Insert misc promo announcement here

Leila Alcasid is Born to be a Star

Leila Alcasid is Born to be a Star
The Fil-Aussie beauty talks about pursuing passions and finding your voice.

“It came at a very unexpected time,” recalls LEILA ALCASID of her pivotal decision to relocate and chase her dreams in the Philippines two years ago. “I was studying in Sydney and I guess, I just felt really lost. I like school and I was with my friends, but I didn’t feel like I was doing what I wanted to do. I was kinda feeling really out of place.” After unearthing a strong connection upon visiting her dad, stepmom, and brother in the Philippines, Leila eventually found her place in the world. “It was weird because every time I would visit before, it was never really emotional for me. But when I came that last time, I didn’t wanna leave. I couldn’t stop crying. I just felt such a strong attachment to the place,” she adds.

An offspring of pageant royalty Michelle van Eimeren and OPM living legend Ogie Alcasid, the Fil-Aussie beauty is fated for stardom. Shining bright with her sun-kissed complexion and hazel eyes, Leila’s sugar-sweet vocal prowess flawlessly complements her alluring star power. While her family ties might’ve paved the way for her career—surely, having Asia’s songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid as her stepmom is an added perk, the 21-year-old is motivated to lead her own path. “Funny enough, [my dad] stepping back and kind of allowing me to do things on my own has been a big help to me. He was really supportive and then after I got a bit more comfortable, I started to find my sound and make my own connections. He really stepped back and allowed me to flourish on my own,” she shares of her father’s guidance.

Aside from learning the local language, Leila has been working hard at cultivating her passions through voice lessons and acting workshops. Taking a quick break from fierce poses and lustrous gazes, the singer-songwriter chats with us about her musical influences, beauty essentials, and dream collabs.

Your music has a very chill pop vibe and we can’t get enough of it. What led you to making this kind of music?

I’ve always been really into pop music, obviously. Growing up, I loved girly pop and when I was thinking about the kind of music, I thought about R&B ‘cause I love listening to it—it’s very popular at the moment. But then I wanted something that also reflected my personality and generally, if I’m in a good mood, I’m a very bubbly person. You can ask anyone and that’s the one thing they’ll say: I’m always laughing, I’m always smiling. At least coming into it, it may change in the future and morph into something else, but for the beginning, I really wanted that my music reflected who I was so when you listen to it, it’s like you’re thinking of me, you know what I mean? I want them to see me for me and I want my image to be cohesive with the sound of my music.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

At the moment, I love Billie Eilish—I’m really obsessed with her. Also, there’s this artist who only started coming out with music now but I’m really obsessed with her, Lennon Stella. I don’t know if you remember the cup song, when they did the “Call Your Girlfriend” [mashup], it’s that girl. She’s grown up now. There’s also a Scandinavian singer called Tove Styrke. I can’t pronounce her name, but she’s really cool. I love her sound. I’ve been listening to a lot of Ariana Grande, especially her new album. It took a while to grow on me, but now that I’m listening to it, I really love it.

When I was first starting out, I was really into Lorde and Yuna. I think the way my sound has developed from that has just become a lot more me, a lot more pop, a lot more on the bubbly side rather than the edgy side. I also love Charlotte Lawrence. There’s a lot. Basically, any girly girl. And I’m obsessed with Troye Sivan.

As long as I feel comfortable in what I’m wearing and it complements whatever I’m feeling that day, then that’s basically what I go with.

If you were to collab with a musician, local and international, who would they be and why?

Internationally, I’d love to collab with Troye Sivan. Aside from the fact that he’s Australian, I love his music. Anything he comes out with, I love. I like what he stands for, he’s unapologetically himself.

Locally, there are so many! So many of my friends are singing now. I think I’d love to do a song with Claudia [Barretto]. I think it would be cool to kind of try out a different vibe, something a little more chill. I also love Kiana [Valenciano]’s music. And Donny [Pangilinan], I like his stuff. There’s a lot, like Fern—he’s with Universal [Records]. He’s a producer and he has a couple of songs. He’s really good. I wanna have a song with rapping too, that’d be cool, with local rappers like Curtismith.

On the other end of the spectrum, you also have an effortlessly cool fashion sense. Where do you get this sense of style?

I actually think it’s a mixture of both my moms. My mom [Michelle van Eimeren] is very classic, she has all the neutral colors, basics, but she makes it work and makes it very timeless. My stepmom [Regine Velasquez] is more on the expressive and adventurous side, and she has a lot of statement pieces. I learned to combine the two and what both of them have taught me and find where I’m comfortable. As long as I feel comfortable in what I’m wearing and it complements whatever I’m feeling that day, then that’s basically what I go with.

Can we just that it’s amazing how your skin always seem to glow. What’s your beauty secret?

I’m really obsessed with skincare. I mean, I love makeup and playing around when I can, but generally, I’m a very low-maintenance kind of person. I don’t really wear a lot of makeup. I make sure to do my skincare routine twice a day every day. I never go to sleep without taking off my makeup. I’ve always been that way. I would invest more in skincare than I would in makeup products. It’s very simple, it’s something that everyone does: usually I’ll cleanse twice and then I’ll scrub, then tone and moisturize. But I use oil-free stuff because I have oily skin.

I have to learn to adjust because when I came here, the atmosphere and air quality is very different from Australia, so my skin kind of freaked out at first. I had really bad breakouts and when I went to Australia again after months and months of being here, my skin freaked out again. So, paying attention to my environment and how it affects my skin is something that I have to be careful about as well.

Can you tell us about your beauty essentials?

I always need to have the Evian water spray and a good lipstick. I’m not a huge lipstick wearer, but I find if I don’t really have any makeup on and I have somewhere to go, I can just put on red lips and don’t need to have a lot on. It makes you look a little more put together. I always need perfume, too. I love Jo Malone, it’s my favorite—I have one in all my bags and in my cars, I always have it with me. I’m really big on smelling good because I feel like it makes you feel fresher.

And then, it was weird because every time I would visit before, it was never really emotional for me. I’d just come and leave and it was whatever. But when I came that last time, I didn’t wanna leave. I just felt such a strong attachment to the place and when it was time to leave, I couldn’t stop crying.

What’s the best beauty advice you got from your mom?

Drink a lot of water. It’s such a simple tip, like everyone’s “yeah, drink water,” but before, I was that kid who would never drink water. Then a couple of months ago, I became obsessed and I would drink two huge bottles of it everyday. My skin just became so much better, and it’s such a simple step, but if you do it, you’ll really see the difference. That’s the best thing my momma taught me.

Deciding to relocate to another country to pursue your dreams is a heavy decision to make, especially at a young age. What exactly motivated you to chase that dream here in the Philippines?

It came at a very unexpected time ‘cause I was in college. I was studying in Sydney and I guess I just felt really lost. I was studying and I like school and I was with my friends and it was all very familiar, but I didn’t feel like I was doing what I wanted to do or what I was meant to do. I didn’t know what I was meant to do but I just knew that it wasn’t that. So I was kinda feeling really out of place. I didn’t know where to go, what to do and then I spoke to my mom and she was aware naman that I just didn’t know where I fit in yet in terms of workplace and stuff like that. Where my future was headed, I was really unsure. So then, around the same time, we ended up coming here for a family vacation to visit my dad, stepmom, and brother. And then, it was weird because every time I would visit before, it was never really emotional for me. I’d just come and leave and it was whatever. But when I came that last time, I didn’t wanna leave. I just felt such a strong attachment to the place and when it was time to leave, I couldn’t stop crying. It was weird ‘cause my parents would’ve never considered that I would end up coming here to live. Basically, my mom was like, well, obviously you have some sort of connection here and she thought it was important for me to come and connect back to my roots and to my family. She was really the one that suggested I come here ‘cause I really came for family, I wanted to have a year off. I was planning on going back to Australia after a year and then when I came here, I just fell in love with it and I wanted to stay. Coincidentally, I ended up also finding what I wanted to do as a job so it was all very unexpected.

I don’t like when [fans] put people on a pedestal, I really don’t like that. I kind of really stress the fact that we’re on the same level. I think that’s what helped me really connect with people more and they got to know me more because I tried to be as down-to-earth as possible and just interact as if, you know, “we’re all friends here.”

What is it about this that made you feel welcome to start a career here?

I think it definitely helps having parents that are in the business. Along with that, it means that I know a lot of people in the business—a lot from my parents’ generation and my generation—so coming into it, everyone was very welcoming of me because of course they knew my parents and had this sense of taking care of me because I was new. It was nice because it meant that even though it was so unfamiliar to me—being on tv and singing and doing whatever in front of people—having people around me, familiar faces, and everyone being so kind has definitely helped me in that situation.

Did you encounter any difficulties connecting with the local audience during the beginning? How did you manage to overcome it?

I definitely did. I mean the biggest obstacle obviously is Tagalog. I take lessons and now, compared to a year ago, I can understand almost completely. I can watch films without subtitles and if I’m comfortable enough, I can kind of hold conversation but it’s still a little, not amazing. That was definitely an obstacle but I found, for me, the way that I could connect the most with my audience here is through social media. I’m very, very interactive with my fans. I’ll reply to their messages, I’ll like and reply to their tweets, I’m very very interactive with the people that talk to me on social media. On Instagram, I like their comments and stuff like that. I found that that was the way for me to break whatever barrier was there especially since people often have misconceptions based on me being the daughter of Ogie [Alcasid].

I don’t like when [fans] put people on a pedestal, I really don’t like that. I kind of really stress the fact that we’re on the same level. I think that’s what helped me really connect with people more and they got to know me more because I tried to be as down-to-earth as possible and just interact as if, you know, “we’re all friends here.”

I can go to him and he’s always taught me to remember why I’m doing it. It’s not to impress people, it’s not for any other reason than to just make yourself and people happy.

It’s no secret that your dad is a legend in the music scene. How has he helped shape your own music career?

He’s done a lot for me. Aside from being my manager, he’s given me a lot of advice over the last two years. Funny enough, stepping back and kind of allowing me to do things on my own has been a big help to me. Because in the beginning, obviously we were in each other’s pockets all the time. He was really supportive and then after a while, when I got a little bit older and I got a bit more comfortable, I was starting to find my sound and make my own connections. He really stepped back and allowed me to flourish on my own. That in itself taught me so much. It taught me a lot of independence but also, he’s still there if I do need him. I can go to him and he’s always taught me to remember why I’m doing it. It’s not to impress people, it’s not for any other reason than to just make yourself and people happy. It’s a good thing for me, I’m very grateful to have people in my life, like my parents, who have experienced this and they know it at the back of their hands, so coming into it, I was in a very blessed position.

Speaking of your musical influences, which artist or what song is currently on repeat for you right now?

“Breakaway” by Lennon Stella at the moment. I really like the way she wrote it, she’s a very good songwriter. It’s a different sound and I think it’s the direction I’m heading to. I’m already thinking ahead, I guess. I want to eventually move into an edgier kind of sound.

What’s probably the best fashion advice your mom gave you that has stuck to you ‘til now?

To dress for your body type. I think it has a lot to say about your confidence. If you dress for your body type, it doesn’t really matter what body type you have as long as you know how to accentuate what you have. It’s true, it does a lot for confidence. If you wear something you feel a little uncomfortable in because it shows parts you don’t want to show, it’ll change your posture, everything. It’ll change how you feel about yourself. That was one thing she always taught me. When she’d buy me clothes or when she tells me to pick clothes, that was always what we looked at.

That in itself is a motivation. Not because I’m not proud of being his daughter because I am. But you know, I just want to be remembered for something that’s my own.

What’s a skincare step that you never skip in your routine?

Cleansing.

What’s your desert island beauty product?

Good question. Probably like a hydrating mask, ‘cause your skin would get dry, diba?

With both your parents having carved their names in history already, how do you manage to strive to make a name for yourself? What keeps your passion flowing?

It gets hard sometimes, of course, because you’re constantly comparing yourself to others or comparing yourself to your parents. For me, I guess because I want to make them proud, so I look at everything they’ve achieved and how proud they already are of me and I wanna keep that going so that really pushes me to make a name for myself so that I’m not walking around and everything I hear is just “anak ni Ogie, anak ni Ogie.” That in itself is a motivation. Not because I’m not proud of being his daughter because I am. But you know, I just want to be remembered for something that’s my own. One hundred percent, wanting to make my parents proud and just the fact that I’m blessed enough to be walking the same path as them is a very big motivation for me to strive to do my best.

Photographed by Miguel Alomajan
Makeup by Anton Patdu
Hair by Jeff Valenzuela

Styled by Angela de Dios

No comments yet

Write A Comment

Related Products

Related Articles