Cory Quirino: Goodbye, beauty pageants?

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - March 2, 2017 - 12:00am

After producing the country’s Miss World (Megan Young) in 2013 and one runner-up (Gwendoline Ruais in 2014) and a finalist (Catriona Gray in 2016), beauty guru Cory Quirino has had enough of beauty pageants and has called it quits, leaving the management of Miss World Philippines franchise to talent manager Arnold Vegafria, her business partner. It remains to be seen if Arnold can equal, or hopefully break, Cory’s record.                                                             

Beauty-watchers were dismayed when Catriona, whom they perceived to be a sure winner, lost to Miss Puerto Rico and finished “only” a finalist, trailing Miss Dominican Republic first runner-up and Miss Indonesia (second runner-up). Has Catriona’s (well, “sad”) fate anything to do with Cory’s decision?                                                  

“In my personal opinion,” admitted Cory, “and based on my six-year experience in the beauty-pageant business, there are candidates that carry that victorious aura or what many people label as ‘winnable.’ Catriona has what it takes to win an international crown,” adding, “there is a professional code of ethics that national directors abide by. Be that as it may, I felt that the Philippines deserved to win the crown and if fate was not on our side, then a Top 3 finish would be good enough. I confess that, once again I found myself examining my life’s mission. Thus, my subconscious decision to move on was made on Dec. 18, 2016, after the Miss World pageant (in Washington, D.C., USA).”  

Beauty-watchers (including this one) agree — nay, are clamoring! — that Catriona (who is still under contract with Cory and the Viva Group of Companies which is producing Catriona’s debut album) should join in this year’s Bb. Pilipinas search and, “sure winner” that she’s perceived to be, represent the country in next year’s Miss Universe pageant and, knock on wood, bring home our fourth Miss U crown. Why not, Cory (and Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. head Madame Stella Marquez-Araneta)?                                          

“I would gladly endorse her to Bb. Pilipinas,” said Cory. “Ultimately, winning on the international stage benefits our country in terms of goodwill and tourism promotions.”                                          

Nothing wrong in that, really. After all, some beauties who failed in one pageant have gone on to bag the title in another pageant ­— to wit: a Miss Puerto Rico lost in the Miss International pageant and won Miss U the next year; a Miss Namibia lost in the Miss World pageant and won Miss Universe the next year; and Madame Stella herself, representing her native Colombia, bagged the first Miss International crown after competing in Miss U pageant the year before.    

Of course, Miss Wales Helen Morgan finished first runner-up to Spain’s (the late) Amparo Muñoz in 1974 when the Miss U pageant was held here for the first time, and won Miss U the next year (only to be dethroned when she was discovered to be an unwed mother). And remember Miss Botswana who beat our very own Miriam Quiambao in the 1999 Miss U pageant in Trinidad & Tobago? Botswana lost in the Miss World contest the previous year.              

“There are crossroads in people’s lives where life’s many options are presented,” continued Cory. “The decision to go either this case, to stay or to leave...was something that confronted me after Megan’s victory in Bali, Indonesia.

“At present, I am elevating my health-and-wellness advocacy to a national level. Expect to hear more from me in the months to come.”                                                                            

Heard that many people are appealing (and some tearfully pleading) to Cory to reconsider her decision.                                                                

“Admittedly,” said Cory, “it has been heart-wrenching. I am grateful to everyone for their generous outpouring of support and kindness. It has been one exciting journey which led to the Miss World crown. I have kept my promise to our countrymen. And I left behind a legacy.”                                                 

Will she ever return to the beauty pageant industry?                                                                         

“As of now,” insisted Cory, “the answer would be no. But who can say for sure? However, I always keep an open mind.”

Man of the World 2017 launched

Meanwhile, Man of the World, the newest male international pageant for 2017, had a soft launching last Feb. 23 at the Aristocrat Restaurant along Roxas, Blvd., Malate, Manila. Present during the occasion were Prime Event Productions Philippines Foundation, Inc. (PEPPS) president Carlo Morris Galang, Mister of Filipinas Man of the Year 2017 Police Inspector Christopher Comicho Dulagan and members of media. Around 50 delegates from all over the world are expected to arrive in Manila for the competition.

The people behind Misters of Filipinas hope to give a new face to male pageantry with the international competition under the motto of “Celebrating Masculinity with Responsibility.” The reason behind PEPPS is tying up with two major government institutions, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Education (DepEd).

Man of the World will have an official opening ceremonies with the following highlights: National Costume Parade and Competition, Press Presentation, Official Sashing Ceremony and Advocacy Ceremony. Also, there will be charity events, Fashion of the World, Fashion Show of the host nation and Charity Auction.

There will be two fast-track events, namely Talent of the World and World’s Choice. The finals will be held in July during the closing ceremony where the semi-finalists will be revealed leading to the winner of the inaugural Man of the World.

The police hunk is excited to represent the nation and be a gracious host to all the delegates. The Cordillera native promises to do his best in the competition and make the effort to further promote the organization’s mission. — Reported by Felix Manuel

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