EXCLUSIVE: Nicole Cordoves on Her Friendship with Beauty Queens and Being the Longest-Running Host of Binibining Pilipinas

EXCLUSIVE: Nicole Cordoves on Her Friendship with Beauty Queens and Being the Longest-Running Host of Binibining Pilipinas


Trading her crown for a microphone, Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2016 Nicole Cordoves continues to be a formidable force in the world of pageantry as its longest-running host 

Nicole Cordoves’ tale of love with pageantry is far from over. She might have hung up her sash and concluded her reign with a final walk eight years ago, but it was merely a prelude to the beginning of her new venture—she bid adieu to her crown, and said hello to a new role on stage: being the longest-running host of Binibining Pilipinas.

Nicole Cordoves hosts the Binibining Pilipinas for the sixth time

RELATED: A Rundown of Catriona Gray’s Hosting Looks at the 60th Binibining Pilipinas

“It’s a dream come true and a stroke of luck,” Nicole tells MEGA. “I feel like my career as a host began with my performance in the question-and-answer round.”

Her impactful and articulate answers, as well as the calm and confident demeanor in which she speaks them, ultimately propelled her to effortlessly wield the microphone for six years now. “When I was first asked to host back in 2018, I told myself that I really could not ask for more,” she continues. “But to be able to do it over and over again, with no less than my sister Catriona Gray, as well as iconic queens Ruffa Gutierrez, MJ Lastimosa, and Kylie Verzosa…it’s an honor to be a part of the Binibining Pilipinas history in such a big way. We’re Binibinis,” she says fondly. “And we carry that name.”  

The 60th Binibining Pilipinas hosts: MJ Lastimosa, Ruffa Gutierrez, Catriona Gray, Kylie Verzosa, and Nicole Cordoves

The star-studded lineup of hosts recently concluded the diamond jubilee of Binibining Pilipinas, where over a hundred crowned Binibinis were in attendance. Miss Universe history-makers Gloria Diaz, Margie Moran, Pia Wurtzbach, and Catriona Gray were also captured in one frame. 

From Pageantry to Hosting

No rookie in pageantry, Nicole is armed with a confidence and charisma that only she can emanate and lead the competition to its conclusion. But having gone through the ropes of the pageant herself, she is in a position where she can relate with the candidates. Nicole shares this sentiment with fellow co-host and titleholder, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray. “We [Catriona and I] talked about this; I think our edge as pageant hosts is that we can empathize with the candidates, because we know what they are going through in every moment of the show,” the beauty queen tells MEGA.

But more than anchoring and setting the tone of the competition, Nicole also assumes the role of an ate who is ready to give the candidates advice, or save them in unexpected moments. “In that way, I think we really demonstrate the core value of pageantry—sisterhood,” Nicole declares. “As former pageant girls and hosts, we are more mindful in making every moment beautiful for the Binibinis.”

Nicole Cordoves with fellow co-host and titleholder Catriona Gray

Life Beyond the Crown

Nicole’s energy and ability to connect with the audience is a skill she possesses in spades; this has inspired her to pursue hosting as a full-time career. Now, the queen commandeers the mighty mechanism of a presenter—with detail, candor, positive energy, and mastery of the stage. 

More so, she has plenty to say—and she has taken to adding her voice to the podcast space alongside Catriona with their new project, “Two Steps Back.” The intimacy and personal touch of the platform grants the queens opportunities to embrace the digital frontier and polarize discussions, propagate the causes they espouse, and share their worldviews with a social media-constructed world. “I guess you could say that from here on out, I really want to get started on building on my own dreams after being part of other people’s dream projects,” Nicole proclaims.

Nicole has held the mic for six editions now, a symbol of the Philippines’ enduring passion and interest for pageantry

Binibini Sisters 

While the Binibining Pilipinas is, at its core, a competition, forming bonds with fellow candidates becomes the backbone of a supportive and empowering community. As Catriona and Nicole demonstrate, these friendships transcend beyond the glamorous stage.

The two queens are now a formidable duo on stage; few co-hosts possess the ability to match each other’s energy and bounce off of each other in front of the cameras. More than anything, though, their friendship off the stage is evidence of the sisterhood upon which pageantry is built.

The top 15 question-and-answer segment was hosted by Catriona and Nicole

Nicole also shares interactions with other queens, who have proven they understand and value the female camaraderie and solidarity that the pageant fosters. “When I was just starting my hosting career and I had to host for a Miss Universe event in 2016, Pia Wurtzbach intentionally made her way to me on the red carpet to say hi and so I could interview her,” Nicole shares with MEGA. “I also worked with Ruffa Gutierrez and Cindy Miranda on ‘It’s Showtime,’ where they made me feel like I had friends in an industry I’m new in.”

Nicole holds the core value of pageantry, sisterhood, dear to her heart

Fondly reminiscing about these memories, Nicole stresses, “It’s true what they say—the people you start off with will be the same people you will be working with throughout your career. And I’m glad that I have so many Binibini sisters who have my back outside the pageant spotlight.”

Sartorial Presence on the Stage

Beyond her hosting prowess, the queen has also established herself as a fashion maven, one to watch out for and admire. During the course of the competition, she gave us four stylish moments.

Bonita Penaranda had been creating garments for Nicole since the beginning of her hosting duties six years ago. The opening ensemble she crafted, called “alon,” invoked a thalassic fantasy with marine motifs and a play on fabrics and textures. Nicole answered the siren call and sported the mermaid dress with scale-like sequins and paillettes, bringing the beautiful waves of the ocean to the stage.

Nicole Cordoves in custom Bonita Penaranda
Nicole in custom Bonita Penaranda

Nicole’s second number is also by Bonita—a boldly-cut, bejeweled, and risqué yet elegant celebration of the female form. The mini-dress allowed for fringed crystals to flow down her figure. Nicole tells MEGA that this dress represents “ulan,” which attempts to evoke the sensation of “crystal raindrops falling on my skin.”

Nicole in custom Bonita Penaranda

Mark Bumgarner, now an established pageant gown designer and creator of Pia Wurtzbach’s midnight blue gown, also custom-made an ensemble for Nicole—this time in red. “He [Mark] has been dressing me up for the last five editions of the pageant with a recurring theme of my lucky flowers—the rose,” the beauty queen says. “So we incorporated that again this year, adding draped details of roses at the hem of my skirt.” With a form-flattering silhouette and a touch of old-world luxury, the simple dress may be minimalist by nature, but offers a maximalist reward on stage.

Nicole Cordoves in custom Mark Bumgarner
Nicole in custom Mark Bumgarner

Nicole closed the pageant in a look by Ilocos-based designer Amor Albano. The yellow-hued dress was made out of unique material that produced a paper-like texture. “ I made sure to include this look in the lineup because we wanted to serve something new by wearing fabric that hasn’t been used in pageants yet,” Nicole shares with MEGA. “The goal is to look like a girl on fire.”

Nicole, indeed, set the stage ablaze in this number that featured tensioned textiles, a sculptural silhouette, and distressed treatment or manipulation of the fabric.

Nicole Cordoves in custom Amor Albano
Nicole in custom Amor Albano

From One Binibini to Another

To the new Binibining Pilipinas International 2024 Myrna Esguerra, Nicole has one message: “You gotta make your own magic. The crown is like a wand, you have to know the spells you need to make it work—and that can only come from you. Believe it’s already in you.”

Photos and Featured Image: NICOLE CORDOVES



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