A Journey of Self behind the scenes of Beauty Pageantry… I used to feel shy when walking on runway shows, I feel conscious whenever I speak about my thoughts, and I feel unsure about my abilities whenever I set out to venture on something new. More often than not, on a normal day, I would stay indoors or with my closest friends before this…
“The deadlines are all piling up one after the other, as I check on my phone and pending schedules. The things that I have to do have already beaten my former lifestyle as a working student athlete. Yes, I am an aspirant, welcome to the world of pageantry.”
Pageantry is a choice for a woman to be empowered, to feel beautiful, and to have her voice heard. For someone who understands the value of these, I am honoured to partake this journey. At first, I was quite hesitant to join but that one fateful day of deciding to listen to my heart seemed to have been one of the best decisions I have ever made. My story of pageantry was also my path towards development: of learning to understand my identity and fully embracing myself. A purpose within.
“Some would even ask us upon joining the pageantry? Hey, is it even worth it? All of this? The challenges, the unknown, all these efforts…”
I say yes, not with uncertainty but with the conviction I felt upon telling myself that I will try once again, to go after a goal that has helped me in so many ways…
My abilities and confidence developed upon joining the pageantry a few years back. I learned the beauty of working with different people: on how we may have varying perspectives but it is respect that brings harmony, I gained the experience of believing in myself while trying out activities that the introverted part of myself would never be inclined to do so, and most importantly, I am graced with the opportunity to have my voice heard along with the rest of the ladies to share my story to the world, in my perfect time, a safe space…
“I was a child abuse survivor at the age of five, and it took years for me to recover and heal. But because of the people who stood by me, I have been able to fight it. I will always be grateful for I was able to take back my strength, my rights, my dignity, and my pride.”
The violence and abuse of women has been going on for a long time. It can happen to you, your friend, your sister, or your mother. It happened to me. I realised early in my life that I can be the voice and support of all women. To be the voice for those many sidelined and abused because of who they are… I want to be the very inspiration of these young girls and women. Because we share the same experience, I learned to be brave and to have a voice for them, for us, and for myself…
For over three years, I have been a volunteer for LoveYourself- a community that aims to empower and create ripples of positive change to every individual. Its community of volunteers provides free services for sexual health, mental health, trans health, and more importantly, women empowerment.
Being a part of LoveYourself also made me feel whole ever since, they respected and loved me for who I am, and as an HIV awareness Counselor I was able to guide individuals and couples to be responsible. I also became a founding member of We Stand for Women, Transcend, a transformative arm of LoveYourself for Women programs and initiatives in the Philippines. We aim for women empowerment and support for positive growth against any form of abuse. Through this initiative I get to work alongside empowered women seeking to empower others.
“You are not alone. As women, your story is my story, our story… Di ka nag-iisa. Bilang mga babae, ang kwento mo ay kwento ko. Kwento natin.“
Speak up because it is your right. Speak up because more voices mean more voices to be heard. Speak up because someone is listening. We are here to help women find their voice so that they too, can transcend beyond their hurt and above their pain.
“And most of all, speak up in order to inspire and change your life and others for the better.“
At the end of the day, one constant lesson that I learned more through pageantry is that peace only comes from within, through loving others and ourselves. The way we sincerely connect to other beings even amidst a competition of any sort that is. We are sentient beings that deserve love and respect.