My name is Hazel Alejandra Lao, I am an Advertising Arts student from the University of San Carlos and I am based here in Cebu. I grew up in Camiguin, a small island in Northern Mindanao where I did not even know about the existence of Adobe programs up until I entered college. I took up my course without any of the slightest idea of what I was getting into except that I know I can draw. I could say that my ‘real’ training as an artist began when I took up Advertising, because since then I have learned many ways of expressing my ideas through visual communication. My groupmates and I won Lantawan’s cover design contest last year and that has been my greatest achievement in college, so far.



My uncle, Jorge Lao, is a painter and my grandmother’s home was filled with his works. At a young age, I would look at his paintings and thought to myself that I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to create what he does. My way to spend my past-time since I was a child was by drawing and sketching, and I got to learn more techniques and really delve into it when I took up my course.


I can’t define my style specifically as I am still experimenting, and continuously evolving. However, one common thing about all my works, whatever style it maybe, is that it always has that feminine touch to it, whether it be on the technique, the light strokes or the choice of colors.



It started off as a joke by my friends to do a project about a sex book, but something in my mind clicked that I could turn this into a genuine idea by making it an advocacy for safe sex. It is rarely talked about despite its immediate importance and I took it as a chance to give light to the matter.

The common misconception about sex education is that people associate it with malicious connotations. They think that it encourages adolescents to have sex, when in the truth is that it teaches us how to make safe and healthy choices for our own reproductive health.

I scrolled through countless pastel goth Tumblr accounts for two months so I could really tap into the feel of that aesthetic. I have many illustrations that did not make the cut as I was constantly revising every detail so that everything turns out cohesive.

This was also the first project where everything was mostly done on Photoshop, which I rarely use. I am a self-confessed Illustrator girl.

One particular memory that comes to mind was during the first time I went to have it printed. The pages turned out wrong. The person who printed it cropped and edited some details which ruined the layout. I broke down then and there at the printing shop. It has become a fond memory now when I think about it.


I don’t want to make this predictable but so far, my greatest achievement was making The Girl Guide. The way it was warmly received was a huge deal for me. It was not only for the praise I got but for the message I was trying to get across, the way people were open-minded and accepting towards my advocacy makes me think of it as a great achievement and it gives me a lot of hope for the future.


I want to say that my goal is to be an Art Director but that sounds conclusive and restricted. As cliché as it is, all I want is to be able to live up and unlock my full potential, to be the best that I could be and then I’ll let the chips fall where they may.


Revolutionary. Art has always been subjective, but with how almost anything is shared and posted online now, more people are appreciative and can see that any expression of creativity and passion is an artform. Drag is art. Makeup is art. A well-curated Instagram account is art.


Today, you can look for inspiration anywhere online. I usually go to Pinterest or check an artist’s account whenever I need to feel inspired, though I keep myself in check to only do it at a minimum so that it’s not entirely copied or based off someone’s style. Recently, however, I have been obsessing over Rupaul’s Drag Race and seeing how the drag queens from the show are very conceptual and creative has inspired my craft as well.


Fashion-wise, it would be Rihanna. Like they said, a garment is ugly until Rihanna decides it isn’t. She can make any look work for her and her style is always unpredictable and keeps everyone on their toes. She never stays on the safe side and always takes bold fashion risks, that’s why people look forward to what she does next.