Meet Jessey de Leon: UST's fashionista volleybelle and role model
Barry Viloria on Jan 25, 2016 02:41 PM
Let this Tigress—currently on her last playing year in the UAAP—inspire you with her many lives. (Photos taken from de Leon's Instagram account: @jesseydeleon)
UST Golden Tigresses' middle hitter Jessey de Leon leads a different life once the nets are furled after training. On weekends, she can be found at the Palace Pool Club or Valkyrie in Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig, all glammed up usually for some fashion event to attend or to fulfill her duties as one of the ambassadors of the hip party place when it's off season; or just in some chillax foodie district in Makati or Manila for some food trippin' with fellow volleybelle Mika Reyes of La Salle or a couple of high school friends or college teammates.
It seems pretty impossible for a busy student-athlete like de Leon to be out and about, if her five-days-a-week (sometimes, six) training and sleepless #arkilife aren’t enough to fill her schedule up.
But the 21-year-old fifth year student says, “It’s just time management. I just know my priorities. Ang social life, extra na lang for an (escape). Kelangan mo din ma-socialize kasi mababaliw ka, kasi sa ibang tao ka rin natututo minsan.""
“I live at the dorms, pero sobrang hirap din kasi kailangan mong mamili sa social life, aral, at volleyball. Ang kalaban pa naman ng mga arki (students) is time. We need time to do our plates and to study. After training, I take some rest then gawa ulit ng plates. Sobrang less ng time na for my self and time for others.”
It almost sounds like a pity party, but if at all de Leon seems to have mastered the hustle and bustle that has kept her on her toes in the past year. And the years that have gone before that. De Leon started playing volleyball in fifth grade at St. Scholastica’s College, upon the influence of her sister. She went on and became a member of the varsity team.
For college, De Leon entered UST mainly for the kind of architecture curriculum and training it offered--she wanted to be on the same track as her enginner of a dad. She wasn’t keen on pushing for a collegiate sports career, but fate became too kind when she would later get into the varsity team.
“Sobrang naadik ako. Life ko na ang volleyball. It's like, life wouldn't be complete without it,” she says with a laugh.
So far, so good it is for de Leon, who was the Unigames 2013 Finals MVP and has been a consistent Dean’s Lister at UST. Currently playing her last year in the UAAP, she is set to gain more experience in the next year as an architecture graduate in preparations for the board exam that will follow.
“Yun ang dream ng dad ko for me. Yun na rin yung way ko to give back,” she says. “If may chance to play and model, why not?”
The (role) model
Yes, of all the things she’s into, de Leon also aspires to be a model. With her slim frame and killer abs that have graced fashion media like Preview Magazine, Style Bible, and B/Bench Blog, that should have been a giveaway. But she says it was a long struggle to have the confidence to do it.
“Very insecure ako and very shy, actually, dahil sa thin frame ng thin body ko. Mas payat pa ko nun. I was always bullied, even ‘pag naglalaro ko sa mga inter-barangay competitions kung san ako yung pinagtatawanan lagi nila. ‘Lumilipad na papel’ daw na ‘madaling ihipan ng hangin!’” she admits.
How’d she gain faith on herself then? She has her idols, high fashion models Cara Delevingne and Arizona Muse, as her inspirations. It was also her family and friends who would push her, and that she learned to believe in herself more.
“Nag-start ko muna i-love ang sarili ko. Kahit ganito ako kapayat, kaya kong maglaro. Hindi naman sa physical na anyo nadadaan, nasa kung gaano mo kagusto gawin ang isang bagay.”
And that’s how she plans to inspire everyone else, now with her vast social media following. Presently, de Leon has more than 43,000 followers on Instagram and around 60,000 on Twitter.
“Nakadagdag ng confidence pag meron nakaka-appreciate sa'kin, like my supporters and especially kapag meron akong na-i-inspire. Yun yung pinakanakaka-touch, na sila din pala na-iinspire to work hard for their dreams because they know that it is possible. It's touching kapag sinasabi nila na ‘Don’t give up."
"Mas lalo na kapag may fellow arki students ako na nagsasabi na ’Alam mo ba, kinakaya ko mga stress sa school dahil iniisip ko na lang, ikaw nga kinaya mo with volleyball eh, ako pa kaya?’ It's good to know you're helping others.”
Well said for this girl of many hats who’s surely off to do many things.
So happy to be featured in @chalkmagazine (Dec issue)and @uaapmagazine! Grab your copies now! 😊 One important lesson I learned this 2015 is that dreams really do come true. In 2015, I had my first ever professional photo shoot, my first fashion editorial and I was featured as one of the models to watch. I'm currently reading @bjpascual's book, PUSH, and it is definitely a MUST-READ especially to us, the youth, who aspire to make it big in the fashion industry. It also made me realize that perhaps this book is the PUSH that I need this coming 2016 — to chase my crazy dream of becoming a successful model (other than becoming an architect) after graduation (yes, i know, it's a crazy "secret"). The book is about finding success in something that you are very passionate about especially if you work hard for it. So thank you for making such an inspiring book. ✨ HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! Hoping that 2016 will be my transitional year & I'm hoping that you never give up on your dreams too 💛