Alexa Ilacad as ‘Slay’ cover girl

“I have never really done something like this. It’s more than I’ve ever done and shown – miles away from my comfort zone,” said Alexa Ilacad, getting dolled up at past 8 in the morning. 

The former child star is indeed ready to slay, empowering women with her story of rising above insecurities, hurtful comments, pressure, and mental health struggles she previously felt scared to broadcast. Now as the first-ever cover girl of Star Magic’s digital magazine, the 22-year-old actress is keeping self-love a priority, and she believes you should too.

In the first issue of Star Magic’s digital video magazine, SLAY, launched on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube Channel, Alexa can be seen flaunting her curves in a sheer white dress, her tulle skirt as delicate as her self-esteem used to be. “At such a young age, I didn’t know much about self-love… I didn’t know that back then, so I just accepted everything and tried to fit into whatever puzzle piece they needed me to be.”

Alexa started her career as a commercial model at 2 years old before joining the Kapamilya kiddie gag show Goin’ Bulilit. She takes her former job as a little comedienne a big part of her identity as an actress. People would still remember her for the gags and jokes to this day, and although funny, she thinks it’s a reminder “that I made a mark somehow.” 

“It helped shape the woman I am because I was able to experience work at such a young age,” she mused. Growing up in the limelight was fun, “If not, I wouldn’t be here anymore.” But on some days, it could be harsh too. People bruised her confidence by telling her she wouldn’t get projects because she’s chubby. She got more conscious seeing how all the other girls around her were slender. She felt different.

She was forced to fit in, “Kasi I need to look like them. Kasi sila lang ‘yung tanggap ng industry.” And soon, she started to believe the negative comments, “Tinanggap ko kahit masakit.” Not only words crushed her confidence but the treatment itself, “Tingin pa lang nila masakit na. I already know what they want to tell me even if they don’t tell it to me directly.”

“All the hurtful things they told me, I started to believe and that’s how I started to see myself.” The bashing took a toll on Alexa’s mental health. Previously, inside the Pinoy Big Brother house, she opened up about her condition called body dysmorphia that causes major depressive disorder.

Body dysmorphia is defined as a feeling dislike for one’s physical appearance. “It is not known to many and usually people would think our condition is synonymous to just pagiging maarte or just being insecure. It’s so much more than that. It’s really deeper than that,” explained Alexa.

She didn’t want to let the whole world know about her condition at first. “I told Kuya that I don’t want to tell anyone. I don’t want it to be broadcasted kasi nahihiya talaga ako. I was ashamed kasi I know people would think na I’m hypocrite.” She knew some would invalidate her feelings. People would think girls with pretty faces like her don’t have the right to feel that way. After all, she’s assumed to be strong and intimidating. However, those closest to her knew she wasn’t okay.

The “Run To Me” star has people to thank for her renewed courage and confidence including her family and love team partner KD Estrada. “I am just so lucky that I also have KD.” They are the pillars that teach her to be kinder to herself and believe what she’s capable of.

Moving along to the next chapter, Alexa hopes to help other girls flourish, “I want to use my platform kasi I don’t want people to feel this way. Dumating na sa point na I look at myself and I was like, ‘Shocks! Bakit mo hinayaang umabot sa ganito?’ I need to fix myself. Because, no one else can do that for me.”

This time around, the goddess reborn is learning to love herself more unconditionally, growing at her own pace. “Rebirth is not just a one-time thing. Progress is not linear. It goes uphill and sometimes spirals down. It goes at different speeds, different directions. It’s not just a one straight line. It’s every day,” Alexa preached.
Sharing with Alexa’s campaign are Thamara Alexandria and “Slaymates” Alyssa Exala, Missy Quiño, and Sharina Villena.

Thamara was donning a two-piece bikini, which her younger self would probably be too shy to wear. Back then, she “bends a lot to society’s standards.” She let other people restrict her in so many ways, dress code included.

Back in college, Thamara had always been this fit and toned for cheerleading. “I wanted to flaunt it,” she said of her body. But it turns out even someone as confident could be bullied. She uploaded a photo of her wearing a tube top and leggings, which garnered hate comments like “attention-seeker.”

“I became very uncomfortable and I started wearing long sleeves, long skirts, basta laging below the knee,” she looked back.  

Thamara regained her confidence inside the PBB house where she had the freedom to dress up by personal preference. Although the first adult evictee for PBB Kumunity Season 10, she accepted her fate, keeping in mind Big Brother’s greatest advice that bigger things and bigger challenges happen in the outside world.No offense to the haters, but your words will never hurt her. Not anymore. The Thamara now is only paying attention to what she wants.

Posing for the digital magazine, Alyssa, Missy, and Sharina realized they’re more capable than they think. And watching them ‘slay’ during the shoot, it’s worth noting that enjoying the moment is key to confidence.

Check out Alexa and the slaymates’ stunning photos by watching the video!