Words Pat Calica
Photographs by Marlon Pecjo
Stylist Cath Sobrevega, Assisted by Riri Verano, Kt Landingin, & Jem Arboleda
Makeup by Mikka Marcaida
Hair by RJ Dela Cruz
This story first appeared in Speed Magazine’s April 2019 issue.
Alex Gonzaga has always felt restricted in show business. She knows she can offer so much more, but her space in the entertainment industry is very limited—which can really be the case most of the time. Yes, actors and entertainers can add their personality and character to their performances, but at the end of the day, it is the director, producer, or the network who has the final say.
And so Alex looked for another platform where she can truly express herself—and that turned out to be vlogging. Almost two years after her first-ever vlog, Alex now has over three million subscribers on her YouTube channel (not to mention her over six million followers on Instagram, more than one million on Twitter, and two million plus on Facebook).
Alex has definitely made her mark in the world of vlogging. She has thrived in it so naturally and effortlessly. But more importantly, she seems to be happier and more contented in this endeavor.
Come join us as we enter the fun and crazy world of Alex Gonzaga, and follow the story of how the little girl with a head full of ideas and dreams turned into a social media star and an unstoppable force in the cybersphere.
It all really started with some few minute-long Instagram clips. Alex uploaded a few videos of her and her nephew Seve, her sister Toni’s son. A lot of her Instagram followers liked the videos and kept asking when the next one will come out. So she thought of doing longer videos and perhaps create an actual vlog.
It was a good thing then, that YouTuber and friend Winnie Wong was there when Alex made the declaration and offered to help her with her new project. The next day, Winnie already had everything she needed set up—her channel’s logo, her official YouTube account, and more.
“I have nothing to lose naman. At least nagagawa ko ‘yung gusto kong gawin,” Alex says during our interview.
When Alex started vlogging, gaining followers and viewers and constantly trending on social media were not part of her plans; such ideas didn’t even exist in her wildest dreams. What she simply wanted was a medium where she can execute her ideas and show her true self without restrictions.
With the mindset that someone would appreciate and accept whatever she’d put out online, the young actress started churning out video blogs. Alex laughingly shares: “Ang iniisip ko nga nun eh madaming magsasabi sa akin na mag-YouTube na lang ako at ‘wag nang mag-artista.” She also thought that she might eventually lose her TV shows and would have to become a full-time YouTuber, so she started researching on what it’s like to become one.
Well now, she is one.
Her first-ever vlog was with her sister Toni. We’re pretty sure you’ve already seen it, but if not, allow us to paint the picture for you (or you can watch on YouTube after reading this article): Alex and Toni are sitting on a beige couch. Alex is doing does her ate’s “Natural (Brownie) makeup.” It’s a typical makeup tutorial clip that’s been done so many times in various iterations. But what made this premier video a hit, aside from the undisputable pull of the sisters’ celebrity status, is Alex’s hilarious quips, which really stand out and perfectly contrast with Toni’s almost deadpan persona during the video blog.
Alex’s vlogs feature mostly her family, friends, boyfriend, and co-workers. Her videos are a mix of personal, travel, games, and even music videos and TV show parodies. “It’s entertainment for family,” says Alex when we asked her how she’d describe her YouTube channel to someone who hasn’t seen any of her videos yet.
It’s unscripted, too. According to Alex, she simply sets an activity in mind and then shoots it. There are no scripts or rehearsals. Even her parody videos, “Chambe” and “BirdBaks,” though planned and more professionally produced, are more or less unscripted and unrehearsed. Alex wants her vlogs to be natural, and perhaps it’s the reason why many enjoy watching them.
Alex is hooked on what she’s doing; it’s what she has always wanted to do ever since she was little. “Bata pa lang ako gumagawa na ako ng kwento sa utak ko. Sa mga play namin sa school ako na ‘yung pabida ever since,” she tells us. So, with her vlog, Alex says—matter-of-factly but with no hint of arrogance whatsoever—that she didn’t have any problems with what she would put in her videos. Ideas for content just naturally came pouring in.
Moreover, Alex enjoys the hard work—conceptualizing the content, shooting the videos, and supervising the editing process. “May fulfillment,” she says. “‘Yung sabihin mong ‘Ako ang gumawa niyan’ eh mas fulfilling for me kaysa sa ‘Ako ang umarte niyan.’ Tapos alam mo pa na maraming nagkakagusto.”
Ratings & reviews
Alex has learned a lot since entering the vlogging world. But more than anything else, she’s learned to be responsible with what she puts out in her channel. Unlike being an actress where she simply follows what the director or producer wants her to do for the scene, vlogging has given her full responsibility for her work.
“May mga times na nagka-controversy ako with my vlog, but kailangan ko talagang i-own. Mas naging responsible ako at mas naging accountable sa lahat ng actions ko,” Alex explains.
With that duty on her shoulders, the actress-vlogger has learned how to filter what goes into her vlog. She remains protective and respectful of the personal affairs of her family, friends, and boyfriend. When she meets with her friends or fellow artists and she knows that they will be discussing sensitive or private things, Alex knows not to bring her vlogging gear to their meeting.
She’s also this way outside of vlogging. A secret is a secret to Alex, but you have to say so. “Kapag sinabi sa akin na secret upfront, secret talaga. Hindi ko talaga ‘yan ipagsasabi. Pero ‘pag hindi mo sinabi sa akin na secret ipagkakalat ko ‘yan. Minsan sinasabi ko pa nga dun sa tao[ng concerned] talaga kasi nga ayaw kong may tinatago,” she explains.
Alex is also now more sensitive when it comes to her vlog content. “Dati kasi wala akong pakialam kasi nga I’m thinking, it’s my vlog, it’s my channel. Pero na-realize ko nga that when you put your videos out there, public domain na siya. Meron at meron talagang mga taong maghahanap ng sama ng loob sayo. Might as well don’t give it to them.”
When it comes to criticisms, Alex chooses to remain positive about it. If she thinks the negative comment is constructive, then she tries to learn and improve from that. If it’s simply vitriol, however, she doesn’t dwell on them. Sometimes, she even reads them over and over until she’s immune.
To say that Alex is passionate about vlogging is an understatement. She considers it her greatest achievement when people—especially students attending her talks and speeches in schools— approach her and tell her how her vlogs made them happy and helped them become more confident. Knowing that she inspires her followers while entertaining them as well makes her happy.
Perhaps these words from Alex herself explains how vlogging has turned into a very important aspect of her life aside from opening more opportunities for her: “Ngayon, because of vlogging, na-accept na [ng mga tao] ‘yung personality ko sa work. Mas comfortable na ako kasi hindi ko na kailangang itago. Dati sinasabihan ako na Wag Alex way ha?’ or ‘Medyo mag-tone down tayo.’ Ngayon ang sinasabi na is ‘Let’s do it the Alex way ha? Gawin mo kung anong feel mo.’”