How Chantal Schmidt overcame series of unfortunate events at Miss Eco International 2024

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
How Chantal Schmidt overcame series of unfortunate events at Miss Eco International 2024
Chantal Schmidt, the Philippines’ representative to the Miss Eco International 2024, recalls the obstacles she encountered while competing at the international pageant in Egypt.
Photo from The Miss Philippines Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the series of challenges that the Philippines’ representative Chantal Elise Schmidt encountered while competing at the recently-concluded Miss Eco International 2024 in Cairo, Egypt, she emerged as first runner-up to the grand winner Angelina Usanova of Ukraine.

Chantal also bagged the Best National Costume and Best in Evening Gown awards.

In one word, the beauty queen from Cebu described her pageant journey as “determined.” “Because as many of you know I faced, more obstacles than the usual pageant queen would. I got stranded in Dubai for like 20 hours,” recounted Chantal at a presscon. It can be recalled that Dubai experienced flooding due to heavy rains last April.

“There was literally a flight going home to Manila and I was thinking of, ‘I would hop on this flight, will anyone really notice?’ And me, Miss Japan, Miss Taiwan, Miss Australia and Miss Malaysia, we were stranded by our gate, sleeping on the floor.

“It got to the point that we took off our departure looks, we took off our make-up, because we just needed to sleep. We were sleeping on the floor, trying to find food, because the Dubai airport also ran out of food. We made friends that helped us find the new gates, they gave us new gate assignments, they gave us new flight assignments. We were waiting for the crew, we were waiting for the storm, we were waiting for our luggage, it was such a nightmare getting there.”

Chantal emerges as the first runner-up and wins the Best National Costume and Best in Evening Gown awards despite the series of challenges she went through during the competition.

Not just that, Chantal also got sick and was admitted to a hospital during the competition.

“I was in the hospital and they, thankfully, the Miss Eco International (organization) took their quick action in bringing me to the nearest hospital which happened to be a provincial hospital in the desert with no electricity. So I was literally vomiting in the dark with my flashlight. There was barely any signal and I was trying to call my mom.”

But those series of unfortunate events didn’t dampen her spirit. “I was determined that in the darkness of that hospital, with blood on my hands and an IV (intravenous therapy) in my arm, I told myself that I did not come this far, to only come this far. So I would say my journey could be described with the word determined.”

In those tough times, Chantal found strength in her confidant Gerry Diaz of Aces & Queens and fellow contestants turned friends.

“Every single day, he (Gerry) would message me something new. And he will say, for example, he would say, don’t forget to write in your gratitude journal, what you’re grateful for, what you’re proud of and that really kept me sane in the competition.

“Because when you have so many people, not just commenting on your post, but also messaging me privately with all things that you did wrong, having someone in your corner telling you that there are, at least, three things every single day that you did well, that you deserve to feel proud of, that’s what kept me going and that’s what kept me sane.”

Chantal is all smiles during her homecoming.
Photos from The Miss Philippines Facebook page

Chantal was also thankful to Miss Japan, Miss Taiwan, Miss Belgium and other friends she made during the competition who helped her overcome the ordeal. “In fact, Miss Japan invited me to her wedding which she might hold in the Philippines. Isn’t that so cute?” she shared.

“I also made really good friends with my roommate, Miss Belgium. And I shot some videos of her literally sewing (my) dresses, her repairing my dresses when a zipper broke in one of my dresses. And instead of just leaving me and going to the dinner buffet early, she stood there with me in the bathroom because she’s a designer, too, by the way.

“She’s really talented. She was there sewing my dress, she would be there helming my pants properly. She was my support system even when I was crying, she would be rushing to me.”

Chantal further expressed her gratitude to Miss Belgium Luna De Vlam for being there for her. “And not just Luna but to her entire family back home in Belgium who cheered for me and who supported me. I think these are the women that really put the sister in sisterhood, especially in pageants. There were some girls that I didn’t get so close to but the girls that I got close to, I considered to be friends for life.”

She likewise extended her appreciation to everyone who supported her throughout her pageant journey. “Yes, I was sick, I was in the hospital the morning of prelims and I was just praying that I would be able to recover to make everyone proud and I think I really felt everyone’s prayer because I did recover and I did win Best in Evening Gown that same night.”

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