Donna started as the BULILIT BAGONG KAMPEON Champion in 1988, a musical tv contest that features the singing talents of filipinos. Also, she landed as a grand finalist in the prestigious LITTLE MISS PHILIPPINES, a contest for young girls all over the Philippines to showcase their talents and good looks.
After coveting the Bulilit Bagong Kampeon title, she was chosen, together with Timothy Villegas of Ryan Cayabyab's 14K, to represent the country in the Mermaid International Children's Song Festival in Hiroshima Japan. They bested at least 8 other ASEAN representatives with their piece, "Yesterday's Dream", and emerged as the Grand Prix champion of the competition.
At age 13, she signed up with VIVA Records and launched her recording career. She debuted with self-titled album "Donna", which garnered a triple-platinum award. Singles released from the said album are "Kapag Tumibok Ang Puso". "Rain" and "Boy (I Love You)". She won the Best New Recording Artist Award in the Awit Awards with this album. With this, VIVA films, the movie counterpart of VIVA records has discovered Donna's potential in acting and thus asked her to try and enter showbusiness. She was introduced in the movie, "Darna", and this movie was followed by several comedy flicks (Andrew E. movies and the likes).
A year after launching her debut album, she released another LP entitled "Kurot Sa Puso". At this time also, she was scheduled for the BRASOV International Song Competition in ROMANIA. Although she did not manage to get some of the major awards in that competition, she has the distinct honor of being the youngest singer contestant amidst 20, 30, and 40-some competitors.
She continued to make movies, mostly comedy flicks, and this time she joined the now defunct "That's Entertainment", a daily afternoon variety show showcasing the talents of the youth in the movie industry. This show is spearheaded by the respected German Moreno. After 2 years since "Kurot Sa Puso", she released her third solo album, "Langit Na Naman", which received a gold award. Moreover, she joined the comedy sitcom, "Ober da Bakod" in GMA-7.
At age 17, VIVA finally decided to make Donna the movie actress that she ought to be. In 1994, she made 2 drama movies, "Kadenang Bulaklak" where she co-stars with Vina Morales, and Ana Roces; and "Pangako Ng Kahapon", where she co-starred with no less than Agot Isidro, Alice Dixon and Gary Estrada. This movie gave her a Best Supporting Actress nomination. She also became the model of CAMAY Soap, thus a CAMAY Girl. She also did a TV Commercial for Whisper and Jollibee, and became U2's image model. Later that year, Sari-Sari, the popular clothes store got Donna to be one of their celebrity models. She had her own daily soap opera entitled "Villa Quintana", where she and fellow actor Keempee De Leon act as star crossed lovers whose families are at war against each other.
As 1995 opened, she starred in a youth-oriented movie together with Vina Morales, Geneva Cruz and Donita Rose (CAMPUS GIRLS). Came valentines day of 1995, Donna turned 18, in a grand debut celebration at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. A TV Special was shown nationwide, "First Blush", Donna's 18th birthday musical TV special. This special being the only first of its kind on Phlippine Television. In October of 1995, she launched her biggest album ever, "Habang May Buhay", an LP composing of movie themes. This album garnered a Quadruple-PLATINUM award, one of the biggest honor received by only a selected number of female recording artists.
Also, in February of 1995, the Donna Cruz - Ian De Leon loveteam was launched via the certified box-office hit, "Habang May Buhay (the movie)". This movie was followed by the Donna Cruz- Keempee de Leon loveteam twinbill, "Lovenotes the Movie", a youth-awareness movie entitled "Okay Si Maam", and finally a team-up with no less than the superstar of Philippine Movies, Ms. Nora Aunor, in "Muling Umawit Ang Puso" where Donna finally grabbed the Best Supporting Actress Award plum.
In February of 1996, Donna acted as "twins" in the movie "Dahil Tanging Ikaw" where she is paired with teen idols Jao Mapa and Ian De Leon. Came June of 1996, she starred with no less than the Prince of Philippine Action Movies Bong Revilla Jr., in a movie entitled "Pag-Ibig Ko Sa Iyo'y Totoo". In November, she topbilled a comedy movie together with Asia's songbird Regine Velasquez and Mikee Cojuangco in a musical entitled "Do Re Mi". Donna is at her best comedian act ever in this movie. Christmas of 1996 she released her first ever Christmass Album entitled "Merry Christmas ... Donna"
Her latest movie was that of June 1997, entitled "Isang Tanong Isang Sagot" where she was paired with American singer Jason Everly, son of Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. Prior to that, she recorded a duet with the said singer, a song entitled WISH, which is included in Jason's first International album, No Ordinary Music. After all these, Donna released her latest LP, entitled "Pure Donna", an album which turned platinum a week after it release in the market. This album was launched via the national TV musical special entitled, Pure Donna (too). In December of 1997, she has had her christmas special, "Merry Christmas ... Donna".
In 1998, an album, touted as "The Best Of Donna" was released. This album contains the hit tracks from her previous albums. She got engaged February of 1998 to a young and wealthy opthalmologist from Cebu, Dr. Yong Larrazabal. They got married September of 1998. Donna stayed out of the limelight for almost a year, until she has started recording another album again in July of 1999, "Hulog Ng Langit", while pregnant with their daughter Ysabella. This is a one of a kind album filled with motherly love and emotions. The album was released September 1999. After one month, Donna gave birth to a very beautiful baby girl, Ysabella Adriana Larrazabal.
The onset of year 2000 pave way for many Donna Cruz TV guesting, Mall shows and special appearances for the full album promotion for "Hulog Ng Langit", which has turned Gold Record (awarded in ASAP, ABSCBN). A lot of people are already wondering if Donna will be going back to the movies? - "I will still have to talk it over with Yong", she said. Good answer, Donna.