EXCLUSIVE: Q&A Trainers of Michelle Dee, Christi McGarry, and More on Molding an Eloquent Queen

EXCLUSIVE: Q&A Trainers of Michelle Dee, Christi McGarry, and More on Molding an Eloquent Queen


MEGA talks to Beauty in Discourse Q&A about how a beauty queen trains to be interview ready for her Miss Universe Philippines journey

Long and passionate is the country’s love affair with beauty pageants. The way it demands elegance, power, intelligence, awareness, and a sharp focus classifies it as a national event of sorts, uniting Filipinos celebrate and root for their own candidates. It’s safe to say, then, that the clinching test of the competition is the question and answer segment. The beauty queens have a few seconds, under immense pressure, to deal dexterously with questions that tackle complex topics. This segment allows the ladies to showcase their well-shaped opinions, the causes they espouse, and the world views they have formed. That said, queens Angelique Manto, Celeste Cortesi, and reigning Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee are the epitomes of empowered women who speak with poise and eloquence—and what they have in common? They underwent training under a pageant organization called Beauty in Discourse Q&A Group (BD Q&A).

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As we await our new Miss Universe Philippines, BD Q&A gives MEGA the rundown about shaping a beauty queen to be prepared, aware, and Q&A-ready as she goes on her Miss Universe journey. Founders and trainers Roger Ramos and Elmo Berbano’s expertise in public speaking and communication guide the queens to craft and articulate impactful responses and to enthrall an entire room of people—whether it’s the nation, the world, or the universe.

To Each Her Own Eloquence

What started as a hobby turned into a growing and passionate cause to be a stepping stone for girls to reach their dreams. In their third year training aspiring titleholders, Elmo and Roger have developed effective strategies for the candidates to answer challenging questions with poise and eloquence. From this edition of Miss Universe Philippines candidates, Kymberlee Street of Australia, Tarah Valencia of Baguio, Chelsea Manalo of Bulacan, Cam Lagmay of Quezon City, Ahtisa Manalo of Quezon Province, and Christi McGarry of Taguig are Roger and Elmo’s students.

Kymberlee Street, Ahtisa Manalo, Cam Lagmay, and Tarah Valencia with public speaking coaches Elmo Berbano and Roger Ramos from BD Q&A Group

“The key to a successful Q&A performance is first, the girl needs to put in the work to learn. Second, apply that knowledge on stage,” Elmo tells MEGA. “Good communication doesn’t happen overnight; you need to put in the hours. That’s why when we train these girls, we make sure that they are battle-ready.”

Roger chimes in and adds, “More than the preparation, we ensure that our trainees sound different than the other girls. This year, there are 53 candidates. Our training is designed to illuminate that they need to stand out, that they need to express themselves differently.”

Making Statements to Remember

With the track record of beauty queens that BD Q&A have coached, the training presents a structured plan for the candidates to strike the sweet balance between eloquence and personality. However, their approach is specifically tailored to every girl. “We assess the candidates first, then move on with a holistic approach—how to answer a casual interview, a closed-door interview, how to answer in an arena packed with people. It’s us adapting to their personalities as well so we know how to unleash their potential,” Elmo explains, emphasizing that their program is specifically personalized to equip the girls with the proper knowledge and confidence to speak to the microphone or camera.

“Though we customize our training to the girls’ strengths and look at how we can improve their weaknesses, we also make sure we cover all our bases,” Roger tells MEGA. “We don’t know what will be asked, so we tackle general and controversial topics that range from sustainability, to politics, to war.”

The coaches also tell MEGA that this year is the first time they’re training six queens simultaneously. “We’ve had to divide our time among these girls according to our schedules,” Elmo says. “But we’re confident they’re ready to win.”

Looking at Australia, Baguio, Bulacan, Quezon City, Quezon Province, and Taguig’s preliminary interviews, it is clear that the coaches have prepared and equipped each of these queens to the best of their abilities, developing techniques to structure their speeches for maximum impact and clarity. “We’ve given them all the tools they need,” Roger tells MEGA. “We know the girls were able to absorb our advice and the knowledge we’ve imparted to them.”

Their Final Word

Roger and Elmo continue to tell MEGA that it’s not just about thinking on your feet and answering the actual question, but also how to apply non-verbals to properly convey one’s message. This includes greeting the judges, maintaining eye contact, standing or sitting with proper posture, and projecting. Alongside that is proper vocal delivery: tone, pace, volume, intonation, diction, and the right amount of warmth. “Q&A is akin to muscle memory,” Elmo explains. “The more you prepare, the more confident you will be. We make sure that the audience will be remember their answers.”

Roger tells MEGA then, “Also, we teach them how to be mindful of the time. They have thirty or forty-five seconds to showcase themselves. They need to be short but concise and clear, light and very personable and engaging. For stage questions, we make sure that the answers will resonate not only with the judges, but also with the crowd.”

The coaches have a final closing note before tonight’s coronation: “Potential and aspiring pageant queens need to understand that communication is important. It’s as important as how you look and how you walk—it’s the ultimate dealbreaker. We want girls to invest time in training and honing their communication skills.”

Ahtisa Manalo, Tarah Valencia, Christi McGarry, and Kymberlee Street with Elmo and Roger

Winning the crown takes a lot of effort, and the Q&A is the clincher test. Under the guidance and care of BD Q&A, Roger and Elmo are confident of securing another crowning moment after Michelle Dee.

Photos and Featured Image: BEAUTY IN DISCOURSE Q&A GROUP, CHRISTI MCGARRY (Via Instagram)

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