Crush of the moment: Model-cum-Adamson Lady Falcons coach Airess Padda

Barry Viloria on Jan 25, 2017 05:45 PM
Crush of the moment: Model-cum-Adamson coach Airess Padda
Last seasonís seventh placers from San Marcelino welcome Season 79 with a renewed sense of hopeóin the form of this no-nonsense stunner. (Photos courtesy of Padda)

Name: Airess Star Padda
Instagram: @airessstar
Age: 31
Birthday: April 27, 1985
Zodiac sign: Taurus
Degree held: BA in Communications (Major in Public Relations)
School graduated: California State University, Los Angeles
Current position and team: Head coach, Adamson University Lady Falcons Volleyball Team coach
Who she’s dating: “Not dating anyone! But who knows?”

Where and when we started crushing on her: At a dinner at Ally’s All-Day Breakfast Place in Quezon City. UAAP Season 79 Final Four contenders, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, were eating out to celebrate a win against the NU Bulldogs. Mozzy Ravena, former UAAP volleyball playe and that night’s host as the resto’s part-owner, later introduced us to Padda. She was also with the team, and had just taken on the coaching job. “She used to model!” Ravena said in the introductions.

Why we find her crushable: Standing at 5’10” and sporting curly, spunky hair, black beauty Padda finds no difficulty turning heads while in a room. “With the hair, I stand at 6’!” she jokes. “That’s why I chopped it, but it’s still big and curly.” Add to that her athletic frame that’s perfect for any fashion shot, Padda almost met instant success in the modeling world. Just in time after her collegiate volleyball career, she thought of trying it out. She went to different agencies at LA (being LA), and later got into some acting classes and commercials. “I liked modeling because you create art. You could be someone else, you had many alter egos. I love fashion but I was often too big to be booked on big fashion gigs so I would create shoots with my friends. I loved being in front of the camera, connecting with the photographer and selling products. I think for women it’s important to be comfortable in your skin, no matter what size you are. I was a lot different than the average model. I was still strong and athletic. So it was a way for me to appeal to other women out there wanting to buy clothes or a product, seeing someone like me wearing the product made them want to do the same,” she says. “It was empowering.”

How she maintains her being crushable: Padda has breathed sports since her youth, having tried her hand in softball, track, and basketball. (In fact, she only got into volleyball at 15!) So, no doubt on her looking all kinds of good. “Sometimes, I'll hop in the conditioning with the girls if I'm feeling like it. But I love the gym. I run, box, and lift all twice a week. I'm starting to get into yoga, which I need desperately,” she laughs. “I love HIIT classes and interval training as well!”

Why she’s not just a pretty face: If you’re curious, no, Padda isn’t Filipino. She was born and raised in Stockton, Northern California; for college, she moved to LA and lived there for 12 years before flying to Manila for her recent job. (She played middle blocker mostly throughout her career!) This isn’t her first time here, though. Having coached since 22 years old, Padda flew here around three years ago to train collegiate and pro players at a volleyball camp. “During that week, I made some great connections. When (lighting brand) Akari came on board and took over the volleyball program at AdU, someone mentioned my name to them. They knew they wanted to bring a coach in that was a female, something different, foreign and maybe just brought a different culture to the team.”

Who she is off the court: Padda’s one perky pal, if you ask her. “Until I get on the court,” she blurts, following it with an attempt in Filipino. “Joke lang!” Volleyball and modeling are just two sides of her, as the rest reveals her interests in acting, cooking, beach-bumming, and “eating sweets till she’s sick.” And she’s a self-proclaimed “badass chick” while at it! “My focus is on volleyball right now. If the opportunity came (to model more), I would need to see if it would work around with what I have going on. I miss it. I miss creating and making magic with other creative artists. You know what would be a dream? To be in a Nike ad!”

Why we can’t wait to see more of her: Since June last year, Padda has instilled a whole new level of discipline in the ladies. “First impression was there’s a lot of work to be done,” she says with a laugh, adding that the difference between the Falcons and American players wasn’t just about the physical. Padda would know, as she grew up as a “competitive” athlete who at five years old was already training a la champion, with a very technical program and coaching staff. Competitive sports, she says, is also about the mind. “The biggest difference has been the mindset, though.” Hence, Padda’s “simple” but intensified training program for the rebuilding seventh placers from UAAP Season 78. It’s just about “working hard everyday! Not giving less than 110% every time you walk into this gym. A team may be more talented than us, but they will never out work us. Teamwork is huge! I stress it everyday.”

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