Sashes and Scripts’ 1st Cardinal Rule in Pageant Blogging

I have gotten a number of feedback (some of them are quite recent) from fellow Sash Factor colleagues that I don’t look very close or chummy with beauty queens and pageant girls over the years. Well I have a perfectly good explanation for that. What most do not know about me is that I strictly follow a list of 10 Cardinal Rules.
Yes, I have 10 Rules in Pageant Blogging…and while I won’t be talking about them all here in this post I will be discussing at length my Rule #1: Do not Get Too Close for Comfort (a.k.a. Admire from a Distance). This rule applies to any pageant girl, any pageant organization or pageant personality. And I have number of reasons for it.

Some of the very few beauty queen friends: Bianca Guidotti & Angelia Ong…

1. Objectivity – the last thing I would want to do is to not be able to write objectively about anyone or anything in the pageant industry. When you are friends with a pageant girl or personality, it is quite difficult to make your critique objective. And more than sugar-coating stuff for them, they need honest feedback. I do not aim to please everyone in my reviews and leaderboards. Feelings can get hurt because of my write ups, even if it was unintentional on my part (I learned this the hard painful way).The only way I can look pageant people in the eye is to be objective, neutral and polite in my articles.
2. Professionalism – it doesn’t look professional to get all chummy with any pageant personality… especially when there are fans or people in the pageant industry as witness. I was Editor-in-Chief of my high school paper and was trained like a journalist. That has shown through my writing style. Journalists are taught not to be emotional when it comes to a story. What people see as detachment is just being keenly observant for me. When I cover pageants I tend to be quiet that is because I don’t want to be distracted with the task at hand. I do not want to look like a giddy fan in the presence of a pageant personality.

Some of the very few beauty queen friends: Valerie Weigmann and Catharina Choi…

3. Keep the Mystery Alive – when you know all the ins and outs of the pageant industry, it loses its appeal and sense of excitement…more so with people. When you are too close to a beauty queen, you see their personality flaws. Too much exposure to their character flaws may cause you to lose your admiration and even respect for them. That is why I rarely have a lot of beauty queen friends on Facebook. I am very picky that way because I do not want to lose the mystery of it all. When a blogger losses wonder for the thing that he blogs about, that spells doom for his readers. The articles ultimately suffer and become mediocre.
4. Safety – when you are too close for comfort, you tend to know the really nasty insider secrets that isn’t for public consumption. We aren’t talking about the run-off-the-mill cat-fights behind the scenes, we are talking about scandalous and libelous secrets. You get to know terrible behind-closed-door secrets that you are forced to keep and that you cannot blog about. Or you can be accused of spilling secrets even if you have kept your mouth shut. You lose your reputation in the process and pageant people will start to treat you like a pariah.

Some of the very few beauty queen friends: Kylie Verzosa and Rachel Peters…

It took me 5 years with Sash Factor as a forumer-writer-moderator-to-admin and now blogger, over 2000 articles written, almost 4 years of blogging on 2 different Sashes and Scripts blog sites, countless friendships formed nationally and internationally, before I have started to be recognized by peers in the pageant world… My 10 Rules has kept me away from pitfalls of having my reputation tainted. That is why I’d rather stick to them because they work.


Sashes&Scripts Year-End Special: The Changing Ideals in a Beauty Pageant Winner

2017 saw a full change in what takes to win a beauty pageant. These days a new type of beauty queen is seen emerging among national and international pageants. It is no longer enough that you possess the face, height and body for beauty contests. International and national pageant organizations are looking now for far more than the proverbial “face that could launch a thousand ships“.

Changing body ideals: small bust, wide hips, thick thighs and short legs…they don’t matter anymore…

Personal Achievement – whether you are a breadwinner from an early age, or managed to get your masters degree while juggling 2 jobs, or a household helper who succeeded in getting a degree of her own, or survived sexual assault, or an orphan who was raised by nuns, you gotta have a personal story or personal achievement to tell. That is part and parcel of being relate-able. Yes, other girls wouldn’t look as gorgeous as you but at least it gives hope that life can be better for them. This is what pageant orgs seem to be looking for a winner. Someone that is admirable and aspirational to make pageants be more current and modern.
Communication Skill -smarts trumps surface beauty, that should always be one that pageants should move towards for. Gone are the days when we would cringe at pageant winners who falter at the dreaded q&a. Nowadays, beauty pageant winners are expected to be able to hold conversations and speeches in public. Being able to communicate is something that all winners required to as they are de facto spokespersons/ ambassadors of the pageant org. Just look at the bumper crop of 2017 Binibining Pilipinas queens. All of them are capable of holding conversations and look stunning both at the same time.
Community Involvement/ Advocacy – done nothing for your community? Have nothing to show in terms of charity projects? Then have one even before you think of joining a national pageant. Even as a beauty queen aspirant, you have to stand for something and show up for it. You gotta be involved in your community or in a passion project that speaks to you….whether that be a regular clean up drive, standing up against bullying, HIV-AIDS awareness, humane treatment of animals, fight against human trafficking or cancer research. You have to be less self-absorbed and more involved in the world around you.

Pageant Buzz Words: Having compelling backstory and timely advocacies are a must in a pageant girl’s resume nowadays…

Market Appeal to Strengthen the Brand – it is no surprise that every pageant has made adjustments in how they select their winner in hopes to appeal to a larger world market. The latest move is how the MU pageant copied the ME’s continental grouping in selecting their semi-finalists. MW and MI have the continental queens to cover their bases. Hence this translates well into selecting its winners. Each pageant would select a queen that could further their agendas. Hence we saw a medical physicist representing the scientific community in global warming issues, an advocate of self-defense as an empowered and confidently beautiful winner, a medical student as the face of what is beautiful with a purpose… Each winner has to have market appeal to strengthen the pageant’s brand image to a worldwide audience.
Pageant Organization Favorite – this is a little bit difficult to quantify compared to the other points discussed. Nowadays, pageant organizations exert a little (to full) influence on who makes it to the semis and eventually win. They are, after all, the ones who would work with the eventual winner for a year’s duration. They might as well select one that they could work with in a professional capacity. Diva attitudes and bad behaviour are not tolerable. So it pays that pageant hopefuls be professional and courteous. This is the way to endear yourselves to the organization and get noticed. Remember that a pageant is not won during the finals but during the everyday you step out and face the day’s pageant activities.

Heard, not just Seen: Winners should be able to carry a conversation as they are spokesperson of the organization…

It is safe to say that winners should cover all of these bases to be successful at a pageant. Yes, physical beauty still counts for a lot but in a line up of very beautiful women, those that have the above points covered will most likely stand out.

Sashes&Scripts Year-End Special: the Alpha Pageant Ranking of 2017

With the Alpha pageants of 2017 being crowned in the same year (remember the MU2016 edition happening in January 2017?), we can finally list down the 2017 rankings within the same year.

Note that the Sashes&Scripts ranking is quite different from the Sash Factor ranking as we list down the overall achievements of the countries just like the Olympic medal tally from the conception of the 4 major pageants. The reason for this is simply because we believe that this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Demi Leigh Nel-Peters’ win in Miss Universe only boosted South Africa to a 15th place overall behind Spain, Germany, Argentina and Finland. Indonesia’s first Miss International win care of Kevin Liliana places her country in the board to look out for…

Now on to the top 10 ranking this year…
10. Colombia – 5 crowns & 26 runner up placements, the 2 runner-up placements didn’t create enough ripple to move it higher this year.
9. Sweden – 6 crowns & 14 runner up placements
8. Brazil – 6 crowns & 37 runner up placements
7. United Kingdom (GB & England) – 7 crowns & 21 runner up placements
6. Australia – 7 crowns & 26 runner up placements
5. Puerto Rico – 9 crowns & 11 runner up placements
4. India – 9 crowns & 15 runner up placements, moves one spot higher to bring down Puerto RIco to the 5th spot with Manushi’s win.

3. Philippines – 14 crowns & 21 runner up placements, Karen Ibasco’s win brings a significant move as it comes closer to the 2nd spot. All it needs is a minimum of major crown next year to overtake the US.
2. USA – 14 crowns & 59 runner up placements
1. Venezuela – 22 crowns & 42 runner up placements, Diana Croce’s 2nd runner up placement in MI just keeps on piling up the lead of this pageant powerhouse.

Sashes&Scripts Year-End Special: Our Most Controversial Posts of 2017

With the blog hitting 1 million hits in 2017, I thought that it would be a great way to take a look back at the most controversial/ audacious post I have written this year.
Sit back as we go through some of the Sashes&Scripts posts that got pageant fans thinking, riled, and excited.

Miss World/ Miss World Philippines BWAP: Beauty Without a Purpose?this was one of the most audacious post I have written in the blog as I have poked at the heart of the MW & MWP pageants. Upon learning that the BWAP challenge was purposely omitted in MWP after copying all the rest of the MW challenges, it got me thinking if the Beauty with a Purpose portion  was just for show…
* Opportunity Losses of the Miss World Pageant in the Philippinesanother post that raised some eyebrows albeit from the international pageant fans. This was exactly what happened in MW later as the pageant was a snooze-fest in terms of its social media presence. And this is going to be an issue if the planned 2019 hosting in the Philippines pushes through…
Male Pageant Winners & the Adult Film Industry Part 1 & Part 2 – not all that glitters is gold and this is evidenced by a number of pageant hopefuls and winners that had a porn past & present. This post has perhaps raised more heads and look at how the male pageant industry has miles to go to get the same reputation as female pageants.

Is Miss Universe IMG|WME Era More Concerned in Stories to Tell? – of the ladies in this list, only 2 didn’t manage to make it into the top 16 of this year’s competition. Here is how the MU is trying to reinvent itself by appealing towards the ‘human interest’ stories of its candidates.
Ms. Earth versus Ms. Grand International: The Rivalry – this is the post that perhaps gathered the most irk from the ME fanatics. Despite the very neutral nature of the post, most ME fanatics did not agree with the comparison from a fellow pageant from Asia.
6 Reasons Why the Best Filipino Pageant Fans Can also be The Worst – arguably, this post that is a look inside the Filipinos’ worst traits (as supposed to being the best pageant fans).
The Most Damaging Scandals & Controversies to Pageant Image Part 1 and Part 2 – this is one of my most controversial posts this year and I would say it probably ranks as my top 1 most audacious post this year. Not even the Alpha pageants Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Earth is spared in this 2-part write up.


Sashes&Scripts Year-End Special: the Prediction Review for 2017

This year, I could say that Sashes&Scripts did quite pretty well in the predictions of winners. While I may not have been able to predict all the winners, majority of the winners were within my winning circle/ top 5.

Miss Universe, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters
– I got it right this year with my MU pick.  Click here. And if we were to look at Sashes&Scripts’ first leaderboard I have the top 2 perfectly in order with Demi as MU and Laura Gonzalez as the 1st runner up.
Miss International 2017 – I have predicted Curacao’s Chanelle de Lau to which she ended up as 1st runner up. Kevin Liliana of Indonesia was my number 3 pick in the pageant. Click here.
Miss Earth 2017 – just like in MI, my third place pick was the eventual winner of the title. Karen Ibasco defied all odds to become the 4th Filipina to win the ME title. Click here.
Miss World 2017 – I didn’t have a final pick for the Miss World pageant this year with all the overlapping schedules of the pageants in the month of November. I do however had Manushi Chillar in my top 4 for the initial leaderboard.
I had better luck with the Philippine national titleholders in terms of my prediction this year.
Miss Universe Philippines, Rachel Peters – Click here. Early on I already had Rachel within my radar as a possible spoiler for the Miss Universe Philippines crown. I was right.
Bb. Pilipinas International, Mariel de Leon – She was my bet for the Bb. Pilipinas International title even early in the screenings. Click here.
Miss Philippines Earth, Karen Ibasco – After watching her video during the closed-door interviews, I knew then that she was going to be the eventual winner. Click here.
Miss World Philippines 2017 – My top pick Janela Joy Cuaton didn’t make it into the list of winner. Laura Lehman who was my #4 romped away with the title. Click here.

As for other national pageants, I only did for Senorita Colombia and Miss USA. I wasn’t lucky to predict the winners of those two pageants and I hoped I did one for Miss Venezuela 2017. Although I did predict the win of Miss Universe Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren. In terms of male pageants, I only predicted a couple of wins this year. I didn’t do predictions on several international male pageant like Mister Supranational and Manhunt International this year. The schedules were tight as it overlapped with our coverage in Las Vegas for Miss Universe. Although I did one for Mister Grand International, Mister Universe Model and a couple of national competitions.
Mister Universal Ambassador, Luong Gia Huy – For the second time in a row I predicted the winner of the contest. I had the most accurate prediction as I correctly predicted the placements of the top 2 winners as well as getting the correct placement of the 4th runner up. I got 4 out of the top 5 correctly with three exact placements. Click here.
Mister Global, Pedro Henrique Gicca – This is another almost perfect prediction on my part as I got the top winner plus one of the runner up placements correctly. Out of the top 5, I had 4 of them correctly with the eventual 1st runner up as #6 on my list. Click here.

Announcement! Sashes&Scripts Blogbreak on August 12-20

Hello dear Sashes&Scripts readers!
This is your blogger, Jesson Capuchino signing off for a week to take a well-deserved blogbreak. Starting August 12 to 20, I won’t be posting anything new on the blog. That will give us all the time to revisit previous posts on my blog.

But don’t be alarmed or worried as I have a lot of things to talk about when I come back. I going to post the piece I wrote regarding Catriona Gray that was published on a Canadian paper, I will be sharing with you some illustrations I made on the wardrobe wishlist for Rachel Peters, and more! Plus write-ups on Paweensuda Drouin, Janela Joy Cuaton, Cynthia Thomalla, Laura Lehmann, Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren, Alicia Machado, Carolina Izsak, Gentlemen of the Philippines 2017, Mister Universal Ambassador, Miss International, Miss Earth and so much more! I will definitely be back with a bang!

Thank You Isabella Manjon

Whenever Sash Factor and Sashes&Scripts receives help from people around us, we strive to make sure we show appreciation and our gratitude. Today is a post of just that: gratitude.

When we were struck by the untimely passing away of a beloved friend, it would have been difficult to claim the tickets he bought for the final had it not for the help of people close to us. The tickets through our Sash Factor Head, Larry Elima were given as a continuance of the yearly tradition to watch the pageant live. Those tickets were given to us for the Miss Universe pageant in Manila. 
But this would not have been possible had it not been for the extremely gracious help extended to us of former Binibining Pilipinas Isabella Manjon, who thru her work connections was able to work around the SOPs on the ticket claiming. Our ticket was purchased for us by our dearly departed friend and his credit cards could not be brought to MOA for verification. The lovely beauty queen waited with our head Sir Brix Vera until the tickets were actually printed out and handed over to him. Now that is truly touching.

We will never forget this touching gesture by Isabella, especially in this time when we are mourning. You truly a one of a kind Binibini…