Philippines’ beauty queen win streak enchants BBC
After four Filipinas bagged four different beauty pageant crowns in the latter half of 2013, media giant BBC’s reaction comes as no surprise.
The Filipino brand of beauty was recognised by the world as it crowned Mutya Datul as Miss Supranational 2013, Megan Young Miss World 2013, Bea Rose Santiago Miss International 2013 and Angeli Dione Gomez Miss Tourism International 2013. But what exactly made up this brand of beauty remains a mystery.
BBC’s published article entitled ‘Philippines: How to make a Beauty Queen’ takes one shot at cracking the code by looking at why exactly beauty pageants click in the Filipino culture and what makes Filipinas stand out among the crowd.
The article was able to point out one crucial ingredient to the art of molding the beauty queen: modelling mentors, citing the contribution of Jonas Gaffud, CEO of modelling agency Mercator. Gaffud was the one who trained Megan Young, and the latter confessed in a separate interview that the training she received was beyond her expectations but very essential. Gaffud had also trained famous pageant finalists like Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup and Janine Tugonon.
Beauty queen wannabes have to undergo a beauty boot camp which Miss Earth-Philippines 2009 Sandra Seifert revealed included ‘different exercises that you do, all the way from head to toe. Stretching, neck rotations, really tough waist movements to shape your waist.
She described one exercise called the ‘duck walk’ as ‘Just imagine doing lunges in high heels with a book or several books on your head – and they cannot fall.’
Miss Earth-Philippines 2010 Sian Elizabeth Maynard added that ‘It’s really not just about smiling and standing in front of people. It’s a lot of hard work.’
Gaffud said his team has to pay attention to the beauty queen’s needs, down to the smallest details. He said even the candidate’s lipstick shade must be just right to improve her chances of winning. But what is amazing is that, even though molding a girl into a beauty queen involves tough work, some mentors like Gaffud do not charge for the service and even pay for the candidate’s needs.
BBC also unlocked one important ingredient among Filipina beauty queens: the Philippines’ deep passion for pageants. University professor Jose Wendell Capili revealed that beauty pageants are so ingrained in the Filipino way of life that ‘Rooting for a particular candidate can sometimes break up families, friendships and relationships.’ Meanwhile, beauty queen photographer Tammy David summed it up by saying ‘Beauty pageants are everywhere.’
The British media company interviewed Megan Young a few days after her Miss World win and had included her in their #100women season on women who are changing the world.