Philippines wins 2013 Miss International
Manila, Philippines – Crowd favorite Miss Philippines Bea Rose Santiago was crowned 2013 Miss International in a glittery pageant in Tokyo, Japan, last night, in a contest rocked by a scandal and the dethroning of last year’s winner on alleged harassment and threats.
This was the fifth time that the Philippines won the Miss International beauty pageant since its inception in 1960. It was also the third time in a row this year that a Filipina captured an international title in a beauty contest.
Earlier, Mutya Datul won the Miss Supranational in Belarus while Megan Lynne Young was crowned Miss World in Bali, Indonesia.
Past winners from the Philippines in the Miss International pageant were Gemma Cruz in 1964; Aurora Pijuan (1970), Melanie Marquez (1979), and Precious Lara Quigaman (2005).
Santiago impressed the judges when she was asked the question, “What will I do if I become Miss International?” She answered: “The whole world saw how my country suffered. One by one, other countries helped. You have opened my heart and eyes on what we can do to help each other. I will work to sustain the spirit of sympathy and spirit of hope. As long as we work together, there is hope.”
First runner-up honors went to Miss Netherlands Nathalie den Dekker and Miss New Zealand Lorena Hermida, second runner-up.
Others who finished in the Top 5 were candidates from Colombia and Hungary.
Those who made the Top 15 were representatives from Brazil, Ecuador, Gibraltar, Iceland, Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Poland, Russia, Spain, Thailand, and the USA.
Sixty-seven contestants took part in this year’s pageant.
This year’s beauty pageant was marred with controversy after 2012 Miss International Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan was dethroned days before the coronation night following reports that the beauty queen allegedly raised her voice due to harassment, stalking, and threats from a top media executive, the International Business Times reported.
The dethroned beauty queen from Japan wrote in her Facebook, “Harassment and intimidation from one man has deprived me of the role of Miss International. I have had to fight back tears of mortification. I can no longer to out (sic) alone as I fear I will be killed by someone. Fortunately, I now have security 24 hours a day – but other women who face the same stalking problem as me have no such security.”
It was also alleged that Ikumi has forced to sign a film outfit rumored to be linked to the Japanese underworld. But she refused and decided to start her own company. Thus, the trouble started, the IBT also reported.
Santiago, 21, was born in Cataingan, Masbate, where she was raised by her grandparents. She is the eldest of the three children. At 15, she and her family moved to Canada. Santiago later became a fashion model and was signed up as the only Filipino for the Elite Management.
She also joined the 2011 Mutya ng Pilipinas and won Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communities. In 2012, Santiago represented the Philippines in the Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International and placed in the Top 10.
Santiago said that her modeling experience helped her develop confidence on stage. “When I started modeling at 17, I was so shy that I couldn’t even look at a guy! The first time I interacted with a male fellow model was in a shoot, and I couldn’t even look at him so in the end they had to replace me. It was awkward!”
She also revealed her Miss International walk, which she thinks is one of her assets. “I have a different pasarela for Miss International. For the pageant, you have to be more feminine, more relaxed, more charming, more queenly.”
The Miss International beauty contest is the last of the Big Four beauty pageants this year, after Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss Earth.
The winner is expected to serve as ambassador of peace and beauty through tenderness, benevolence, friendship, intelligence, ability to take action, and great international sensibility, the Miss International website stated.