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Nathalie Griffiths Cebu-born Fil-Aussie among Mutya ng Pilipinas 2022 contenders

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Of the 40 candidates in this year’s Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant, four of them are representing Filipino communities abroad. One of them is Filipina-Australian beauty Nathalie Griffiths who happens to have Cebu roots.

“I was born in a hospital near here. I forgot the name but my mom knows. It’s just around the corner,” the 20-year-old told The FREEMAN in an interview at the The Center Suites along Escario St., so she was probably referring to Perpetual Succour Hospital nearby.

Born to a Filipina mother and an Australian father, Griffiths was only three months old when she and her family left the Philippines for Australia. Despite growing up in the Land Down Under, she’s kept in touch with her Pinoy heritage.

“The Filipino community in Victoria, Australia is quite large and they are very involved in lots of festivals,” she shared. “These festivals have everything like the culture, the costumes, Filipino cooking, and boxing matches when Manny Pacquiao was fighting. A bunch of Filipinos would go to these parades that feels similar to the Philippines.”

Griffiths and her family would also visit the Philippines once a year. “There’s this boxing gym in Mandaue City that I would often visit. I feel very close to the locals there and I would like to be involved in helping them,” she said.

She likewise enlisted the help of cousins to teach her Bisaya, though she admitted to not being fluent yet, rating herself “4 or 5” out of 10.

Pageant queen at 12

Griffiths started with pageants at 12 years old. She won a local tilt in one of the festivals for Filipinos in Victoria, Australia. She also participated in Miss Teen Globe in Mexico when she was 16.

She cites Miss Universe winners Catriona Gray and Pia Wurtzbach as some of her role models in the industry.

“I really idolize Pia after how she handled herself during the crowning,” she said, referring to the infamous blunder when host Steve Harvey mistakenly declared Miss Colombia as the victor.

As for Catriona, Griffiths said that she was “different and stood out” to her. “I really like how she was supporting the children in her Q&A. She was touched in seeing the faces of the children and how they have a positive outlook in life despite the challenges.”

She added, “This is what I always like about Filipinos – they are always persevering.”

Incorporating her Fil-Aussie roots

Griffiths is grateful to incorporate her Filipino and Australian sides in pageants, especially for the Mutya competition, which will hold its finals this Sunday, December 4.

“I am very blessed to have a supportive family from my dad, having that love from them and have that strong family values from my mom’s side. I feel like both of my cultures are very strong with the love from parents.”

One thing she notices that Filipinos and Australians have in common culturally? “In Australia, we are quite strong on mateship like never leaving anyone behind, which is similar to the Filipino value of ‘bayanihan’”, she explained. “I find that similar in the sense that it’s the community helping one another.”

Many of her costumes for the competition designed by Leo Sanchez features her Pinay and Aussie heritage – one she calls a “collaboration of cultures.”

Mental health advocacy

Griffiths advocates for mental health awareness, a cause that she’s quite passionate about.

“It’s close to my heart because I feel like a lot of us struggle with it,” she explained.

Believing that mental health is declining globally, she suggested some ways to cope. “Sometimes you can’t stop things. You just have to sort of understand it and how to manage it which is what I have done. I feel like I can promote that advocacy and see the change in people so we can have a better future for everyone.”

To illustrate how this advocacy means to her, she listens to the “Huberman Lab Podcast” by American neuroscientist Dr. Andrew D. Huberman.

“One of my favorite things about the podcast is how he talks about the behavioral signs and explains how and why our brains operate like that,” she said.

Adventurous interests

During her free time, Griffiths likes to listen to jazz, house music, and hip-hop. Some of her favorite singers include Filipino-American Saweetie and H.E.R., along with R&B artist SZA, rappers Summer Walker, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, The Notorious B.I.G., and Tupac.

Griffiths described herself as a go-getter who tries to be adventurous with her interests. She also loves to paint, exercise, and write down her thoughts in a journal.

“I took to snowboarding this year in Australia, which is similar to what I have done with surfing and skateboarding,” she shared.

For now, Griffiths wants to pay tribute to the dual cultures of her identity via Mutya ng Pilipinas.

“With this opportunity in Mutya, it allows Filipinos back home in Australia and the community here in the Philippines to come together and I wanna be the spokesperson that brings both cultures together,” she said.

“With this support from both sides, it would allow me to go forward in this competition. Whatever happens, I am just grateful to be here.”


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