Bb. Pilipinas Candidates' (UN) Common Bonds
If you watched the 2000 film, Ms. Congeniality starring Sandra Bullock, you would shirk at the thought of joining any form of beauty pageant. That’s because along with the stringent beauty and poise tutorials that turn eventually comedic, there are glimpses of not so congenial dynamics among contestants that bring a whole lot of anxiety.
Such cutthroat competition and deadly animosity are apparently not present among the forty hopefuls in Bb. Pilipinas 2011. During their first few activities as official candidates, the forty girls plunged into a flurry of pictorials, make up and hair styling sessions as part of their regular training. But instead of anxiety and paranoia among the girls, you can actually observe them helping each other to put their best foot forward. Spotted was one of the Clenci sisters giving tips to another contestant on how to tuck her balloon dress at her waist in order to accentuate her slimness and give a sexier peek at her legs. Another contestant was seen helping pick out a suitable outfit for her competitor’s cocktail photo. Even the “tricycle driver” contestant was taking in some tips from her co-contestants on how to pose. Others were spontaneously taking on “big sister” roles to the contestants who either came from the provinces or seem more economically challenged to cope with the peripheral costs of joining a beauty pageant. Still some of the girls would actually lend a hand and help a candidate on crutches move around during the pictorials and Chinese New Year presentation at the Gateway Suites, Araneta Center.
Maybe because of the girls’ cooperative atmosphere, official photographer Raymond Saldana was able to finish the pictorials of all forty girls wearing different sets of outfits in record time. In fact, some of the girls actually made his job easier by helping out. He recalls that he was having some difficulty with the last three girls’ poses and was worried that he wouldn’t be able to catch the day’s sun for his shot. Seeing his predicament, one of the girls actually stepped up to the plate and asked, “Kuya, gusto mo tulungan ko sila?” Raymond said “yes, by all means”. The girl coached her co-candidates on how to project and soon enough, Raymond got the shots beating the day’s deadline. Even the make-up artist from David’s Salon said that he noticed some of the girls tutoring each other and making constructive inputs on each other’s hair and make-up.
Venus Raj, Miss Universe-Philippines 2010, who also won the Ms. Friendship title, mentioned during the recently concluded three-part screening, that long lasting friendships and healthy competition are some of the legacies that the Bb. Pilipinas pageant brought in her life. To date, despite her increasingly busy schedule, she maintains close ties with her Bb. Pilipinas batch mates. Raymond recalls, “Last year, Venus was all over the place, helping the girls out with their poses, clothes and their projection. Even the handlers of the girls were appreciative of her assistance. She was really friendly and went all out to help the others even if she was a contestant herself.” Well, apparently, good begets good.
The contest will be tough. There is no question about that. But without taking away from the ultra-high standards of competition in the prestigious pageant, these girls prove that joining the Bb. Pilipinas need not be like stepping into a minefield of misunderstanding. There are ways to sidestep bombs of bickering and still survive the stiff competition without pulling at each other’s hair at the end of the day. This is heartening considering that there is slew of activities they will plunge in from now until pageant night, from the Press Presentation, Talent Competition, Parade of Beauties and more. In fact, judging by the bonds of friendship forged between current and past Bb. Pilipinas queens, the spark of camaraderie can burn way beyond coronation night.
The Bb. Pilipinas Coronation Night will be held on April 10 and telecast live from the Araneta Coliseum on ABS-CBN. The Ms. Universe pageant rolls out in Sau Paolo, Brazil in September.