I can’t believe that it is almost time for another Miss International winner to be crowned. It only seems like just a month ago we saw Kylie Verzosa get crowned as winner. And yet in that amount of time, Kylie has redefined a new kind of Miss International. Prior to her time, most MI winners only get to travel Japan and visit places unique to the Land of the Samurais and Geishas. Not with Kylie. She has traveled to around 10 countries as Miss International, the most number of countries visited by any recent winner of the title. She has been to Brunei, Myanmar, Indonesia, Brazil, Paraguay, Belgium and France among her travels. She has been to more countries than 5 of her past predecessors as the reigning winner. She not only promoted the the pageant’s visibility to the rest of the world but also did more in terms of her advocacy. We all know that her biggest achievement as a winner is her Mental Health advocacy. From the time she won Binibining Pilipinas International, she tried her best to shed light to depression and mental health awareness. She created the Mental Health Matters by Kylie Verzosa Facebook page and a Facebook group where people suffering can share their stories and be in the company of those that understand their plight. She has made countless public appearances for her advocacy as well. Below is a recent guesting on CNN Philippines’ The Source…
I have previously mentioned that Filipina beauty queens are far from the usual mold of pageant girls. They make something of the crown that is placed on their heads. They create lasting value and Kylie is no different. Her reign might come to a close come November, but her lasting impression will linger on.
Did you know that Venezuela and the Philippines are record -breaking countries in terms of multiple consecutive wins in Alpha pageants? What countries have managed to win major international titles (among the four Alpha pageants) in at least 2 consecutive years?
Well you don’t need to Google them as we already did that for you. Meet the highly enviable countries that have managed to score multiple win in Miss Earth, Miss International, Miss World and Miss Universe consecutively… Sweden – 1951 Miss World Kiki Hakonsson & 1952 Miss World May Louise Flodin, they scored the first back to back wins in Miss World… which occurred two more times in the pageant’s history. Netherlands (Holland) – 1961 Miss International Stanny Van Baer & 1962 Miss World Catharina Lodders (who met her eventual husband Chubby Checkers in Manila, Philippines).
United Kingdom – 1964 Miss World Ann Sidney and 1965 Miss World Lesley Langley, they were the second back to back win in the pageant United States of America (USA) – 1973 Miss World Marjorie Wallace and 1974 Miss International Brucene Smith. India – 1999 Miss World Yukta Mookhey, 2000 Miss World Priyanka Chopra and 2000 Miss Universe Lara Dutta
Venezuela – this country has produced winners at consecutively three times all in three different decades! The pageant superpower has managed to secure 10 wins on those occasions. * 1984 Miss World Astrid Carolina Herrera, 1985 Miss International Nina Sicilia and 1986 Miss Universe Barbara Palacios Teyde * 1995 Miss World Jacqueline Aguilera, 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado and 1997 Miss International Consuelo Adler * 2008 Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza & 2009 Miss Universe Stefania Hernandez (the first and only MU back to back so far in the pageant’s history), 2010 Miss International Elizabeth Mosquera and 2011 Miss World Ivian Sarcos
Philippines – has the record-breaking longest winning streak in the Alpha pageants from 2013 to 2016! * 2013 Miss International Bea Rose Santiago and 2013 Miss World Megan Young * 2014 Miss Earth Jamie Herrell * 2015 Miss Earth Angelia Ong and 2015 Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach * 2016 Miss International Kylie Verzosa
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