Philippine Pageant Newsmakers of 2020

2020 was a hard year for pageantry. So it is no shocker that a number of the news-makers on this list are on the negative aspect of pageantry.

Here’s the list of 7 news-making headlines that shocked and shaped the pageant industry this past year…

7. A Question of Decency in Pageants – how far can candidates go bare before they are called out for too much exposure? That was one of the hottest topics that was taken out of context by a number of pageant pages on Instagram. During the height of the Miss Universe Philippines pageant, a number of candidates posed in too provocatively styled shoots and swimsuit photographs which prompted a huge debate between pageant admins. And with strong arguments from opposing views, some pageant admins and personalities fought for each of their sides. Unfortunately none of the candidates who posed provocatively even made top 5.

What can be considered crossing the boundaries of decency in pageantry?

6. Fake Scandal Video and Images Propagated by Catriona’s Detractors – this year we saw both Indonesian trolls and Filipino pageant haters spread malicious images and spliced videos of Catriona Gray online. It was such a huge headline that Catriona decided to go to the National Bureau of Investigations to file a case against those that propagated these fake and doctored images and videos.

5. Changes in Miss Universe National Directors – in a movement that started in 2019, the year saw more changes in leadership for several more MU franchises. Colombia, Spain, Guatemala followed the change in franchise ownership and/or leadership from 2019’s Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Thailand and the Philippines. And with the rumored new ND for the USA with former Miss USA Crystle Stewart, 2020 truly saw the “in with the new and out with the old” in franchise ownership.

4. Miss Earth’s Successful Virtual Pageant – when it was announced that the Miss Earth pageant will continue its 20th edition with a virtual pageant, a number of fans raised concerns. ME was the only Alpha pageant to stage their competition this year… Miss Universe is to hold their 69th edition in the first trimester next year while both Miss International and Miss World cancelled their pageants and will return in 2021.

3. Miss Universe Philippines Leakages – newbie pageant with newbie personnel running the organization; that was evident with the numerous leakages and slip ups that marked the first year of the organization. They started off with huge promise that would later be marred with information leaks that could only come from within their own organization. From the schedules, design of the new crown, stage design and concept, down to the actual winners of the competition, were all leaked days and/or hours before the culmination of the pageant activities. Even as they are sequestered and quarantined in a location far from the capital, numerous insider info continued to leak from within the org. Which even included the video of the crowning of the new MU-Philippines hours before the finals was finished.

2. Miss Universe Organization Financial Trouble – the signs were there but nobody saw how the pageant’s parent company, Endeavor, made headlines for its huge financial issues. With massive debts, personnel furloughs and lay-offs, to live events cancellations, the MUOrg was deeply affected by the financial woes of its parent company.

1. Covid19 Pandemic – no other news is bigger than the corona virus pandemic that gripped the entire world in 2020. Due to its nature, live events are cancelled and it basically eradicated the pageant schedules this year.

2020 Year End Special Report – Our Best Blog-posts

2020 gave us an opportunity to pivot and improve on the type of topics that we wanted to talk and discuss about. While we cannot cover and talk about everything related to pageantry, we made a vow that the topics we select to discuss and talk about would be ones that are intelligent and provoking as well as relevant and of value to our readers.

This is why for this list, we listed down our blog articles and new pages that caused a huge number of clicks/ reads and engagement from our followers on social media.

Binibining Pilipinas 2020 Talent Show Standouts – if 50% of the judging criteria is beauty of face, then these ladies would be a shoo-in for the Binibining Pilipinas titles.

A Gorgeous Batch for Binibining Pilipinas 2020 – pageant page admins have whispered this in hushed conversations. In private a number of our pageant colleagues unabashedly admitted that the Binibining Pilipinas pageant got the lion’s share in terms of the most gorgeous faces in this year’s roster of candidates.

Continue reading “2020 Year End Special Report – Our Best Blog-posts”

2020 Year End Special Report – A Year That Was

2020 will be remembered as a year that shifted the entire way we live. It has shifted how pageantry could still be relevant in a society that has altered its course permanently. This is the year that was.

Same can be said of how this year has changed in the pageant industry. The industry as a whole had to re-evaluate and reassess a number of things this year. From how they select their winners, how to prep them for international competitions, to how pageants are held, how to improve revenue streams, etc… pageantry as a whole had an entire year to reconfigure what it means to hold pageants in a tumultuous year.

Through triumphs and trials, these are some of Sashes&Scripts’ actions and counter-actions to a year of difficulty…

Continue reading “2020 Year End Special Report – A Year That Was”

Year-End Special: The Most Memorable Miss Universe Gowns of the Decade

This decade has seen a number of gorgeous gowns worn in the Miss Universe pageant. But these are the ones that stood out the most!

Today we will bring out the fashionista in this pageant blogger. Being the fashion industry since graduation (I took up Clothing Technology from the University of the Philippines so that is where the fashion aspect comes in) I always loved the evening gown competition of any pageant. It was through pageants that I got my first taste of fashion, which later translated to a career in the industry.
So it is no surprise that our list of the best in the decade is populated by fashion choices from someone who has actual industry experience, locally and internationally. And this is our best-10-list of pageant gowns of the decade…
Continue reading “Year-End Special: The Most Memorable Miss Universe Gowns of the Decade”

Year-End Special: Sashes&Scripts’ Most Clicked Blog-Posts of 2019

2019 was a great year for the blog. The blog has reached over 2.6 million clicks in less than 3 and a half years. It was also a year that saw a steady growth on our social media channels: we’ve breached 10k followers on Facebook and are close to 5k followers on Instagram. Not bad for these social media channels that are only 2 years old.

As part of our Year-End Special, we are revisiting peoples/ personalities, blogposts and events that made 2019 very memorable for us. And before we end the year and open to a new chapter in pageantry, let me show you the most clicked blog articles this year.

12. Binibining Pilipinas Trivia, Part 2 – the second installment of the 4 part series was one of this year’s highly visited blogposts.
11. Binibining Pilipinas FAQs (AKA Everything You Need to Know) – this is a must read for every Filipina wanting to be a Binibining Pilipinas titleholder!
Continue reading “Year-End Special: Sashes&Scripts’ Most Clicked Blog-Posts of 2019”

Year-End Special: 2019, A Year to Remember for the Philippines

A bunch of full placements for Filipina reps and a bag full of lessons learned, that is Philippine pageantry this year in a gist. No major crowns but a lot of lessons learned.

2019 wasn’t as spectacular a year for the Philippines as pageant fans would have hoped for. Despite this realization the Philippines has now cemented itself as the Asian counterpart of pageant powerhouse, Venezuela. Along with it comes several realizations that Sashes&Scripts believes Filipino pageant fans need to be mindful of as we enter a new decade.

  1. ALWAYS BE HUNGRY – Never be complacent and Rest upon our old laurels
    It is time to realize that our past victories are not eternal. Every year, we have to be hungry for a victory (whether that means a crown or victories in other smaller ways). There are more mountains to climb. More battles to be fought. More crowns to win.
    And this is the time that the Filipino pageant fandom to rally behind out candidates. Yes there is that camp-war still being waged by pageant fans and even some pageant admins on social media. But once a girl is on the international stage, we should learn to respect their journey. The least we can do is to not to speak ill of them when they are doing their best in competing internationally.
  2. NEVER ASK APPROVAL OR VALIDATION – specially from people who have achieved less that we have
    IMHO, we believe that Filipino pageant fans have to evaluate who we make “patol” on social media. Collectively, we have to set our eyes higher and aim higher. We do not need to explain ourselves to those that have achieved less than we do. We do not need to be validated by any other else’s opinion.
    The country has the most number of Alpha pageant wins in among any Asian country. We come second only to Venezuela in the most number of Alpha pageant wins. We just had 6 consecutive years of continuous Alpha pageant wins, the most for any country on record.
  3. BE KINDER, MORE COMPASSIONATE – never put our girls down for the sake of ‘expressing an opinion’
    Let us never diminish the lower semifinal placements of our girls because we never know the battles they need to fight to be where they are. We never seen the demons they have to conquer to be the best they can be. They are hungry for a victory just as we all are.
  4. WIN OR LOOSE, ACT LIKE A WINNER – we are never defeated, rather we just learned a new lesson
    With such achievements, we must also learn to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Not every year we are bound to win. It is not easy to win in a field of 90 or 100+, but let’s put up a good fight that the world, or the universe rather, trembles at their feet when they see a Miss Philippines.

Take the lessons learned this year. Take the small victories as well. We can always do better… .

2018 Year End Special Report – Philippines’ Performance

How did the Philippines fare in the international pageant arena this year? Did we do better or worse than last year?
Since Venus Raj’s drought-breaking 4th runner-up finish at Miss Universe 2010, the Philippines won 2 Miss Universe crowns, 2 Miss International crowns, 3 Miss Earth crowns and 1 Miss World. Despite having major losses in some international pageants this year, the Philippines continues its winning streak!

2018 International Titles
Miss Asia Pacific International, Sharifa Akeel
Miss Eco-International, Cynthia Thomalla
Miss Multinational, Sophia Señoron
Miss Tourism Worldwide, Zara Carbonell
Miss Intercontinental 2018, Karen Gallman
In terms of international pageants outside the Alpha pageants, the Philippines has had varying degrees of success. Jehza Huelar made it to the top 10 of Miss Supranational, Michele Gumabao was a semifinalist in Miss Globe and countless other placements and victories in lesser known international pageants. We did score wins in other international pageants, notable of which are Karen Gallman, Sharifa Akeel, Cynthia Thomalla and Sophia Senoron (all Kagandahang Flores trained ladies). Zara Carbonell’s win as Miss Tourism Worldwide further cemented the illustrious batch of the 2017 Miss World Philippines winners.

Karen Gallman’s victory as the first Filipina Miss Intercontinental has raised the Philippines further up into the pageant stratosphere. This is the first win for the country since the pageant’s establishment in the 70’s. Sharifa Akeel’s win as Miss Asia Pacific International is the 5th win since the pageant was established in 1968 (it was first known as Miss Asia before growing to Miss Asia Pacific and now to its current format). Prior to Sharifa’s win, four Filipinos were crowned in past iterations of the pageant. They were Maria del Carmen Ines Zaragoza (1982), Gloria Dimayacyac (1983), Lorna Legaspi (1989), and Michelle Aldana (1993). Cynthia Thomalla winning in Miss Eco International was the first international victory in the year 2018 before being immediately followed up by Sophia in Miss Multinational in India.

Major Losses of 2018
Katarina Rodriguez’ 1st runner up finish in Miss Intercontinental 2017 earlier in January 2018 was dealt with a devastating non-placement in Miss World last December. While there were missteps made on both sides, there was no offered satisfactory explanation on Katarina’s disqualification at the BWAP and talent segments. If Katarina’s rumored martial arts presentation wasn’t considered an acceptable talent then how come Catharina Choi Nunes of Brazil was allowed to do a taekwondo demonstration for the Miss World 2015 talent competition? Another major loss was that of Alyssa Muhlach in Reina HispanoAmericana. An understandable loss considering she only had less than two weeks time to prepare for the competition. Eva Patalinjug’s shocking non placement in the Miss Grand International pageant is deemed to be an unjust decision. The pageant’s judging panel comprised of a national director and a designer/pageant trainer/ friend of a candidate, which puts the judging process in question. More so the questionable ethics of the pageant owner and the pageant itself…

The 4 Alpha Pageants
Miss World Philippines, Katarina Rodriguez
Miss Philippines Earth, Silvia Cortesi
Bb. Pilipinas International, Ahtisa Manalo
Miss Universe Philippines, Catriona Gray
Three out of 4 possible placements isn’t a bad achievement specially with the year ending with a major win in Miss Universe courtesy of Catriona Gray. Silvia Cortesi made top8 in Miss Earth and Ahtisa Manalo almost won the Mikimoto crown in Japan last November.
Over all, the year started with a bang with a handful of crowns courtesy of Karen, Sharifa, Zara, Cynthia and Sophia, and ended with the Philippines earning the most coveted international title of all, the Miss Universe crown. While we celebrate every victory we had this past year, we can predict that 2019 will be overshadowed online by every move that Catriona Gray will be making as Miss Universe. So we are hoping that the next set of national winners will be able to face being scrutinized based on the achievements of their predecessors. And we pray that pageant fans would be less aggressive or vile on social media on these ladies this year. On a final note, we do wish fervently that the winning streak would continue this 2019.
NOTE: this blogpost was originally posted in January 15th and has been edited to include updates on Karen Gallman’s win.

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 boosted South Africa only 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 as a country 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 1 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 for 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 Philippines – another 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.