“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss”
Kaila Estrada doesn’t need to slip into a pair of glass slippers to enchant.
Her beautiful face, sunny nature, and her kind, gentle personality will whisk you away
to faraway lands where the sun doesn’t set and gloomy clouds are a myth.
She’s a positive ball of energy and her radiance is more evident when she’s doing something she’s passionate about. “I love doing shoots. I really enjoy it,” says the 20-year-old as she puts on Little Red’s hooded jacket. She’s on her nth dress change, transforming from one fairy tale character to another for the last five hours, but if she’s exhausted, it doesn’t show. “This is really fun for me,” she says. “I love how I get to play with how I look and take on different roles.” Which is perfect, since halloween season is just around the corner.
Coming from a family of actors—her dad being John Estrada and her mom, Janice de Belen—Kaila naturally gravitated towards the spotlight. It was bound to happen. Though acting on TV is not something she sees herself doing (“I don’t think it’s for me. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea”), being in front of the camera, modeling is something she really enjoys doing.
Being able to do what she loves didn’t happen without hard work and perseverance, though. Kaila, like everybody else, has experienced rejection on so many occassions. “It was difficult at first because I’m not exactly the model type,” she says. “I’m not really skinny, I’m not super tall.” At 5’7”, the fresh-faced beauty admits she’s quite shorter than most models. “When I was starting out, I would go to so many castings and go-sees and they would never book me.” This got to her at one point, but she didn’t dwell on this for long and chose to keep trying. “Later on I realized, you just have to find your niche,” she says. “When I started booking shoots and runway shows, that’s when I said to myself, I really want to do this so I’m going to stick to it. I just really have to work hard.”
Her love for her craft is obvious, but Kaila is the first to admit that as much as she enjoys modeling, it would never get in the way of her studies, which remains to be her priority. The Arts Management student is now on her final year in College of Saint Benilde, with thesis keeping her busy most days. She has to juggle school and work, but she’s not one to complain. “I’m blessed to be busy,” she says.
Busy as she is, Kaila makes time for family and friends, and as she’s not the party girl type, she always just finds herself bonding with her loved ones over food. “Me and my friends, we just eat. We’re always on the lookout for new restaurants” she laughs. “And the worst part is that’s what I do with my family too!” Quite the food lover, you would never hear Kaila saying she’s on a diet. (“Dieting sucks! It’s the worst! When you tell yourself you’re dieting, you’re gonna want to eat even more!), but she likes eating healthy. “I’m not gonna lie, I love junk food,” she confesses. “But I usually eat clean, and on days when I don’t have work and I just have school, I go to the gym after class. I like working out.”
Her personal style is simple, with ripped jeans and white sneakers as her wardrobe staples. Never the girly-girl, Kaila always goes for the edgy, androgynous looks. When it comes to fashion, the most important thing, she says, is to know what suits you. “Especially when you want to be known as an authority in fashion, and you want to be appreciated for how you create your look,” she adds.
She admits she still has a lot to learn when it comes to fashion, but the key is to figure out what looks good on you, more than anything else, and “don’t follow a trend if it’s not who you are.” It was the best piece of advice she’s gotten from one of her best friends, and as she goes deeper into the world of fashion, it’s something that she always goes back to.
Red Hooded Jacket by Lord Viktor
Black and white dress with white ruffle detail by Mark Bumgarner
Makeup by Alexandra Lisbona of MAC Cosmetics
Hair by Darwin A. Siñel