Ever dreamed of becoming a beauty queen someday?
Miss Universe Philippines is now accepting applications for the 2022 tilt. The requirements aren’t too demanding: you have to be a Filipino citizen and Philippine passport holder aged at least 18 and under 28 years old by the coronation night (April 30) as well as a female who has never been married nor pregnant. The best part? There’s no specific height requirement that needs to be met.
You don’t have to be a veteran in the pageant scene to give this dream a shot. Content creator Ayn Bernos, for one, represented San Juan at the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 as a newbie—and it turned out to be an experience she will never forget.
Hoping to follow suit? Just recently, she gave a round-up of the things she wishes she knew before she joined the prestigious competition as well as her top tips for interested applicants with little to no experience. Here’s what she shared in a vlog.
Get a team. “Kung naghahanda palang kayo, mas maganda if you already have a team so you can prepare for this whole thing not by yourself,” she said, “because if you’re by yourself, it’s really hard, it’s really difficult.” Among the people you would need in your team are a makeup artist, hairstylist, stylist, pageant coach, pasarela coach, and Q&A coach.
Prepare your photos or pasabogs. While MUP 2021 titleholder and Miss U Top 5 finalist Beatrice Luigi Gomez didn’t post so much on social media yet did incredibly well in her journey, Bernos pointed out the importance of having an online presence in pageantry.
“If you’re somebody who wants to use that as your strength, paghandaan niyo,” the 26-year-old suggested, saying it’s a good idea to be intentional before entering the competition. “If you know what you’re gonna be like, if you know how you want to present yourself, if you know who you are, that is a strength. So going into the competition, i-plan niyo na mga pasabog niyo. Schedule it.”
Train for the Q&A and have an opinion on everything. Noting that Q&A training is not only for the coronation night, Bernos shared that she also had to make use of her communication skills in the preliminary interviews and other interview challenges. A way to nail them when the time comes is to grab some opportunities to get interviewed. “Pageant bloggers are looking for girls to interview left and right and so if you want to reach out to them, magpa-interview kayo just so you can practice.”
Be physically prepared. Bernos likened a beauty pageant to a sport. “Being a beauty queen is like being an athlete because you need to stand on stage for so long. Yung heels, sa tingin niyo simple yun? That’s from your posture, to your arms, to your legs, to the movement of your hips—to be able to do all of that, you need to be physically prepared,” stressed Bernos, who emphasized that being your “best and strongest” self is paramount, “kasi iba-iba talaga tayo ng body types, iba-iba talaga tayo ng physiques.”
Learn how to do your own hair and makeup. This is something she hopes she knew early on. “Kailangan niyo yun for interviews. Also, when you’re inside the bubble, you need to always be ready na anytime,” she shared. “Breakfast palang, palaban na mga tao, so you need to be able to do it by yourself and you need to do it fast.”
Get to know your pageant bloggers, but save your energy as well. Interviews could be a big help in your journey to the crown, but it’s important to save your energy as well when you can. “This is a marathon—it’s not something na sasali ka sa competition, tapos na,” the beauty queen explained. “Whatever time you have to rest, please rest kasi kailangan yan ng body mo and also your brain. Your brain needs all the rest that it can get.”
Make friends. Since it’s a tough place to be in, having a support system in the scene is extremely important. “Make friends with your pageant sisters,” she suggested. “Pageantry itself is already tough, the competition is tough, but the external pressures are much, much tougher. As in, sobrang mas mahirap kalaban yung outside world kaysa yung mga kasama mo.”
Delegate if you can and don’t read comments. This, she learned from MUP-Tourism 2021 titleholder Katrina Dimaranan. “Her team was already doing her postings when she was in the bubble, so hindi na siya nase-stress sa mga pasabog photoshoots niya,” she recalled. “Sana ginawa ko na din yun kasi nase-stress ako, parang ang dami kong iniisip when my mind should’ve been in the competition, my mind should’ve been in training, my mind should’ve been in activities that we were doing inside the pageant.”
Be vocal about what you want. “If you can, intindihin niyo na ‘What is the best look for me?’ ‘What is the best style for me?’ and be vocal about it kahit saan ka magpunta, whether it’s a photoshoot inside the competition or outside the competition,” the Filipina beauty said.
Sharing a lesson she learned from Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Bernos added that you would look confident if you’re happy with your overall look. “If you’re happy about yourself then you can present yourself with much more confidence and it really shows.”
Not everyone gets a crown, so enjoy the experience. Yes, it’s a competition and everyone wants to take home an award. Bernos, however, had an incredible way of looking at it: “I think we should normalize girls going into the competition and allowing them to enjoy the experience,” she said, sharing that she received comments about her stint being a “waste of time” just because she didn’t bag a crown. “Honestly, guys, hindi siya aksaya ng oras for me because I got to learn so much. I enjoyed the experience, I gained so many friends,” she said.
“If anything, I’m happy that I went into the pageant with that mindset knowing na manalo, matalo, mag-finalist, hindi mag-finalist, just the fact that I got to show up and try was more than enough for me.”
“If you’re applying, wala ka pang experience and this is your first time, or actually even if you’re a veteran, accept that the possibility of you winning is not the only possibility. So enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!” continued Bernos.
Bernos concluded her MUP 2021 journey with a Top 30 finish. Aside from being a beauty queen, the morena beauty is also a TikTok personality and founder of Morena the Label—a clothing brand aimed at “celebrating brown skin and challenging colorism.”