Mariel de Leon on

Binibining Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon is featured on the website where she talks about her passion for the arts and her advocacy.

Check out several snippets of her interview below:
How would you describe your Binibining Pilipinas journey?
It was tough but I conditioned myself emotionally from the beginning. I didn’t pressure myself so much and I just tried to surround myself with positivity through my friends and family.
Before the crown, what was life like for Mariel De Leon?
I was at a plateau, I didn’t really know what direction my life was going. I was doing a bit of acting and singing. But it didn’t give me a sense of fulfillment. I still felt lost.
What made you pursue beauty pageants?
I was thinking to myself, what is it that I can do? I’ve joined pageants before when I was 19 but I didn’t think I was mature enough for it, I was a baby [laugh]. Pageantry kept popping up, especially after Pia Wurtzbach won so I decided to try again.

Do you have an advocacy you are pushing for now that you’re a titleholder?
Yes I do. My advocacy is to bring back appreciation for history, classical music, and theatre – everything with the arts. These are for everyone even the less-fortunate.
Would you say you’re the same person who joined prior to the competition?
Not at all. What surprised me I guess is now I’m stronger and wiser. Before, I wasn’t really exposed to certain things. Growing up I was a sheltered kid and I’m a homebody too [laughs]. During Binibining Pilipinas I was exposed to more people both in social media and in real life.
What would you like to tell the De Lions or girls who are aspiring to be like you one day?
For the girls who want to join pageants, I’d just tell them to go through the journey knowing yourself first and being secure with just that. Going through Binibini is tough and it will really take a toll on you in one point. Be sure to be ready and mature for that type of stress. Work your way up from small pageants then work your way up.

Words: Louise Sicat
Art Direction: Deiniel Cuvin
Photographer: Erwin Canlas
Creative Direction: Rain Dagala
Styling: Patricia Melliza
Makeup: Lei Ponce
Hair: Renz Pangilinan
Location and Special Thanks to Moss Manila Home


Why Beauty Queens are Like Wonder Woman

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…

Deshauna Barber served in the US Military and Raquel Pelissier is part of a research team that could help cure blindness…

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.

Mariel de Leon recently spoke up on political issues on RH contaceptives and government appointees. Keysi Sayago joined the march for political change in her native Venezuela

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.

Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa: mental health advocate, Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong: environmental awareness, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach: HIV-AIDS awareness…

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?

Mariel De Leon on Reproductive Health Issues

Being outspoken has never been an issue with Binibining Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon. And she continues to be as outspoken on her views as she has voiced concerns on the TRO (temporary restraining order) on other contraceptives other than condoms. 

Below are a series of tweets on her Twitter account, @mariaangelicadl, posted last May 17th:
“TRO on contraceptives. Birth control pills are slowly going away. What will you do when they’re all gone? Let’s take our bodies back.” 
“What about women with PCOS, acne, severe dysmenorrhea, irregular period, etc.?”
“What about our freedom of choice when it comes to family planning? What about women’s health?”
“You’re not “pro life” if you deprive women of something that’s good for our health and our future.”

She has further written about this Reproductive Health issue in a article and illustrated further her points on the issue:
The dialogue on reproductive health and contraceptives relates to so many local social issues. It affects poverty, population control, and health as well. And in order to properly address these issues, it all stems down to proper education.
If people were properly educated and given facts about the uses and effects of the different contraceptives made available to us, people would be smarter with the choices they make and responsible for not only their own lives, but the lives of others as well. With that, people shouldn’t see contraceptives as the enemy here, if anything they should see it as more of a solution to these problems.
In fact, I know many women who use birth control pills as more than a contraceptive. They use it to help deal with the effects of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), hormonal imbalance, dysmenorrhea, and even acne. There’s also the case for teen pregnancies, unwanted pregnancies, childbirth complications, and abortions—all preventable situations thanks to birth control.

Reproductive Health has always been an issue in the Philippines where education on this matter is largely unavailable to most. Unfortunately the Philippines suffers from backward thinking religious dogmas that prevents having choices on sex, reproduction and health. The rise of HIV-AIDS cases, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, population explosion, etc… are all tied up with the lack of education on reproductive health as well as lack of healthy contraceptive choices.
Mariel, shedding light to an important issue that has impact on women’s health and population control is admirable. Having a voice and using it is even more so. What makes it the more potent is now she has a bigger platform so that more people could listen.


Fashion Face-Off: Gwendoline Ruais vs. Mariel de Leon

This is gonna be a #FashionFridays that brings back an old blog series. It has been a long time since I have discontinued the Fashion Face-Off series for the blog. But today I just couldn’t help to do one on 2011 Miss World 1st runner up Gwendoline Ruais and Mariel de Leon. As you can see, both ladies are wearing the similar looking design by Cary Santiago. Gwen was the sleevesless gown version and Mariel as a Philippine terno.
Who do you think wore it best?

Barely-there Makeup for Mariel and Rachel

Check out these lovely Instagram photos of Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters and Binibining Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon… These two beauties represent only a couple of distinct Filipina looks among a multitude of Filipina faces. 

Rachel Peters is looking divine specially with her sun-kissed tan…
Mariel’s mestiza good looks are highlighted in this natural looking make up…

Makeup: Sari Campos for Rachel & Lei Ponce for Mariel
Hair: Renz Pangilinan/ Kierlo Velasco

Mariel de Leon: Country over Crown

Binibining Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon roars online! The newly corwned queen is taking social media by firestorm lately after posting about the appointment of blogger and sex starlet Mocha Uson as Presidential Communications Operations Office  (PCOO) assistant secretary.

She posted a series of tweets (some of which are already deleted) such as:

“What is happening, Philippines?”
“Biased and disrespectful. She insults those who are against her. I’m not for her, I’m not for the other side (whatever that may be).”
“I love my country so it breaks my heart to know someone like her got a position in government. There are so many other unbiased, educated, and respected (and respectful) people who deserve her place.”
Since then a barrage of comments from both sides of the coin has been said online. Some have criticized the 5’8″ beauty saying that she wouldn’t win Miss International because of what she posted. She has since retorted back,“Receiving messages saying I shouldn’t speak up like that, otherwise I won’t win the crown? Uh, so para sa inyo (for you), crown over country?” and followed it up with, “That’s why we’re not evolving. Because some people care more about the superficial than what really matters. It’s always country over crown.”

My take on the issue:
I love how outspoken she was on the issue. She probably have the guts to echo what a thinking majority is collectively expressing online (yep my newsfeed is full of them). The only difference is that Mariel is being singled out because she is a public figure. Mariel has the right to express what she thinks. I echo her sentiments about Mocha’s appointment as the said lady seems to propagate unverified news and news links from questionable media outlets.
As a University of the Philippines graduate, I am always taught that it is better to have an opinion (whichever side of the moral pendulum one may fall) rather than not having one at all. We are always told to be fearless and ask the hard questions that no one does. Mariel has the moral obligation to her country to ask questions on our government and so do we. I personally feel that Mariel is able to sum everything up in this statement on her Twitter: “Politics and corruption is poison for the soul of our country. Fake and biased news will just bring our country down deeper than the dirt on our feet. I hope that change will come. And I hope that I can use my voice and my platform to be part of that change.”


Mariel de Leon: Breaking the Mikimoto Curse

For most pageant fans, Mariel de Leon was deemed perfectly fit to become the Philippines’ bet to the Miss Universe pageant…but not for me. Now before anybody would react violently about that statement, I would like to make it clear that I am a fan of Mariel. Me not wanting for her the Miss Universe Philippines title is a reflection of my belief that she was/ is perfect for the Tokyo-based Miss International competition.

In my Crown Contender series, I have made perfectly clear that I believe Mariel is going to be our best bet for the crown to be vacated by Kylie Verzosa as MI later this year. I was more than happy, ecstatic actually, to see Mariel winning the Binibining Pilipinas International title for two reasons. First is that Mariel is rumored to have indicated that it is the title that she wants most and second is my belief that she is the one to break the so-called Mikimoto curse. It is said by most pageant enthusiasts that whichever country wins the Miss International title is bound not to make the semis the following year.
Among the winners this year, I believe that only Mariel has the refinement of manners and attitude that the Japanese might find perfect for their organization. She is soft-spoken but articulate, talented and leans towards the classic and sophisticated. More than that, Mariel has the tasteful angelic face that doesn’t intimidate. While her body is yet to be transformed, I have no doubt that this buxom beauty will have the requisite curves come competition time.

To say that I am waiting for Mariel’s transformation is an understatement. I want to see her in her best physical shape. I want to see her sing opera in Tokyo. I want to see her make it into the semis in Miss International. I want to see her do her best for the ever elusive Mikimoto back-to-back win.

Edit (10pm, May 11):
After the recent controversy about her Twitter post on Mocha Uson’s appointment as Presidential Communications Operations Office  (PCOO) assistant secretary, I am more convinced that Mariel is gonna do well in Miss International. With the MI giving importance with intelligence, public speaking and decorum, Mariel has an advantage. Some people might not see it yet but I sure do… Her having an opinion on current political views will serve her well in the competition. Her Tweets although controversial as it was, showed courage and a mind that questions what is happening around her. Her Tweets weren’t offensive in language, only hastily done without forethought on what it might bring about. What Mariel said on Twitter illustrated how she expected higher qualifications, moral ascendancy, and competency to do a public office justice. 
Out of respect for everyone who has views (pro or con) on this issue, everyone should take chill pill. This post is about how Mariel is going to fare in Miss International and not to debate on how Mocha Uson is going to perform her duties. And as we shift back to Mariel’s chances in the international competition, she fits the mold of a Miss International winner, with or without consideration to her political views…