Once in 2016, the Philippines held three of the four Alpha pageant titles even if it was just for a very brief moment.
Today’s #ThrowbackThursdays, I wanted to take a look back at that moment in 2016. From October 27th until the evening of October 29th, the Philippines held the Miss International 2016 title courtesy of Kylie Verzosa with the then reigning Miss Miss Earth Angelia Gabrena Ong(before Katherine Espin of Ecuador was crowned Miss Earth 2016) and Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. Mireia Lalaguna hasn’t passed her title yet at that time.
Would we ever have this moment again in the future?
Every Miss Earth winner have enjoyed the wonderful time they have as the reigning queen. One of their perks is the different travel opportunities that they have been enjoying. But did you know that the Miss Earth is unique as it treats its runners up like winners and allow them to travel? Well, that is one of the things that makes this pageant a cut above the rest.
During Tereza Fajksova, she and her Miss Earth-Air Stephany Stephanowitz have traveled together to Indonesia to crown the Miss Earth Indonesia back in 2012. And that was just one of Tereza’s 12 country visits. In 2013, Alyz Henrich has traveled to the US just like how her Miss Earth-Water Punika Koolsunrut traveled too. Angelia has been to around 8 countries during her reign while her Miss Earth-Air elemental queen, Dayana Grageda has been to roughly around 3-4 countries herself.
Reigning Miss Earth Katherine Espin has been to every corner of the Philippines plus international travels to Angola, Chile, Dubai, Ecuador, Reunion Island, USA, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong and Puerto Rico. Katherine has been around the USA as well with trips to Los Angeles, Washington, Las Vegas and did sightseeing trips to the Grand Canyon, and Rodeo Drive. But she is not the only one as her elemental court gets to travel as well. Michelle Gomez, who was hailed Miss Earth-Air, had a trip earlier to Ghana with Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell. Michelle also accompanied Katherine in her recent trips to the US, Chile and Puerto Rico. Miss Earth – Fire Corrin Stelakis have been to Nicaragua earlier too. Miss Earth Water, Stephanie de Zorzi, also went earlier to Sri Lanka as part of her duties as one of the elemental queens.
So far, this is the only batch of winners that all of the elemental queens were able to fly internationally! This is perhaps a sign of the move by the MEOrg to treat all elemental queens of equal importance. If that is the case, then that is a good move. It will only be the Miss Earth pageant that will give opportunities to its full set of winners to travel and be recognized as queens.
This feature is on the four women who won the biggest titles of 2016. This would be the last time I will be doing a #funart feature on them as the international pageant season is almost upon us.
Miss Earth 2016 – Katherine Espin Miss International 2016 – Kylie Verzosa Miss Universe – Iris Mittenaere Miss World – Stephanie del Valle
For those that have followed their journey, who do you think had the most memorable reign?
Are we moving towards a change in the modern day beauty pageants? Are modern day beauty queens more than just surface?
In the efforts to modernize and re-brand modern day beauty pageants, four of the biggest pageants around have updated their pageant to reflect changes in times. All four Alpha pageants have an advocacy to speak of: Miss Earth has the environment and climate change advocacy, Miss International has the Japanese Tourism Board pushing for cultural understanding among nations, Miss World has the Beauty with a Purpose ethos and Miss Universe has HIV-AIDS, Women Empowerment and various other children’s social welfare programs to support.
In order to ride together with the times, each pageant has upgraded how they select their winners. Miss Earth has always had the ground breaking no-make up rounds and close door interviews, and now they have added the public transparency of judging the girls in several areas of the competition. Miss International has adapted the Women’s Forum as a gauge to see how candidates perform in public speaking. Miss World recently has adapted the head to head challenge which is much more likened to a death match between candidates. Then Miss Universe earlier this year emphasized the closed door interviews having the biggest weight to make it to semis. With these changes, we can also see how the winners selected are evolving. The recent winners of Miss USA is proof the change as women with diverse background and meaty resumes are crowned winners: a US Army officer and a Nuclear Scientist. Miss Philippines Earth also is seen with its revolutionary winner, Karen Ibasco, who is a multi-hyphenate winner being a physicist, a medical practitioner, a Latin Honors graduate, a professor and now a beauty queen. She is aiming to succeed reigning Miss Earth Katherine Espin who is a Lawyer by profession. Binibining Pilipinas has crowned a pre-school teacher in the person of Miss International Kylie Verzosa, a strong willed, independent person who happens to also be an events manager in Rachel Peters, an opera singer in Mariel de Leon…and their list goes on. Miss World, whose winners are mostly in their early twenties and yet to achieve much career-wise, have a medical student Rolene Strauss as one of its winners in recent years.
It is not enough to be just beautiful nowadays. Pageant girls who aspire to become full-fledged beauty queens has to have more weight in their resumes and achievements. Substance and surface must go hand-in-hand nowadays, and that is just fitting as pageants have to change with the times. Beauty pageants are still viewed as archaic institutions by majority of the world. But if it is able to redefine itself through its winners to become more relevant, more modern and of more social value, then we can just see a renewed Renaissance for pageantry around the world.
It’s one whirlwind of a ride so far for reigning Miss Earth Katherine Espin!
Katherine has been in the Philippines for several months now fulfilling her duties. In that time frame she has been seen travelling and promoting the eco-tourism causes of Miss Earth while attending various public appearances.
She has traveled the Philippines quite extensively having been to Bohol, Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte), Albay, Cagayan, Cebu, Isabela, among others. It was in Pagupud that we saw her with other Alpha pageant queens Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016 and Megan Young, Miss World 2013. Internationally she has been to Angola, Dubai, Hong Kong and soon to be going to Myanmar by this 1st week of June with previous ME winners Jamie Herrell and Angelia Ong (that is according to the Miss Earth Twitter page). She is also scheduled to travel to Mauritius and Reunion Island. Not to mention that even her elemental queens Michelle Gomez and Corrin Stellakis has traveled as well to Ghana and Nicaragua respectively.
Recently designer Leo Almodal has released several photos of her with Jamie and Angelia wearing his creations. We are anticipating that there will be more photos to be released in the next couple of weeks.
With the Miss Philippines Earth coming to full swing come this month of June, we expect more updates on Katherine and most of the eco-warriors vying for that title.
What does three Alpha pageant winners doing together in one photo? Well three of them were recently invited in Pagudpud…
Department of Tourism Usec Kat De Castro was among the guests at the inauguration of Hannah’s Beach Resort Premium Suites in Balaoi, Pagudpud held last weekend that also included reigning queens Miss International Kylie Versoza, Miss Earth Katherine Espin and 2013 Miss World Megan Young. And it goes to show that the Alpha queens can get along well and not in competition against each other having different advocacy. And this is not the first time as well that Kylie and Katherine are seen together in public. Last January, during the Miss Universe After party at Okada Manila, both ladies are seen together at the red carpet.
It is quite refreshing to see that at least three Alpha queens are seen together in public getting along. We just hope to see all 4 Alpha winners in one frame together in the future…
Earlier in January, I have published the 12 countries who had the most number of wins in four of the biggest pageants in the planet: Miss Universe, Miss Earth, Miss International and Miss World. With France winning the Miss Universe title, it jumped from 21st place to #15… Here below are the current ranking: 15. France – 4 titles and 14 runners up 14. Finland – 4 titles and 28 runners up 13. Argentina – 5 titles and 7 runners up 12. Germany – 5 titles and 14 runners up 11. Spain – 5 titles and 17 runners up 10. Colombia – 5 titles and 24 runners up. Had Michelle Gomez won Miss Earth or Andrea Tovar in Miss Universe, Colombia would have ranked 9th overall.
9. Sweden – 6 titles and 14 runners up 8. Brazil – 6 titles and 37 runners up 7. United Kingdom – 7 titles and 20 runners up 6. Australia – 7 wins and 24 runners up. 5. India – 8 titles and 15 runners up 4. Puerto Rico – 9 titles and 11 runners up
3. Philippines – 13 titles and 21 runners up 2. USA – 14 titles and 59 runners up 1. Venezuela – 22 titles and 41 runners up. Despite not placing in three of the international pageants this year and just a runner up placement courtesy of Stephanie de Zorzi, they are still far ahead in the ranking.
The way I rank the Alpha pageant ranking is similar to the Olympic system, it is based on the number of crowns and runners up. It is simple and not confusing, what you see is what you get. There are 4 Alpha titles, each crown is treated equally in importance. I don’t like having the point system because that system is easy to manipulate, assigning bigger points to other pageants can lead to a faulty ranking. Crowns and runner up placements, you can’t lie with that.
So here below are the top 12 countries with the most Alpha pageant wins! 12. Germany – 5 titles and 14 runners up 11. Spain – 5 titles and 17 runners up 10. Colombia – 5 titles and 23 runners up. Had Michelle Gomez won Miss Earth instead of Ecuador this year, Colombia would have ranked 9th overall. 9. Sweden – 6 titles and 14 runners up 8. Brazil – 6 titles and 37 runners up. With Brazilian Bruna Zanardo placing again in the top 4 of the Miss Earth pageant, Brazil is consistently performing in the Alpha Pageant ranking. 7. United Kingdom – 7 titles and 20 runners up 6.Australia – 7 wins and 24 runners up. Alexandra Britton’s 1st runner up placement in Miss International is proof enough that the country from Down Under is to watch out for.
5. India – 8 titles and 15 runners up. This powerhouse country slid down one place this year. 4. Puerto Rico – 9 titles and 11 runners up. Advancing into the 4th place is this island country with Stephanie del Valle’s win in Miss World. It took them a little over 40 years before it won its second MW. 3. Philippines – 13 titles and 21 runners up. Inching closer to the 2nd place is the Philippines with Kylie Verzosa’s win as Miss International. Interestingly enough, 6 of the Alpha pageant titles were won in a span of only 4 years (from 2013 to 2016). 2. USA – 14 titles and 59 runners up. They scored another runner up placement this year in Miss International and they are expected to do well in the delayed Miss Universe later in January. 1. Venezuela – 22 titles and 41 runners up. If this was an Olympic sporting event, Venezuela would take the cake hands down. Despite no titles and just a runner up placement (courtesy of Stephanie de Zorzi) in 2016, they are still far ahead in the ranking.
Despite the highs and lows of the past year, the top 3 countries remain strong in their grip on their respective rank. Will 2017 bring a shakeup? That is possible, but we will just have to see how the 2017 pageant season unfolds…
When the video of reigning Miss Philippines Earth Imelda Schweighart surfaced calling out the new Miss Earth Katherine Espin ‘fake’, I thought she crossed the line.
Despite having multiple controversies since her coronation to the Miss Earth 2016 competition proper, I believed she still deserved the respect afforded being a bearer of the Philippine sash. However her latest antics have shown behavior unbecoming of a beauty queen… a far cry from her predecessor Angelia Ong who was the epitome of decorum and grace. Imelda’s fans or otherwise may agree or disagree with me, but in the pageant world, be it a humble baranggay competition or a grandiose Miss Universe, Schweighart’s conduct, by any standard, is the last thing that you would expect from a national title holder. I understand if most pageant fans would withdraw their support for the beauty queen… with her latest controversy I believe that Imelda is not the best representation of the Filipino people. This is not the best that the Philippines can offer to the Earth, perhaps I was right to have supported back then Kiara Giel Gregorio or Melanie Mader as the better woman for the Miss Philippines Earth title. I hope that in time Imelda would find maturity and enlightenment, so that she could show that beneath the beautiful face, there lays a pure and beautiful heart.