Binibining Pilipinas Grand 2020, Samantha Mae Bernardo may have ended as the Miss Grand International 1st runner-up placing 2nd to USA’s Abena Appiah, but it surely feels like winning first!
Samantha’s performance from Day 1 to the pageant’s finals can only be summed up in one word: Flawless…
BEHIND THE SCENES: A CONTEXT
Before we start let’s be candid in admitting that Sashes&Scripts isn’t a big fan of the MGI leadership and the narcissistic behaviour he frequently exhibits, but we can compartmentalize that from acknowledging that the pageant gave a very entertaining and exciting competition for everyone to enjoy, this blogger included. The hard-work of the people behind the scenes in putting up this competition is commendable.
We personally felt early on that winning the Bangkok-based pageant would Filipinos call a ‘punch to the moon’ (or suntok sa buwan as Filipinos would say) illustrating such an impossible feat. So we were able to manage expectations early on. And we have been vocal about this opinion of ours since 2018, when we have written what we felt were reasons why the Philippines will never win in this pageant. But for a fleeting moment we honestly believed that Samantha might be the one to win it all in a grand manner.
In a conversation with Kagandahang Flores head honcho, Sir Rodgil Flores, he mentioned that they were gunning for a top 5 finish. I strongly disagreed with him and said that I see Samantha within a 1-2-3 finish. And boy was I so nervous on that ‘triple tie’ round because I seriously wanted a 1-2 finish for Samantha. That was in itself a tall order considering that Samantha, Kagandahang Flores and the styling team headed by Sir Kenneth Ramil Yturralde had 20 days to prepare for her competition in Bangkok.
With only 20 days to prepare, one cannot expect too much but this blogger held on to the hope of a top 2 finish for Samantha. Because in the back of our consciousness we were dreading the scenario of having “one who is crowned over the one who won“.
MGI PERFORMANCE BENCHMARK
To say that Samantha will be the standard in terms of pageant performance for MGI is an understatement. She will be the yardstick that every MGI hopeful will be measured against. From day 1 she illustrated how a pageant campaign is to be executed flawlessly.
- Pageant Wardrobe – From her departure outfit to her daily OOTD to her national costume, and competition gowns, Samantha had the pageant wardrobe any pageant girl would kill for. Everything she wore all played to her strengths and she never had a single strand of hair out of place. That is how impeccable she was throughout the entire stay in Bangkok. She may not have taken the route of having Philippine textiles for her wardrobe but Sir Kenneth’s goal to mix fashion and pageantry in Samantha’s daily arsenal built up her image as the lady to beat.
- Pasarela – when Sir Rodgil showed us a couple of Sam’s training videos it was clear that her presentation skills are given a boost with how he has choreographed her twirls, her poses and facial registers. My only comment was to add power because if that is added to Samantha’s stage presence and presentation will be a killer. And she never disappointed pageant fans in every video of her in swimsuit, national costume or gown. Samantha has a photogenic register on camera and she always delivers. Some vloggers may not like the way she is ‘too trained’ but that is what the pageant requires. Newbie pageant fans might not have studied MGI’s preference of hammed up presentation and that is why they make mistakes in their analysis, not that it is their fault, they’re just uninformed.
- Speaking Skills – for the grammar police, they can catch some errors here and there but not huge mistakes that it throws off the meaning and the message. Others will definitely say that the speech is rehearsed but what speech isn’t? The pageant isn’t about extemporaneous speeches. But what other may not want to point out is how heartfelt Samantha is in her question and answer segments. She makes informed responses specially on the final round where she chose seniors for the last vial of vaccines. For those who are uninformed, Covid19 vaccines are created specifically for people aged 18 and above, and are not recommended for teenagers 15 and below. So there is weight to what she speaks about.
ONE WHO WAS CROWNED OVER THE ONE WHO WON
Taking nothing out of Abena Appiah’s Miss Grand International win, because she fought hard and equally deserved the title, we hope she will use her title to promote goodwill across different pageant fans. We also believe that Samantha will possibly be the more popular girl among this year’s winners with her approachable personality.
Long time pageant connoisseurs will remember Samantha’s triumph despite not bringing how the main title because Samantha showed the entire pageant community that she was the pageant’s winner since day 1. That her campaign was flawlessly executed from start to finish with not a single mistake to be said about it. Samantha’s position will be remembered by pageant fans for years to come.
So it may come as a stroke of good luck that she ended up as the runner up to the winner because her charm and her uncanny pull on people will be something that the MGI organization would rely on for a lot of reasons. The pageant org will be needing her now more than they realize or even care to admit. And for this Samantha may not have ended with the title but pageant fans across the globe will remember her as the one who won…