In this excerpt, this month’s cover star Beatrice Luigi Gomez answers the hard questions–from how to deal with mental pressure, the role of beauty pageant community, and what to expect as she competes for Miss Universe.
With only four weeks left to prepare, she breaks her calm demeanor to let go of a deep breath with a laugh when we finally get to the topic of her preparations for Miss Universe. “I’m already beginning my Q&A training and hopefully before I get into the bubble and we fly to Israel, I will be able to do face to face training,” she tells me, catching me off guard as I completely forgot that most of these contestants have to go through all of this during a global pandemic. As zoom meetings are awkward enough for most of us, imagine having to practice a runway walk alone in your room, in front of a camera and eventually doing it in front of thousands of people on stage. “During the Miss Universe Philippines competition, I was based in Cebu so I did all of my training online and so far, I can really feel the difference between face-to-face training and online training. Iba talaga pagnakikita mo yung audience or the person you’re talking too kasi mas aware ka sa gestures mo. Right now, I have online training with my mentors and then on the weekends as much as we can, we schedule a face-to-face training,” she states.
International pageants are a multi-million-peso lucrative industry and with the Philippines being coined as a powerhouse for the competition, it’s practically impossible to come out unscathed from hate comments. “When I read social media comments that’s when I feel the pressure most. Of course, I know what I’m capable of and I’m also willing to work on the things that they need me to improve on, so I handle the pressure by preparing myself through the training,” Gomez shares.
It’s a sensitive subject to touch on how pageant fans treat beauty queens because as much as they worship them, there’s another side that pits the contestants against each other. “As beauty queens, we also are performers, the only way that we will be able to focus on our performances is if we are mentally sound,” Gomez says and admits that if there is one thing, she would like to change about the community is to bring back a sense of kindness and camaraderie that is the core of beauty pageants. “We have to be kinder to all the women who are joining beauty pageants because what we are going through is not as easy as it looks like. We prepared so much for this, and we also go through a lot just by being here. Especially in the time of the pandemic, we had so many difficulties and we are already pressured by the people that we represent. If they think that their comments can help the girls in a positive way, then they should be just kinder along to the words that they express in social media.”
FIRST OF HER NAME
It would be a disservice not to ask about the fashion that we will soon see our Miss Universe Philippines donning on. Gomez revealed that they’re already talking to local designers and divulges to expect the unexpected.
she says confidently. Similar to all of our past Miss Universe representatives, she wishes to leave a change-inducing mark for her own country, “I still find it hard to really interact with other people because I was very much an introvert. I just pushed myself way past the limits to get into the Miss Universe Philippines competition and if there’s something that I really want to improve on that is my public speaking skills. So I hope that after all of my training when I get to Israel, I will be a good spokesperson for the Philippines and a representative of the causes that I stand for.”
Though her quiet confidence and composed demeanor have others worried, the 26-year-old Cebuana is a new heroine in our line of beauty pageants. She was able to win her fights simply because she believed in her abilities, the causes she fought for, and most importantly the right to be her own self.
Photography JERICK SANCHEZ
Creative direction JANN PASCUA
Art direction NICOLE ALMERO
Fashion direction and styling JEB FRONDA assisted by MJ Almero
Makeup MICKEY SEE
Hair JAN EDROSOLAN
Shoot coordination ERICA LUNA and MAE TALAID
Shot on location at BALARA CONTENT STUDIO, Quezon City
All Jewelry and watches by MAISON CARTIER