A year ago I have written about the shift that I am foreseeing in Philippine pageantry, that is having a pageant camp is no longer enough and that it should be augmented by having your own glamsquad. This year, that has been realized with Catriona Gray who won the top title in Binibining Pilipinas with only her glamsquad as her main source of help.
In a news report from sunstar.com.ph, Catriona said “I just feel… because I have experienced being with a camp before, so I just wanted to try something different. I’m actually so happy working independently ‘coz I’ve been able to kind of cherry-picked the people I wanted to work with—whether they be stylist, make-up artist, designers. I’ve been learning from people from theatre, from dance, from passarela [catwalk], so I was able to mix it up… the people I’ve learned from, and I enjoyed it so much.”
It is to no surprise that Catriona would thank her squad angels on one of her first post-crowning Instagram updates: “To my angels who have dedicated their passion to training me but wish to be anonymous, you have transformed my stage performance. Thank you to the moon and back for all of your time, effort and especially friendship.
To kuya @ton_lao, @harleybarleyy and @bragaisjojo for taking me under your wing. To be surrounded by amazing people like you through the craziness that has been this competition has been both reassuring and uplifting. To mamang @hairbybrentsales, @jellyeugenio @memayfrancisco, @momoisupe and @mimsqiu for making me glow throughout the competition. ✨✨✨ To @jearsond and @maktumang what an amazing experience it is to collaborate with such talented artists!!! Thank you for your amazing talent and making me feel like a queen.”
This is why Catriona’s win is a game-changer. It no longer means that not having a pageant camp meant that winning the top title is impossible. Catriona just proved that it is achievable. Being an independent candidate means having to hustle on your own. It is hard work and involves months and months of forethought and planning. A two month preparation is not enough anymore. And certainly, when Catriona’s angels agreed to prepare her as if she is already competing in Miss Universe it paid off.
We are not saying that the pageant camp system is obsolete, no far from that. We are saying it is no longer enough as each pageant hopeful nowadays have a camp. With Catriona winning Miss Universe Philippines there is certainly a shift towards having a squad of your own that would help you focus your gameplan to fit your vision. Girls who would want to train independently could directly go to professionals (designers, stylists, makeup and hairstylists, interview coaches, catwalk trainors, etc…) that they are comfortable to work with. It also unbinds them on some camp rules on which designer to wear, what hair or makeup to do, or be treated as secondary girls to their frontrunners. It means having ownership of your pageant journey despite obstacles that would come ahead and selecting people that you can trust to help you up and not hold you down.
Catriona just opened a floodgate of possibilities for girls who would want to join Binibining Pilipinas as independents, and that is why she is a game-changer.