Our Thoughts Why MU2019 Won’t be Anywhere Else but the Philippines

This year, speculations that the Miss Universe pageant is traveling to different parts of the world was abundant.
Here are what we believe to be the hindrances to hosting the pageant in the said rumored countries…

1. Dubai, United Arad Emirates – with the UAE being a Muslim country it is almost a herculean task to have a pageant brought there. The swimsuit competition is a likely culprit to it. Having women parade in two-piece or even one piece swimsuit in a massive global audience could trigger the local conservative audiences. The last time a major pageant were held in a predominantly Muslim country didn’t bode well for the pageant and its organizers. Miss World 2013 had to be moved from Jakarta to Bali following protests and Miss World 2002 had to be moved to London after riots broke out resulting to a hundred deaths. Time and time again, it has been a disastrous idea to hold a pageant in countries whose religious belief counter those of rules of modest dressing.
2. Brazil – this would have been a great host like it did in 2011, except for one persistent problem: the current political and economic instability. According to a report by David Biller for Bloomberg. com: “In the course of a decade, Brazil has gone from rising power to fallen star. Latin America’s largest economy enjoyed effervescent years under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose eight-year tenure through 2010 coincided with a global commodities boom. Now Lula is in jail, his successor has been impeached and her replacement has been charged in an ongoing corruption investigation. Street crime is epidemic in Brazil’s cities, and the country has endured its deepest-ever recession. Fed up, Brazilians in 2018 elected a chauvinistic former Army captain, Jair Bolsonaro, to reverse the decline. Ending the 13-year rule of the leftist Workers’ Party, he promised to remake Brazil with an aggressive approach to crime and pro-market economic policies. Critics fear he’ll undermine democratic norms, stifle dissent and deepen Brazil’s divisions
3. Vietnam – this Asian neighbor would have been a great host like it did in 2008. It would have also been perfect if it had hosted the pageant last year to mark the 10th year since it hosted the pageant. But why hasn’t it made strides in hosting? Our moles are speculating two reasons: 1) is that they are always out-bid by other countries and 2) the government’s strict procedure in allowing permits for pageants/ competitions to be held in their country is costing them the chance of hosting. While we are inclined to believe the first reason, we also believe that hosting the MU pageant has become very high that costs and budget constraints can be prohibitive for anyone to host the pageant.
4. South Korea – prior to the turn of the century, pageants are a springboard for Koreans to an acting career. However, feminist groups has risen since then and have been opposed to beauty pageants in Korea and the growth of popularity of the Halyu wave meant that beauty pageants aren’t are popular as before. With Kpop music and drama being the definitive source of entertainment, there isn’t much clamor for pageants in South Korea as their standard of beauty doesn’t necessarily run parallel to the international notions of a pageant winner. Koreans prefer tall, thin and doll-like beauties while most pageants are looking for a healthier/ fit body with a globally commercial face and can be a spokesperson of the pageant organization. Rumors has it that the reason why the proposed MU hosting in Korea has difficulty in pushing through is because of 2 things: women’s groups opposing the pageant and the lack of interest from locals.
5. Dominican Republic – yes we’ve also heard about the possibility of hosting the pageant in this Caribbean paradise and it would have been a great host except for one major snag: at least 36 Americans have died on the island since January 2018 according to the New York Post. The US Department raised the travel advisory to DR to Level 2 and to “exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime”.  Canada also issued a warning to its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution in the Dominican Republic due to a high crime rate”. These kinds of news prompts immediate fear on whoever wants to travel and caused a major decline in American tourist arrivals in the island. Although no travel ban has been made by the US on DR(only Haiti, Venezuela, and parts of Colombia are designated Level 4 or  “Do Not Travel” locations), it is best to be cautious in having a major event there. Its neighboring Puerto Rico is currently experiencing political protests to urge its Governor to resign from his post.
So perhaps it is better to host the pageant in Las Vegas or in Manila? Whatever happens, this pageant venue issue will now become a regular thing with pageant fans every year. Half the enjoyment of it is guessing where would the Miss Universe pageant be held… We would be just as happy wherever the pageant will be held. Just hoping that the tickets wouldn’t be exorbitant for pageant fans to watch…

#MANicMondays: Victor Candia, Mister Chile 2016

Mister Chile 2016 Victor Candia is so hot that Facebook couldn’t handle it.
Did you know that one of Sashes&Scripts’ posted photos of him was taken down by Facebook for being too risque? We thought let’s bring him back through a #MANicMonday feature!

Continue reading “#MANicMondays: Victor Candia, Mister Chile 2016”

Why Do Some Quarters Diminish Catriona’s Reign?

If there is something noticeable that some pageant pages and portals are doing these days is their efforts to diminish Catriona Gray’s Miss Universe reign. Why do they do that? Read on and find out…

NOTE: this is a long post and we suggest that you read until after the last images are included. Also note that the Google and Instagram numbers indicated in this post are taken July 7th at 8am, Manila standard time. 
Obviously the first reason is her popularity as Miss Universe. Looking at Instagram alone, Catriona dominates the hashtag usage with #catrionagray beating all three other Alpha queens in the top spot. Even if Miss Earth Phuong Khanh Nguyen, Miss International Mariem Velazco and Miss World Vanessa Ponce sum up their numbers it wouldn’t be enough to equal those of Catriona’s.
#CatrionaGray – 164,078 Instagram posts
#MariemVelazco -4,962 posts
#PhuongKhanh – 1,658 posts
#VanessaPonce – 1,551 posts
Of course not every post that is hashtagged as #catrionagray is about her, this actually means that she is so popular that her hashtag is being used by other accounts to be ‘searchable’ on Instagram! This is not to mention the times where Catriona trended into number 1 on Twitter. Something that other Alpha queens cannot boast about.
Now let’s talk about Google search results. Catriona still leads the pack and her popularity is only increasing by the minute. Every move she make seems to be news worthy. Continue reading “Why Do Some Quarters Diminish Catriona’s Reign?”

So Miss Universe 2019 will be in the Philippines?

Before we start, let’s get something straight. This following post is filled with mainly rumors and speculations, and there isn’t any confirmation from the Miss Universe org just yet. Also, this post will be a long read in Taglish. Google translate if you must.

The first time we heard rumors that the Philippines is a possible host of the 68th edition of the Miss Universe pageant was during the homecoming  presscon of Miss Universe Catriona Gray. Of course like anyone else, hindi kami agad naniwala kasi kaka-host lang natin last January 2017 (for the MU 2016 edition). And that chismis was lost in the flurry of Catriona’s homecoming. But despite numerous other countries popping up as a rumored possible venue (like Vietnam, Dubai-UAE, Brazil, South Korea and even a back to back hosting for Thailand), hindi nawawala ever ang Pinas as one of the possibilities. So it means that talagang seryoso na maibalik uli dito sa Pinas ang pageant. It could also possibly mean that hindi aasa sa Department of Tourism ang team ng LCS for funding considering that last year, the new DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said hosting the pageant isn’t a priority of the department. Matatandaan din na nung nakaraang year, former DOT Secretary Wanda Teo mentioned that aside from the Philippines, Vietnam is also bidding to host the Miss Universe 2018 edition.
That being said, nakikita na natin na seryoso yung kagustuhan for the pageant to be held here in the Philippines kahit nung nakaraang taon pa. There were whispers and murmurs that we just chose to not pay attention to or didn’t notice.

Before we get into the full details of the Philippines as the possible host of MU 2019/2020, let’s review some facts.
When it comes to economics, Asia has it better compared to Latin America. According to The Inquirer, the Philippines experienced a slow-down in GDP growth of 5.6% compared to the projected 6.6% growth for the first quarter of 2019. Even with that slow down, it is still higher comparative to the projected GDP growth for Latin American countries in 2020. According to a Forbes report, Brazil is poised at 2.6% growth, Colombia is at 4%, Argentina at 2.2%, and Mexico at 2%. In the same report,  Asia-Pacific is at a flat growth rate of 5.3%,  still a bigger chunk compared to Latin America. Other Southeast Asian countries are also expected to grow higher than its Latin American counterparts. In a report from Asian Development Bank, Cambodia is forecast to grow at 7%, Vietnam at 6.8%, Malaysia at 4.5% and Thailand with 3.9%. This is why pageants are flocking to Asia because it is where the money is.
Pageants tend to spend more whenever they are being held in their hometurf or at least earn less. When the Miss Universe 2014 was held in Doral the budget was $2.9 million compared to 2005 edition wherein Thailand had an approximate budget of $20 million with $6.5 million of that money allotted for the ‘rights to stage’ paid to the MUOrg. You can read more on the MU budgets in this post. And it is also difficult to stage a pageant where there is very little clamor or interest in it. Take into consideration Europe. When was the last time did we hear a European country bidding to host the Miss Universe pageant?

Now here’s an unverified claim from our moles: the last time that Manila was hosted the pageant, it rolled the red carpet not only to the candidates but also to the MU officials, security and crew. Meaning sa magagandang rooms naka-billeted ang mga officials, pinapasakay sila sa mga yacht at private jets, laging 1st class ang treatment sa kanila nung tayo ang host country. Hindi nagsisiksikan ang mga crew sa mga mumurahing hotel at hindi tipid sa pagkain. Kung saan nakatira ang mga candidates dun din sila nakatira and sagana sa pagkain sa buffet ang mga officials at crew. Now tell us sinong ayaw maranasan uli yun? In the Philippines, the MUOrg are treated like royalty and that is why MU President Paula Shugart regularly noted the hospitality and warmth of the Filipinos in past interviews.
According to our friendly MU insiders and resident chismosas, the hosting in the Philippines is 80% a done deal. Meaning mas malaking chances that it will be held here kesa sa ibang lugar. It will be a matter of getting the sponsors for the event that the organizing committee would have to deal with. But in terms of moolah? Our moles don’t think that LCS would have an issue. If LCS head honcho Chavit Singson bet Manny Paquiao to win in his latest boxing fight, he probably earned millions in USD in that fight.
Of course pageant fans want it somewhere else pero isipin nyo kung paano magdesisyon ang MUOrg – duon sila kung saan may pera and may kikitain sila to fund their business operations for the next year. So ang tanong is: aarte pa ba ang MUOrg kung saan iho-host ang pageant? At aarte pa ba tayong mag Pinoy if it is held here? Surely come Miss Universe season even those who are opposed to hosting the pageant here in  Manila would definitely join in the festivities. A true MU pageant fan wouldn’t be able to deny themselves of the experience.

As for the Miss Universe date, earlier Google search yielded us a December 19 date for the pageant’s finals, a Thursday. A day which can be problematic for US viewers as the MU pageant is usually held on a Sunday evening. With the MU pageant on a declining viewership, having it aired on a Sunday night mean more US viewers are at home instead of out with friends on a weekend. That being said, having it on a December 15, Sunday, would be problematic for the presumptive host country, the Philippines.
A post from a Venezuelan owned pageant portal mentioned that the next Miss Universe pageant will air live on January 26, 2020. That date falls on a Sunday. This would be a more believable date considering that the Philippines will play host to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that will begin on Saturday, 30th of  November and ends on Wednesday, December 11. An overlap on those two big events is unlikely to happen. Having to split security personnel would be an issue.

Now we are going to speculate what all this could mean for the Philippine pageant fans and the Filipina rep to MU.
1. Filipino pageant fans would make Miss Universe THE trending topic on Social Media – Filipinos are the most voracious social media consumers of the world. In a study by We Are Social and Hootsuite titled”Digital 2019: Global Digital Overview”, it was reported by Rappler that the Philippines is among the top  social media users for 3 consecutive years. “In the Philippines, time spent online daily soared to 10 hours and 2 minutes this year, the highest in the world. Coming in second is Brazil, clocking in at 9 hours and 29 minutes, while Thailand is third at 9 hours and 11 minutes. Last year, the Philippines came in second to Thailand at 9 hours and 38 minutes.” It is no wonder that 34% of the global social media buzz on Miss Universe 2018 came from Filipinos even before the finals even began. That is to say that the Philippines is a huge marketing machine. This type of free online publicity is something that big brands would love to tap on and Miss Universe gets it for free from us. Kaya malaking kawalan ng MW ang pagtalikod ng Pilipinas sa kanila dahil malaking porsyento ng Mobstar voting machinery ang nawala sa kanila. In fact, if this power is monetized, the Philippines will get paid to host any international pageant of this caliber.
Just look at the peak interest of both MU & MW in the infographic below:

It will clearly show that the times both pageants trended worldwide was when a Filipina won the crown.
2. There will be a huge clamor for Gazini Ganados to win a Back-to-Back victory – yes, I concur that this is a herculean task but it will be something that Filipinos will pile on Miss Universe Philipines Gazini Ganados. She is aware of the high difficulty of winning a second consecutive crown but she will be poised to compete like her life depended on it. It is an added pressure but no Filipina rep sent to Miss Universe ever didn’t perform to the besot of her abilities. But this also comes with an advantage. It means that Gazini will be a major frontrunner for the crown.
– Imagine the publicity of having a back to back challenge happening in MU in a hometurf. She won’t be out of public appearances due to the publicity she will generate and will be generated for her being the host delegate.
– Ito Tatagalugin ko para maintindihan ng lahat. Malakas ang kutob ko na mas madali makapasok si Gazini sa top 5 at possible top 3 dahil hindi makakalabas ng Pinas ng buhay ang mga myembro ng MUOrg kung malaglag agad sa top 10 lang si Gazini. Joking aside, historically the Philippines make top 6 whenever the pageant is held in Manila (except for 1974 where there was only a top 5 after the top 12).
– Gazini winning in a homecourt advantage wouldn’t be an issue as most American winners have done that in the past. As we all know, most MU judges are skewed towards favoring American judges. Even Miss Universe 2001 Denise Quiñones won in her home country Puerto Rico with 2 Puerto Rican judges on the panel.
– it could also mean that we can hope that a possible gargantuan Sinulog Festival costume can be made for her. Because the only reason why we couldn’t do it in the past is the prohibitive cost of shipping huge pieces of the costume, a trend that only got broken with Catriona Gray last year with her team handling the shipping of her costume courtesy of shoe designer Jojo Bragais. Ngayon kung sa Pinas nga gaganapin ang MU, madali ng higit ang pagtransport ng malaking costume sa Maynila.

3. A Chance to Re-Do MU2016 Right – this is an opportunity to do a Philippine-centric staging right from stage, to wardrobes, to music… Imagine this scenario: swimsuits made by Domz Ramos, Pegarro Swim, or any other Filipino brand; official MU shoes by Jojo Bragais; stage with Kawayan, Sampaguita and Anahaw motifs; Ati-atihan drum ensemble for the swimsuit competition and a rondalla for the evening gowns… the possibilities could be endless! Best of all, reigning winner Catriona gray would be relinquishing her title in her home turf! And we already have a number of lovely terno ideas for her to wear in her final walk!
As of this moment all that Sashes&Scripts have laid out are simply musings, speculations and rumors. But having the Miss Universe pageant held once again in the Philippines should be a welcome event for Filipinos.

Meet the Miss South Africa 2019 Finalists

After the spectacular runs of Rolene Strauss, Demi Leigh Nel Peters and Tamaryn Green as Miss South Africa winners, a new set of winners is about to be named!

This year 16 women will be vying for the honor to become the next Miss Universe SA and Miss World SA aside from the crown of Miss South Africa 2019. Meet the Top 16 in the running to take the coveted honor:
1. Beulah Baduza from Hatfield, Pretoria, is a 23-year old student studying for an LLB degree at the University of Pretoria. She lists her six role models as being her mother, Naomi Campbell, Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Winnie Mandela and Serena Williams.
2. 21-year-old Chuma Matsaluka hails from Nyanga, Cape Town, and is currently in her third year in Humanities, majoring in anthropology, industrial sociology and political studies at the University of Cape Town. Describing herself as assertive, intelligent and compassionate, Chuma says people would be surprised to know that is very talkative.
3. Originally from Umhlanga in KZN, Danielle Wallace moved to Cape Town in June this year. She enjoys running, hiking and being outdoors, but she does confess that she loves nothing better than staying in her PJs all day watching Netflix.
4. Eloïse van der Westhuizen is from Panorama, Cape Town, and is a merchandise planner in Parow. A fan of MasterChef Australia, Game of Thrones and Survivor SA, her favourite meal is pulled lamb tagliatelle pasta which she’d love to share with her crush, Ryan Reynolds.
5. BA Law Graduate (Cum Laude) and currently in her first year of her LLB, 22-year old Errin Brits lives in Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg. At the gym she listens to hip-hop but when relaxing enjoys Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Hozier and Steve Aoki.
6. Keabetswe Kanyane hails from Mobapane, Pretoria, where she works as an analyst and project coordinator. A real gym bunny, she also enjoys hosting, cooking and planning game nights.

7. Kgothatso Dithebe lives in Centurion, Pretoria, and is currently in her second year studying for an LLB Law Degree with the University of South Africa. She admires former Miss SA and Miss World Rolene Strauss whose grit and determination is something she strongly believes in.
8. Lisa Stoffela, 26, is currently based in Morningside, Johannesburg, but originally comes from Margate in Kwazulu-Natal. She has two older sisters, Tabisa (30) and Yum-Yum (29), who was named after the peanut butter, and would love to meet the actress Viola Davis because she is fierce and unafraid to take risks.
9. Port Elizabeth born and raised, 24-year old Loren Leigh Jenneker lives in Centurion, Pretoria, and is a full-time student doing a B.Com degree in Finance at the University of Johannesburg. An avid reader – currently reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – she also collects book donations and tutors children who are not at the required reading level.
10. Noluthando Bennett hails from Kagiso, Krugersdorp and is a freelance junior technical sound assistant and an events manager assistant. Previous Miss SA, who has inspired her is Jacqui Mofokeng “because she broke barriers and showed every young black woman that it’s possible to be crowned Miss SA.”
11. Nompumelelo Maduna, 24, from Rockville, Soweto, graduated with a B. Tech Marketing Management from the University of Johannesburg and currently works at a financial institution as a private banker. She keeps fit and active by playing netball and golf and is a trainer at The Model Academy teaching catwalk, confidence building and etiquette.
12. Entrepreneur and model, Sasha-Lee Olivier (26) is currently pursuing a double major in marketing and psychology at Wits University. A former Miss SA that inspires her is Amy Kleinhans-Curd, who in 1992 “displayed courage in choosing not to carry the old South African flag.”

13. Sibabalwe (Siba) Gcilitshana is from a village called Blythswood, close to the town of Nqamakwe in the Eastern Cape, but is now based in Bellville in Cape Town. Siba loves singing, meditating, hiking, cooking, travelling, catching up with current affairs, self-care, spending time with her family, reading and catching up with her favourite TV series Killing Eve.
14. 23-year-old Xia Narain comes from Chatsworth, KwaZulu Natal and is a model affiliated to Topco model agency in Cape Town, Edit Models in Turkey and Models International in Durban. Her role models include Madiba, Princess Diana, Oprah, Ellen De Generes and Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 1994 and a Bollywood actress.
15. Zanele Phakathi, 20, from Soweto in Gauteng is a first-year Business Information Technology student at the University of Johannesburg and a model at Boss Models. She has won more than 70 pageant titles, the first being Little Miss Dobsonville in 2011.
16. Zozibini Tunzi currently resides in Gardens, Cape Town but her home is Tsolo, eSdwadweni in the Eastern Cape. She has three sisters, who she counts as her best friends and she would love to meet Caster Semenya to learn more from women like her “because they know what it takes to live an impactful life.”
SOURCE: https://www.channel24.co.za/The-Juice/News/here-are-the-miss-south-africa-2019-top-16-finalists-20190710

#MANicMondays; Matheus Song, Mister Brasil 2017

Our latest #MANicMondays hunk is the Mister Brasil CNB 2017. Matheus Song is a 24-year-old model (he was born in October 1994) and student from Joinville, Santa Catarina. He represented Brazil in the Mister Supranational pageant which he placed as 2nd runner up to the eventual winner, Gabriel Correa of Venezuela.

Matheus also won most of the Top Model awards in his local competitions as well as in Mister Supranational. If you’re wondering what his ethnicity is, he can attribute his stunning good looks from his Korean father and German mother. The 6’0″ tall model is currently trying his hand at a modelling career in Asia and is currently working in Thailand. Check out more pics below.

Matheus has a black belt in Taekwondo, but he also plays soccer as one of his hobbies, as well as surfing. He now has a 2-year old daughter named Lara and is happily hitched.

Photos taken from Instagram.com

Miss Universe 2019 in Dubai? Great for Gazini!

With rumors that Dubai, United Arab Emirates (aside from Vietnam and South Korea) is a huge possibility to be the host of the Miss Universe 2019 pageant, we list down why this is a great thing for Pinoy pageant fans…
Despite our hesitancy to believe that a sure hosting deal has been made (our moles so far has only been able to tell us that the hosting negotiations are still undergoing), we cannot help but speculate how this would be a major advantage for Philippine rep, Gazini Ganados.

1. Filipina- Palestinian Beauty
The 5’8″ Cebuana stunner has one of the most gorgeous faces in this year’s Miss Universe batch. That is due to her unique mix of having the height genes of her Palestinian father and the gorgeous face of her Filipina mother. If she will be competing in Dubai for the Miss Universe crown, it would be very easy to say that she will be like a de-facto rep of the non-participating Arab countries in the competition. So she would even possibly be a local favorite of the Emiratis.

2. Finding Her Palestinian Father
With close ties to the Arab world, the hosting in Dubai, UAE would lead to a possible reunion between Gazini and her Palestinian father whom she never met. This will undoubtely give Gazini a huge media mileage over a number of candidates. Everybody loves to see a happy ending and this would make front news headlines more so if it happens that she wins a Miss Universe back to back. This is a major selling point for the pageant as it will be bringing for the MUOrg huge publicity that they would not have to spend a single dime for.

3. UAE is Home to 600K Filipinos
Dubai is home to the largest population of Filipinos in the UAE. In terms of numbers, there are 679,819 Filipinos living in the UAE, of which 450,000 are in Dubai, and they form 21.3% of the population of Dubai. Almost 1/4 of the population of Dubai will surely flock to to support Gazini in every single public appearance she will be in. This will bode well for her as she will be given more public exposure and events with sponsors due to her popularity with the locals and Filipinos. More events mean more publicity and that is always a good thing.

Now here’s another thing that I see coming as well. If Dubai hosts MU this year, any country who has antagonized the Philippines and/ or its representative in social media would definitely not get support at all from Filipinos in UAE and that will be detrimental to their reps. The Filipinos are a huge marketing machine due to their presence all over the world and in social media. And my gut instinct tells me that any MU hopeful who gets approval from Filipino pageant fans would get noticed by the MUOrg simply because they will get a fair share of social media mileage. This is not to say that Filipino fans are the most important pageant fans in MU but we certainly are movers and shakers in marketing our girls internationally. That kind of power is something that will always work to our girls’ advantage whether the pageant is held in Las Vegas, Manila or even as far as Dubai…

Resham Saeed on Gender Equality & Women Empowerment

One of our featured Facebook post on Binibining Pilipinas Supranational Resham Ramirez Saeed gave us a glimpse of her advocacy to promote Gender Equality not only for women but also to members of the LGBTQ community through the #RespetoNaman campaign.

That simple peek showed us a portion of the kind of woman this Filipina-Pakistani beauty is truly made of. To understand her better, here are snippets of her feature with Metro.Style…

Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2019 Resham Ramirez Saeed was born in Buluan, Maguindanao. The eldest and only daughter among a brood of four, she was raised to be one of the boys. Over the years, she realized this upbringing shaped her to become the strong and outspoken woman she is today. She tells Metro.Style, “Both Pinoy and Pakistani cultures are in my house and the norm was the importance will be given to the eldest son, and I feel like my parents treated me like the eldest son which made me very independent and bold.”
Though she was crowned Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2019 recently, Resham emphasized the importance of finishing her college degree. She was in her third year of college majoring in Psychology at York University, Canada, and she plans to push through with her studies after her reign. She may not have a definite plan yet on where to finish her studies, but she shares, “Maybe here. It’s actually pretty good for me to stay here and my heart belongs to Philippines now. So I would like to look into continuing my education here.”

While she seems perfectly comfortable in the pageant scene, it wasn’t always that way. She recalls the beginning of this journey, “5 years ago when I first came here, Tito Rodgil (Flores) from KF (Kagandahang Flores) Camp approached me and told me to do Miss Universe, and I was only 20 at the time. I just got a scholarship for a Psychology program and there was no way I was putting my education on hold. But when I came back a year ago and he found out, he didn’t let me go. He’s the one who made me believe it’s something I could even do.”
This is Resham’s first time to join a national competition, and she feels very grateful to have been given a chance to represent the Philippines in an international pageant soon. “A lot of people didn’t see me being able to pull off winning or me fitting that cookie-cutter pageant girl. And that actually motivated me more to feel like, ‘Okay, great! I’m different,’” she continues.
Now that her Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2019 title holds huge responsibility, she’s eager to champion what she believes in. An embodiment of a modern woman, Resham stands to fight for gender equality and women empowerment. She’s currently working with SPARK (Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran) which is a non-profit organization that focuses on the development of women and women’s organizations as full partners in national development. “I feel like equality needs to be pushed more than ever. Not only in terms of gender that is my advocacy, but in terms of backgrounds and diversity. There’s so much to learn from one another.”

As an advocate for women empowerment, she also shows that believing in oneself and not being afraid to push the envelope can lead to amazing results, saying, “I’ve taken my notes in my life and I’ve been blessed enough to have parents who always pushed me to become vocal about what I believe in. I’m ready to be the voice of those who don’t have it or can’t find it.”
Behind every strong woman is a rock that inspires her to keep going. “Everything that’s part of me just come from my parents, and there can’t be a greater equal model to look up to,” Resham declares. Her Muslim background did raise some questions regarding the way she carries herself especially in the pageant industry. But when asked about the traditional practices she decided to skip, such as not wearing a hijab, she narrates, “There was a moment in my life when I was of age around 15-16 and my dad asked me if I would consider wearing a hijab. My mom doesn’t wear a hijab but then, my titas in my dad’s side of the family wear hijabs. So I was given a choice because my father believed that, as a woman, I have the right to make a choice just like my brothers. My father didn’t want to force something upon me because he knew the relationship I have with God. God knows best.” As a Muslim, she wishes that people would be more open to ask questions about their culture. And she hopes that in the future, she’ll be able to spread awareness about their practices and that diversity is alive in the Islam community.

SOURCE: https://metro.style/people/celebrities/8360/bb-pilipinas-supranational-2019-resham-saeed

#Funart Post: Valerie Weigmann as Alice

Thank God for small miracles! We’ve mentioned that almost all of our blogposts starting from 2014 to 2015 is lost when the original Sash Factor forum shut down. Apparently, some of the fun-art hardwork I’ve made managed to survive through Facebook archives.

And one my personal favorite fun-art posters I’ve made were those Alice in Wonderland themed ones for Miss World Philippines 2014 Valerie Weigmann. And two Alice in Wonderland themed posters were some of the posters I was able to retrieve!
It is no secret that among the Miss World Philippines winners, Valerie was and still is my favorite. The last time I saw her in Bangkok last December 2018, she still looked so radiant as the day she was crowned MWP. She has managed not to age in the 5 years since she competed to the time where the franchise was still under Cory Quirino! How time flies indeed.

We hope that you’ll allow us to feel a bit nostalgic with this post. After all, some of our best blogposts were written in our old blogsite – sashfactor.info/sashesandscripts
Seeing that some of our artworks survive has been one of our truest joys lately…

Samantha Lo & Paweensuda Drouin: Caught in A Crossfire

The latest social media shenanigans of a third-rate Omega level pageant has gotten pageant people talking about how low can its pageant owner and winner can go. While pageant fans are talking about the issue tirelessly, none has yet talked about how it will affect two key beauty queens in their respective competitions.

2019 Binibining Pilipinas winner Samantha Lo and Miss Universe Thailand Paweensuda ‘Fahsai’ Drouin may have been handed additional burdens with the latest pageant issue… and this is how the controversy could possibly affect them and their chances at the respective crowns they are aiming for.

SAMANTHA LO – her participation in the said pageant is going to be a test of strength, will and mental fortitude… after all, she is representing the Philippines in the pageant that seems to flourish on antagonizing Pinoy pageant fans. It is with no hesitation that we can say that she will be tested (even perhaps by the pageant owner itself) to talk about the issue of body shaming a fellow Filipina beauty queen. And Samantha has to prepare to navigate the mental traps that the attention seeking whøre of an owner would lay upon her. It pains this blogger to say that to expect a win in this pageant seems to be an exercise in futility but I am proud that Samantha seems to be the kind of lady that will do her best whatever the outcome may be. Even if she get to win the title, it could only become a hollow victory as the pageant itself is a walking contradiction of its own slogan of promoting peace. No doubt Samantha will do the Philippines proud but will the title be something worth winning?

PAWEENSUDA DROUIN – just when Thailand is already on its way towards another Miss Universe crown, this controversy throws in a monkey wrench to the entire machinery behind Fahsai. If a Thai pageant owner & beauty queen bullies and body shames the current winner of the Miss Universe crown, you can guarantee that the MUOrg will be taking notes on that. I am even predicting that come MU season, the issue of body shaming will be a point of conversation that Fahsai and the rest of the candidates would have to talk about. We are even predicting a scenario that the issue of body shaming be a question that Fahsai might have to answer specially that MU no longer shies away from politically charged questions. What could be Fahsai’s answer to this issue? What if she is asked by the press to denounce the actions of her fellow Thai beauty queen? Would she throw her two countrymen under the bus for this heated issue? What an added burden she has to bear come MU season. Even as early as now, she has to mentally prepare for that scenario. Fahsai would have to come up with a politically correct, polite and appeasing response to this issue. Because it will come for her sooner or later…
With bullying and body shaming being a hot topic all over the world, we can almost guarantee that this issue will be kept alive by fans. And with the pageant owner and beauty queen not having the foresight and the wisdom in seeing the errors of their ways, it is about time that pageant fans begin to focus their energies on other more worthwhile pageants… ones that have more class and delicadeza.

Beyond Beauty: Binibining Pilipinas 2019 Winners’ Advocacies

In a modern world where pageants are seen as obsolete dinosaurs of a bygone era, one way to make pageants relevant again is to show that pageants are more than just physical beauty and smarts. It has to care too for its community and its environment.

The theme of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas pageant centered on the hashtag “Beyond Beauty”. And these are the advocacies of the chosen queens:
GAZINI GANADOS, Miss Universe Philippines 2019
– Advocate for elderly care

Gazini was raised by her maternal grandparents, which is why the advocacy she decided to take on is very close to her heart. “My advocacy is to raise awareness on elderly care… When my lola’s health condition deteriorated, I thought about my advocacy. We didn’t have the financial capability when she was hospitalized, and I saw the facilities that were really lacking. At the end of the day, I wasn’t there when she died because it was too painful for me to see her in a crowded room where the nurses couldn’t handle the number of patients—dikit-dikit na sila, walang divisions, sharing oxygen. With my advocacy, I hope the government will hear me. We’re all going to get old one day. Would you want yourself in the same position? I know that the children are our future, but the elderly paved the way for them with their wisdom. It’s the least we can do, to reciprocate their love.”
BEA PATRICIA “PATCH” MAGTANONG, Bb. Pilipinas International 2019
Advocate for marginalized and underrepresented sectors
Patch was a member of UP Law Karapatan ng Komunidad sa Loob ng Selda (KAKOSA), a prison service organization that advocates for the rights of prisoners. Her involvement in this group made her realize that providing legal assistance for persons deprived of liberty (PDL) as well as marginalized sectors is what she wants to do. She tells Metro.Style, “There’s so much injustice in this world, especially that caused by poverty. People with privilege, like me, the least we can do is help and temper that inequality. That’s really what I wanted to fight for. It’s not a popular advocacy. It’s not children, it’s not cute, it’s not ‘beauty pageant.’ But that’s what’s in my heart. I got a lot of backlash from it, but no, if you experience it and research about it, you will understand where I’m coming from.”

RESHAM RAMIREZ SAEED, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2019
– Advocate for gender equality and women empowerment through education and entrepreneurship
Resham is currently working with SPARK (Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran), a non-profit organization that focuses on the development of women and women’s organizations as full partners in national development. “I feel like equality needs to be pushed more than ever. Not only in terms of gender that is my advocacy, but in terms of backgrounds and diversity. There’s so much to learn from one another. There’s so much to experience and that really expands our knowledge not only towards other people, but our world. Just a simple respect and acceptance, not tolerance, but acceptance is going to push humanity to a whole new direction. And that’s something that should be celebrated and looked forward to.”

EMMA MARY TIGLAO, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental 2019
– Advocate of supporting abandoned and less fortunate children
Emma is no stranger to pageantry, as she had joined Bb. Pilipinas back in 2014 and Miss World Philippines in 2015. She knows that being a beauty queen is a role that needs to be played with purposeful endeavors on the forefront. She tells Metro.Style, “For me, being a beauty queen is knowing yourself, it’s knowing your advocacy, but you don’t do it just because you’re in a pageant. You do it because it’s in your heart.” Emma is now determined to use her influence as a beauty queen to bring attention to abandoned and less fortunate kids. This advocacy was sparked by a brief encounter with a street kid whose life story deeply moved her. Emma adds, “That’s when I thought to myself that when I have the opportunity and the chance to help, they will be the ones who I will help.”

SAMANTHA ASHLEY LO, Bb. Pilipinas Grand 2019
– Advocate for education, focusing on promoting reading
Samantha’s work as an English is a Second Language (ESL) teacher inspired her advocacy. She shares, “Being a beauty queen means you have to set a good example. People talk about change all the time, we could start that change by doing better in the little things. We may feel small but our voice is very strong and I want girls to know that they can make a difference.” Through her advocacy, she wants to encourage the youth to focus on education. She adds, “My dad and his batchmates are with Couples for Christ, and in Cornerstone [one of the educational programs of CFC], they do a reading and writing program for children who come from the lower class families.” Samantha devotes her Saturdays to teaching the students how to read and write.
LEREN MAE BAUTISTA, Bb. Pilipinas Globe 2019
– Advocate for anti-bullying
Leren has a childhood story that a lot of people can relate to. She was bullied a lot as a kid, because of her looks and her skin color. “I grew up hearing things that really hurt my feelings: poste, kapre, negra,” she recalls. This experience inspired her to make anti-bullying her advocacy as a beauty queen. She was initially hesitant to join the pageant, saying, “I wasn’t sure at first, because I was so scared to be embarrassed. I was just too scared to hear negative words again.” But in the end, she faced her fears and won the pageant. She wanted to have a bigger platform for her advocacy, and now she hopes to maximize her crown and title to expand the reach of what she is fighting for.

SOURCE: https://metro.style/people/society-personalities/8259/binibining-pilipinas-2019-metrostyle-cover

Gazini Ganados – “I Can Be Miss Universe”

Miss Universe Philippines, Gazini Christiana Jordi Acopiado Ganados bravely faces the tough back to back challenge in Miss Universe 2019.

Check out snippets of Gazini’s Metro.Style feature below…
“When I was younger, I always looked up to the sky,” Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados says, her gaze shifting upwards as if to unearth a memory made in another lifetime.
As this half-Filipino, half-Palestinian daughter of a single mother once gazed at the stars night after night from her small bedroom, she silently wondered what secret messages they held and if she would ever be able to decode them.
“I always prayed, ‘Let me do something great for this world. I don’t want to be some regular Joe. I want to be something,'” she insisted, knowing she was capable of fulfilling the role.
“I still feel that I’m afloat sometimes. It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’m Miss Universe Philippines. It’s overwhelming that I’ve achieved my goal—the most coveted crown. I didn’t expect it, really. I just hoped for it and prayed for it a lot. I’m just happy!” Gazini gushes, briefly breaking her poise to release a wave of enthusiasm.

Asked if becoming a beauty queen was always in her plans, it’s a yes and no. A title was always the secondary prize, simply a means to an end for Gazini—the end being having a platform to shine the light on her lifelong advocacy.
“At first, I wanted to join pageants because we weren’t rich, but it wasn’t about the money. Maybe, that’s why I really didn’t win the first couple of times that I joined pageants. I wasn’t that hungry for it and I just wanted to give my lola the crown that I would win…. When her health deteriorated, I thought about my advocacy. We didn’t have the financial capability when she was hospitalized, and I saw the facilities that were really lacking,” she begins.
The self-proclaimed “lola’s girl” has tears well up in her eyes at this point, the issue of elderly care clearly touching a raw nerve.
Gazini’s Lolo Udong and Lola Utay, her maternal grandparents, had always been her closest family and two of her biggest supporters. With them and her mother around, she was never left wanting, never made to feel different, or incomplete. Losing both of them within years of each other was devastating and so scarring, in fact, that Gazini and her mother decided to start life anew in Cebu where they could heal without recollections of them lingering in the shadows.

Gazini’s last memory of her grandmother—her most trusted source of wisdom and comfort—was of her living her last hours in squalid conditions. “At the end of the day, I wasn’t there when she died because it was too painful for me to see her in a crowded room where the nurses couldn’t handle the number of patients—dikit-dikit na sila, walang divisions, sharing oxygen… [I know] that there are a lot of taxes that we pay to our government [but] you can’t see [where they go] here in the Philippines,” she opinionatedly shares.
Subconsciously, she straightens her back and holds her head just a little bit higher when she speaks about her advocacy. Gazini feels so strongly about the need to develop elderly care programs in the Philippines that she even pursued a certification course in nursing on top of her Tourism Management degree from the University of San Jose-Recoletos to better care for her ailing grandmother herself. “We’re all going to get old one day, and would you want yourself in the same position?” Gazini propositions.

“The standards of modern pageantry have already been raised… I’m really happy that it’s relevant nowadays,” Gazini says.
“I was raised by a humble family with a humble background. With my empathy, I can relate to the marginalized. We didn’t really have that much when I was growing up,” she describes.
“I tend to shy away maybe because of my background. I tend to think that everyone is [superior]. I have my insecurities [from not being] raised in an expensive [environment]. There are times when I really doubt myself,” she adds.
It’s a part of her identity that she still grapples with despite the successes that have come her way, but she doesn’t consider it a chink in her armor, at least, not anymore. Gazini has learned to leverage her natural transparency and vulnerability, using her personal experiences to reach out to many a Filipino who know exactly what she’s talking about and who, like her, are all too familiar with the hardships of a family scraping to get by.
Overall, it’s been a crazy month for 23-year-old Gazini, but there’s one challenge in particular that she hopes to overcome sooner than later. She’s following in the footsteps of reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray, and many wonder if she’ll be able to live up to expectations and score a historical back-to-back win—a first for the Philippines, if she manages.
She doesn’t respond to this with an answer she knows people will want to hear, however, and instead, keeps it real.

“Catriona is different. Gazini is going to be a whole different girl. I’m going to try to best represent the Philippines in my own way,” she says confidently.
Already, her transformation from an unsure and hesitant candidate to a sure-footed and commanding presence is beginning to yield noticeable results. And with the time Gazini has from today until the Miss Universe 2019 pageant proper, one can only imagine the complete package of a woman she’ll be come the big day.
For the full feature check out this link
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Seven Barretto
Creative direction by Chookie Cruz
Makeup by Anton Patdu
Hairstyling by MJ Rone
Styling by Bonita Penaranda
Video producer: Joan Ko
Videography by Spotlight Creatives
Shot on location at Cove Manila in Okada – New Seaside Drive, Entertainment City, Parañaque

Miss Universe 2019 Rumor Mill #1

It may still be quite some time before we get reliable news on the Miss Universe 2019 pageant dates and venue so we have to make do with the rumors floating around the net.

So here are some of the rumors we’ve been able to gather so far about the 68th edition of the Miss Universe:
1. Google Drops Hints on Date – well if you Google the term “Miss Universe” it gives us a December 19 date for the pageant’s finals, a Thursday. While this may seem legit considering that it came from Google search, we may have to say that this might not be likely true. Most Miss Universe finals tend to happen during a Sunday night US telecast which means it is usually Monday morning in Asia. Last year’s telecast was on an early Monday morning in Bangkok on December 17th. So it is more likely that the pageant finals would happen to be on December 8th or 15th as those fall on a Sunday.
EDIT, July 22 – according to the Venezuelan pageant portal MV La Nueva Era, the Miss Universe pageant will be happening in January 26th of 2020. If this rumor is true, it would be the third time that the pageant delayed staging a year. This happened for MU 2014 and 2016. Coincidentally, the rumored host for 2019 is the Philippines who hosted the pageant in 1974, 1994, and the delayed 2016.
2. Multiple Rumored Venues – first there was South Korea and Dubai, as publicly announced by MUOrg benefactor and businessman Chavit Singson. While we are not likely to believe that a Muslim country in the Middle-East is open-minded to host a beauty pageant, like many we are hoping that it would be staged in Korea. One problem though, Korea isn’t into beauty pageants which might pose some road blocks. With very little interest, there would be a problem of getting local sponsors to help foot  the bill on the pageant. Then there is also Rio de Janeiro interested to host the pageant which would be so amazing if it were to happen but there hasn’t been any other developments on that front since then.


Guess what? We’ve heard that Bangkok, Manila and Hanoi are buzzed around as possible venues. TBH, if it happens in Manila so be it. It might bode well for us and our rep if it is held in Manila. There is clamor here as well as a huge Miss Universe following. The MUOrg were given a lavish treatment when it was held in Manila in January of 2017 so they might prefer it if it comes back to the Philippines. According to our moles, the most likely countries to host would either be the Philippines or Vietnam. Though Vietnam would be a good option.
Last year, former Department of Tourism Wanda Teo (before she got sacked and replaced) let it slip that Vietnam was one of the other countries bidding to host the pageant aside from the Philippines. So the rumors that the pageant may happen in these two countries make sense. Then of course we also heard about Bangkok. While we don’t see this as a possibility for now, but their spectacular show last year is something that fans are loving to see again in the pageant. If everything else fails, there is always Las Vegas to save the day as a last minute host.

3. Steve Harvey Returns as Host – well, this is more likely a reality than a rumor. Remember back in 2015, he signed a 5-year contract to host the Miss Universe pageant and 2019 is still within that contract. An opportunity to have a different host will only arise in 2020, when his contract expires.
It is also rumored that Lu Sierra is coming back as a color commentator though we haven’t heard anything about Karlsson Kresley or Ashley Graham returning. Lu will be serving as catwalk coach to the girls as well.
4. Other Rumors – it is said that at least 75 countries are confirmed to compete in this year’s pageant. And with some countries expected to return like Siera Leone, Tanzania , and Turks & Caicos, that number may grow up to around 80+. We should be cautiously optimistic if  it would hit over 90 participants this year.

#FunArt: Jamie Herrel with the Beast

Our Miss Earth 2014, Jamie Herrell is such a lovely lady to be featured in a number of fun-art features that were almost lost in our old blogsite. Luckily we were able to salvage several photo-manipulation features on this lovely Cebuana.

Remakes have been a a trend in movies nowadays. The live action Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, has gotten online buzz even back in 2016… and while the movie was yet to come in 2017, it gathered interest with the news that all of Disney’s animated features will be getting a live action remake from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent movie), Alladin, The Lion Kind, etc… In that vein here is Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrel in a #FunArt from the French film version, La Belle et Bete.

We also have a couple more fun-art of Jamie as Red Riding Hood and Cinderella but we’ll post those a little later…

Angelia Gabrena Ong & Tereza Fajksova: The Best Miss Earth Winners

If I am asked who are the best Miss Earth winners in its 19 year history, I would not hesitate to name Angelia Gabrena Ong and Tereza Fajksova.

I have always respected and admired Angelia Gabrena Ong from the start of her competing in Miss Philippines Earth to her international competition in Vienna, she has handled the pressures of the crown with grace and sensibility. She has always been very diplomatic and professional in her public statements towards issues whether it be about her chances of a back-to-back win, her thoughts on the Hitler-Duterte comment of her successor, or even issues that could make or break a beauty pageant winner’s career. There is class and elan in the way she carries herself that is rare among pageant girls which couldn’t be found in most winners. Her’s was a very productive year as well having publicize a number of her advocacy public appearances as well as travels to almost a dozen countries promoting the Miss Earth pageant.

Tereza on the other hand has been the most visible and well traveled among its titleholders. She has traveled to 12 countries during her reign: Mauritius, Cote d’Ivoire, Reunion Island, Finland, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Sudan, Austria, Egypt, Philippines and Kosovo. Tereza also cemented the ME as an Alpha pageant during her year lifting the ME brand in her international travels. Her self-admission that she did not understand the question during the final Q&A and gave a reply with the most sincere of responses showed how truly amazing this woman is. To this day, when asked who among the ME winners is the most memorable, majority of fans would respond Tereza. A testament to her reign as one of it’s most beautiful winners.

Both of these girls were epitomes of what a Miss Earth winner should be: gracious, classy, smart/intelligent, sincere and down-to-earth. I am just hoping that future winners would look up to these ladies as a perfect role-model for the title.