Mesmerized by Bb. Pilipinas Grand International Elizabeth Clenci

I had quite a nice vacation and one of the highlights was being able to meet up with reigning Binibining Pilipinas Grand International, Elizabeth Clenci. Kagandahang Flores head Sir Rodgil Flores facilitated this meet up with Elizabeth (or Liz for short) and I can honestly say that I was floored with what I have observed in her.

What is most striking about Liz is how self-assured and confident she is in her own skin. I observed a lovely lady who is not afraid to show me photos her worst when she had severe eczema, and how she has lifted herself up from such predicament. Mesmerized at her story of how she became a vegan from her experience, I asked more and more about her healthy lifestyle choices. I am even more impressed that she can say that she could be a vegan for the rest of her life.
Liz is addictive to listen to, when she talks you just want her to go on and on. Smart, articulate, engaging  and fun, that is how she is when I met her… More importantly she knows who she is. She was talking to her go-to designer at that time on fashion choices (gown and national costume included) for the Miss Grand International competition in Vietnam. Liz was talking about her body type and how she wants emphasis on her best assets…coming from someone working in the fashion industry, she nails her style choices spot on.

While there are no confirmed dates on her departure or the MGI schedule of activities, we can assume that she would probably be the first to compete this year among her Bb. Pilipinas batch (the finals is on October 25th). With a rep as self-assured as she is, I have a feeling that she would perhaps equal or surpass the placement of her predecessors.

The Tough BBP Wardrobe Lessons of 2014

2014 will perhaps come down in Philippine pageant history as the turning point of the wardrobes for Binibining Pilipinas winners. After a very dismal wardrobe choices in 2014, the year coming after it saw a veritable change in styles that gave BPCI two crowns including the much coveted Miss Universe.

One of the biggest disappointments in terms of outfits of 2014 was the horrendous Panagbenga costume of Mary Jean Lastimosa in Doral for Miss Universe. The costume was designed by Colombian Alfredo Barazza which drew flak online. It was the topic of a thousand memes online that lambasted how poorly inspired the costume was. And when it came for the gown, it was actually a nice one but was terribly wrong for MJ’s curvy figure. Termed as ‘damit pangkasal’, the gown was a disappointment in comparison to the pink Leo Almodal that MJ wore during the final dress rehearsals.

Another terrible competition wardrobe was that given to Binibining Pilipinas International Bianca Guidotti, who was made to wear a not-so-flattering tulle confection for her evening gown. It didn’t made her look regal nor elegant. The gown looked like a mishmash of two separate gowns with its plunging V-neck bodice and full tulle skirt. Not to mention the very bland national costume she was given which was added with a make-shift malong. The saving grace of the ensemble are the headpiece by designer Edwin Uy and the apir fans.

Let’s not forget Yvethe Santiago’s full-on recycled wardrobe. Her talent costume was a Pitoy Moreno original worn by Kristine Florendo in 1997, her national costume was a gown added with butterfly sleeves worn by Bea Rose Santiago for her welcome parade in 2013, and her evening gown was the farewell gown of Bea in Bb. Pilipinas 2014. She was vying for a tough back-to-back challenge but was given a not so updated wardrobe.

Despite this major set-back, Binibining Pilipinas was able to bounce back a year later when it allowed Filipino designers to make national costumes and evening gowns for Filipina queens. 2015 saw the change that Filipino fans were clamoring for quite sometime. And BPCI was all the better for it…

Nostalgia: The Pineapple Filipiniana Costume

One of the most heavily criticized national costumes that a Filipina beauty queen wore to a national pageant was the Pineapple Filipiniana costume worn by Carla Gay Balingit (to Miss Universe) and Precious Lara Quigaman (in Miss International).

The national costume was a creation by Colombian designer Alfredo Barraza. 

In retrospect, the costume wasn’t bad as we all thought. It poked a little bit of fun with its literal interpretation of the piña fabric from pineapple fibers that the traditional Filipino costumes are made from. It was festive, it was out of the box and perhaps too ahead of its time. After all it was only in 2015 when we were all surprised by a tuktuk national costume from Thailand.

Kim Ross Williams delos Santos – The One that Got Away (?)

It still pains some pageant fans to think of how different the Binibining Pilipinas line-up would have been had Kim Ross Williams delos Santos been allowed to compete until the finals…

No disrespect to Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina, but I thought Kim would have made an equally good job in representing us in Miss Universe had she been crowned MUP that year. She may have done even better if she is able to give a decent run at the Q&A of the pageant.
Or perhaps she could have even done better in Miss Supranational. And could have possibly ran away with that title giving the Philippines its second win at the Polish-pageant. Surely her modelesque proportions and 5’10” stature would not be ignored by the judges.

What say you dear readers, would she have done better in Miss Universe or in Miss Supranational?

Bianca Guidotti and Why more Beauty Queens Should be like Her

Today’s post is a vanity post… This post is about the girls whose beauty is only overshadowed by her lovely personality and the enormity of her gracious heart: Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti.

Unknown to most of my Sashes&Scripts readers, I very rarely actively add beauty queens on my Facebook account. There are only a handful of beauty queens whom I have admired and sought out to befriend on Facebook (since I don’t have Instagram or Twitter). I believe that being too close to a beauty queen makes you loose your objectivity as a writer, and I only have broken that general rule for a few select ladies. Bianca is one of the rarefied few.
Bianca is a model, beauty queen, actress and humanitarian. She speaks four languages fluently: English, Filipino, Spanish, and Portuguese. But what I admire most about her is her passion for humanitarian causes and this is reflected with her work with CSFI (Community and Family Relations International). Even after her reign she is still active in her humanitarian efforts as she is one of the Ambassadors for #SaveSexy, a HIV and AIDS awareness campaign. Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental Katarina Rodriguez shares this about her: “She’s a lot of fun, she’s adventurous, she’s very smart. She’s very passionate about being a humanitarian and I love that about her. She’s very emphatic and I wish I could know all the beauty queens personally, because knowing them on a personal level is quite different from through social media.

I have first met her in Las Vegas during Miss Universe 2015. And I would admit that I was more excited to meet her than to see Pia Wurtzbach in the very hushed Albert Andrada blue gown. Bianca has this girly innocence and warmth in her that is a glaring contrast to her womanly stature (being an enviable 5’10” in height). But when she speaks, she makes you feel safe and welcome. She has that effect of mesmerizing people. A way of speaking with kindness but never afraid to stand her ground on social issues.

She reminds me of the inherent good we can all do and be. Hopefully, we will have more beauty queens like her… beauty queens whose crowns are forever sealed in the goodness they do for their community and country…

Katarina Rodriguez: Also Competing in November for Miss Intercontinental?

Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental Katarina Rodriguez has always had a great relationship with the camera. She always register well in photos and today’s post is a proof of that. She is snapped by photographer Edward Keeler for a series of photographs as seen below. 

But enough of that, today’s post is actually focused on the rumors going around that the 5’7″ beauty is gonna compete in the month of November. And the pageant is likely to be held in India this year.  While we are waiting for an actual confirmation on the dates and full schedules from the organization itself, let’s just say that the pageant will have its finals in a packed beauty pageant calendar of November. How will that impact Katarina’s support system in the pageant?

With fans’ attention being split between Miss Earth, Miss Universe, Miss International and Miss World how much support is left for her? Well, there is nothing to worry about as she has her dedicated core of pageant fans, the KATroopers. I am 100% sure that she would be getting full support for Mobstar voting or any other online voting platforms the pageant will take into this year.

The pageant calendar for November is quite full this year. I personally hope that Katarina’s competition be moved to December or October to give fans a breather from the 1-2-3-4 punch combo of the Alpha pageants in November…

Rachel, Keysi and Kara: the Early Miss Universe Crown Contenders?

A couple of weeks ago I posted a write up about three pageant powerhouses (Venezuela, USA and the Philippines) and how they are gearing up for the upcoming international pageant scene. This led me to ask if are they also the early Miss Universe frontrunners?

Rachel Peters, 5’10”, 25 years old – the proverbial beach babe, the girl with the bangin’ body and the “easy to get along with’ attitude. But don’t let that fool you. With her work as an events organizer reveals a sense of discipline and professionalism. She even has worked with superstars like  Katy Perry, Jessie J and Christina Aguilera under that capacity. Not to mention that she completed her International Baccalaureate at the British School in Phuket, Thailand and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Business, Tourism and Events from La Trobe University in Australia. 

Keysi Sayago, 5’10”, 23 years old – the Miss Venezuela mold breaker. Being one of the only three women of color to win the Miss Venezuela title is surely a conversation starter. Then add to it her open involvement in protests for better governance, rallies against violence and economic injustices in her homeland. Surely you get not your typical Miss Venezuela winner who are trained to be politically neutral. Keysi seemingly is the type of girl that would do good with the title and use it to speak out for her chosen advocacies.

Kara McCullough, 5’10”, 25 years old – the nuclear scientist. She is the girl with the ‘heavy resume’, the girl with the proverbial brains and beauty. Kara represents the type of woman that the Miss Universe organization is looking for. Relatable, real and with accomplishments that can propel the organization towards a more modern definition of a pageant girl. 

It is no coincidence that these three ladies represent the countries with the most number of alpha pageant crowns. With pageant training as hardcore as that of an Olympic sport it would not be a hardsell to have all of them in the top 3 of Miss Universe. They may just redefine the Miss Universe title and make it modern and more relevant to this day and age…