Once Upon a Blind Item: the Girl with the Two Left Feet

Once upon a time, there lived a young lady who was named the prettiest and loveliest in their islands. The country lass was blessed by three good fairy godparent as an infant child; each one giving her the gift of beauty and the gift of charm. But before the third fairy could give her blessing to the child an evil fairy godmother arrived and cursed her with two left feet. The third good fairy godparent could not undo the curse, so she blessed her instead with a pair of long beautiful legs to mask her two left feet.
Once she arrived at the age of maturity, she was named the prettiest in their land and was celebrated for it. Neighboring kingdoms marveled at her beauty and towering height but unaware of the secret of her feet…a secret that could cost her place for she was meant to be sent off to another kingdom to be made a vestal virgin for a year. The best wizards and magicians have already tried their best but to no avail. So in a last ditch effort, they sent the lovely country lass to the two most powerful fairy queens who knew where the fountain of Aphrodite resides, a place where once ugly ducklings become swans. All she had to do was to drink the bitter tasting water from the fountain. But could she? Alas her rural roots was too strong and the evil curse much too powerful that the fountain broke and was swallowed by the earth never to be seen again.

2016 Alpha Pageant Review: Controversies & Quality of Winners

This is the third and final part of this series… In this part, we review the winners and the controversies that hounded the Alpha pageants this year.

Pageant Controversies
This year, no Alpha pageant was free of controversies, whether it be minor or major. There is the questionable national directors as judges in Miss World, the fake account posing as a finals night judge of Miss International, and the notorious Imelda Schweighart who shook the Miss Earth pageant scene. Angered, amused, entertained or all of the above…That is what Imelda Schweighart brought into the ME pageant. Her antics was quite the newsmaker in an already colorful and buzzed about pageant. But her saving grace was her resignation after the pageant, it was commendable that she stepped down to allow another lady to ascend to the title. The case of the fake Instagram account by one of the Miss International judges, this case the Macedonian Ambassador to Japan, was easily silenced by a quick action from the org and the office of the Ambassador herself. It is rumored that the org has gotten information of the fake account source and are keeping tabs on it.
While the controversies of MI & ME are acted upon by person/s outside the pageant org, the MW controversy is a bit in bad taste as it’s the organization’s decision to have a national director sit as judge. I could just imagine the negative publicity it would generate if Osmel Sousa, Lupita Jones or Madame Stella Marquez will be sitting as a Miss Universe judge. I think it would be best if NDs would abstain from this task as it leads to questionable results.

Quality of Winners
The best set of winners this year? After watching countless videos, scouring through hundreds of photos, feedback from numerous pageant friends and correspondents covering the pageants, I would definitely give this award to the Miss International winner and her court. I mean, all of them are good spokesperson of the organization! None of them could falter in the interviews having strong, intelligent and gorgeous ladies. Give them the microphone and they will definitely have something to say, and this was evidenced with the Women’s Forum where several girls stood out. At the front of the pack is Kylie Verzosa, a model and a pre-school teacher, whose speech during the finals showed a thorough understanding of the Japan-based pageant’s criteria of a winner. Another impressive talker in their batch is Brianny Chamorro of Nicaragua, who wowed everyone during the Women’s Forum with her fluency in English and train of thought. The other runners up are equally equipped as well with the gift of the gab.
The all-Latina elemental court of the Miss Earth pageant would come in at a tie with the Miss World top 5 winners in terms of quality. Katherine Espin, who is also a lawyer (yes a LAWYER) was an early favorite to win the title alongside eventual Miss Air, Michelle Gomez of Colombia. The two Latina beauties are actually fluent English speakers and are fan favorites. Miss World Stephanie del Valle is a breathe of fresh air in her batch of winners.

MUA2016 Aleksa Gavrilovic’s Interview with FashionMag42

Mister Universal Ambassador 2016, Aleksa Gavrilovic has been busy lately with his modeling career in Europe. He was recently featured in Male Model Scene with a series of photos by Igor Cvoro and interviewed by FashionMag42.

Below is a rough translation of that interview…
FashionMag42: Alex, how are you managing in the world of modeling?
Aleksa Gavrilovic: I think I am doing fairly well in the world of modeling. In every job I’ve dealt with have always given everything and so it is the same with modeling. Of course you can always do better, but it takes time and patience. I must admit that it still has some difficult jobs, but it is something that makes me happy and that’s the most important thing.
FM42: You had the opportunity to work abroad. What you brought that experience?
AG: For me, above all, working abroad has brought a lot of experience dealing with people. I learned to judge how to ask and to show what I want, but it had never succeeded because I was in such a situation as I am now. In addition, I saw and met many cultures, cities and people who I could never have I didn’t tried this experience.
FM42: You’ve done a lot of campaigns, which one left a special impression on you?
AG: I can not single out one, because each is special in its own way and makes me the model I am today. Every business deal and travel adds to more experience and thus builds your character. Therefore, all of them should be seen as a whole.
FM42: When you’re not modeling, what keeps you occupied?
AG: In my spare time I read more and more books that I previously couldn’t, because I thought it was better to go out to cafes and be with friends. I realized that in this way, I make a better version of myself and get to know yourself more. In addition, I like to draw as many people I know. I respect artists and I’m sorry I could not attend a gallery opening when I was in Turkey.
FM42: How important is how you look?
AG: For me as a person, it is not so important… but it is important to take it into account especially when I’m going to castings or when trying to leave a good impression. I think that most agree with that.
FM42: Describe your personal style.
AG: My style of dress I would describe as different from others, because I do not want to be considered the same as everyone else. So I choose something that some consider too conspicuous but with taste.


Five Most Controversial Beauties of 2016!

As part of my 2016 year-ender, these are the 5 ladies that rocked the pageant world in 2016…

• Andrea Tovar & her incident with the press – in a much talked about controversy that went viral, Señorita Colombia behaved unqueenly after media questioned her if she had anything surgically done. The beauty answered in a pissed off manner that it was not their business and even ended the interview by putting her hand to block the camera. Some pageant fans have decried that this was a behaviour unsightly of a queen and that she should know how to handle interviews like a public persona.
• Kristhielee Caride & her dethronement – the Puerto Rican beauty queen was in much of the news this year with her legal battle with the MPRU organization for unlawful termination. She was dethroned due to her not fulfilling several public appearances, refusal to go on interviews even saying that she hates being interviewed. Her lawsuit was later on dismissed by the courts.
• Anea Garcia & her resignation as MGI – the statuesque beauty from the Dominican Republic has resigned from her title after several of her complaints were went unheard and un-actioned by the parent org. Some of these include lack of chaperone/ security upon traveling, request for basic living necessities in her stay in Bangkok, harrassment experienced in her travel, and lack of professionalism in released photos by the org. In a counter measure, the MGI org has released a statement that Anea was dethroned due to her unusually high demands and unprofessionalism.

• Beatrice Fontoura & her MW allegations – when she posted a reply on Facebook mentioning some serious ‘irregularities’ in the pageant like some of the org sleeping in some of the candidates’ rooms, national director/s judging both on finals and fasttracks, lack of drinking water and food, etc… These allegations were used as proof by a number of pageant fans as reasons to believe that the MW pageant was rigged in favor of several ladies. Her reply was shared via screenshot in a lot of pageant pages and on social media.
• Imelda Schweighart & her series of controversies – the hands down most controversial figure in the later half of the year for her antics during the Miss Earth competition: form the rambutan seed caper to the war of words with former ME winner, her allegations that the winner was ‘fake’, the evening gown issue, etc… Imelda held on to the limelight long enough until she had to resign her title.

2016 Alpha Pageant Review: Stage Design & Production

The technical and artistic aspect of the finals night live broadcast is one of the essential ingredients in a successful pageant. This 2016, the three Alpha pageant seems to have been outdone by minor pageants like Miss Supranational and Miss Grand International in terms of the stage design and production. Thankfully the three Alpha pageants have maintained other aspects in high standards (quality of candidates, pre-pageant activities, etc…) to keep their statuses as Alphas.

Stage Design
Hands down it’s the Miss Earth pageant that has the best stage this year among the three, followed by the Miss World at second place. If you might ask why did ME take this accolade, it’s simply because the Miss World looked too similar with the Miss Universe 2015 stage design… I deducted points on originality from that.
The Miss Earth stage utilized a large LED screen that flashed scenic images and HD graphics, large circular stage that is reminiscent of Greco-Roman stage, tree-like column and pillars, and klieg lights that illuminated the stage. According to one pageant observer, it seems like the ME became a dry-run of what to expect for the MU in Manila come January. The pageant is continually improving every time it is staged in Manila and that is an observation that looks to be true as the pageant looked great than its Vietnamese edition and in 2014 when it was held at UP Diliman theatre. The Miss World stage design looked quite austere this year and the Miss International stage never veered away from its very traditional design.

Each of the Alpha pageant has its own unique personality in terms of its production. The Miss International has always been a very quiet and formal affair while the Miss Earth tries to have a faster paced production than MI.
The ME production was much better compared to its Viennese edition last year but I still prefer a less dizzying camera panning of MU. I’m impressed that a number of the girls in the competition this year could dance but I would have preferred that they didn’t wear black for the opening dance. I’d really hate black (unless it is bling-ed to death) for pageants as it blends everyone to the backdrop. The ill-fitting black dresses of the Miss World girls on a predominantly dim/ back-lit stage looked terrible too… I am at the fence on the Miss World opening. While I like the fact that they had the best choreography for the opening (as well as the renewed energy) I’m not so sure with the cheerleading outfits used… it was too pep squad rally. I was almost half expecting that someone would attempt a ‘helicopter toss’ midway in the performance. Add to it that the opening dress was too casual for a glamorous event. The red and white dresses couldn’t compare to the ones ME2015 did that were Dolce & Gabbana inspired. The Miss International national costume opening lacked the energy for an opening but it’s the way that the Japan-based pageant has operated for ages… at least they are sticking to their image.

In terms of performances, I’d commend the Miss World for their choice of performers… it was unexpected from the usual fare they serve to pageant fans. But I’d throw a shout-out to the 4th Impact performance who power belted away with SAX in ME. It’s impressive that they can sing and dance while still maintaining great vocal harmony. The ballet performance in Miss International was true to form with the pageant’s formal event.

*Video courtesy of Wazzup Pilipinas

People of the Year: Miss International 2016, Kylie Verzosa

What does Olympic medalist Hidilyn Diaz, award-winning actor Christopher de Leon and  Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa have in common? Well they all are named as People of the Year by Stargate People Asia magazine!

Here are the year’s movers and shakers according to the magazine: John Lloyd Cruz, Dr. Preciosa Soliven, Alice Eduardo, Antonio Tuviera, Celia Diaz Laurel, Christopher “Boyet” De Leon, Edgar “Injap” Sia, Ces Drilon, Dr. Andrew Tan, Joy Belmonte, Dr. Z Teo, Regine Velasquez, Hidilyn Diaz, Kylie Verzosa and Henry Lim Bon Liong.

“I took what life offered me and then I started taking control… And (God) guided me along the way. It just didn’t prayers. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get to where I am.” — Kylie Verzosa

Photoshoot Battle Between Kezia Warouw and Chalita Suansane

It seems that the two girls who are bent to out-do each other in social media are Puteri Indonesia Kezia Warouw and Miss Universe Thailand Chalita Suansane. Its almost every week a new photoshoot is released by these two ladies. Kezia is said to have done some pre-pageant training in the Philippines while Chalita is continuing her strategic presence of teasing fans of her progress via social media.
Let’s try to have a friendly competition here, who among these two ladies have the better photos?

2016 Alpha Pageant Review: Pre-Pageant Activities & Media Coverage

Another year has gone and its time to review the Alpha pageant held this year. This is an early review of the three Alpha pageants: Miss Earth, Miss International and Miss World. Due to the 65th Miss Universe being held in January of next year, we are not including it in this review.

Since this is going to be a long review, I have split the post into 3 parts that is dispersed a day apart each.

The Pre-Pageant Activities
This has now become a crucial aspect of any pageant. The pre-pageant activity shows an aspect of the organization’s capability to stage an event and how well planned are the activities leading to the finals. This is also a way for pageant fans to gauge the girls in the competition and pageant aficionados determine the over-all feel of the competition.
The pre-pageant activities are where the Miss International and the Miss Earth are almost neck to neck. These two pageants have the most number of activities this year with Japanese cultural immersion for MI and a full Luzon-Visayas-Mindanao eco-tourism tour for ME (the candidates practically went all over the archipelago). But I’d have to hand it over to the Miss International pageant for its consistency in promoting Japanese culture and traditions. Any pageant girl would be so lucky to tour Japan and experience both the modern and traditional: from the ikebana classes, to the temple visits, to university tours, to the women’s forum, the pageant stayed true to its core identity.

Media Coverage
This year, Miss Earth did the best overall in terms of media coverage simply due to its live streaming, network coverage, and social media mileage. Its presence is felt across social media with its core pageant fans spreading the word on every activity that the girls have. Not to mention the hordes of pageant press that seems to cover every activity of the girls. Then we have a successful duo of a telecast and a live streaming. But what made the pageant successful in terms of media coverage is how approachable the ladies were in social media. They were allowed to do interviews with online pageant pages which enabled them to go viral online. This is a good strategy by the Miss Earth org as it brings the girls closer to the fans and pageant fans would promote them via word-of-mouth, creating more media buzz for the pageant.
The two other pageants seem to have relied solely on streaming for the finals night coverage, which seems to be unbecoming of their Alpha stature. While Miss International had a good livestream of the pageant, it nevertheless made it up with their updated social media accounts with every activity of the girls in the competition. Their Instagram account is inundated with daily updates of the ladies’ activity for the day. The Miss World was a total disappointment in terms of its finals airing as well as media coverage. It only had a handful of live airing over the world, Indonesia being one of them (lucky me). If not for a couple of 2 Facebook pages that did FB Live video of the pageant, nobody would have known the proceedings. In fact it was so quiet that not even Americans seem to be aware that it is happening in their turf. There also seems to be a decline in the quality of updates on their Facebook page, though kudos for the FB Live videos with several handpicked candidates.

Mister Universal Ambassador 2016 Aleksa Gavrilovic’s New Look

Look who has his face shaven clean from his trademark scruff.

Mister Universal Ambassador 2016 Aleksa Gavrilovic looks very different when he sports no facial hair. He looks more of a model than a pageant winner with this look and it could book him more jobs with this current look. I have mentioned once that he does look like a younger version of 90’s male supermodel Antonio Sabato Jr. Now people could see some resemblance.

Hataw Na! Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres Comes Back!

Look who has confirmed a comeback to the Philippines! She is an adopted daughter of the Philippines, the Dancing Queen of Philippine showbiz, hailed as the “3rd Miss Universe of the Philippines” back in the 90’s, a certified SayawNara… It’s no other than Dayanara ‘Yari’ Torres.

It has been more than 20 years since she fell in love with the mabuhay islands and what great timing for her return as Manila is scheduled to host the 65th Miss Universe pageant.
The Puerto Rican beauty queen is coming back to resume her showbiz career in the Philippines and she will be managed by her close friend, Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano. She has posted this last December 23rd on her official Facebook page:
Glad to be back with Manila GENESIS again…! Couldn’t feel more at home! Love you guys #AngeliPangilinanValenciano Gary Valenciano Official Here’s to New Beginnings
It is not yet clear what part will she be playing in the Miss Universe pageant but our insiders have told us that the possibility as a judge or special guest is not far behind. Details are still on the finalization process but pageant insiders are hoping it pushes thru! If and when she come home to Manila once again, Yari would be the 2nd non-Filipina Miss Universe winner to call the Philippines home…

Jaya San Jose Now Competing in Malaysia

The Miss Tourism International is usually held at the eve of New Year every year in Malaysia. Missing the Christmas and New Year’s celebration in the Philippines is Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International Justine Mae ‘Jaya’ San Jose.

But that sacrifice comes with other bonuses as she is currently experiencing the best that host country, Malaysia, has to offer. She is seen with the rest of the girls in sight-seeing and experiencing the tourist destinations of Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. Jaya is considered one of the strong candidates in the competition alongside delegates from Australia, Brazil and Mexico. 60 girls from around the world are competing in the pageant.

Jaya will be last girl in 2016 to compete this year from the Mutya ng Pilipinas roster of winners. Earlier this year fellow Mutya ng Pilipinas winner Janela Joy Cuaton placed 2nd in Miss Tourism Metropolitan Internationa, Ganiel Krishnan was 3rd in Miss Asia Pacific International and Ashley Nicole Singh placed among the top 10 of the Miss Tourism Queen International held in China.

MAC Cosmetics & CHI Haircare for the 65th Miss Universe Pageant!

You have probably heard of this gossip before but the 65th Miss Universe pageant will indeed feature an all Filipino team of makeup artists and the continued sponsorship of CHI!

Yes folks! It’s an all-Filipino cast for the makeup team via MAC Cosmetics, and this is not a surprise as MAC has previously sponsored the pageant in 2012. And guess what the candidates will be receiving a “MAC Miss Universe Kit” which will be comprising of products specially selected for the pageant!
Making a return is CHI Haircare with their Illuminate line for Miss Universe. While it is not yet confirmed, some sources have told us that they may fly in a team of their best hairstylist for the pageant to head a local group of Filipino hairstylists. This would augment their US-based team to cover all 80+ delegates of the pageant.

While I am most excited with having an all-Filipino team with MAC cosmetics, I am more curious if will CHI be giving out CHI products like they did in Doral last Miss Universe 2014?

A Miss Universe 2015 Retrospect

I was just supposed to mark Pia Wurtzbach’s 1 year celebration with a simple photo but when there was a clamor to do one retrospect post, I thought I’d go for it.
The Miss Universe pageant is like no other pageant we have watched. It truly is the biggest pageant there is and is aptly the Olympics of beauty pageant. Participating countries send their best girls in the competition and you get a sense of competitiveness among the girls… like they truly want the title with all their heart, mind and soul. Something we have all seen in Pia. To honor her 365 days (plus 1) holding the title, here are some never been released chikas about MU2015 and my first attempt to write a blog post in Tagalog and English.

• The dress rehearsals was a remarkable foretelling of the finals results as 7 of the official top 15 were called as semifinalist in the dress rehearsals. Belgium and South Africa were among the girls in the dress rehearsals who were surprises in the finals night. Pia went up until the top 5 where she gets to do the first round of Q&A. In the dress rehearsal, it was Lu Sierra who was crowned Miss Universe!
• Sa umpisa pa lamang ng patimpalak pagandahan nakikita at nararamdaman na kung sinosino ang mga itinataguriang mga paborito sa patimpalak. Una na rito ang madalas na pagpuri ng mga dayuhang press sa ating pambato at ang madalas na pagmamasid ng mga opisyal ng patimpalak sa bawat panayam ni Pia sa mga miyembro ng media. Isa rin sya sa madalas na isama sa mga video shoot para sa patimpalak at kita naman ito sa mga video clips na ipinalabas sa pinal na palabas. Pati ang mga beteranong mga mamahayag na Latino ay nagkukumento na malakas ang laban ni Pia upang manalo sa patimpalak.
• The top 3 winners and the two girls from the top 5 were all included in the press junket. Pia, alongside Ariadna Gutierrez, Olivia Jordan, Monica Radulovic and Flora Coquerel were all in the press junket. Just like the previous year, Colombia was the girl who stayed the longest in the press junket. Pia was interviewed only by broadcast media, not much by print & online media due to time constraints… she was that in demand for interviews.

May pakaunting katotohanan ang mga nagsisilabas na mga balita na halos sa huling mga minuto na ang pagkakuha ng mga hurado ng taong iyon. Narinig ko mismo ang kalituhan ng apat na hurado nung minsan silang nagkumpolkumpol sa mesanine ng Planet Hollywood. Nagbanggit din si Perez Hilton sa isang pahayam na apat na araw lang bago sya dumating sa Las Vegas bago nya kakuha ang pagimbita mula sa organisasyon upang maging isang hurado. Nuong napagtanto ng isa sa mga guwardiya na nakakarinig ako sa usapan ng mga hurado, dalidali silang inilayo sa may pribadong lugar.
Isa sa mga kandidata ang madalas na ilang sa mga kapwa tagaAsya, at ito ay napansin ng mga chaperones ng kumpetisyon. Madalas syang kitang nakikipaghalubilo sa mga dalaga galing sa katimugang parte ng lupalop ng amerika. Sya rin ang dalagang napagtaasan ng boses ni Lu Sierra nuong national costume show dahil sya ang namumukod tanging gustong bumaba ng entablado upang tignan  at makita ng personal ang film roll ng kanyang intro. Kita rin ang paglaki ng mga mata ng opisyal ng MU sa astang ito ng kandidata.

• I was lucky enough to have been transferred in terms of seating closer to the stage during the preliminaries as the press seats are a bit far from the stage. One of the officials/ ushers have placed us in the same row seating of the preliminary judges. This gave us good vantage points to observe the girls up-close. And didn’t you know that aside from predicting Pia’s win, we also predicted 4 out of 5 of the top 5 in 2015?
• During the preliminaries, Pia’s hairstyle peg was ‘Kendall Jenner during the Victoria’s Secret show’. This is probably because she was to do a twirl during her swimsuit pasarela. Her high ponytail during the finals was by BPCI Chairperson Stella Marquez Araneta. We saw her in one of the rehearsals instructing Pia to put her hair up in a ponytail.

• Pia posted in her IG that her heart was pounding being called one of the last in the top 10 after the swimsuit round. Even saying, “How am I ever gonna get the chance to do final question if I don’t pass the swimsuit competition first!” Coincidentally during final picks deliberations, I told everyone in the group that all Pia had to do was to survive the swimsuit competition and it will be an easy walk to the top 3 and when she does the crown was as good as clinched. Sure enough, the only time I got nervous was in the announcement of the top 10, I never doubted Pia making top 5 and top 3 after that.
• One of the most pleasant ladies in the competition was Miss Mexico, Wendolly Esparza. Although she wasn’t at the top of her physical shape during the competition, she was nevertheless the nicest to talk to. She interviews well and she could have been a great rep to any other international pageant had it been that Trump didn’t sell the MU pageant to WME-IMG. She would have been a great Mexican rep in Miss World.
• If I was to give out special commendation to the ladies I would give the best daytime wardrobe award to Miss Kosovo, Mirjeta Shala, whose daily wardrobe was to die for; Miss Brazil would get best model bod for her long limbs and her Sports Illustrated- fit physique; Fashionable Nerd award to Miss Vietnam Pham Huong who sported nerdy glasses with lovely outfits during rehearsals and has a sweet personality in person; and finally Miss Personality to Olivia Jordan who never looked like she was faking it, what you see on TV is how she is in person.

Isang pamosong pageant insider ang nakapagbulong sa amin nuong red carpet bago ang pinal na palabas na sa Pilipinas gaganapin ang Miss Universe sa taong 2016. Isa ito sa mga sikretong itinago namin dahil nasa pinal na diskusyon pa lamang ito diumano nuong kapanahunang iyon. Ayon sa kanya, matagal ng gustong dalhin ng MU ang patimpalak sa Pilipinas at muntik na itong matuloy nuong 2014. Ayon sa kanya naging matagal ang mga paguusap. Kaya hindi nakakapagtaka na ang MU nuong 2014 at 2016 ay kapwa itinanghal sa buwan ng Enero sa kasunod na mga taon.
I hope those have quenched your thirst for Miss Universe 2015 related chikas…

PhotoCollage of the Day: Dang Thi Le Hang, MU-Vietnam

Back in June this year, we wrote a piece on the appointment of Dang Thi Le Hang as Miss Universe Vietnam 2016. Since then the 24 year old with milky porcelain skin and lovely luscious lips has been on our watch-list of girls to look out for.

Le Hang stands at an enviable 5’9 ¼” and was a runner up (she placed 3rd behind Pham Thi Huong) the 2015 Miss Universe Vietnam pageant. She measures at the whistle bait of 32-25-35.  This lady has multiple looks that she can pull off… being a model who won the Elite Model Look Vietnam in 2014. It is why she could be sultry one time then demure and pretty the next before going back to being fierce in her next shoot.

She was one of the 11 girls that were invited earlier to visit the Philippines for the 65th Miss Universe kick-off media tour. Watch out for this one, She might become a local Filipino fan-favorite for her distinct Asian good looks and more so for her pleasing and polite personality.