Joining Binibining Pilipinas? Yeah, it's definitely not for the fainthearted.
I graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in 2013, and then pursued a professional modeling career for two years. It was so much fun. I worked on fashion and beauty spreads in magazines and broadsheets under the Professional Models Association of the Philippines. I also got to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong, where I had two shoots every week. You'd think that after a modeling gig like that, being a beauty queen would be a breeze, right?
I was totally wrong.
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Being a beauty queen was tough. I had to smile constantly all the time, because the cameras were always on us. Pageant Walk was so much more different, too. I had to unlearn the walk I was accustomed to on the ramp, and learn the Beauty Queen Walk in two months. I had to sway and throw my hips out more while walking. Hips kung hips, as they'd say.
I would move a lot when I was a model, so I never got to do the basic pageant pose which is so stiff and straight. I had such a hard time perfecting it! When I was a model, I always had a full team of specialists to prepare me for shoots. I had an art director, a makeup artist, a hairstylist, and a fashion stylist in charge of my clothes. But when I became a beauty queen, I had to learn how to do my own hair and makeup, because they had to look a certain way. I also had to educate myself on current events, so I could answer anything thrown at me during the Q&A portion.
Being a beauty queen was definitely more than just smiling. It was moving, walking, and carrying yourself with grace. It was about engaging people, being liked and loved. It was also about being the best version of yourself—physically, mentally, and emotionally. I know people look at beauty queens and go, "Well, that looks easy." But I don't think they realize the amount of work it really takes to get to that position.
I joined Binibining Pilipinas this year because I wanted to be able to represent a strong, modern Filipino woman. In the end, the more experienced women made it to the top spots, but I really have lost nothing. I was able to serve as a role model to other women and I made my family, friends, and my city proud.