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It came as a surprise for many Filipinos when Miss Colombia and not Miss Philippines Rachel Peters was called for the final spot in the top five in the Ms. Universe pageant last Sunday. Many believed that Peters had the confidence, body, looks, brains and walk of a Miss Universe. But, is it really about possessing these standards of pulchritude that makes one to be named the most beautiful girl in the entire universe?

We don’t think so.

GMA News Stringer Peterson Gonzaga said “story package and her not so strong personality” may have been factors in Peters’ loss.

“Some of the judges were looking at the personality, the story, the background of their life, baka yun: that might have hindered the Philippines,” he said.

Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh’s background story of pulling through a carjack incident was her strongest edge for winning the pageant, Gonzaga added.

While Peters’ fate might be a defeat for the Philippines, it clearly tells something good about how most beauty pageants are judged today.

Beauty pageants are now also won on candidates’ claims of charity work, protecting the environment, spreading global goodwill, etc.

We do not denigrate Peters’ top 10 finish. But, she should have shown a better part of her life and advocacy instead of just her passion in surfing and her own coffee shop in Siargao.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach said, “A Miss Universe should be confidently beautiful with a HEART.” Wurtzbach spoke about HIV awareness during her final question at the Miss Universe pageant and it became her focus during her one-year reign. Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is an advocate in promoting self-defense in her country and speaking up for those who are “afraid and cannot speak.”

It is not just international pageants that have turned to be more advocacy-oriented. Take our own Miss Silliman pageant for example. The “Heart for a Child” project of Miss Silliman 2015 Genin Amiscaray sought to bring happiness in the lives of students through feeding, storytelling and book-sharing activities in public schools.

Miss Silliman 2016 Aiko Kitane’s “SheMoves” sought to help women channel their ideas and emotions through physical activities and personal talks.

Moreover, the Weekly Sillimanian congratulates Lexandrea Dela Cerna for winning Miss Dumaguete 2017. By winning the pageant, Lex exemplifies the “never giving up” mantra and the cliché “everything happens for a reason.” As new Miss Dumaguete, Lex aims to inculcate in the hearts of everyone love of their own skin color and identity.

Our congratulations extend to the four other beautiful Sillimanians who went out of their comfort zones to join the pageant. These pageants provide an avenue for women to show the world that they can be catalysts for social change.

However, as Joel Barker once put it: “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”

We hope that the winners will fulfill the promises they made on that stage. After all, only one coronation night makes a woman a beauty queen. But it takes more than a year for that queen to become a woman– confident, beautiful, smart and touching many lives in the universe.

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