Ilaena graduated with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the University of Cape Town in 2017. She joined Open City in January 2018 for a year of practical training.

During her time at Open City she has acquired many skills by completing an Autodesk Revit training course and helping on various projects.  In May 2018, she was awarded as the runner-up, along with fellow UCT student Anna Stelzner, in the PPC Imaginarium competition which was held at the Architecture ZA (AZA) conference in Pretoria. Their conceptual project was based in District Six, Cape Town and focused on an Artisan Centre that could help to regenerate the area through the use of public space. Their work was displayed at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town from 17 May until 6 June 2018.  Ilaena plans to complete her architectural studies overseas in 2019.