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Alex Gonzaga: 'I always chose the wrong people'

Fast-forward to today, Alex proudly shares she’s in a much better place.

'You really need to be whole and know yourself fully before you get married.'

It was four years ago when I first met Alex Gonzaga. It was late 2014, and a vivacious 26-year-old was the star at her first Cosmopolitan magazine cover shoot. I clearly remember her dancing and munching on plates of pichi-pichi in between takes—who cares if she had to wear a metallic fitted crop top for the shoot? She, even at that time, seemed to be living her best life already.

It was also then when Alex—Catherine to her closest peers and family—successfully added “author” to her resume. She published her first book, Dear Alex, break na kami. Paano?! Love, Catherine, a collection of love advice from Alex herself. 

Four years later, I got to sit down with Alex and talk about where she’s been, what she’s learned so far, and where she wants to be. 

Alex's December 2014 Cosmopolitan cover

“I don’t think she’s a different person,” she said after I read quotes from her cover story in December 2014 and asked what she thought of her past self. Back then, she opened up about her heartbreaks and failed relationships, and how, in the process of recovering from the pain, she realized one problem: She didn’t fully love herself. “Noong time na yan, I think I was starting to see the brighter side [of things]. Hindi ko pa naisip na darating yung moment in my life na magiging maligaya ako sa love life. Well, I was hoping, pero hindi ko pa alam kung sino and ano pa,” she said. 

"God will always give you what you need, not what you want."

Back then, Alex admitted that she was so fixated on something since she was a young girl: getting married and being a good wife. After all, two of the most important women in her life, Mommy Pinty and her Ate Toni Gonzaga-Soriano, married their first boyfriends. (Toni met Paul Soriano at 23 and Mommy Pinty met Daddy Bonoy at 21.) “Noong time na I was saying that, alam ko it was wrong. Pero I was not yet comfortable. I was still learning to be comfortable with myself—to be proud of myself,” she said. As a couple of years passed with suitors coming and going and a few downfalls in her career, Alex figured out that her parents have been right all along: “You really need to be whole and know yourself fully before you get married.” 

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Fast-forward to today, Alex proudly shares that she’s in a much better place: “I got through it. Naisip ko, hindi pa ako talaga ready magpakasal. Kasi ang dami ko pa rin palang gustong gawin. Ang dami ko pang gusto i-fullfill. Before, ang gusto ko na lang mag-fulfill ng mga gusto kong gawin is yung mapapangasawa ko. Pero that’s wrong. I always chose the wrong people.”

Alex has found a kindred spirit in boyfriend Mikee Morada, and she admits that it’s the first time she’s felt at peace with a relationship and that there’s absolutely no need to rush to the altar. “Before Mikee, sinabihan ako ng mommy ko at ng ate ko na tigilan mo na muna mag-date, kasi parang OA ako ma-hurt e," she said. But two months after her last heartbreak, she met Mikee through actor Piolo Pascual. “Mikee went to my house, at parang wala silang nasabi. So na-realize ko na siguro gusto nila si Mikee.” 

Suddenly, things were falling into place and Alex’s family approves of her new beau. “If you really wait pala for the right time—in God’s perfect time—mami-meet mo [yung para sa iyo] and then more than pa dun sa checklist na gusto mo,” she reflects.

“God will always give you what you need, not what you want. With Mikee, I’m comfortable and hindi ako nagmamadali.” Alex admits that while she does think of their future together, she doesn’t obsess over it. “I know we’ll get there pero hindi namin niru-rush yung mga bagay.”

These days, we all associate Alex with her YouTube videos. In just a little over a year—she created her account in July 2017—she’s gained over 1.7M subscribers and 108M video views. “It started because gumagawa ako ng videos on Instagram with my pamangkin,” referring to her sister Toni's unico hijo Seve. “Noong ginawa ko yun, ako yung nag-edit [and] nasiyahan ako. Iba yung fulfillment na inedit mo tapos natutuwa ‘yung mga tao,” she said. However, Instagram limits videos to just one minute, and it was that time limit that pushed Alex to ultimately move to YouTube. “It just so happened na noong na bring-up ko siya, my friend, Winnie Wong, was there. She helped me set up everything,” she recalled.

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Little Toni and Alex with Mommy Pinty

Today, Alex’s fans and subscribers get a little peek into her personal life: Her relationship with her family—especially those ridiculously hilarious videos with Mommy Pinty—her travels, and even her relationship with Mikee. Through her YouTube videos, Alex feels that she’s developed a closer bond with her fans: “Noong lumabas yung channel ko, parang naging friend na nila ako. Yun yung masarap ang feeling—yung lalapitan ka nila, yung parang kilala ka talaga nila. Sobrang na-appreciate ko talaga yun.

Aside from her flourishing career in acting, hosting, YouTube, and writing (In 2016, she published a sequel to her first book: Dear Alex, We’re Dating. Tama, mali?! Love, Catherine; she also recently co-wrote Sissums with her sister Toni ), Alex reveals that she still has a lot of goals set for herself. On her list? Be on the other side of the camera, for one. “I want to produce a TV show. Gusto ko maging creative mind ng isang show.” Another dream that’s about to come true is to star in a film with her Ate Toni. “It’s about two sisters fighting over a man. It’s coming out this year and is produced by Direk Paul!” she said excitedly. (Just two weeks after our shoot, Alex shared the news that their film, titled Mary, Marry Me, was officially accepted to be part of the Metro Manila Film Fest 2018.)

Given her tightknit relationship with her sister, I knew I had to ask about the best piece of advice she’s ever received from Toni. Without batting an eyelash, Alex said, “To be humble. Laging sinasabi ng ate ko kapag nalulungkot kami, 'Alam mo, pride na natin ito e, Catherine.' [She tells me to] always look back—kung ano yung estado natin dati, tapos tingnan mo kung gaano nagiba na ngayon. Bakit malulungkot ka pa? Bakit magiinarte ka pa? Just be happy and content with what you have. Yan ang lagi niyang sinasabi.”

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Then, as if on cue, Alex gets a Facetime call from her ate and Seve, and it was time to wrap up our interview and start the shoot.

One thing's for sure: There's no stopping Alex Gonzaga.

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PRODUCED BY: Jacinda A. Lopez

SITTINGS EDITOR:  Jillian Gatcheco and Retty Contreras

ART DIRECTION & PHOTOGRAPHY: Jico Joson

ART DIRECTION ASSISTED BY: Mixi Ignacio

SHOOT COORDINATION: Lou Ferrer

SOCIAL MEDIA: Andie Estella

STYLING: Joy Bernardo of Stylized Studio

HAIR: Jerry Javier

MAKEUP: Denise Ochoa

NAILS: Extraordinail

On Alex:

  • Top: Kresles, Jacket: Kresles, Skirt: Stylist's own, Heels: Call It Spring
  • Top: Bershka, Shorts: Kresles, Jacket: Kresles, Shoes: Call It Spring
  • Top: Bershka, Blazer: Kaye Morales, Skirt: Stylist's own, Earrings: Finery Department, Shoes: Aldo