Saturday, March 12, 2016

Fangirl for Life

11:07 PM

Share it Please
Fiel Estrella, EIC of Elision Zine, tells us how she lives her life constantly obsessed. 

Fiel Estrella lives her life constantly obsessed.

Born and raised in Manila, the bespectacled Fiel (full name Rafaella, after the archangel Raphael) is the product of a Tumblr generation. Her blog, Wonderless is a treasure trove of over 400 posts consisting of reviews, daily ramblings, and feature-style articles that have garnered tens of thousands of notes on the micro-blogging site—a feat that’s earned her the much-coveted status of being “Tumblr famous.”

Dressed in a lace cream blouse and jeans, it only takes a few minutes sitting down with her in a pizza joint to see that Fiel’s real life personality is quite different from the online persona that she has crafted over the years. “I'm definitely more eloquent, outgoing, and talkative online, because in person I'm a stutter-y, shy mess!” she admits.

She is quiet and unassuming—“a total INFJ.” This is so much so that when she finds a hair in her half-eaten white cheese pizza, she plucks it out and ignores it, without even a word to the restaurant’s staff.

Currently in her fifth year as a BA English Studies major at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Fiel began blogging at 10 years old when Blogspot was all the rage. She has since abandoned four blogs with titles that she refuses to state (“Too embarrassing,” she exclaims.)—all of which were chronicles of her everyday life in the style of diary entries.

Each new blog was a chance for her to start afresh. “Sometimes, you would forget to update, and then it’s been such a long time that you feel like a different person so you would want to start over,” she says.

A quick scroll through Wonderless and her Twitter account would show you just how passionate she is about the things she loves. While there are some bloggers who do it for the fame, Fiel is firm when she says that her blog is mostly just for her. “I would always just post something that I felt strongly about and just was true to me. I didn’t really care about what people would think about it,” she says of her posts. “Because I would always feel that I was blogging for myself and for posterity so I could always go back to it and read,” she adds.

Her influences come from everywhere, and it’s surprising to learn that Fiel’s foray into the world of fandom has its roots in her love for bands—specifically, mainstream pop band the Jonas Brothers.
It was in her second year of high school that she started growing out of her Jonas phase, and in an effort to fill the space that the band left, Fiel went through magazines, taking note of new bands that sounded interesting to her.

The vast archive of influences on her blog can be credited to all the time she’s spent researching. “I’m always looking, looking, looking,” she chirps.

Fiel's online zine, Elision. has released nine issues so far.

Eventually, it was all of her interests that paved the way for something greater in the form of Elision., the quarterly youth webzine of which she is editor-in-chief. It started out as a means for appreciation—something for fangirls by fangirls—before blossoming into the stunning cultural work that it is today.

As Elision.’s head honcho, Fiel manages a staff of writers and photographers (from the Philippines and abroad), and acts as a curator of content that includes interviews with artists, as well as in-depth looks at pop culture and literature, and everything in between.

Since the zine was launched in October 2013 while she was in her second year of college, Fiel and her team have been able to do over 40 interviews with local and international personalities alike. Most of the correspondence is done over email, and it’s through this method that they’ve managed to interview people like YouTuber Dan Powell and musicians John O’ Callaghan of The Maine and Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. More recently, they were given the chance to meet and interview chef (and Solenn Heussaff’s brother) Erwan Heussaff at his condo in Makati and local actor Alex Medina at one of his band’s gigs.

Elision. has always been about appreciation, and Fiel is proud of what it’s become. “I guess one of the things that kind of differentiates Elision. from most press is that we interview people who we actually like, or that we’re fans of. That’s always great, but I guess it’s worth getting to ask people on a personal level about things that have always made us curious.”

Wonderless no more: Fiel started a new blog late last year. 

As a student however, Fiel admits that she was quite distracted in her freshman year. This eventually caused her to fail one of her majors, leading her to get delayed.

This event became fodder for doubt in the 21-year-old, making it hard for her to think of the future and what she wanted to do. Fiel sighs, recalling that she “couldn’t look beyond months into the future.” “I started doubting myself, especially because I started putting myself out there as a writer, like joining contests, and it wasn’t always successful,” she adds.

As a means of accepting her fate as a delayed student, Fiel learned to cope through escapism—focusing on her work for Elision., but also making sure that her studies were in check.

Late last year, she started a new blog on Blogspot called automatic eyes. Though it’s only got a few posts so far, she finds formatting it fun, so she’s decided to move to it permanently. Perhaps, this is a signal that Fiel is ready to look forward and face everything.

When asked what she plans to do after graduation, Fiel replies firmly: “Just getting into the publishing industry. Whatever it takes.” That goal isn’t so far-fetched, considering how far she’s gone with Wonderless and Elision.

With one semester of college left to finish, she vows to continue asking questions and finding sources of inspiration, one influence at a time.

Article and collage #2 by Gaby
Cover collage by Sean
Gaby is still trying to figure things out. On most days, you’ll find her at her computer, excessively bookmarking links to DIY projects and articles about teenage wunderkind. You can find her writing on this 'ere thing, as well as on Twitter, Young Star, and Rookie.


Sean is a 15-year-old muggle-born who is proud to say that he is perfectly abnormal, thank you very much. Peculiar in many ways, he is a far cry from that common stereotyped teenager.  He has a great passion for art, and would love to do nothing more than making collages and other creative thingamajigs. 


Post a Comment