“Always set small goals for yourself—they don’t always have to be big to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.”
Isabela Albert is the quintessential Gen Z. She enjoys music, likes to play online games, dresses up in the latest fashion, and watches shows on Netflix.
Though her background is anything but typical—she is the daughter of business power couple and FILA Philippines owners Butch and Cris Albert—15-year-old Bela, as her family and friends like to call her, is “laid back” and “gets along with people pretty easily.”
And just like every young individual, she also dreams of forging her own path one day.
Living through a pandemic
As a teen hungry for new experiences and ready to explore the world, having to live in lockdown can be frustrating. As is the general sentiment among the youth in the country and around the world, being forced to take a pause can feel like wasting the best years of life. Isabela echoes this thought when asked about the difficulties she experienced during the past year.
“I had a hard time adjusting in the beginning, not being able to go out as often,” she says.
Schooling has become a challenge, too, as the shift to online classes meant that she’s unable to experience regular classes and interact with friends face-to-face.
“Honestly, it’s just hard having to wake up and be active in class, knowing that my bed is five feet away,” she jokingly adds.
But just like everyone else, Bela tries to make the best out of quarantine life. Much of her spare time is spent with her mom, dad, and older brother, all of whom she calls her best friends.
“I realized that it is a good opportunity for me to spend more time with my family,” she says. “We watch movies every Sunday and I even sleep next to my mom once a week.”
When she’s not busy with school or hanging out with her family, Bela spends her days taking care of herself. As her parents own and run a sportswear brand, she recognizes the importance of being active.
“I go to the gym about three times a week,” she shares, before adding that physical activities keep her in a good mood. “I feel best when I’m playing sports.”
She considers the gym as her “safe place,” too, especially for her mental health. “I do most of my deep thinking at the gym. It’s one of the only places where I can just think and let go of all the negative thoughts at the same time.”
When she’s feeling particularly bad or upset, Bela says she turns to her hobbies or to her family for comfort.
“My hobbies mostly consist of playing the piano or guitar, playing sports, and playing video games like Call of Duty. I’ve been watching a lot of sitcoms on Netflix, too” she says. “I also delete my social media apps and spend the day with my mom and/or brother.”
Future is business
Being in a family of businessmen and women, Bela says going into business is a natural choice for her—and she is keen on pursuing it in the future.
“Just like the rest of my family, business really interests me,” she says. “I’m very proud of what my parents have built and I would love to be in the retail industry in the future.”
As the leaders of FILA Philippines, Bela’s parents have shown passion and dedication to their business, cementing the Italian fashion brand’s presence and growth in the local scene.
In 2019, the brand was the talk of the town when it released a limited-edition Disruptor 2 to Filipino shoe enthusiasts. The chunky shoe was unarguably the year’s shoe to have. It was much-coveted that it quickly sold out and requests for restocks seemed endless.
Recently, the brand also successfully introduced BTS-fronted collections, which featured hoodies, jackets, shirts, totes, shoes, and hats.
Though she is undecided yet about what specific aspect of running a business she wants to work towards, Bela says she is currently “focusing on getting into a good university” and is trying to learn as much as she can.
Her mom has been especially insightful. One of the many lessons she has learned from her so far is to be strong even in the face of rejection, which is prevalent not just in life, but also in the world of business.
“My mom always told me to never be afraid of rejection because it’s natural,” she says. “The worst you could get is a no, so never let it be a hindrance to pursue whatever it is you are pursuing.”
Given that surviving itself during these challenging times is difficult enough, Bela remains driven and hopeful for better days ahead.
“Always set small goals for yourself,” she says. “They don’t always have to be big to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.”
The path Bela takes remains to be seen, but such a mindset at a young age could well be a sign that the future is nothing but bright.
PHOTOS BY MIKE SERVER
CREATIVE DIRECTION BY MARC YELLOW
HAIR AND MAKEUP BY PATRICK ROSAS
STYLING BY ROKO ARCEO
SITTINGS EDITOR DONG RONQUILLO