KD Estrada and Alexa Ilacad: Connected
When we were kids, it was easy to make friends. The teacher could group us together with anyone, and it wouldn’t matter. There were no cliques, no barkadas, no feeling of dread when the seat chart was shuffled around. But when you’ve lived life a little more, you realize that making connections—genuine connections—takes a little more than sharing your crayons.
KD Estrada and Alexa Ilacad, better known as KDLex, know a thing or two about this. As one of the country’s leading love teams, they know the power that a real connection brings. They know the importance of putting in the work, but understand that silence is a welcome comfort, too.
The two met in Pinoy Big Brother (PBB): Kumunity Season 10 Celebrity Edition, which premiered in 2021. But as KD admits, his stint inside Big Brother’s house wasn’t his first glimpse of Alexa. “I [had] actually watched Alexa in some of her projects,” he confesses. But even then, KD already saw what a “strong, beautiful, independent woman” Alexa is.
“I knew that we’d really be good for each other’s mental health,” shares KD. “We always told each other what we were emotionally going through. We understood each other. We were empathetic towards each other. That’s how our foundation was built.”
Meanwhile, Alexa recalls that KD struck her as “a very quiet, very shy boy.” But as the two started to get to know each other, something just clicked.
Despite the time that they’ve spent together, Alexa remembers the instant she knew she found someone special in KD. “There was this moment when he was alone playing his guitar and I just sat next to him,” she reminisces. “In that moment, it was quiet. It was peaceful. I just really felt like, ‘This is nice, I found a good friend in this person.’”
It’s no secret that, as KDLex, the two twenty-somethings are together every day. But they understand that sharing the stage or the set is not the same as when they’re just two people having fun outside of the public eye. Alexa confirms: “Iba pa rin yung (It’s different when) you’re together because you just want to spend time with each other.”
KD echoes Alexa’s statement, adding: “We update each other through texts, we always tell each other what’s going on in our lives, our separate lives. We’re emotionally there and always supporting each other, mentally and emotionally. We always plan things; when we’re gonna go out na hindi (that isn’t) work. It’s a different thing. Here, you have to be professional. But outside work, we’re just ourselves and having fun.”
The pressure to perform weighs heavily on them both, with KD even admitting that they get messages from people who question: Bat hindi kayo ganito? Bat hindi kayo ganyan? (Why aren’t you like this? Why aren’t you like that?)
But it’s clear to KD that neither he nor Alexa are at fault, and there’s no need to put on a performance to please everyone. He stresses: “At the end of the day, me and Alexa are just humans. We go at our own pace, at our own time. What you see is what you get. It’s just two people who are really connected to each other, and they have to work with each other.”
Being seen is part of the game, and no one knows this quite like KD Estrada and Alexa Ilacad. Having spent weeks inside the PBB house, Alexa quips that she has nothing to hide anymore.
“We like to engage with our supporters, we like to go live and sing for people…I was just very comfortable showing ourselves a lot,” shares Alexa. “And then I realized, ‘Oh, we don’t have to do that.’ It’s fun rin pala to keep some things private.”
Alexa admits that boundaries are still something she’s learning to draw. Likewise, KD firmly believes that not everything should be put under the spotlight (or on social media).
“You don’t have to share every single aspect of your life, your personal life,” says KD. “I would say the line is when it really gets too personal…It’s a fine line, and I drew that a long time ago.”
What makes the balance work between KDLex the love team and KD and Alexa as private individuals is clear to the two involved: their connection is real. It isn’t made up for the camera, they aren’t following lines from a script and they aren’t playing characters for a film or series. “We can just be our genuine selves,” explains KD. “Some people may say it’s fan service. But in all honesty, it’s just two people really having fun with their lives.”
But while their connection was clear from the beginning, Alexa recognizes that it takes work, too.
Alexa recalls a time in her life when she didn’t understand why she felt certain ways or why she would act out in certain situations. “After processing and talking to myself, studying myself, reflecting, I realized it’s because ‘oh, I need this’ or ‘I need to give this’ or ‘accept this.’ It’s really a process of understanding yourself, too.”
She explains further: “I have made mistakes in giving my all right away, and not saving for myself. I am still learning how to set boundaries and know my stance in situations. Even with KD, I’m not afraid to say when I need to be alone and I would appreciate comfort.”
KD Estrada and Alexa Ilacad met by chance; there was no way for them to know that they’d one day be dubbed KDLex. It took time for them to meet, for them to form their relationship, and they still continuously work on the connection they share. It isn’t by some simple divine intervention that they are who they are together. It was and remains a conscious effort to be with each other and to be each other’s source of peace.
“If I think about how I used to be in the past, I was really scared to make connections, to make the first move, or even ask if we could talk or try to build a connection. I was really scared of being rejected, of my efforts being wasted, of my feelings getting hurt,” shares Alexa. “And then I realized, it's not something you can escape talaga in life. You have to pursue it. If I think about KD, if I kept my walls up, if I let my fear get the best of me, then I wouldn’t be sitting beside him. There would be no KDLex, and I would still be alone.”
At the same time, there is no forcing a connection with people who don’t reciprocate the effort. Once it feels one-sided, there is no way around or through it. “Kapag naramdam mo na pilit, uwi ka na. Stop ka na (If it feels forced, go home. Stop it),” advices Alexa.
On the other side of our interview, KD quips the importance of right timing. “Me and Alexa found each other through showbiz, some people may find each other through work din…but I would say, just be patient,” he says. “Do your own thing, and it will come. You have to remember that life is coming from you and not at you.”
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