Miss Charm PH Annabelle McDonnell ‘walks the talk’
MANILA, Philippines—Annabelle McDonnell has worked as a special operations officer under the office of the Iligan City mayor in Lanao del Norte. This, she said, enabled her to “walk the talk” by immersing in the local government unit’s actions, and bridging people together.
“I’m so glad that I cannot only just talk…I am very fine-tuned with the logistics and everything else that goes along with hosting events and linking organizations together,” said the 22-year-old woman who finished first runner-up in the 2022 Miss Universe Philippines pageant, and is now the appointed Miss Charm Philippines titleholder.
McDonnell, also a radio host who raises socio-political awareness among the youth, took over from Ashley Subijano Montenegro who was crowned Miss Charm Philippines in the 2019 Global Asian Model Philippines search.
Montenegro, daughter of Binibining Pilipinas World Cara Subijano and host-model Hans Montenegro, was supposed to represent the Philippines in the inaugural edition of the Miss Charm International pageant originally scheduled in the first quarter of 2020. But the Vietnamese organizers were compelled to cancel the competition because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original Miss Charm Philippines titleholder rescinded the crown when she participated in the 2022 Miss World Philippines pageant, where she emerged as one of the winners. Montenegro is scheduled to leave for Egypt later this month to attempt a second consecutive win for the country in the Miss Eco International competition.
McDonnell inherited the Miss Charm Philippines title late last year and flew to Ho Chi Minh upon the invitation of the international pageant organization for a press conference together with some delegates from other countries.
“It was an exhilarating experience. It was the first time that I would bring the Philippine sash on my chest, so that was something for the books, definitely,” she shared.
There, she said she got to see how the Vietnamese people are in tune with their culture and heritage through the blend of modernity and tradition in Ho Chi Minh. “I think that is something we Filipinos should really circle back to as well,” McDonnell said.
She said she also learned from her first visit to Vietnam what the Miss Charm International organization wants to see in a queen.
“They are also looking for somebody who can be an ambassador for sustainable tourism as well,” McDonnel revealed. So her LGU work could have given her an unintentional preparation for the pageant.
“One of the best accomplishments I have with my work last year was bridging the gap between the Miss Universe Philippines and the LGU of Iligan, through our partnership with Save the Children. And I’m also glad, out of that charity lunch that we hosted in Iligan City, I actually received the news that we are going to have a partnership with Save the Children for the Sikyop Agricultural Cooperative. It’s a cooperative led by the three tribes of Iligan City for the children,” she continued.
McDonnell also revealed that the Miss Charm International organization is “probably looking for somebody who can be a great spokesperson to inform and better educate people on the merits of web technology, particularly blockchain technology, and how we can grow financially, and personally as well, from engaging in cryptocurrencies and NFTs.”
Forty delegates are vying for the crown in the 2023 Miss Charm pageant. The coronation program will be held in Ho Chi Minh on Feb. 16.