Just over a month after arriving in the Philippines, Leila Alcasid's schedule was instantly filled with magazine shoots and television appearances including a guest stint on a few MYX shows. It's definitely far from her life back in Australia as a normal university student pursuing an Arts degree.
Despite the attention that she gets from having famous parents, OPM icon Ogie Alcasid and beauty queen Michelle Van Eimeren, Leila is just like any young lady who's afraid of disappointing anyone but also jumps at uncertain chances everytime - including coming to the Philippines.
A Chance To Know Her Family Well
Leila visits her father's homeland often but for only a short period of time, so she hasn't gotten the chance to know the place well and get close to her family. During her previous trip in July 2016, she became so attached and didn't wanna leave. That's when she made up her mind to stay in the country longer than usual. Still, the decision made her anxious. But she was very excited when she saw her dad and 5-year-old brother Nate waiting for her at the airport last January.
"It's really nice because I have gotten to know them in a way like I didn't before. My grandparents... they're getting quite old now so before I decided to move here, I was kinda sad. I didn't think that I really get to spend every time with them so it's nice. I'm learning a lot about them.
With the help of her whole family, she immediately felt "very at home" and "comfortable" but admitted that she had a difficult time adjusting to the language, "Obviously, I still very have a strong Australian accent. But I'm learning."
Wanting to create a bond with each of her family members, Leila is taking an extra mile to "bond" with them separately by going on little dates with Ogie, shopping with her stepmom Regine Velasquez-Alcasid a.k.a. Auntie Reg, and playing with Nate. "If we're together, it's nice. We're always happy and everyday is a bonding day," she added.
A Chance To Help
"More than any other places I've been to... I've travelled to a few places... honestly, Filipino people are the nicest ones. Even if you don't know them, they just make you feel comfortable," she said, asserting that one thing she learned so far in her stay here is that the people are indeed very hospitable.
So it's not really surprising that charity work is in the celebrity kid's bucketlist, a passion that strengthened after experiencing a food drive. If given the chance, Leila would want to help through United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF. "I have this idea that children are kind of the key to developing a better future... if you give them a solid foundation, good education... So you know if I could help in that way, I would love to."
A Chance To Do What She Likes
A lot of people might think that there's a great pressure in having a former Miss Australia as a mom and a Filipino music icon as a dad but Leila never experienced any of that. Her parents always told her to "follow the path that you wanted to."
"When I decided to did try something that is similar to them, it was my own choice. Of course, they encouraged me but I don't feel any pressure," she said.
Although she wanted to be a lawyer in her high school years, she revealed that it's her childhood dream to become a singer and an actress. When she was around 3 or 4 years old, her voice was featured in Ogie's recording of "When I See You Smile".
She sees her long vacation here as an opportunity to hone her skills through workshops. She's also interested in songwriting and has actually done songs together with her dad, "Probably not as good as he is but yeah I mean I'm getting closer."
Admittedly, Leila's still not used to being in the spotlight but somehow she's a natural in front of the camera, perhaps a thing she inherited from her parents, "I'm so shy in some instances but it's weird... like even though I've never experienced before, I was very comfortable."
Her father has always remind her "to stay humble, don't ever see yourself as above everyone else, be kind and thankful" in her new endeavors.
A Chance To Prove Haters Wrong
Regarding the hot topic on social media about her uncanny resemblance to Selena Gomez, Leila says she's flattered to be even compared to the "stunning" pop star who was her favorite person (from her music to her series Wizard's of Waverly Place) even before others started to compare them. "I really like her [though] she's not necessarily my idol now but I still do look up to her. I mean, she's a very inspirational person. As a person, she's definitely idol worthy."
But many people also take pride in hating and she has one thing to say about that: "You just have to remind yourself that they don't know you and everyone's entitled to their own opinion so it's not a crime if they don't like you."
Considering her family background, there's high expectations on Leila's shoulders and "not living up" to those is what she's scared of the most. But she also uses her family as a motivation and inspiration to be successful.
All her life, Leila has always stayed on the safe side but at 19, she's finding out how to take a chance and savor each experience that comes with it.