Mariel de Leon: A Photogenic Face in Miss International

In Miss International winning the Miss Photogenic title is almost a guarantee of doing well in the pageant. After all at least 7 Miss International winners are also named Miss Photogenic (they are Alejandra Andreu, Consuelo Adler, Ikumi Yoshimatsu, Paulina Gálvez, Goizeder Azua, Christie Ellen Claridge, Linda Hooks, Tania Verstak and Stanny van Baer). Countless others who have won the special award has also bagged a runner-up spot or at least a place at the semi-finalist. Would you believe that at least 4 MI 1st runner up winners were also recipient of the that special award? If Binibining Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon manages to win the Miss Photogenic award, she might find herself cruising towards the crown.

These latest released photos of Mariel by photographer Raymond Saldana show just how photogenic our MI bet is. The 5’8″ pop-opera singer gets her good looks from her parents who are showbiz royalty. She is going to compete against an expected 61 other candidates from all over the world. Mariel’s task in MI is going to be a tough one as no country has yet made a back to back win in the Tokyo-based pageant. 

The Miss International pageant will be held at the Tokyo Dome on November 14th. Tickets are now available at the MI website for the finals. 


Mariel de Leon Won’t let ‘Ang Panday’ Derail her from Miss International 2017

When it was announced that Binibining Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon was starring in a movie, a lot of Filipino pageant fans were concerned whether sh could manage to prepare for Miss International and at the same time carry out her movie commitments. Her recent interview with Inquirer should clear out several issues including her being so outspoken (regarding the Mocha Uson appointment issue and the more recent killings in ‘bloody Philippines’).

Preen/Inquirer:What can you say about rumors that you don’t have time to prepare for the pageant because of Ang Panday?
Mariel de Leon: [I want to make it clear that] my shooting [schedule] for Ang Panday is just once or twice a week, every weekend. The rest of my days are committed to Binibining Pilipinas and preparing for Miss International. So I have a lot of time [to focus on the pageant.] Time management lang.
Preen/Inquirer: How do you handle the criticism you get for being outspoken on certain issues?
Mariel de Leon: I just don’t care about them. I know it’s easier said than done, but even before I’ve always been outspoken and never afraid to show my feelings and opinions. What people say to me doesn’t really affect me because I don’t know them, so why should their opinions about me matter?
Preen/Inquirer:What about those who say you’re not acting like a beauty queen?
Mariel de Leon: The thing about being a beauty queen is that people have this certain stereotype. I’d like to break that down because being a beauty queen, you have an audience and a pedestal. It’s such a waste if I’m just going to stand there and pose and look pretty. I want to do something with it.

It is not easy to find the perfect balance between standing for your beliefs versus being politically correct. Love it or hate it Mariel continuous to be vocal and outspoken without letting these distractions deter her from her movie commitments and preparing for a Miss International back-to-back. It is certainly more entertaining to see a beauty queen face challenges before her eventual triumph…

Team Philippines 2017 is Now Complete!

With the coronation of Laura Lehmann as Miss World Philippines 2017, Team Philippines is now complete!

Miss Universe Philippines – Rachel Louise Peters, 5’10”, 25 years old, model, entrepreneur and events manager
Binibining Pilipinas International – Maria Angelica de Leon, 5’8″, 23 years old, model and opera singer
Miss Philippines Earth – Karen Ibasco, 26 years old, 5’7″, Medical Physicist
Miss World Philippines – Laura Lehmann, 5’9″, 23 years old, courtside sports reporter
Good luck to all the ladies in their respective international competitions!

Miss International 2017, First SashPicks

It’s almost international pageant season and let’s start it right with Sash Factor’s first Miss International 2017 SashPicks… 

1. South Africa, Tayla Robinson
2. Nepal, Niti Shah 
3. Mexico, Citlaly Higuera
4. Colombia, Vanessa Pulgarin
5. Indonesia, Kevin Liliana
6. Philippines, Mariel de Leon
7. Vietnam, Thuy Dung
8. Poland, Paulina Mariarz
9. Venezuela, Rosangelica Piscitelli
10. Japan, Tsutsui Natsuki
The first three girls in the list are all facially gorgeous ladies, smart and easily fit into the Miss International mold. South Africa’s Tayla Robinson is arguably everyone’s top-of-mind choice among the bevy of girls this year. Nepal’s Niti Shah is a surprise addition but fans better start paying attention to her, her fresh-faced beauty is one that the Japanese could love. Mexico’s Citlaly Higuera is riding the coattails of her recent appointment, her fans feel that this lady should have been sent to Miss Universe on a stronger performance over eventual Nuestra Belleza winner. Same sentiments can be said over Colombia’s Vanessa Pulgarin who is also said to fit the MU mold better. Completing the top 6 are Indonesia’s Kevin Liliana and Philippines’ Mariel de Leon.

The Miss International 2017 Early Frontrunners

The Tokyo-based Miss International pageant is scheduled to be held on November 14th at the Tokyo Dome. So far the prospects of a strong batch is still in the making. 9 girls out of the confirmed 28 candidates for Miss International 2017 makes the initial list of Sashes&Scripts’ early frontrunners.

Colombia, Vanessa Pulgarin – definitely a top 5 material. Colombia has done exceptionally well in this pageant and it is expected to do so again this year. This Gabriella Isler look-a-like might bring back the Mikimoto crown to Colombia.
France, Vaea Kealoha Ferrand – she’s the 2nd runner up to Miss France Alicia Aylies. This Tahiti-based stunner is absolutely gorgeous and could possibly win France’s 2nd MI title.
Indonesia, Kevin Liliana – after placing well in the top 5 last year, Indonesia’s rep has big shoes to fill. No doubt this pretty lass can do well in the pageant.
Philippines, Maria Angelica de Leon – hers is a tough challenge, that is to place the Philippines in the semis and win despite the Mikimoto course. She is still a top 5 caliber-contender though.
Macau, Sofia Paiva – this pretty lass with Portuguese descent is a surprise in this list. We are hoping that she would give Macau a decent placement at MI.

South Africa, Tayla Robinson – the girl everyone is buzzing about that could be the first South African to win MI. Her blonde, blue-eyed looks is certainly gonna be a hit among Japanese judges.
Sweden, Lina Ljungberg – sex appeal in the metric tons! The brunette looker can be her country’s first win in the pageant. Hopefully she would be polished well enough for the Japan-based competition.
USA, Shanel Kapri James – despite the fact that no woman of color (specifically black and/or African of origin) has yet to win the MI title, Shanel is still a lady to watch out for in the competition. 
Venezuela, Rosangelica Piscitelli – an Edymar doppelganger who is gunning for another win for her native Venezuela. This multi-lingual actress/model was Sashes&Scripts’ pick to win Miss Venezuela last year and MI could be her redemption.

While these girls are being evaluated based solely on physical attributes, Sashes&Scripts is eagerly waiting to see more of them speak. Surely that is where the wheat is separated from the chaff.

Who will complete #TeamPhilippines2017?

With the recent crowning of Miss Philippines Earth Karen Ibasco, the Philippines is just one crowning short to complete #TeamPhilippines for 2017. First to be crowned this year was Binibining Pilipinas International Maria Angelica de Leon and Miss Philippines Universe Rachel Louise Peters during the coronation last April 30th. 

Rumor has it that the following girls are gunning for the Miss World Philippines title: Mutya ng Pilipinas alum Janela Joy Cuaton, Reyna ng Aliwan 2016 Cynthia Thomalla, former Binibining Pilipinas runner up Laura Lehman and Miss Globe 2015 Ann Colis. Some of these names are perhaps decoys for the real possible participants so unless we see them in the competition we gotta believe their joining with a grain of salt.

Should Mariel Choose between an Acting Career or the Miss International Crown?

Disappointed. That is what I felt when I heard that Binibining Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon is starring in a movie opposite Coco Martin for the Metro Manila Film Festival. I thought there goes her shot at the Miss International title… after all, how can someone keep focused on a lofty goal when one is side-tracked by another goal.

However after mulling it over, perhaps she might be able to pull it off like how Charlene Gonzales did back in 1994. The Miss Universe top 6 finalist was able to simultaneously do her duties, train for the pageant and at the same time shoot a movie. So Mariel’s case isn’t the first time this scenario has happened. Just how big is her part in the movie might just define how her preparations would be affected. Hopefully it won’t be a lead part as she would need to do more intensive acting workshops and that could eat up time from her MI preparations.
Mariel in an interview with ABS-CBN said, “Oh no, no, [hindi ko papabayaan ang Miss International]. I have time management. It’s all about time management talaga and scheduling“*. That kind of assurance is what her supporters would need to assuage doubts that she could still pull off at least a decent placement in the Tokyo-based pageant. 

While I still have nagging doubts that she might not do well with her focus split between the two, all I can do is to give her the benefit of the doubt and my support. But in my two cents worth of opinion, something might just have to give way. I am afraid that her task of breaking the Mikimoto curse just became a tad more difficult to overcome. But who knows Mariel might just be able to pull it off. Cautiously optimistic, that is at best what I can describe my thoughts on this matter…at least just for now.