MANILA, Philippines — Jeanie Jarina has been in the construction industry for about two decades now, and is not only thriving, but leading in it, too. And now that she has asserted her authority in a traditionally masculine field, she is now exploring a territory too disparate from her world — pageantry.
Now 45 years old, Jarina said she took part in the Mrs. Universe Philippines pageant to encourage her two daughters to also think about joining beauty pageants in the future. She bagged a crown in the national tilt and is now in Sofia, Bulgaria, as part of the six-woman team from the Philippines vying for the international crown.
Only one crown is at stake in the 2022 Mrs. Universe pageant, and Jarina said if she wins it, she will use it to raise awareness on domestic violence. “VAWC (violence against women and children) has been my advocacy until now. If you want a beautiful country, if you want to have a successful country, it starts with the family,” she told the Inquirer at the sidelines of the send-off party hosted by the national pageant organization at Simon’s Place Supreme restaurant in Quezon City on Jan. 19.
Joining Jarina in the Bulgaria competition are Mrs. Universe Philippines Veronica Yu and their fellow titleholders Gines Angeles, Lady Chatterly Alvaro-Sumbeling, Virginia Evangelista, and Michelle Solinap. All of them are in Sofia now. National Director Charo Laude who was in the semifinals of the 2019 Mrs. Universe pageant, is also there to lend her support to her queens.
Aside from promoting awareness on domestic violence and helping prevent it, Jarina is also collaborating with Laude’s Brave Hearts, as well as the Kasuso Foundation for women with breast cancer. “We have to take care of the mother, because the mother is the light of the home, taking care of the household,” Jarina said.
The 2022 Mrs. Universe pageant was originally scheduled to take place in Seoul, South Korea, in December. But unforeseen circumstances prompted the international organization to move the competition to its home country in Bulgaria in February.
More than 100 delegates from different countries are competing in the 2022 Mrs. Universe pageant. The winner will be crowned on Feb. 4 (Feb. 5 in Manila).
The Philippines will host the 2023 Mrs. Universe pageant in October, with more than 100 participants expected to arrive. This should not be confused with another international competition bearing the same title which will also be staged in the country in October.
The Bulgaria-based pageant was established in 2007, while the Mrs. Universe (Official) contest was founded by an Australia-based Filipino entrepreneur just last year. The European organization said this year marks the competition’s 46th anniversary since its initial inception way before the establishment of the current “Mrs. Universe” brand in Sofia 16 years ago. EDV