Take Five: Beauty need not be skin-deep
Five of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas winners recently sat down with Inquirer Entertainment to exchange thoughts on their victories.
Miss Universe Philippines Mary Jean “MJ” Lastimosa, Bb. Pilipinas-International Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti, Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental Kris Tiffany Janson, Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism Parul Shah, and second runnerup Hannah Ruth Sison revealed diet secrets, recounted childhood dreams, and discussed current advocacies.
What do beauty queens eat?
Bianca: I search the Internet for healthy recipes that still leave the palate happy.
MJ: I often find myself in events where I don’t have control over the food. I research on what kinds I should go for. I was vegan two years ago.
Kris: I have bread in the morning to sustain me the whole day. At lunch, I lessen my food intake. After dinner, I can survive until the next day. I just have water and small snacks.
Parul: I don’t deprive myself of rice. I become The Hulk when I diet. I eat anything, but I have everything under control. If I’m having chicken, instead of fried, I choose grilled.
As for salads, not all of them are healthy [considering the dressing].
Hannah: I used to be thinner and had to gain weight so I ate a lot of veggies, meats and other protein-rich food. Meats are best grilled, steamed or roasted. Stay away from fried food and cut down on sugar and salt.
How is beauty relevant to charity work? Are pageants relevant to the country’s needs at this time?
Hannah: As titleholders, people look up to us, and [we] inspire them. [Pageant director] Mrs. (Stella Marquez) Araneta wants us to always do charity work and show that we have the heart to serve.
Parul: Our crowns are empowering. People look up to us as role models. If we show them that what we’re doing is right, it can open new doors for them.
MJ: I did charity work in the provinces and sometimes little kids would ask, “What do beauty queens eat? Where do you get shoes?” That is the effect of beauty queens on young girls. It made me want to become a better person.
Bianca: We were our own persons before the crown. What the crown does for beauty queens—the equivalent, I guess, of everyone fortunate or talented enough to be thrust in the public eye—is give you this attention. What you do with it is up to you. It is a power. We want to use it for change, for children who need role models, for women who are feeling tired and unfulfilled.
Kris: We live in a century where women are more empowered than their counterparts elsewhere. Being a beauty queen makes your voice louder [than most women]. You inspire them with your life story, and you are inspired in return. That makes me want to do more.
Hannah: Based on our experience, when we visit or even just smile at them, they’re happy. It’s heartwarming that they see us that way.
Bianca, you once worked with an NGO. Which one is that?
Bianca: It’s a small one in Pasay City called Community and Family Services International. It’s a homegrown international organization. Its focus is on the most vulnerable, especially those affected by natural disasters. We still have a small project, the “Park Avenue Initiative.” We have health, school and family programs for out-of-school youth.
Do you ever feel that money spent on your beauty products should be given to the less-fortunate?
Bianca: There’s always that feeling. But somebody once told me, and this is very true—before you can help others, you have to make sure that you are okay.
Hannah: People expect you to always look your best; you owe it to them.
MJ: Not all the girls get to buy their own clothes and makeup. Many people support us… they want us to look good.
Kris: Filipinos are very [clannish]. I’d get a call from my cousin, or my cousin’s cousin, asking me what I need. And they send it.
There are rumors that winners are pre-selected?
Hannah: I heard that before I joined. But I saw for myself that the competition was very fair. The winners, and even the semifinalists, all did their best. It’s unfair to say they won because of politics.
MJ: Maybe people think that the competition happens only on pageant night. But it’s a long process that starts from the screenings.
Parul: And you don’t always know who is/are watching.
Kris: The girl who wins is the one who can take care of herself even when alone during the international pageant.
Bianca: They don’t just get the prettiest girl. That’s not how it works.
Did the previous candidates share pageant horror stories with you, like, uh, stolen gowns?
MJ: Only good stories. One of them called to give us shoes. It’s like we’ve become sisters.
Kris: Our batch is the best ever. There have been no catfights. We share food and makeup, help each other dress up and fix our hair.
Share with us your worst case of nerves.
Kris: Mine was on pageant night, before the program started. We were all backstage, and we started crying, screaming. That’s probably why some of us were high-pitched when we made our introductions. MJ and I just sat in a corner, staring at each other.
Bianca: Once the show started, it got better! We were just dancing—it helped. Once the show started, it was game on.
How did you see yourselves when you were girls?
Kris: I was brought up like a boy. My dad pushed me to join the high school varsity track team. Everything changed when I found the pageant world. That’s when I learned to brush my hair, powder my face, and wear dresses.
Bianca: I did not dream of becoming a beauty queen. It was my mom who planted the seed in my mind because, she said, I was a very tall girl. I didn’t take her seriously. For this competition, she went behind my back and pushed me into the pageant. One of my trainers said I was not beauty queen material because I was “magaslaw, bungisngis.” I got it through hard work.
MJ: My parents migrated to Saudi Arabia because my dad is Arabian. We, the children, were left in the care of our uncle in North Cotabato. I experienced the war there. Can you imagine a girl in the war zone imagining being a beauty queen? No! My only aim, every day, was to survive each day. When I won my crown, I went back there. I hope I got to bring inspiration to everyone there.
Parul: As a child, I didn’t know what Bb. Pilipinas was. I was born and raised in Dubai. When I was around 10, we got this box of pasalubong from the Philippines, which included a shirt with the Bb. Pilipinas logo on it. I asked my mom what it was and my mom said, “It is a pageant for beautiful women who have the voice to change the world.” I certainly wanted to be that.
Hannah: As a child, I was an introvert. I watched beauty pageants, and dreamt of becoming a beauty queen. But I was the opposite of a winner. Modeling boosted my confidence.
What is your message to all Filipinos?
Parul: I just want to thank all those who have been supporting beauty queens.
MJ: Also those who would fly to anywhere pageants are held just to support the Filipino candidate. Plus, I don’t have a Facebook account. All those accounts with my name aren’t mine. My Twitter and Instagram accounts are @mj_lastimosa. That’s official.
Bianca: Thank you! Add me on Instagram, it’s @fairydust5. On Twitter it’s @BGuidotti22.
Kris: I would just like to say that the Facebook account “Kris Tiffany M. Janson” is not mine. But I have a fan page—thanks to those who keep updating it. My Instagram is @krestepani, my name in Visayan; on Twitter, it’s @akosikrestepani.
Hannah: Thanks to my supporters—I don’t have a crown now, but a lot of them are urging me to join again.
My Instagram account is @hannahruthsison; on Twitter, @hannahsison.
Originally posted at 12:20 am | Monday, December 22, 2014