Making a mark as a pageant powerhouse, the Philippines has been the center of training for several contestants of Miss Universe from other countries including Singapore, Myanmar, Japan, Vietnam, and Ecuador.
Following last year’s Mohana Prabha, Miss Universe Singapore 2020 Bernadette Belle Ong will also take similar lessons from Miss Universe Philippines creative director Jonas Antonio Gaffud who also served as Miss Universe Singapore creative director in 2019.
“I can’t wait to be going back in the Philippines,” said Belle during a virtual press conference.
The 26-year-old model, actress, and events host was born in the Philippines and had live lived in the country until she was ten. With some resemblance to Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong, she’s not related, Belle was preparing for Miss Charm International 2020 when she was handpicked by Miss Universe Singapore national director Valerie Lim.
Belle moved to Singapore with her parents in 2004. She lived overseas, worked hard, taking four jobs in Australia to put herself through school in Melbourne. She completed a degree in accounting and finance and finished a culinary arts training.
“The training in the Philippines is testament to the fact that I’m a 100 percent game for it and I’m just willing to learn as much as possible and I can’t wait to collaborate with Rabiya (Mateo),” said Belle who is fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese, and Filipino.
“I think I will be a strong contender in terms of being able to ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk.’ Being approachable is also one quality that I would want to shine through in the Miss Universe pageant,” said Belle when asked for the qualities she thinks would make her stand out in the pageant.
“A lot of my friends, most of them Filipinos, were pushing for me to engage in this platform, and I want to explore how we could make this platform stronger in my country, the attitude towards it has its own challenges that Miss Universe Philippines would be facing. It gives the woman a voice, but that voice is not necessarily as impactful in Singapore as it is in other countries. I want to help make this platform as approachable for the future Miss Universe Singapore,” Belle articulated.
“I’m working in collaboration with local charities in Singapore for fund-raising, primarily, to help victims of calamities and migrant workers who were affected by the pandemic,” Belle added.
Belle is aiming to become only the third Singaporean to make the Miss Universe cut after Katie Lee Lee Beng’s Top 12 in 1983 and Marion Nicole Teo’s Top 10 in 1987.
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Former Binibini queen launches beauty line
Jewel Colmenares Lobaton, Miss Universe Philippines 1998, recently introduced to the public her beauty products line. Dubbed “Jewel Beauty Strong” or JBS, the beauty line is an all-Filipino social enterprise that aims to optimize the beauty and wellness within every individual for self and social acceptance. With her are Miss Philippines Earth-Water 2020 Gianna Llanes, and Shane Quintana Tormes, Miss Philippines Earth-Fire 2020.
JBS was established when it collaborated with the recent Miss Earth 2020 and Carousel Productions with Miss Earth-Fire 2020 Roxanne Baeyens being appointed as JBS ambassador.
“It was a big leap of faith. I thought that because they have a big platform, we could go further. In just two months with Miss Earth, we came up with plant-based beauty and wellness products for everyone,” Jewel said.
“I made sure that all the ingredients that I want are there, that these beauty bars are coconut-based, copra products,” said the former beauty queen who grew up in the province working with farmers with her grandparents who were also farmers.
The JBS beauty line is made up of a concoction of unique formulations where the raw materials are found mostly in the Philippines, thus helping local farmers and growers. JBS tries to find balance in doing profit with impact. For every product they buy will give them a chance to be a part of the transformation of communities as JBS will directly give support to its main advocacies: Education, Environment, Entrepreneurship opportunities.
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