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?
Miss International 2016, Kylie Verzosa is a busy bee these days. Aside from her regular appearances in promoting her Mental Health Awareness advocacy, she is also busy with other travels, endorsements and shoots these days. She has recently been seen in the covers of at least two major Philippine fashion magazines: Metro Weddings and Mega Magazine where she shared the spotlight with Megan Young and Pia Wurtzbach. Two months prior, she was also seen with the two at the Philippine Independence Day parade in New York City. She traveled to Myanmar as well where she met up and gave tips for the Miss Myanmar International candidates. While there she also visited the Shewdagon Pagoda wearing the traditional dress of Myanmar.
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.
Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa’s second foray at Binibining Pilipinas was marked with a blooming of sorts in terms of her personal style. In one of her recent Instagram posts, she explains the journey of her style and personal aesthetics. “I have always been against big hair and heavy looking makeup 😅 When I joined Binibini the 2nd time around I told myself, I’d go as natural as I can. No frills, no big curls, no sequined dresses, no glitter, everything that was stereotyped a beauty queen. And during Miss International I upped it up a notch, no platform shoes, no short dresses, no dangling earrings, (I only brought pair of @jewelmer studs). I wanted to breakout of the stereotypical beauty queen mold. Neither did I wave like one either lol. I went as simple and as elegant as possible, with fighting spirit of course -or made it LOOK easy and effortless haha. Find out what works for you. Sometimes, though I give it a chance, given the right occasion.” – Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016 From the time that she stepped into the opening/ welcome event of MI2016 in a simple but dramatic Mark Bumgarner blush cocktail dress to her Francis Libiran national costume presentation, Kylie looked in control of her personal style. This is something that everyone could emulate. If there is something to learn from her is that every pageant girl should “do you”. After all you can’t go wrong if you are authentic to yourself…
Miss World 2013, Megan Young Miss International 2013, Bea Rose Santiago Miss Earth 2014, Jamie Herrell Miss Earth 2015, Angelia Gabrena Ong Miss Universe 2015, Pia Wurtzbach Miss International 2016, Kylie Verzosa
In celebration of the 119th Independence Day of the Philippines, we feature our latest Alpha queens in a Pinoy-themed banner art…
Miss Earth 2014, Jamie Herrell Miss Earth 2015, Angelia Gabrena Ong Miss International 2013, Bea Rose Santiago Miss International 2016, Kylie Verzosa Miss Universe 2015, Pia Wurtzbach Miss World 2013, Megan Young
Now I know some of you may see this blogpost as a hangover post to the Wonder Woman movie that this blogger has watched during the weekend. But let’s for the meantime indulge this blogger a bit for some pop culture post and explain how every beauty pageant should be looking for a “Wonder Woman”.
One of the most obvious qualities of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman character is how she embodies women empowerment. Here we see a strong beautiful woman who is at par to her male superhero counterparts (yes, we are bold to make that comparison as she is very much equal to both Batman and Superman in physical prowess). She does not allow herself to be the passenger to her own life but rather takes charge of it. Something that women in the past several decades have been striving to accomplish. Something that is reflected to the new breed of beauty queens we see nowadays who are empowered, who have careers, who are serving in the army, their communities, working as teachers, pilots, dentists, researchers, police officers, law students, etc…
Ever wonder how she is able to maintain such a glowing look despite being in battle? Well that is essentially how beauty queens are! They go in competitions looking battle ready. They show up, they dress up, look the part and compete like athletes without as much are looking like they broke a sweat. Pageant girls face harshness of online bashin, the tough media questions, the scrutiny of the judges eyes while in 6″ heels and full make up on… making it look easy to stand in a bikini and deliver a speech in front of a crowd. Two things that most people could not even dare to do in front of their families. She also is unapologetic to her femininity, that she can be vulnerable but steadfast, compassionate but with a strong moral compass, headstrong but flexible in her ways. Unafraid of her sexuality but strives to not to be solely defined by her sex appeal. A clear reflection of how well-rounded she is, a common trait we see on how pageant girls are redefining what it is to be a beauty queen in this age. Nowadays being a beauty queen means being encompassing in terms of physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Meaning having the maturity to understand that being feminine is not just about physical attributes but a complete synchronicity of heart, mind and body.
Wonder Woman is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what is right. Which is very timely in current situations where beauty queens are expected to be articulate but mum on important social and political issues. Where being apolitical is passed off as being neutral, when being opinionated is being labeled as hypocrisy. This is where lines are set, where the rights and responsibilities are being set to the table. Moreover, the portrayal of Gal Gadot lends to the viewers a sense of moral compass to act when things are wrong, hence the line “if there is something wrong in the world you either do nothing or do something”. Choose the latter. Wonder Woman chose the latter.
But most of all Wonder Woman represents the woman who could make a difference. One person deciding to act like when Wonder Woman did when she defied her mother’s command to “do nothing” in a world that is turning into chaos does a whole lot of difference than one who would have kept silent. Albeit to a smaller scale beauty queens parallel such as they lend their voices on issues that affect us such as education, climate change, social justice, mental health awareness, HIV-AIDS, child welfare, and more. This is why beauty queens are in some ways Wonder Women… Why don’t you think that the ladies who wore the Wonder Woman tiara are beauty queens themselves?