10 Things You Need To Know About Dream Academy’s Sophia Laforteza

She's about to be the it-girl.

Here are some fast facts about Sophia Laforteza, up-and-coming superstar and the only Filipino competitor on The Debut: Dream Academy!

Related: Meet the Only Filipina Competing for A Spot in HYBE X Geffen’s New Global Girl Group

In case you didn’t know, Sophia Elizabeth G. Laforteza is competing to become part of the newest global girl group formed by K-Pop industry leader HYBE’s collaboration with American record label Geffen Records! Using her talent in singing and performance, the 20-year-old Filipino artist will participate in K-pop survival reality show The Debut: Dream Academy.

The show’s first episode aired on September 1 along with the competitors’ introduction videos. While we’ll definitely learn more about Sophia during her The Debut: Dream Academy journey, for now here are some fast facts about the up-and-coming it-girl.

She’s the only Filipina to make it to the final 20 of Dream Academy.

Out of hundreds of thousands of applicants all over the world, Sophia Laforteza is the only Filipino performer who made it to the top 20 finalists competing for a spot in the new girl group. With her style, talent, and pride in her Filipino roots, Sophia is blazing a trail for the new generation by taking the chance to be a world-renowned artist under one of the biggest K-Pop companies in the world.

Talent is in her blood.

As the daughter of actress and performer Carla Guevara Laforteza and chef and former performance artist Godfrey Laforteza, Sophia’s very genetic makeup is filled with talent and ambition. Her parents have also been constantly rooting for her on social media since the Dream Academy lineup was announced.

She’s an ARMY—just like her dad!

In an Instagram post, Sophia showed off her purple blood as she posed with her father after watching supergroup BTS’ Permission to Dance in Seoul livestream. Dressed to the nines, with an ARMY lightstick in hand, we can plainly see her love for the boys, and we can only guess how excited or nervous she was to audition for the company that houses her idols.

The Debut: Dream Academy isn’t her first time in the spotlight.

At the young age of 5, Sophia made a guest appearance with her family in the Philippine talk show She Said, She Said where she talked about how she wanted to be a pediatrician and a performer. She also showed off her pipes by dueting with her mother!

She’s been singing since she was 3, and she’s been dancing for around the same time.

@sophialaforteza #duet with @clintonkane ib: @ysawitha_y ♬ original sound – clintonkane

Sophia’s been showing her talent on social media for years, and let us tell you—this girl can sing. We’ll let her TikToks speak for itself. Also, at five years old, she was already taking a variety of dance lessons at Julie Borromeo’s dance studio! She mentioned in She Said, She Said that she loved dancing and wanted to be an artist just like her mother.

Her confidence took a hit after an ankle injury—but she bounced back stronger than ever.

In her intro video for The Debut: Dream Academy, Sophia revealed she had to sit out some of her work due to an ankle injury and that it really affected her confidence. “I need you to give your everything,” she told herself. Once recovered, Sophia bounced back tenfold and performed well in one of her “strongest months in the program.”

Being nurturing and practicing self-love are integral to her character.

Sophia believes being nurturing is a special characteristic of Filipinos, and that it’s a big part of who she is, as well. After her ankle injury, she pushed herself to do her best and told herself that she deserves to be where she is. Self-love, no matter how “cheesy,” as she said in her introduction video, helped her “a lot” and allowed her to continue pursuing her dreams.

She graduated in 2021 with high honors and adorned with medals.

Sophia is a graduate of the Humanities and Social Sciences strand from Multiple Intelligence International School. She won 10 awards and 7 medals, proving that the young trainee is not just a superstar in the talent industry, but also in school! Bonus: she was also accelerated in school at a young age.

She has a killer fashion sense.

One look through Sophia’s Instagram and you’ll see how trendy and stylish the 20-year-old is. From pink pants to sequined dresses, her clothing pieces are always styled to perfection. She exudes an effortless, genuine charm through her fashion, and we’re this close to spamming her with questions as to where she gets her collection of boots.

She’s going to be performing Paramore’s Still Into You with fellow competitors Lara, Celeste, Samara, and Nayoung.

@dreamacademyhq Are you ready for Mission 1? ✨Your first chance to watch and vote for your Dream Academy fav is coming Sep 6. Watch the announcement now on YouTube! #DREAMACADEMYHQ #HYBEGEFFEN #HYBE #GEFFEN ♬ original sound – Dream Academy HQ

The girls’ first mission on The Debut: Dream Academy was revealed on September 1. Split into four teams—two dance and two vocal teams—the competitors will perform their assigned songs to secure their spot in the next stage of the show. Sophia’s team, Vocal Team B, will be performing a special arrangement of Paramore’s Still Into You.

All of the performances will premiere on September 6, 11 PM Philippine time on YouTube. After the missions, two girls will be eliminated, so be sure to stay in-the-know about voting by joining the Dream Academy Weverse community and checking on their socials!

Stay tuned on the Dream Academy website, socials, and HYBE LABELS+ on YouTube to be updated with the show and Sophia’s journey! Voting also begins September 6th on Weverse and YouTube.

Continue Reading: All the Major Announcements From HYBE’s Community Event Briefing

Ylona Garcia Is Having A Great Year So Far

She's all that and more.

Armed with a love for people and music, the young singer-songwriter is on track to living her best life.

Related: 7 of Ylona Garcia’s Best Songs That You Need to Add to Your Playlist ASAP

Ylona Garcia’s career has always been on an upward trajectory. At 21, the Filipino-Australian artist has made waves not just in the Philippines, but internationally. As a member of American record label 88rising, managed by Paradise Rising, she’s released several hits over the last couple of years like All That, Don’t Go Changing, Entertain Me, and Vibin.

This year, she’s achieved several milestones for her career, spent time with good people, and started working on new music. Hear all about her wins in 2023 below!


Ylona’s recent win let her start August off with a bang. In honor of Filipino Heritage Night on August 2 US time, she performed the Philippine national anthem Lupang Hinirang in front of a crowd of thousands seated for a baseball game at the Dodgers Stadium. With a strong voice, wearing a baseball jersey in the colors of the Philippine flag, Ylona definitely made Filipinos everywhere proud.

@ylonagarcia nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong kantahin ang Lupang Hinirang (Philippine National Anthem) sa palaro ng @Los Angeles Dodgers !! medyo kabado ako nung una na kantahin ito, dahil hindi ito ang sarili kong kanta. pero kahit na ganumpaman, ito ang kanta na nag-rerepresenta sa aking sarili at sa aking bansa. sinigurado ko na nasa tamang tono, tamang oras at higit sa lahat galing sa aking puso ang pag kanta ko nito. sana’y napasaya at napahanga ko kayo, mga kababayan. sana ay proud kayo, Pilipinas !! #fyp #dodgers #pinoypride ♬ original sound – ylonagarcia

Filipino Heritage Night is a special event done during sports events to honor and celebrate Filipinos and their culture, and Ylona was ecstatic, grateful, and admittedly a little nervous for the opportunity to represent herself and her country.

Medyo kabado ako nung una na kantahin ito, dahil hindi ito ang sarili kong kanta. pero kahit na ganumpaman, ito ang kanta na nag-rerepresenta sa aking sarili at sa aking bansa,” she wrote in her caption for Instagram and TikTok. “Sana ay proud kayo, Pilipinas !!”


In February, Wanderland Festival announced Ylona as part of their March lineup, joining artists like Carly Rae Jepsen, Rico Blanco, and No Rome. Aptly titled Wanderland: The Comeback, the festival marked Ylona’s return to the Philippine stage after four years.

“it’s been almost 4 years since the last time i performed back home,” she posted. Ylona was scheduled to perform a set on 88rising’s Head in the Clouds Manila festival in December 22, which was unfortunately canceled due to bad weather. Thankfully, she was able to take the stage at Wanderland this 2023. After the festival, Ylona took to Instagram to admit that she was nervous about the performance, as well as express her love for what she does: “This moment is why I keep doing what I do.”


Ylona is known to be very humble and down-to-earth. In a press event and reported by Vice, she mentioned that one of her goals in 2022 was to buy a house for her family. When she went back to Australia early on in the pandemic, she went back to studying and even took a job at McDonalds! Described as “a literal embodiment of an extrovert,” she loves making connections with people—like her fans.

This year, she got the opportunity to meet members of the Organization of Young Filipino Americans at thee University of Virginia. She performed for and with them, hosted a kamayan with her team, and had meaningful conversations as she bonded with the students over their shared culture and heritage.


Everyone’s been patiently clamoring for new music from the artist for quite a while now—and based on Ylona’s several studio sessions teasing a new album, it’s definitely coming! This year, after a “much-needed break,” Ylona came back to the studio refreshed and recharged. Fans saw an influx of photos and videos of the singer-songwriter in recording sessions, merely a taste of what’s to come.

Mentions of “the album” excited fans on social media, and with every studio session clip, we are reminded of her versatility as a Pop/R&B artist, her gorgeous vocals, and love for music.

Throughout her career, Ylona has remained grounded, humble, and proud of her identity. She’s based in Los Angeles now, working on her music, taking her friends to Lakers games, and living her best life as a young artist blazing a trail to success. And we simply can’t wait for what’s next.

Continue Reading: With or Without Her HITC Performance, Ylona Garcia is Happy to Be Back in Manila