Hannah Arnold is the newly crowned Binibining Pilipinas International after winning the title at the 57th Binibining Pilipinas pageant at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday, July 11.
But while Hannah clearly deserves the title, the 25-year-old beauty queen believes that, had circumstances been different, she may have not won the Binibining Pilipinas International crown.
In an interview with Boy Abunda, along with the other 2021 Binibining Pilipinas titleholders, on his Youtube channel on Tuesday, July 13, Hannah said she believes Vickie Rushton, one of the four contestants who had to bow out of the competition following its numerous postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, would have won the Binibining Pilipinas International crown if she was able to compete in the pageant.
Asked by Abunda who they think were their biggest competition in the pageant, Hannah said: “Before the pandemic, it was really Ate Vim, Vickie Rushton. She was Miss International.”
She also mentioned Honey Cartasano and Karen Laurrie Mendoza. The two made it to the competition's semi-finals.
Vickie, who had to withdraw from the 2021 Binibining Pilipinas pageant due to age limitations, was a favorite to win the Binibining Pilipinas International title before the pandemic forced the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Incorporated to cancel the pageant last year. It took the Binibining Pilipinas more than a year to finally hold the pageant's finals night, but the delay aged out Vickie, making her ineligible to compete in the Miss International pageant in Japan. Vickie Rushton is 29 years old; it is reported that Miss International has an age limit of 28 of its candidates.
But Hannah, too, is a pageant favorite. Like Vickie, she was a contestant at the 2019 Binibining Pilipinas pageant. She landed in the pageant's Top 15, but failed to win a title.
In an interview with CNN Philippines on Monday, July 12, Hannah said thinks she may have lost the 2019 pageant because she was forcing herself to be someone else.
"Back in 2019, I guess there was so much expectations and I was kind of forcing myself to be someone else. However that night, I realized it’s better for me to just truly be me, Hannah Arnold," she said.
Hannah added, "And that’s what I really brought on July 11. I just gave my all to God and said it’s His plan if I will win or not and I just enjoyed the night so much."
Banner photo from Binibining Pilipinas official Facebook page; Vickie Rushton official Facebook page