija Aleš, our model from Elite, is through with hair and makeup but I make sure to get her dressed in the first ensemble before getting MJ and Darwin to add their finishing touches. That way, we get to see if the beauty look—once vision turns into reality—does in fact mesh well with the fashion look. Everything has to be cohesive. On the other end of the dressing room, our model is getting started with her hair and makeup for the second shoot of the day: another designer exclusive featuring Michael Kors’ Resort 2018 collection. These two editorials are totally different and there’s a stark contrast between Vania’s very dark, romantic black and white treatment and the very colorful one for Michael Kors.
We all make our way to the set where Erwin has the black backdrop ready. I put statement earrings and custom bejeweled gloves on Bronija to complete her look. We never go straight to shooting the first layout. It always starts off with testing the lights, seeing how the hair, makeup and garments photograph, making adjustments till the treatment is just right.
Now it’s go time: We let Bronija do her thing on set. She’s a very talented model and knows how to give us a diverse set of poses and expressions. Erwin clicks away, making suggestions for art direction along the way. Meanwhile, MJ, Darwin and I jump on set when Erwin is through getting his shots so we can check on the makeup, hair and clothes.
Now that there’s momentum on set, I slip out of the studio to check on the glam team and Graciela, our model, for the Michael Kors shoot. Since the pieces for this editorial belong to a resort collection, they’re obviously vacation-ready, perfect for lounging and tropical getaways, but I want the pieces to look wild—untamed almost—which is why I’m using a lot of colors that pop. I want that to translate, too, through the beauty looks today.
Jerick Sanchez, the photographer for the second editorial shoot, is almost through setting up. At this point, I’m getting both my models into their looks: Graciela is on her first look, Bronija is on her second. That’s the kind of dynamic I’m used to working with because we have to maximize shoot days. When it’s me who’s shooting, things are quick. When I see a shot that I already like, hindi ko na pinapatagal pa [I don’t feel the need to prolong shooting that one layout]. I take into consideration that the people in the production team—the photographers, the makeup artists, the hairstylists, the nail tech—they all have other projects to attend to. We have to be efficient but move fast (concurrently, we have to move fast but be efficient).
Mega Magazine February 2018 featuring Bronija Aleš of Elite Manila. Photography: Erwin Canlas. Styling: Jebby Fronda. Makeup: MJ Bornales. Hairstyling: Darwin Siñel. All represented by New Monarq Creativx.
I swap between sets with the help of ate Jay Anne Aguirre, our editorial assistant. The Michael Kors shoot is going by fast since I’m working with just three looks. I plan on expanding them so we can create a six-page editorial. Thankfully when it comes to these exclusive editorials, the brands are not very strict in terms of how I express their pieces. I guess they want to know how editors see their creations. I personally also don’t want “normal” when it comes to shoots. As much as possible I want to create fashion stories that are wild, imaginative and different.
Mega Magazine February 2018 featuring Graciella del Fierra. Photography: Jerick Sanchez. Styling: Jebby Fronda. Makeup: Elaine Silva. Hairstyling: Darwin Siñel. All represented by New Monarq Creativx.
That’s a wrap: ate Jay is helping me pack up the merchandise and segregate them by designer and brand so we can return them to stores this week. We’ve been working together for almost 6 years now so this system we have in place is second nature to us both; it’s pretty standard. This is also the usual time I end my working days. If it’s a no-shoot day and all I have to do is write my sections for the magazine, I end at 6 PM.
Art Alexandra Lara