MANILA — Set to graduate with a marketing degree and a 1.0 general weighted average, actress Alexa Ilacad is flattered to be likened to her character, Bobbie Salazar, in the prequel to the iconic “Four Sisters and a Wedding.”
Ilacad is set to graduate later this year from Treston International College, with a dean’s lister distinction and a “flat uno” that drew comparisons to her 2020 portrayal in “Four Sisters Before the Wedding.”
But Ilacad was quick to point out differences from Bobbie, who is described in the film as possessing both beauty and brains. In the memorable words of Teddie (Toni Gonzaga) to her sister, “Ikaw ‘yung matalino, ikaw ‘yung maganda. Lahat, ikaw na!”
For one, Ilacad does not necessarily consider herself academically smart, saying she is instead hardworking and determined. That is, she pushed on despite challenges and once getting overwhelmed to the point of breaking down in tears.
“Honestly, hindi naman ako talaga matalino sobra. But what I am, is masipag. So I think that’s what people need. We need that tiyaga, we need that extra effort to achieve what we want… What I really am is just masipag. I just work extra hard. These things didn’t come easy for me,” she told ABS-CBN News.
Ilacad, 21, juggled her three-year program starting in 2018 with major acting projects, including the primetime series “The Killer Bride,” the “Four Sisters” prequel, and another, ongoing ABS-CBN drama “Init sa Magdamag.”
Recalling the time she broke down due to the pressure from both her studies and work, Ilacad said, “I cried and cried, but then I realized, I still have to do it.”
“So, let’s do it. Pahinga lang muna. Tanggapin muna ‘yung cards that I have been dealt with, and then — let’s do it!”
Whereas Bobbie willingly sacrificed love and time for her family for her studies and career abroad, Ilacad, in contrast, said her first year in college alone was a learning experience on ambition taking a toll on other aspects of her life.
“I was pushing myself, doing everything. I was very ambitious. I wanted to prove myself, that I wasn’t just an artista. People were belittling me. I wanted to prove them wrong,” she recounted.
In that process, however, Ilacad started neglecting her personal relationships, recalling that the fatigue from both showbiz and schooling would affect how she dealt with them emotionally.
“I noticed that I was getting super sungit, because I was so tired and stressed, and hindi ko na napapansin ‘yung parents ko. When I realized, ‘Is this the price I’m paying? Am I becoming mean just for the grades?’ — that’s when I said, ‘Step back muna.’ Grades, these numbers aren’t as important as being present with your family and my pets. I learned how to balance,” Ilacad explained.
While the balancing act came with hurdles she admittedly felt were overwhelming at times, Ilacad was quick to say that finishing on time had been worth it.
Aside from being equipped with a degree, Ilacad is taking away wisdom, too, when it comes to prioritizing oneself while on track towards a big goal.
“To anyone doing anything at all, always prioritize your well-being. If doing all of that means sacrificing your mental health, do not. It is not going to be worth it in the long run. You’re still going to feel empty inside, because you would be broken and tired.
“At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself the most. All the other things around you will follow. Make sure you are fully okay. Kasi we can’t do anything naman unless we’re 100%... That’s one thing we forget when we’re so wrapped up in things we want to achieve. We forget to take care of ourselves,” she said.