Cebu bet is 1st asian to win Miss Earth
- Adrian Diongzon, Marigold Lebumfacil () - November 11, 2008 - 12:00am

Karla Paula Ginteroy Henry of Cebu     City has been crowned as the    world’s greenest beauty, besting 85 other candidates vying for the title.

 Karla, 22, was named Miss Earth 2008 at the Expo amphitheatre in Clark Air Base in Pampanga—the first Filipina and Asian to win in the seven year-old international beauty tilt.

Each contestant declared their own personal environmental campaigns, with the theme for this year’s competition focusing on green lifestyles, but it was Karla’s answer to the question, “What would you tell US president-elect Barack Obama about the state of the global environment if ever you were to meet him?” that secured her the title.

Karla said, “Environmental knowledge is something that all of us must share, but most importantly we must teach the youth that this is something that we should instill in them so that in the near future they will be the ones to take care of our mother Earth.” Her winnings include 20,000 USD cash.

“I feel so crazy, [I feel] a lot of crazy emotions,” Karla said in a brief post-pageant interview for The FREEMAN, adding that she only expected to land in the Top 16 especially as representatives from the Latin countries were also heavily favored to win.

“Winning Best in Swimsuit and Miss Fontana Leisure Park were already enough [for me]. As we all know, last year’s [Philippine candidate] Catherine Untalan was able to make it as a runner-up, that’s why I was encouraged to really double my effort. And it was really worth it! I was able to make my fellow Cebuanos proud.”

As reigning Miss Earth, Karla said, “I’ll be busy traveling, touring schools, teaching kids about environmental awareness, doing tree-planting, and working hand in hand with DENR, LGUs and private corporations in promoting environmental programs and campaigning against global warming, among other issues.”

Noting that it was hard to be a candidate from the host country, the tourism graduate from the University of Cebu thanked and made special mention of the people from her hometown who prayed for her victory, as well as her supportive workmates at the Marco Polo Hotel and mentor-discoverer Dexter Alazas, head of ADModels.

“Karla is Cebu’s best-kept secret,” Alazas enthused in a separate interview with The FREEMAN.

Even before the pre-pageant, Alazas had high hopes for Karla, who has been with ADModels since 2003. “I knew Karla would really shine. But it was after the question and answer segment that I expected she would really win the crown. I am very happy that she joined and won Miss Earth 2008.”

Alazas added, “Too bad for other people in the industry in Cebu who tried to put her down. She really deserved to win since she worked hard for it. [I also believe] her humble attitude and perseverance led her to victory. After Ford Supermodel Verns Buckley and top male model Vince Cañizares, it’s now Karla who’s making ADModels so proud.” 

With his talent’s victory, Alazas exhorted major players in the fashion, modeling and beauty industry to be always on the lookout for potential talents who can make it in the international scene and do the country proud. “Cebuanos excel better when exposed elsewhere.”

Alazas said that despite Karla’s newfound fame and very busy schedule that makes her Manila-based for the time being, she will come home to Cebu to celebrate and share her victory with family, friends and supporters.

Miss Earth 2008 was hosted by Billy Crawford, Miss Earth 2004 winner Priscilla Meirelles, and Miss Earth Canada 2006 Riza Santos. (with reports from Banat Hugyaw)

AFTER FORD SUPERMODEL VERNS BUCKLEY ALAZAS BANAT HUGYAW BARACK OBAMA CEBU KARLA MISS EARTH
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