Alexa Ilacad On Loving Her Body Now More Than Ever
“It’s time to love ourselves the right way,” Alexa says
“I’m all for it, of course!” These are the exact lines that Alexa Ilacad has extracted from her thoughts when we asked her Star Magic’s body positivity campaign in line with their “Hot Summer: LaHot Sexy” event last May 4. She speaks from experience, and it’s easy to see why this cause sends her in full throttle. “It’s about d*mn time!” she fires away.
The Star Magic artist thinks it is high time to turn self-loathing into self-love. As a fan-favorite darling, Alexa hopes that she could help change the dialogue surrounding beauty standards and body image. “It is a tough topic to talk about but it should be talked about, so I’m really happy that slowly but surely, we are getting around the topic.”
In an industry where every shape and size is measured, Alexa is one to slam age-old stigmas. To her, inclusivity matters and malign intent should be squashed flat to the ground. “People never run out of things to say about other people, especially in this day and age of social media. It’s so easy to comment on other things—[on] someone else’s body,” she says.
She furthers the discussion. As someone who has dealt with several body shaming remarks and unsolicited reactions, Alexa believes that being gentler will breach the gap between people. Our bodies, after all, are our own temple, so we should be accepting of what we are born with. “We shouldn’t be so comfortable talking about other people’s bodies,” she tells Metro.Style.
As to how she mustered the art of moving on from grating comments that used to crush her, Alexa gives us an answer that hits home: “I’m very blessed to have such a great support system who uplifts me every time and reminds me of how beautiful I am. And the beauty that I sometimes can’t see, they show me.”
“Now this is something I have been passionate about, especially recently. I’ve been into taking care of myself a lot. We’re done with self-destructing; we’re done with self-sabotage,” the Kapamilya actress says, noting that the shift in perspective has also paved the way for her love for working out. “It’s time to love ourselves the right way,” she continues.
“Before, my only goal was, ‘oh, I want to be really thin,’ ‘oh, I want to lose weight,’ and ‘I want to look good like other people,” Alexa shares with us. “Right now, I’m just all for me—all for myself. I want to be healthy; I want to live a healthy lifestyle.” The Walang Aray star calls on the public to try what she did, too.
“I found the perfect gym for me, which is Sparta in Mandaluyong. You should check that out!” Proud of her transformation, Alexa reveals how her time in the gym allowed a good energy to flow. “I’ve been working out every day. I used to be someone who absolutely hates it—dreads it. But now, if I’m not able to work out, I feel sad,” she explains.
As one of the artists featured in this year’s Metro Body special, Alexa took her own words to heart, willing that they will radiate across the room. “Of course, I watch what I eat; of course, I take supplements—all of that. Lahat ng puwede kong gawin to be healthy or to be fit, talagang ginagawa ko po.”
Busting the myths of how a body should measure up to society, Alexa is finally clapping her eyes on confidence. “Naging ganu’n na kong klase because I see how it changes my body, and I’ve also changed my mindset,” she quips. Aware of her unique talents and her own truth, she frowns upon all the negativity now, saying, “It’s not an easy journey; it’s something I personally struggle with.”
“Honestly, therapy has really helped me to really open my mind. It’s helped me think kinder thoughts,” she replies, when asked how she reaped the confidence that she has at the moment. Her coping mechanism also entailed accepting her flaws and not forcing oneself to operate based on other’s beliefs.
When we pressed Alexa for a response on what part of her body she loves best, she paused. “If you asked me that question a year ago or years ago, I would’ve said ‘nothing,’” she then points out. “It’s been really hard for me to appreciate the body I’ve been given but right now, I thought to myself: ‘It’s time to stop wasting my life’s purpose and beating myself up about my body.”
Without much worry about how her appearance should be and what built or shape she should embody, Alexa has become an eloquent speaker of her love language, which is self-care and compassion. Her self-deprecating days are over, and she sure knows how to steer her own helm now.
In hopes of getting the message across, Alexa pins an advice for people who make the grave mistake of discrediting oneself or downplaying one’s skills and assets. Storming us with bright-side bits of wisdom, she, too, wondered why we aren’t forgiving of our bodies and figures. “This is our vessel—it takes care of us. It is really our home,” she contests.
“Day by day, I find more reasons to love it, and on the days where it’s pretty hard for me to see something that I like about myself, I just remind myself that my body’s taking care of me and that is enough to be thankful for,” Alexa concludes. “And again, I’m blessed to be privileged enough to have a lot of people also helping me in this journey.”
On the subject of being comfortable in her own skin, Alexa admits that she often still confronts her demons and occasionally feels otherwise. “With being confident, actually, it’s something I hate to struggle with, personally. I am not the most confident person, although people think I am,” she discloses. “[My] motto in life is ‘fake it till you make it.’”
“People think I’m very, very confident when honestly, not so [much],” Alexa imparts. Between going to the gym, cheering herself up, and championing body positivity, Alexa stays in tip-top shape by keeping the balance. How she perceives herself matters now more than ever, and she takes to heart what her confidence heroes would always wish for her to bear in mind:
“If you don’t believe in yourself and if you don’t try to build up that confidence—kung hindi ka naniniwala sa sarili mo, sa kakayahan mo, sa kagandahan mo—you already lost half the battle,” Alexa brings up. “So that’s something I always, always try to remember ’cause we want to stay winning, right?”
Photography by Seven Barretto