Four strong women, four shocking heartbreaks.
Among the 40 ladies that were competing in this year’s months long Binibining Pilipinas pageant, these four ladies are some of the most buzzed about favorites and darkhorses. This post tries to analyze what could have gone wrong and what mistakes that blocked them from nabbing a title this year.
Julia Saubier – in the preliminaries telecast of the pageant, host Robi Domingo mentioned 4 events where the ladies were judged as to who makes top 25: the press presentation, close-door interviews, the national costume show and the Free Speak challenge. IMHO Julia did well in one of those events. Now, before Julia’s fans crucify me for stating that, let me explain why. During the press presentation, Julia’s transition in her poses and facial expression wasn’t fluid. Her walk needed tremendous work as she had too much bounce and was too shifty. We can assume that in the close door interview she could have spoken well of her achievements and did very well on that aspect. Then in the national costume show, while every other candidate showcased a full performance in their costumes, Julia just walked and did nothing extra to be even noticed. Let’s not be confused here with her Jag Jeans performance as that was just OK at best, we have to remember that at the Jag Jeans segment the ladies weren’t being judged. Her national costume performance didn’t make a dent compared to the performances of other ladies that danced or had special movements onstage. Then we have her Free Speak challenge where she did OK. I’d dare say, she did only OK because she diverted her chosen phrase ‘keto diet’ into a body shaming issue which she articulately expressed her views but not necessarily hit the bull’s eye on the phrase itself. For those not in the know of what keto diet is, the diet forces your body to eat its reserved fats by jump-starting your metabolism to work faster. There are a number of health benefits to the keto diet and it isn’t just a typical diet fad to loose weight. I think that she focused and relied too much on her social media game not knowing that it isn’t part of the judging criteria. Had she focused on her presentation skills, her pasarela instead of being overly active on social media, then she could have at least made first cut with her fit body and statuesque frame.
She has to learn that it isn’t enough to be strong in only one portion of the competition and neglect the rest. The girl who is determined to win should know that she has to be strong in all fronts…
Ilene de Vera – in all honesty, I have a hard time thinking why this darkhorse failed to make it into the first cut of the pageant. We all saw her perform just fine in the national costume show, did well in the Free Speak challenge and was fine in the press presentation. So I can only speculate as to why she didn’t even make semis. My gut feel tells me that perhaps her features reminds us too much of the ‘Mary Jean Lastimosa prototype’ which might have worked against her, just like it did with Dr. Ena Velasco last year. Perhaps BPCI is veering away from its past mistake of crowning Miriam Quiambao prototypes in the past, that it is now willing to cut short the journey of strong ladies that remind them so much of any past winner. Another theory that I am entertaining was that Cebu had sent 3 strong girls this year and to have them all making a killing at the finals is something that the pageant might be avoiding. Imagine of all 3 Cebuanas made it to the top8 circle of winners, that scenario might be too much focus on Cebuana ladies so one had to be a sort of a sacrificial lamb in the process.
Whatever the reason might be, it really stings that Ilene was eliminated too early in the competition.
Hannah Arnold – she had it all going for her. She had the face, the height, the advocacy, the educational achievement, and even a strong following. But it didn’t come together during the coronation night! She was so amazing during the fashion show that we saw an completely different Hannah come finals, like the fire and presence wasn’t there. The way she owned the stage last May 29th, was the opposite way she blended into the other girls during the finals. Gone was the spark and the fierceness we saw when she was dragging several pots in her national costume. Instead we saw an innocent young girl rather than the strong independent woman we saw in the fashion show. I love Hannah, she was among my faves for the MUP crown but I cannot sugarcoat the reality that the Hannah we saw last May 29th was not the same Hannah that competed in June 9th. There was not strong energy or aura emanating from her, perhaps she wasn’t feeling well that night or she was sick, but in pageants you only have one shot at the finals. I would have wanted her to have sported a strong eye makeup with a very defined cheek and jawlines. Instead of a green colored gown, why not opt for a different color like a deep purple or indigo.
I was hoping that she would have pulled off a better answer to her question about the youth in politics. She started off with a strong point that got unraveled by a weak end statement. She could have talked more about what youth politicians can bring into governance, how younger politicians’ optimism can bring about visible change. This is why candidates have to read on so much information about politics, pop culture and the Philippine society because in order to speak about these topics, you have to consume much content. This is the disadvantage of most halfies that join competitions in the Philippines, they have to work harder to know more about the culture and geo-politicial issues of the country to understand it and grasp questions of these nature.
What I am positive about Hannah is that she is young and she can always return should she choose to. She has to immerse herself not only in the culture but also the language, the food, the music, the histories and yes even the language.
Vickie Rushton – there were a little over a dozen special awards that night and Vickie won 6 of those. It seemed that she was on her way towards the Miss Universe Philippines crown this year and then she missed making the top 8. Undoubtedly, she was the best face of the finals. She couldn’t take any bad angle on TV cameras with such a divine face but I knew something was not right even as early as the swimsuit competition. I couldn’t understand why but I wasn’t feeling any energy in her swimsuit presentation, when the gowns came, it was the same. I knew then there must be something bothering her because I already smell trouble in her performance. It felt like she wasn’t even in a good mental head-space that night, like we are seeing a totally upgraded version of herself this year but the soul in her eyes was in a faraway place. It almost felt like it was a beautiful shell of Vickie that was competing, it is her but like ‘she wasn’t in there mind and soul‘. Then came the question and answer where she could have easily nailed it as it wasn’t a new topic in pageants. I was hoping that she would rally up one final time but she wasn’t able to until the bell caught up with her.
Pageants are a mental game as much as it is about showmanship. Vickie had all the right ingredients to make up a international winner. But she seemed distracted and it cost her a spot at a crown. I would always root for Vickie because she is a beautiful woman inside and out. Perhaps it just wasn’t her night. Perhaps she has some personal stuff that she is dealing with. Perhaps it was the nerves. But it left me with a feeling that a possible international crown for the Philippines vanished into thin air without her representing the Philippines. Pageant fans are asking me if will she try one last time although if she does for 2020, her crown options would be limited with her being 27 this year. I cannot answer that for her but if she does, she had to do so with the determination of a tigress and a heart of a lioness.
Prior to the Binibining Pilipinas finals, I always emphasized the importance of delivering it on the finals…that one front-runner’s mistake is another candidate’s opportunity. This is what I meant with those warnings. Your finals performance matters as it will be the basis on who gets crowned.