Kimberly “Billie” Hakenson, who is representing Cavite province in the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 pageant, has come out as a bisexual in a closed-door interview for the beauty contest.
A video uploaded on YouTube on Monday showed a short clip of Billie revealing that she identifies as a “bi”.
"I'm Billie Hakenson, representing Cavite and I'm a bisexual and I'm proud to be here," she said.
On Instagram, Billie posted a photo of herself in a little black dress and said: "I know who I am, I know what I can do. I will tell my story as truly as I can, and I will enjoy every bit of this journey as I build myself."
In another, she shared a photo of a rainbow flag. "I will forever be grateful and honored to raise our flag," she said.
It is unknown if Hakenson is indeed the first “bi” contestant in a traditional women’s beauty pageant, but the country already has launched one for bisexual men, the Mr. Bi Philippines, in 2017.
Abroad, the Miss USA competition this year will include its first openly bisexual contestant, Rachel Slawson.
During a recent virtual conversation with reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi along with other MUP candidates, Hakenson said she looks up to the South African beauty queen for giving her confidence to join a pageant with short hair.
"You broke the status quo, you broke the typical beauty queen mold… I just really want to thank you for doing that. You are amazing. You inspire me so much, and I never had this much confidence before, with short hair, to join a pageant," she said.
To which Tunzi replied: "I love that you said you got that confidence because beauty comes in all shapes, forms, and sizes. I feel it should be celebrated."
The confession of the Cavite bet, who also works as a model and a flight attendant, has been the talk of the town on social media. Although some criticized her sharing, many netizens and even members of the LGBTQ+ community celebrated her big step.
Hakenson is among the favorites in the contest because of her charisma and eloquence and has impressed many because of her confession in the preliminary rounds currently being held in Baguio City.
The Philippines has won Miss Universe four times, courtesy of Catriona Gray (2018), Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margie Moran (1973), and Gloria Diaz (1969).
Meanwhile, Miss Universe Philippines is set to launch “Ring Light,” the first ever “fundraising online pageant series” that will shed light on what it takes to become a beauty queen.
According to the organization’s press release, Ring Light will go beyond the coronation night and will feature various aspects of a pageant, from “rigorous trainings” to “fascinating challenges and fun, behind-the-scenes activities.”
Composed of 8 episodes, “Ring Light” will follow the 50 aspiring Miss Universe Philippines candidates and will show viewers their journey toward the crown.
“We’re very excited to launch ‘Ring Light,’ the first-ever fundraising online pageant series that will allow fans to take the same journey to the crown while making a positive impact,” said Shamcey Supsup-Lee, Miss Universe Philippines national director and Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner up.
“With this online series, we hope to inspire our viewers to find their own light and empowerment and show that beauty is not only skin deep,” she added.
To premiere on Sept. 27 on empire.ph, “Ring Light” will be available for streaming for a one-time fee of Php 299. Early birds get to pay only Php 249 if they purchase from July 22 to Aug. 31.
A portion of the subscription will go to the candidates’ chosen beneficiary and partner organizations.
Fans can direct their support to their intended advocacy by using the referral code found on the corresponding candidate’s Instagram page upon purchase.
More information may be found on Miss Universe Philippines on Facebook or Empire.ph’s website and Instagram.