This week’s hottie may be a familiar face if you love Broadway! Devin Ilaw is an actor, singer, musician, educator, and social activist who strives to leave the world a better place than how I came into it. A Filipino-American cutie who has graced the stage in productions of Miss Saigon and Les Miserables, 36-year-old Ilaw is devoted to arts education.
Ilaw was recently featured in the 2022 Broadway Asian Men calendar honoring the gorgeous Asian men on and off stage. The calendar, a partnership between Unapologetically Asian and Mari Uchida, is a collection of photos is a love letter to the Asian community and aimed at dispelling the negative stereotypes Asian men face in media, Broadway, and beyond. Ilaw is sure to be a favorite calendar boy that you will want hanging around all year long.
If you follow Ilaw, you know that the New Yorker doesn’t shy away from sharing his gifts with the world. His gifts also include his natural beauty, which he graces followers with through his modeling. On occasion, Ilaw will bare it all and show that confidence is more than skin deep. And what BEAUTIFUL skin!
Ilaw’s talent, sexiness, and authenticity are the reasons he is this week’s Instinct Hottie.
Let’s get to know Devin Ilaw a bit more:
INSTINCT: Where did your Broadway journey begin?
DEVIN ILAW: I think in 8th grade or so, I used to hide in my basement and put on “costumes” and either sing along or lip sync to the 10th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables at Royal Albert Hall on VHS (yes, VHS). I used to replay “One Day More” over and over again so I could sing every single character. I did that with Jekyll & Hyde, too. Jekyll & Hyde ended up being the first show I ever saw on Broadway. In 2016, I made my Broadway debut in the revival of Les Miserables, and in 2018 I performed in a concert of Next to Normal as Gabe opposite Christiane Noll, who was Emma in that OBC Jekyll and Hyde I loved so much. Full circle moments.
INSTINCT: What attracted you about musical theatre?
DI: I had a lot of repressed emotions as a kid growing up in the closet. In musical theatre I found not only a creative outlet to express those emotions, but also a community of other unicorns and weirdos just trying to make our way in the world and bringing joy to others along the way.
INSTINCT: How did you get started in modeling?
DI: I honestly kind of just fell into it! When I was a kid, I rarely if ever saw Asian male models represented in the mainstream media. As a young gay man navigating the online dating scene, I became too traumatized seeing countless profiles saying things like “no fats no fems no asians” to ever view myself as someone others may deem attractive. Whenever a photographer or creative director would approach me and ask if I modeled, I’d think “…huh? me…?” but say “No, but I’m directable and love to play, if you’re okay with that.” Cuz why not? The only way to get over fear and trepidation is through. Last year, it was a recommendation from a Miss Saigon former cast member and friend that eventually led to my maiden walk (in heels!) down the runway on Project Runway. A lotta chutzpah, more self confidence, and a shove from some wonderfully supportive and kind people got me started.
INSTINCT: What’s something about you that most people wouldn’t know?
DI: Er, I dunno? I’m pretty open if you just ask. Tend to be an oversharer so I always assume people know more about me than they probably should.
INSTINCT: What brings you joy?
DI: A night at Korean BBQ with chosen family. Really, any meal with the people I love, but Kbbq is usually where we get the loudest, dumbest, and eat and drink the most. Similarly, I love an all-night dance party with my boys #iykyk. A more extravagant bringer of joy would be travel. There’s so much to see and experience in the world, ya know? My fav destinations so far are Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and the Pyramids at Giza, Egypt. Where to next?
INSTINCT: What do you think is the most attractive part about yourself?
DI: I’m a unicorn and I love a new adventure. New bar? Let’s go. Climb a mountain? Got my boots right here. Skydive? Did that for the first time last year, loved it, ready to do it again. Let’s knit? Cool, you’re probably better than me, wanna teach me a perfect bamboo stitch? The virgo in me loves defined structure, the unicorn in me thirsts for spontaneous thrills cuz that makes life magical.
INSTINCT: What do you find you are complimented on the most?
DI: Usually my singing voice.
INSTINCT: What, to you, defines sexy?
DI: Confidence in one’s uniqueness and earnestness. If you’re hot but are more concerned about saying something “on brand” than what you are actually, honestly thinking and feeling, it’s a naw dawg and an *eye roll* for me. I read people well and sense that shit instantly.
INSTINCT: What is your proudest moment in your life thus far?
DI: Ah, well I guess that brings that back to “something about you that most people wouldn’t know.” Just thought of something that answers both of these questions. Let’s sit under the stars one night and I’ll tell ya.
INSTINCT: What haven’t you accomplished, personally or professionally, that you are wanting to do in the next 2-3 years?
DI: Something that I’ve been working on is definitive boundaries between work and life and nurturing the life side of that balance. So… I’d love to travel to Italy (and eat everything in sight) and Athens, Greece and see all the sites because I love mythology. Personally and professionally, I’d love to spend more time in the Philippines; there’s so much in my heritage and roots I’m interested in and connect with, and I think gaining life experience there would deepen and enhance my creativity both as an artist and an educator. I’ve been contemplating grad school as well, but truly any furtherance of education within field(s) that interest me are def on the table.
INSTINCT: Have you found love? If so, what is the best part of your relationship and what do you love most in your partner(s)? If not, what do you look for in the ideal relationship? Or are you not looking?
DI: Oh, I’ve found love many times. You can love someone for a minute, you can love someone for a lifetime. It does not mean that your Life path may always journey beside that of another/others. We change, evolve, and grow into new selves and over time, those selves may need or or want to be loved in different ways from different sources. These days, I’m less inclined to abide by the ideology of there existing a singular and monogamous partner for me for life, which comes off to me as rather heteronormative and antiquated. Instead, I’m interested in nurturing relationships and potential partnerships with people who are interested in sharing deep and honest moments together and building rules and guidelines for us and only us as we go/grow. (That goes for sex and pleasure too.) If the first Pride was a riot for the right of queer self expression, then I choose to protest “the relationship standard” and challenge myself and the person/persons in my life to express our love for one another in such a way that allows us to live as ourselves intrinsically as both individuals and as a union.
Rapid fire question time:
- What is your all-time favorite movie?
- The Matrix! I love Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade too.
- Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
- At this moment? Michael Norman. Woof.
- At this moment? Michael Norman. Woof.
- What is your favorite cheat meal or snack?
- I’m Filipino, I LIVE TO EAT. No such thing as a cheat meal. Fav snack is a grilled Ensaymada from Mary Grace in the Philippines, or Jjapaguri.
- If you were stuck on an island for eternity, what music album would you want to have with you?
- If it was a tropical island, probably something chill like Jay Brannan’s Goddamned or covers by Scary Pockets. If an island that was cold and dark, something disco or David Guetta’s Nothing But the Beat.
INSTINCT: What does it mean to be featured as our Instinct Hottie?
DI: *insert performance of Sally Field’s Oscar acceptance speech from 1985*
INSTINCT: Anything else you’d like to share with the Instinct readers? You can use this to promote anything you’d like as well.
DI: Just be kind to one another. Be kind, be honest, and dare to be unique and different. Thank you for taking the time to get to know a little bit about me here in my little spotlight in the world.
Follow Devin Ilaw for your daily dose of song and sexy smiles.