One look at this Lifestyle Hotshot and you might just mistake him for our very own Gerald Anderson. But there's more to Donovan Coates than just a dead ringer for the Fil-American actor-athlete. In his present city Jakarta, the 22 year-old British-Indonesian charmer and jet-setter is fast making a mark as a host, model, vlogger, fitness trainer, and social media influencer. (He indeed got his good looks and athleticism working for him—much like Gerald!) Yet Donovan makes an interesting motley with his penchant for music and writing and love of books and tech—altogether showing his more sensitive side. Brawn, brains, and a big heart? Donovan's armed.
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On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a geek/nerd are you?
"Oh, I’m almost an 11 but I’m gonna try to play it safe and say 9. There was a time that I didn’t think that being geeky was cool but now I appreciate how my mom forced me to read all those Harry Potter books when I was young."
What sparked your interest in the particular field you are in right now which is hosting and also personal training?
"I enjoy hosting because I’m able to convey a certain message to an audience. At first, it was just to build my confidence up because I was a shy kid trying to get out of his shell, but now, it’s really fun informing or entertaining while having that thrilling feeling of being on stage. I also enjoy personal training because I used to be obese myself, when I was a kid. I got tired of feeling sluggish and insecure about my body, so I lost all the weight through sports and weightlifting and decided I wanted to share my knowledge with others, to make them feel comfortable in their skin as well. They deserve to feel that much, and it fills me with great joy seeing them transform in front of my eyes."
Who’s your role model in your industry?
"In Indonesia, it would have to be Mike Lewis. He’s also of mixed race like me, started out modelling then acting and he used to host Asia’s Next Top Model. He’s full of charisma with this geeky attitude so he’s kind of someone I aspire to be in that industry."
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How do you use your smarts to your advantage career wise?
"I read a plethora of books as a kid, delving into all kinds of stories and scenarios, and I still do today. This allowed me to understand and experience emotions, vocabulary, as well as maturity beyond my years, so whenever I get roles for TV shows or other acting gigs, I feel like I have an overactive imagination to understand certain characters and get into these personalities!"
Name your favorite book.
"How to Appreciate Standing Still in a Fast and Bustling World written by a monk, and he fills it with his passages and personal experiences on his road to becoming a monk. He was a college professor caught up in the modernity of life and as he transitioned to Buddhism, he started learning to appreciate the simple things in life. In a way, this book helped me re-purpose my life."
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How about your favorite movie?
"Home Alone. I’d often get left alone by my parents so it’s a film that I can always relate to. Even when I’m already 50, it’s still gonna be a timeless classic for me. I don’t set up traps or anything, but it was a fantasy that I used to imagine when I was a kid. Macaulay Culkin’s character was so mischievous—and so was I!"
Your favorite band?
"I was rebellious as a 13-year-old when it came to music. I used to listen to My Chemical Romance. I like them because of the way their music spoke to me. I loved "Welcome To The Black Parade" 'cause it sorta became like a ‘father-figure-song’ to me, as my dad was not around for most of my childhood. It was about a dad telling his son: Keep you chin up, don’t look back and that any naysayers are most likely wrong."
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What’s your guilty pleasure?
"Chocolates. White chocolate in particular, mainly because it’s not like real chocolate and they put harmful ingredients in it. Just like Nutella which is 10% hazelnut and the rest is sugar and palm oil and all these refined stuff that makes it sooo good."
In terms of catching a girl’s eye, do smart guys have the advantage over sporty guys?
"I’d like to believe I have both so you just have to intuitively tell what the girl is into, if she’s into the brawn or the brains so depending on what I feel the girl wants, I try to be that."
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Produced by Camille Santiago | Creative direction by Barry Viloria | Photographs by Vyn Radovan | Styling by Gelie Manansala | Grooming by Cecille Ramirez of MDA | Hair by Darwin Galit of Vivere Salon | Shot on location at: Chaos and Pangaea Ultra Gaming Lounge, City of Dreams, Pasay City | Special thanks to: Charisse Chuidian, Romina Gervacio, and Fran Arias of City of Dreams | Melanie Acedillo of MDA | Glaiza Agbayani of R2 Group of Companies | Banner image by Lui Jimenez