Soldier goes to battle for Mrs. Universe title
MANILA, Philippines—Several beauty queens have gone on to become wives of soldiers, while some women pursue pageantry after establishing their own families with military officials. But this time a member of the Armed Forces herself is pursuing her own battle for a crown.
Lady Chatterly Alvaro-Sumbeling is already a lieutenant commander in the Philippine Navy, who has been serving in the Presidential Security Group (PSG) under several administrations already, but the lure of a crown dawned upon her and took her chance at the Mrs. Universe Philippines search late last year.
Among a field of accomplished aspirants, she emerged as one of the victors.
Now the 40-year-old mother of three and wife of a Philippine Army officer, is in Sofia, Bulgaria, and will try to snare the Mrs. Universe crown, together with five other Filipino contenders also fielded by her national pageant organization.
Sumbeling was taking up mass communication at the University of the Philippines in Baguio City when the call to enlist at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) beckoned in 2001. She grabbed the opportunity, and the decision changed her life forever. She received a recognition while serving under the administration of the late President Benigno Aquino III, and rose up the ranks in the PSG.
After conquering a male-dominated arena, she now embraces her femininity to try her hand in pageantry. But she is leaving no stones unturned. If she received elite training at the PMA to prepare her for the tough life as a soldier, this time she enlisted an international beauty titleholder, Alexandra Faith Garcia, to train her for the bigger pageant ahead.
Garcia, the first and so far the only Filipino woman to capture the Miss Aura International crown, is on top of Sumbeling’s pageant preparation, from polishing the “pasarela” (pageant walk) to honing her communication skills and building stage presence.
Taking pointers from a global beauty queen will certainly come in handy for the soldier as she tries to stand out in a competition with more than 100 candidates from all over the world. Sumbeling also had additional time to absorb everything she could learn from Garcia when the 2022 Mrs. Universe pageant, scheduled in December in Seoul, South Korea, was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.
Organizer Mrs. Universe Ltd. moved it back to its home country, and the coronation night will be staged at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) in Sofia on Feb. 4 (Feb. 5 in Manila).
Sumbeling’s fellow Mrs. Universe Philippines queens competing in the international pageant are Veronica Yu, Gines Angeles, Jeanie Jarina, Virginia Evangelista and Michelle Solinap. The national organization is headed by singer-actress Charo Laude, who was a semifinalist in the 2019 Mrs. Universe pageant. /ra
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