Photography by Stephen Capuchino

“I’m going to change the world. Either you’re gonna jump on board or you can watch me sail away,” told the 25-year-old Filipino-Scottish performer Alex Diaz to his father, when he came out as bisexual to the world.

Alex looks radiant as he enters the room with his manager, meeting with the staff of StarStudio.ph on a Friday afternoon.  His darker skin tone hints of the fun time he had in Bali, Indonesia, where he had just spent a lovely vacation for some fresh air. 

His delightful personality is far from most of his 'bad boy' roles on TV, greeting everybody and introducing himself with a bright smile.

It's hard not to notice his oozing sexiness—even in the way he unbuttons his shirt low enough to show his pumped-up chest. 

In short, Alex is a combination of nice meets daring, as he bravely faces the most metamorphic event in his life so far, which has also become, for him, a way to go through an unexpectedly beautiful transformation.

Read more: Fitness Inspo: Shirtless Photo Shoot-Ready Alex Diaz On Fitness Over Parties

Growing up with zeal

Born to a Filipina mother and a conservative Scottish-Irish father in Angeles City, Pampanga as Alexander James Diaz McDermott, young Alex moved to Canada with his family when he was two. In total, he has eight half-brothers and a half-sister from both his parents. Their big family lived in a big neighborhood where Alex and his siblings rode bicycles and unleashed their adventurous selves. 

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

His parents described Alex as ‘makulit, stubborn, talkative, friendly and attention-seeking kid'. “I was very much a performer as a kid. I like to perform in front of people,” he proudly says.  

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz) 

Alex was into a lot of things when he was young. “I used to do wrestling as a kid and I got to blackbelt taekwondo when I was 12.” 

More than his extracurricular activities, Alex liked to do challenging dares. He fondly recalls one of the craziest things he did as a child: breaking into houses.  “Kami lang 'yung bahay na may tao Monday to Friday. Everything else, akala namin walang tao. We only discovered when we started breaking into the houses.”

 Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

While young Alex was at it, he brought his bat because he thought that made him a kickass. “Wala naman kaming ninanakaw. Naiwan ko 'yung bat ko. Kasi akala ko astig pag may dala akong bat. My parents caught us.” The hilarious twist was when his parents asked him what he stole: “Ang ninakaw ko lang was a chocolate bar. Kinain ko sa loob. Kaya kami nahuli.” Alex laughs at his own memory. 

When Alex was 12, his family moved to the Philippines, because of the inflation that Canada was experiencing at that time. "So we couldn’t afford a big house, and my dad likes living big. He likes his comfortable house with his big car. Also he wanted us to have a more conservative upbringing not influenced by drugs and stuff like that,” he explains. 

Alex continued his studies in the Philippines. Contrary to most Flipino boys, Alex played football and volleyball instead of the unofficial national sport, basketball. “But then all my classmates started calling me gay, so I was like nah, not gonna do that.” 

He went to De La Salle Canlubang for high school and went to Enderun Colleges, where he took Marketing for two years. At that time, his family was having financial constraints, so he had to quit college. 

Meant for show business

One particular day in his life was to be a pivot towards another direction. “Pagpunta ko sa Makati, na-scout ako ng isang modeling agency.” 

Alex was scouted through Facebook and was offered to model for a food brand. “I got a billboard,” Alex says. Following that was a project for a powdered juice ad. 

For most young people, this was an achievement in itself, but for Alex, he viewed it as something deeper. Alex admits that he had rough times growing up, because of issues he had with himself that he hadn't quite figured out, and during that time he also felt it difficult for him to love himself. “You wanna do something that will make you like what you wanna see in the mirror, right? So the validation you get in the billboard. Seeing yourself in the TV.” 

From then on, Alex decided to pursue show business.

“I did modeling and I was fortunate enough to make money out of it.”

He discovered that showbiz was a huge playground, another one of those he would soon love to 'break into'.  He ventured into doing radio jocking. 

“It got to the point na junior jock pa lang ako, nagbo-board na ako mag-isa, ‘cause they couldn’t trust anybody else. So 'pag may graveyard shift or may board meeting, they got me to go on (deck). I could have done that for a job.” Quirky Alex cannot help but deliver his spiels like he actually normally did—and fell in love with it. 

Photo from RX 93.1

 After three months, Alex was set for greater things, as he was included in the roster of artists for Star Magic 2013.  Among his batch mates were Julia Barretto, Khalil Ramos, and Jon Lucas. 

Unfortunately, Alex had to leave the radio station. The stage he was looking for was truly somewhere else. “Sabi ko, I’m sorry guys, kailangan ko nang habulin ang pangarap ko.” 

Photo from Star Magic

The rising career of Alex was well-associated with a lot of projects with young supertandem Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo. “First show was Got To Believe with Direk Cathy [Garcia-Molina] ,then after that, She’s Dating The Gangster, then after that I did Bagito, and then, Pangako Sa’yo

Fun fact: To get the role of Kit Rosales in Got To Believe, Alex shares that he had to be at a coffee shop at ten in the evening just to catch Direk Cathy, so he could audition for the role with the uncertainty of getting accepted. 

Lo and behold, Direk Cathy found their guy in Alex.

 Photo from Twitter (@GotToBelieveFP)

Alex expresses his deepest respect and appreciation for both Kathryn and Daniel, whom he learned a lot of his acting cues from, and even got referrals for hosting gigs for.

“Basically, KathNiel put food on my table. Sila 'yung nagpakain sa’kin," Alex muses with a sigh.  "I’m so thankful to them. Without them, siguro hindi ko na itutuloy yung career ko."  

Photo fromTwitter (@KathDevotees)

Years later, Alex got cast in a movie with another heavyweight tandem, Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, plus Julia Montes. “(I had) Just The Way You Are with LizQuen, then Halik Sa Hangin with Julia Montes.”  He also had stints on Maalaala Mo Kaya and Ipaglaban Mo

 Photo from Star CInema

Almost all of Alex’s roles made him act like either the bad or the egotistical guy, a far cry from the tender and sensitive soul that he was in real life. “I didn’t feel like a bad boy on the inside, because I never considered myself the bad boy. Like I’m the guy that likes to sit with the person with no friends at lunch," he shares. “I love befriending the odd ones out. I hate making people feel like their character is being attacked.” 

It was a striking parallel to the internal process he was going through as a person—deep inside him, he was that same person being persecuted by personal demons that he hid in secret and had yet to confront.  No one outside of his sphere knew, though: everyone who would meet him in person will just feel that palpable sincerity of a young man, and nothing else beyond that. 

Getting used to playing the antagonist, Alex must have found his forte when he received appraisals for his acting chops in Bagito. “’Dun ako tumatak sa showbiz, kasi maraming nainis sa akin. I was a bad dad. Binubully ko sila Nash. 'Dun ko naranasan na 24 sequences na kasama ako sa lahat. 'Dun ko natikman ‘yung grind ng showbiz.”

Like some of his TV contemporaries, however, he wanted to explore having a love team. “Me and Chienna [Filomeno] wanted to be a love team so bad, like we wanted to be ChieLex." 

Photo from Dreamscape Entertainment

When you get to know Alex more, we would wonder what things he actually can't do, because he just seems good in everything. In 2017, hence, Alex became a MYX VJ after his third audition. 

He chuckles, “Pia Wurtzbach 'yung MYX journey ko. I guess I wasn’t just their cup of tea (yet). But I was persistent. 3rdyear, I guess it was my time.”

And then, another crossover happened: theatre. 

Alex landed the role of Racetrack Higgins in the Disney musical Newsies in the Philippines, where he trained for six months learning all sorts of dance genres. “Theater is the true mark of a performer,” he points out. 

Alex won Best Crossover Artist From Showbiz to Theater Award at the BroadwayWorld Philippines 2017.

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

Alex even released music during his entire career, proving that he is indeed a young talent of many things. On top of that, he is now also one of the most sought-after hosts in the Philippines. “I can just pull things out of thin air. I owe that to my Dad. He always taught me to walk in the room with your head held high. Know what you’re gonna talk about. Know what you’re gonna say, even if you really don’t … Fake it till you become it.”

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

A refugee of his own body

However, he was still struggling in the inside. While he was loved in showbiz as a cool dude on- and off-screen, he couldn't say the same for himself. 

“I used to hate myself. I used to think that I had this: like I was a monster with a dirty secret. I had to hide it from the world."

Alex, and no one else, knew all along what he was: a young bisexual man.  "I always knew in high school that I was attracted to both (men and women),” Alex earnestly reveals. 

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

When Alex entered puberty, he started getting confused that it got to the point where he searched for a sense of belongingness, but couldn't find it. He craved acceptance, much like everybody else, but he was not sure if he would be embraced. “You start making a fake persona.You start faking it. You start being somebody you don’t like."

He clarifies that he didn't go as far as experimenting during high school.  Years later, though, he felt that he—the Alex that people knew—was not the person he truly was inside. "Di ko na kilala sarili ko, and I knew I had to change."

Alex confesses that he went through emotionally-charged breakdowns in the past. Sometimes, he would wake up crying in bed. Or he would find himself crying in a taxicab going to work. 

“I was tired seeing people attacking the character I built.” 

 

He was doubly scared of what people might think: in showbiz, when one declares that he or she is someone other than "straight" —it tends to mean public ridicule or judgment. 

“In showbiz, actors and actresses alike, we get scared into the closet under the premise that wala tayong mararating pag nag-out tayo. Tapos na career natin. Eh karamihan sa atin walang college degree,” Alex explains calmly.  “My own father was also afraid so, I was never gonna come out. I was never gonna do it on my own.”

His Cornerstone manager Mac Merla sat down with him, and advised him to seek professional advice. 

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

 The pivotal point 

Things got quite tricky for Alex, when a scandal between him and fitness coach Miguel Chanco surfaced on the Internet in October last year, and sent shockwaves all over. 

Screenshots of his conversations were posted by Chanco, which were of Alex intimately propositioning the fitness trainer. This suddenly thrust Alex’s sexual identity front and center. The secret was out. 

Read more: Amid controversy, ex-MYX VJ Alex Diaz comes out as bisexual

This was met with fiery online discussions from netizens, some thinking that the forced 'outing' of Alex was painful and downright unfair. The LGBTQIA community, and allies of the movement, rushed to the actor's defense, stating that standards or conventions regarding sexuality should change with the times. 

For Alex, however, he realized it would all turn out to be a blessing. He was finally free of the shackles of shame. 

“I guess this was God’s divine intervention ‘cause he said it’s time for you to change the world," he muses. "It’s time for you to change lives with your platform. I was outed.”

At first, Alex thought life was over for him. “I was so scared but then at the same time I was like wow. I’m free like I feel like a blanket of trauma and self-loathing was lifted from my life,” Alex narrates.

Hiding no more 

“I was so thankful to Miguel. I’m so thankful to him," he shares, looking back. "It could have killed me. We have kids as young as nine years old committing suicide because of that. He put me in a position where I had no choice but to be strong,” Alex sincerely expresses. 

Read more: Fitness coach apologizes to Alex Diaz over ‘indecent proposal’ issue

He considers Miguel the catalyst for his change. 

 

For Alex's family, there was no other way but to shield him from attacks from all fronts.  Alex’s father, for instance, had always been protective of him. He was surprised for his son, though, that instead of society castigating him, voices rang out from all over, accepting him openly with so much love. 

“When the scandal happened, I guess he had no choice. At the same time, I no longer cared, because instead of getting persecuted and condemned by society, everybody supported me,” Alex clears out. “Biglang nagkaroon na ako ng confidence na hindi na ako kayang i-manipulate, kasi kilala ko na sarili ko. Mahal ko na ang sarili ko. So I guess in that sense parang my dad noticed something different, like when he looks into my eyes… there’s a different kind of spark.”

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz) 

“I told him if you don’t accept me, I’m okay with that. I’m going to change the world. Either you’re gonna jump on board, or you can watch me sail away,” Alex bravely told his father. 

He accepted Alex wholeheartedly and apologized if he had caused trauma to his son. He became more tender, and his relationship with Alex grew even deeper. 

His mother, on the other hand, did not find any problem with it at all. “Wala talaga siyang angal sa buhay. She’s just happy that I’m home. “

“I also acknowledge that my situation is one in a million," Alex now realizes. "The norm is (pag) nag-out, nagpakamatay. I said in my vlog that my fans are the reason I’m still alive today. They saved me," he warmly emphasizes. “It was really a God-defining moment in my life.”

 Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

Alex took to social media to finally share his story.  His coming-out story trended on Twitter, and he became a beacon of inspiration for young people who are going through the same trying challenges in life.  

Embracing his true colors, Alex started to become more vocal about representation, as bisexuality is still misunderstood by some people. It became the basis for discussion for his upcoming iWant project's character. “I asked them to change up my character. I feel like if I was to play a gay character like all the people who are struggling with duality and bisexuality, they might feel lost.”

 Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

Dreamscape, the production company producing the project, honored his point of view and rewrote the material to make him play a bisexual, instead of a gay man. 

“It’s no longer about money. It’s no longer about the clout. It’s no longer about fame. It’s about giving a voice to people who for so long had no voice,” Alex says, happily. 

And then… love 

Although Alex was still in the midst of figuring himself out when he was with It’s Showtime regular Chienna Filomeno a couple of years back, he knows what he truly felt for her. 


“She was my first real love, but we were so young,” Alex recalls his moments with the GT member. “I was worried if I was with her to protect myself, or if I really loved her, but looking back now, I really did care about her.”

Photo from Twitter (@ChieLexTweeties)

In an interview during the media launch of her girl group GT in May 2019, Chienna revealed that her relationship with Alex lasted four years. No wonder why there is a certain authenticity in the way Alex talks about Chienna—they really had the connection.  

Today, Alex considers Filipina-British Ella Hake special to him, as evident on social media. Being progressive as he is, Alex dares to detail his relationship with Ella. 

“She’s my ex-girlfriend. As of the moment … I’ll just say this, just so it creates more visibility ‘cause I know it’s not a concept in the Philippines: we’re in somewhat of an open relationship.”


Dictionary.com defines an 'open relationship' as: "one where an established couple has mutually agreed to share a non-monogamous lifestyle."  

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

“From the start of our relationship she knew that I was bi,” Alex shares. “That allowed me to love her with all that I have, and I always tell her, even if we’re not together right now because we’re both working on ourselves: know that I love you whether it’s how I hold you, how I talk to you, how gentle I am with you, how I save my energy to make sure you get taken care of properly. She’s special to me. That’s who she is.”

  Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz)

Photo from Instagram (@alexandermcdizz) 

For now, Alex Diaz may have ended his search for truth, but there is so much ahead for him to discover. If there is one thing that he has finally come to terms with, though—after going through different professional and personal quests in his life—it is this: that despite all the fears and doubts, love, in any shape or form, still truly exists in the world. 


Art Direction: Alfred Amado

Hair and Makeup: Gina Manalac

Photographer's Assistant: Mark Anthony Carlos

Editorial Assistant: Sam Marasigan

Special thanks to Mac Merla and Cornerstone Entertainment Inc.

After coming out as bisexual on Insatgram, Alex has received more projects coming his way. He has accepted two web series, a new Disney project with actress Gabbi Garcia, and the upcoming iWant original Oh My Mando.

Alex will also star in international movie Counterplay that will be produced under his father’s production company. “My dad basically made the movie because he wanted to make me a movie."

For now, the busy young actor will focus his career in acting and running his own Youtube Channel called Open Forum where he tackles socially relevant issues.