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Fil-Australian wins elusive beauty title 47

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Filipino-Australian Karen Gallman finally captured the international beauty title that has eluded the Philippines this decade.

Before the eyes of a cheering hometown audience, the 26-year-old native of Bohol bested more than 80 delegates from around the world to wear the 47th Miss Intercontinental crown at the conclusion of the pageant finals held Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

READ: 47th Miss Intercontinental Hot Picks

“I’m speechless! I’m just so grateful to everyone who came to support me. This victory is for all my countrymen,” the overwhelmed Gallman said backstage minutes after her historic win.

“I’m so touched and did not expect to see my whole Binibining Pilipinas family watching, especially Madam Stella Marquez-Araneta who I saw was teary-eyed for this win.”

Gallman, who once worked as a company analyst in London before returning to Manila to try her luck for the second time at the Binibining Pilipinas pageant last year, is coming in the heels of Catriona Gray’s crowning as Miss Universe, her batchmate with similar Australian-Filipino ancestry, her father being half-Spanish-Australian while Gray’s is half Scottish-Australian. Gallman, graduated with a degree in Business Arts major in Management from Griffith University in Brisbane, also lived in Queensland at a young age like Gray, who was born and studied high school in Trinity Anglican School in Cairns.

Gallman and Gray also started their beauty queen dreams with crowns and sashes as Little Miss Philippines. And both grew up being visionary and having the same passion for helping underprivileged children. Gallman experienced the hardships that students go through to attend primary school in her rural hometown in Bohol.

“I witnessed poor students suffer from lack of teaching materials and poor-quality secondary and primary education. This has made me become more passionate in pursuing my advocacy to improve compulsory education in the rural areas across the country,”  Gallman said.

Gallman, who has six siblings, said  her winning the title gave her an even better platform to further a well-meaning cause. “Seeing these children really touched my heart, that’s why I also volunteered in various orphanages,” she said.

Gallman was crowned by outgoing title holder Veronica Salas of Mexico. Miss Costa Rica Adriana Moya Alvarado, a 24-year-old Architectural-Engineering graduate, was named 1st runner-up while Miss Slovak Republic Laura Longauerova, a 23-year-old Finance and Accounting student, finished 2nd runner-up.

Miss Colombia Hillary Hollman   del Prado, a 22-year-old model-actress, was 3rd runner up while Miss Vietnam Le Au Ngan Anh and Miss Ethiopia   BelLa   Lire Lapso finished as 4th   and 5th   runners up, respectively.

“For me, success is not just about winning in life. It is about setting goals, achieving your dreams, working hard for everything you want, and always looking up to God and be thankful for everything. For me, that is success,” Gallman, wearing a body-hugging Benj Leguiab silver evening gown, said when asked to define success during the critical question-and-answer round of the live competition.

Gallman succeeded in claiming the Miss Intercontinental title after successive close runner-up finishes by Philippine representatives the past years with 1st runner-up Katarina Rodriguez (2017), 1st runner-up Christi Lynn McGarry (2015) and 2nd runner-up Kris Tiffany Janson (2014).

The Finals judges included former PNP Chief Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa, CEO of Miss Intercontinental-Japan Joanna Leonisa Gimena Miyamae,  business/trade industry executive Marilyn de Mesa, former Mr. Gay World Philippines Wilbert Tolentino, Turkish author/plastic surgeon Dr.   Yasar Sarigul, Miss Intercontinental 2010 Maydelise Columna, Emmy awardee actor Vincent de Paul and Falcon Crest actor   Lorenzo Lamas. Kapamilya Billy Crawford served as host with Japanese personality Taka Nor and former Miss Japan Intercontinental, Fil-Japanese model Kumi Miyamae. It was covered by ABS-CBN and beamed via satellite on Jan. 27.

READ: Miss Intercontinental to welcome 90 candidates in ManilaMiss Intercontinental to welcome 90 candidates in Manila


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