Bb. Pilipinas Globe 2023 Anna Valencia Lakrini finds ‘missing puzzle piece’ in her life
MANILA, Philippines — In just a little over a year, so many things have changed for 2023 Binibining Pilipinas Globe Anna Valencia Lakrini. So many things about her have changed, too. Not only does she have a crown on her head now; she has also found a sense of “wholeness” that she did not have all her life.
“It has been such a long journey because I grew up in Germany, always feeling like something is missing. I was discriminated for such a long time for my skin color, how I look like, and everyone was always making fun of me. And now that I’m here, finally, in the Philippines, I feel I’m home, and it’s like the missing puzzle piece is found,” Lakrini told the Inquirer when the pageant’s winners engaged in a round of interviews with members of the media at the Owner’s Circle at the Araneta City in Quezon City a couple of days after their coronation.
But the missing puzzle piece did not immediately appear to her. It eluded her the first time she set foot in the country after packing her bags upon earning her degree in nutritional sciences in Germany. She joined the 2022 Bb. Pilipinas pageant as a rookie, oblivious to the trappings of the industry, and clueless about Filipino sensibilities. “Because I was such a newbie, I tried to do everything that people were throwing at me. I tried to be a certain way. And so many people, I think, they didn’t get me, they didn’t fully understand who I was,” she shared.
Lakrini felt that people misunderstood her behavior, and cast judgment on her based on a persona that was not who she really is. But she gladly declared, “I’m more myself” now, and shared that she is currently under Origin Model and Artist Management as the agency’s first non-Cebuana ward. The group boasts a stellar lineup of national pageant titleholders from Cebu, including Bb. Pilipinas winners Gazini Ganados and Nicole Borromeo.
The German-Filipino lass has also tapped Aces and Queens pageant camp for her training for the recent national competition. The group prepared Borromeo for the 2022 Bb. Pilipinas pageant, as well as a slew of other national titleholders who went on to win crowns and recognition in international contests.
“I’m really proud that with Origin I have that free spirit, and I can truly be who I am, and surely put my ideas and costumes, like the ‘alitaptap’ (firefly), and also like in my gown, and it was perfect. So, I’m really proud to be more creative and also to have the opportunity to have so many ideas and to be more myself,” Lakrini shared. She collaborated with designer Nat Manilag for her final competition gown, she said.
“Seizing power, it is such an empowering feeling. I don’t think that everyone in this world can feel, like, oh my God, you can finally be where you are, and especially for me,” continued Lakrini, whose 2023 Bb. Pilipinas journey has evidently been more fruitful than her first.
Lakrini said started training late last year with Aces and Queens, not sure which national pageant she will join next. She had been asking for a sign, something that will make the decision easier for her. The sign came in the form of a person, the female security detail of the Bb. Pilipinas pageant who the girls lovingly call “Ate Jen.”
“I was just heading to the gym, I went to Ali Mall and I saw Ate Jen. And it really inspired me to pursue Binibini, it was a sign. I prayed a lot, and it was my sign from God to really join Binibini again. And when I went to submit my application, I saw all the fans there waiting, and they were so happy to see me there again. And my heart just really felt this warmth and I knew it was the right decision,” Lakrini shared.
A wise decision for her it was, indeed. From being subject to body shaming in 2022, Lakrini romped away with the “Best in Swimsuit” award this year. She was also proclaimed “Jag Denim Queen,” which she said was an award she really wanted, and even received P100,000 in cash from BeautéDerm as “Miss Blanc Beauté 2023.”
Lakrini will represent the Philippines in the 2023 Miss Globe pageant, and try to score the country’s third victory under the international pageant’s current organizational setup. Bb. Pilipinas Anne Lorraine Colis brought the title home in 2015, followed by Maureen Montagne who won in 2021. Bb. Pilipinas Maricar Balagtas was proclaimed Miss Globe in 2001 when the organization had a different structure. EDV