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Real beauty

Physically stunning all, we asked these beauty queens on their idea of perfection



Blessed with seemingly faultless figures and stunning faces, many people consider beauty queens the epitomes of attractiveness.

Rachel Peters, Elizabeth Durado Clenci, Maria Angelica de Leon, Chanel Olive Thomas and Nelda Ibe (Photos by Camille Ante / Manila Bulletin) /

Rachel Peters, Elizabeth Durado Clenci, Maria Angelica de Leon, Chanel Olive Thomas and Nelda Ibe
(Photos by Camille Ante / Manila Bulletin)

Yet here’s the thing: Like most of us, they also find themselves deficient here and there.

Binibining Pilipinas-Globe Nelda Ibe, Binibining Pilipinas – International Maria Angelica de Leon; Binibining Pilipinas Supranational Chanel Olive Thomas; Binibining Pilipinas Grand International Elizabeth Durado Clenci; and Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Rachel Peters said so in a recent interview with Bulletin Entertainment.

Clenci said looking the way they are comes with a lot of hard work including going on a diet and doing regular exercise.

“Then there’s make-up, wardrobe,” said Elizabeth with a smile. “I assure you, we didn’t wake up looking like this.”
Well, there goes the hype, we said.

“But it’s true,” Clenci retorted. “I don’t want young girls who follow us growing up hating themselves for not fitting into the stereotype of what beautiful is supposedly all about. Like not being as thin or as tall…”

“I want them to know that everyone of us here are just like them. We have our flaws and insecurities and that we all work hard to try and improve on them and be the best we can be.”

Peters agreed, saying, “I’m all for self-love. If you don’t look like a certain person, it doesn’t mean you are not beautiful. And I’m very grateful to be in this position, where I can reach out to people and hopefully help them with their personal struggles.”

Apparently, these beauty queens are all about women empowerment.

“Some people look at beauty pageants and focus solely on the physical aspects of the candidates,” said Thomas. “But it is also about being beautifully confident and loving who you are.”

She added, “I would like to inspire other women out there to be strong, to build a strong foundation of self-worth. For them to realize the beauty they establish within will radiate.”

“Love yourself for what you have, be your own self,” seconded Ibe.

• • •

The beauty queens gave advice on how to maintain figure.

For Peters, it’s all about healthy eating.

“I honestly eat everything usually, like, donuts, croissants… but now, I make an effort to lessen that and eat more fruits. I also take lots of vitamins.”

De Leon, who is fond of sweets, especially chocolate, said, “It’s all about moderation. I indulge once in a while but not too much.”

To women having trouble maintaining weight, De Leon advised, “Don’t fret too much about it. Being beautiful is about being happy with yourself so don’t force it. Simply be active, make healthy choices.”

Clenci added, “We all have different body types so embrace your individuality. Celebrate it. Don’t worry too much about looking like someone else. Keep active, eat in moderation, have fun.”

• • •

Asked whom they consider the paragon of beauty, they gave different answers.

Thomas looks up to Miss Universe 2004 winner Jennifer Hawkins.

“And not just physically mind you,” she said. “I like her because she is smart. She is a beauty queen turned businesswoman. She turned the platform to a business. Her success is just inspiring.”

Clenci pointed to beauty queen-turned-actress Gal Gadot.

“I think she is amazing. To think she filmed ‘Wonder Woman’ while pregnant is just inspiring. I think she is the epitome of woman empowerment and she showed it through the movie.”

De Leon, on her part, loves actress Eva Green.

“She has beautiful eyes and she is really good doing what she does,” she said.

• • •

Meanwhile, the pressure is on for this year’s Bininibinis, with their respective international stints just around the corner.

Clenci is first to make a go for it with the Miss Grand International Coronation Night scheduled in Vietnam on Oct. 25.

Asked how she feels about it, she said, “I’ve never been more ready.”

De Leon, who just signed up for an acting stint on “Ang Panday,” doesn’t see any problem dividing her time for shootings and preparing for the Miss International Coronation Night in Japan in November.

“It’s all about proper time management,” she said.

Is this going to be the first of many acting assignments?

“I can’t say, I have to think about it,” De Leon replied.

Peters, meanwhile, is a bit sad the Miss Universe pageant is not going to be held here after all.

“It’s okay,” she shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter.”

“I aim to do my best no matter where in the world it’s held.”

• • •

In light of the Binibinis being named endorsers of ice cream brand Dairy Queen recently we asked them Q & A style: If you’re an ice cream what flavor would you be and why?

Clenci said, “I’ll be strawberry because it’s my favorite flavor.”

De Leon said, “Chocolate, because I’m crazy for it.”

Peters answered, “I would be vanilla because I’m simple like that.”

Thomas said, “Cookies and Cream – love the hint of chocolate and having crunchy bits.”

Ibe shared, “Mango because it’s sweet just like me.”

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