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7 Filipino beauty queens who were already famous faces before becoming pageant titleholders

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Sep 22, 2021 6:26 pm

Theirs are the faces you’ve seen on TV, ad campaigns or in films even before they made their way to the global stage of pageantry.

These days, it is not uncommon for models and showbiz personalities to join the world of pomp and pageantry.

In this year’s Miss Universe Philippines Top 30 are personalities that have already had a share of the spotlight even before joining the pageant, including Pinoy Big Brother alum Kisses Delavin, Asia’s Next Top Model Season 5 winner Maureen Wroblewitz, and content creator and TikTok star Ayn Bernos. 

With their eloquence, innate self confidence, and an already massive following, some pageant fans believe that artistas and models have an edge to win the crown. 

Whether that’s true or not, there is a long list of beauty queens, who were models and showbiz personalities first before winning the crown and representing the Philippines to the international pageant stage. Check them out below.

Megan Young, Miss World 2013

Miss World 2013 Megan Young.

Before Megan Young conquered the World in 2013, she broke into showbiz via GMA-7’s reality TV talent search StarStruck in 2004 where she finished in the Top 6.

Megan did a string of movies and TV shows both on GMA and ABS-CBN, including being a housemate in the Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2. She also also dabbled in hosting.

In 2012, she trained with Aces & Queens, under the tutelage of queen maker Jonas Gaffud, initially for Binibining Pilipinas. But Megan was looking for her purpose in joining a major beauty pageant, and found it in Miss World Philippines, which she won in 2013. 

On the world stage, she was crowned Miss World 2013 and still is the only Filipina who has bagged the title.

Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.

Pia Wurtzbach has been in the spotlight doing commercials and modeling since she was four years old.

In her teens, she was signed with ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Batch 11 in 2002 under the name Pia Romero. She was batch mates with Pauleen Luna, Rayver and Rodjun Cruz, Glaiza de Castro, Nikki Gil, among others. 

Pia was in youth-oriented shows and variety shows for several years before she took a hiatus from showbiz to focus on her pageant journey.

It is widely known that it took three times for Pia to clinch the coveted Binibining Pilipinas-Universe crown. 

At the Binibining Pilipinas 2013, she was first runner-up to Ariella Arida, and at Binibining Pilipinas 2014, she only finished in the Top 15.

Third time was the charm for the Filipino-German beauty as with her Binibining Pilipinas-Universe title, she was able to represented the Philippines to the Miss Universe 2015, which she eventually won and ended the 42-year drought for the country.

Teresita Ssen “WinWyn” Marquez, Miss Reina Hispanoamericana 2017

Miss Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 Teresita Ssen 'WinWyn' Marquez.

WinWyn Marquez was not new to showbiz before joining beauty pageants, being the daughter of actors-turned-politicians Alma Moreno and Joey Marquez.

When she entered showbiz in 2004, she got into acting for soaps but she is widely known for being a dancer in variety shows in ABS-CBN and GMA-7.

It was only in 2015 when she joined her first pageant, Binibining Pilipinas, where she landed in the Top 15.

In 2017, she joined Miss World Philippines and was crowned Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas and represented the country to the international pageant held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

WinWyn was the first Philippine representative and the only Asian candidate in the pageant. She bested 27 other candidates and bagged the Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 title.

Catriona Gray, Miss Universe 2018

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray. Photo from Miss Universe Organization

Before her pageant journey, Catriona Gray was a model who appeared in several print campaigns and TV commercials.

The world of pageantry opened up for her in 2016 after she was crowned Miss World Philippines and represented the country to the Miss World 2016 competition where she placed in the Top 5.

In 2018, she pursued the Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2018 crown and won. 

Catriona won the Miss Universe 2018 title in Bangkok, Thailand, making her the first Filipino beauty queen to represent the country in both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants.

Michele Gumabao, Binibining Pilipinas Globe 2018

Binibining Pilipinas Globe 2018 Michele Gumabao.

Michele Gumabao was the Belle of the Ball of the court as she led the De La Salle Lady Spikers to three consecutive UAAP Women’s Volleyball championship, from 2010 to 2013.

After graduating from college, the volleyball star played for several tournaments and stepped in as an assistant coach for the Adamson Lady Falcons in the UAAP Season 78. She was also a sports analyst for the Shakey’s V League and the NCAA Season 91’s volleyball games.

Michele was also a housemate in the Pinoy Big Brother: All In.

It was in 2018 when she competed in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. She was eventually crowned Binibining Pilipinas Globe.

Michele represented the country at the Miss Globe 2018, where she finished in the Top 20.

She was also among the hopefuls who vied for the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 crown. She finished second runner-up. 

Katarina Rodriguez, Miss World Philippines 2018

Miss World Philippines 2018 Katarina Rodriguez. 

Katarina Rodriguez rose to fame when she joined Asia’s Next Top Model Season 2, where she was among the Final 3 contestants.

Her beauty pageant journey began with Aces & Queens, where she trained under Jonas Gaffud. 

In 2017, she joined Binibining Pilipinas and bagged the Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental title. 

She represented the country in the Miss Intercontinental 2017 pageant, held in Hurghada, Egypt, where she finished first runner-up. 

After her first international beauty pageant stint, Katarina joined Miss World Philippines 2018, where she was declared the winner. 

At the Miss World 2018 pageant, Katarina finished the competition without getting into the semifinals.

Kelley Day, Miss Eco Philippines 2019

Miss Eco Philippines 2019 Kelley Day.

Actress and model Kelley Day, who is of Filipino and British descent, started in the industry when she was six years old by doing commercials. 

When she moved to the Philippines from Dubai, Kelley got into showbiz. She was part of the group GirlTrends, which was seen in ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime. She is also a GMA Artist Center talent and was part of several shows and soaps.

In her first foray in the world of beauty pageants, Kelley won the Miss Eco Philippines title at the Miss World Philippines 2019.

She competed at the pandemic-delayed Miss Eco International 2020 stage in Egypt in April 2021 and placed first runner-up. 

Check out PhilSTAR L!fe's Beauty and the Queen series Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. on Facebook.