An Honest Interview with Miss Southern Leyte

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This will give me a chance to thank all the people involved in my journey during the Miss Southern Leyte pageant. Instead of doing an interview with a stranger, I’m opting to interview myself. People keep asking or messaging me on Facebook about how I felt after winning, how’s the experience so far, how did I prepare, how did I win, etc. This is an honest and genuine interview. Seriously. I plopped down with my recorder and talked to myself. This is what came out. 😀

What went through your mind when you were called to the Top Five? 

My first thought was, “Whaaaaat?” I knew I did pretty good during the Evening Gown competition and Q&A, but my production number was so so and I even missed my exit during the Swimsuit competition. LOL Plus, I WAS NEVER A FAVOURITE. No one expected I’d make it to the top five, much less win.

So how did you react when you were crowned? 

I nearly cried, then I thought, “Why cry? This is one of the proudest moments of your life. Smile!” I kept looking at my mom and knew that she was proud of me. My lola was teary eyed and my friends were still shocked that I won. Everyone was congratulating me, but all the time I was thinking, “Thank you, Lord. After all the pain, you gave me this. Thank you.”

What’s so unforgettable about the experience? 

The fact that nobody expected I’d make it. Don’t think of this as a self pitying statement, it’s not. Months ago, when Arnell (my scout and manager), gave hints about MSL, I considered joining not because I wanted a crown, but because I wanted experience. Since I was a kid, I’ve joined almost all kinds of competition, but never a pageant. I thought this was my only chance before I get too old to qualify.

But I wasn’t expecting to bring home anything. I was fully prepared to go home empty handed. Luckily, I didn’t.

So does that mean you gave up trying? 

No, I programmed my brain not to expect anything, but I didn’t give up the fight. There were times when I wanted to, though. I wanted to pack up, go home, and renege my commitment to the pageant.

Few people know this but I cried the entire night after our first pictorials. I was so insecure with all the beautiful ladies, almost all of them have experience, they were all younger than me, and they had mentors to guide them during photoshoot. My confidence and self esteem reached rock bottom that I just cried and cried. I called my boyfriend around 4am because I needed to talk to someone. I told him everything and he told me to just believe in myself and not be insecure of the others. My mom and mentor (Jayvert) told me the same, to never lose confidence.

You were talking about pain earlier. What’s that all about? 

Four days before the first photoshoot, I was admitted to Chong Hua Hospital because I collapsed at the office and was diagnosed with UTI. I was bleeding so bad and my OB wanted to monitor my progress during medication.

After checking out and resting for less than one day, we immediately headed to Maasin for the pictorials. I was still weak and recovering but hey, I signed up for this so I’m pushing through it.

Mid rehearsals of week 2, I was bleeding again and in a lot of pain. I was panicking, crying, and begging my mom for help. I was the only contestant without a chaperon and I didn’t want to be alone while suffering my ordeal. I hope I don’t sound like a primadonna here but I was in serious pain. I was losing hope and kept asking myself, “Why the hell did you join this? You could die.” Yep, I was that dramatic. It’s a good thing we have helpful relatives in Maasin city. Aunty Remy and Glessie went out of their way to take me to an OB for a checkup.  I’ll always be grateful for their help.

What kind of preparations did you do before the pageant? 

If the other girls practiced walking and answering questions, I was sleeping. Like I said, I had no mentors with me. It wasn’t until the morning of June 29th that Jayvert, my MUA and mentor, taught me how to walk and pose on stage. It was definitely a crash course. Good thing I’m a fast learner, hehe.

People say you owned the Q&A. How did you prepare for it? 

Honestly, I didn’t. I think I just have a lot of experience with speaking competitions like Extemporaneous speaking, Oration, Declamation, Debates, etc. Plus, my college training for Linguistics and Literature made me a better speaker, so I guess that’s an edge.

Also, I think the girls made the mistake of memorising the questions given to us as merely a guide (emphasis on GUIDE). During the actual pageant night, when the judges asked different questions, they panicked and stuttered because they were prepared for a different set of questions. It’s definitely a mistake trying to memorise answers. Understanding is better. Memorising? No!

Speaking of edge, what do you think was your advantage against the girls? 

I definitely think my age has a lot to do with it. I’m older so I have more mature ideas and opinions. I’m more confident with my public speaking skills because of my training in USC. I know how to articulate and express my ideas.

I’m not saying none of the girls are expert public speakers. Kaela (Miss Hinunangan) and Lilibeth (Miss Maasin) were good speakers, as far as I could tell.

I guess my advantage is that I’m used to speaking in public; that’s basically it.

How did the people in your town respond to the news? 

Cabalianons, both through Facebook and in person, have been saying how proud they are of me, how happy they are, how ecstatic. Everybody has been giving me their congratulations and bids of “We’re so proud of you.” It’s an overwhelming and flattering experience that I’m immensely grateful for. Although they don’t know me personally, they’ve still taken the time to greet me themselves. Thank you so much.

Is there any pressure now that you’re a role model? 

Definitely. There’s always a pressure now to set a good example, especially when I go out in public. I have to be presentable, friendly, helpful, and polite. Being MSL has definitely changed me for the better, I think.

Are you willing to do the pageant thing all over again?

No, haha! That part of my life is closed. I wanted experience and I got it with more blessings than I could count. I’m done with pageants. That was my first and last. My crown will be my last memento of that wonderful journey. 😀

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