She arrives early at the Salon de Ning at Peninsula Manila surrounded by an entourage that includes executives from Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc., and her mother, Marcelina.
She’s even much slimmer in person, her wisp of a waist and long, lean legs emphasized all the more in a short, figure-hugging pink dress. Beautiful as she is in photos, she makes everyone forget, even if only for a moment, the devastation caused by Typhoon “Pedring” only a day before.
In the whirl of appearances after landing third runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant—and doing the Philippines proud—Shamcey Supsup added yet another title to her name: She’s Avon’s newest celebrity spokesperson.
The 25-year-old beauty queen will help promote the direct-selling company’s fragrance line, and was told that a scent inspired by her would be launched either late this year or early 2012.
Growing up with Avon
“I was really honored when I found out about the endorsement, because I grew up with Avon,” Shamcey gives her trademark megawatt smile.
Her aunt is an Avon lady who sold cosmetics in the barrio in General Santos City where Shamcey has lived all these years. Her aunt put her two kids through school with her Avon earnings.
“Every time she drops by the house, she would give us brochures and ask if we wanted to order anything,” recalls Shamcey. “I remember Avon’s Sweet Honesty perfumes and powders because my tita used them.”
Through her first official endorsement, the Supsup family’s latest “Avon lady” would like to do more than lend her pretty face to the famous brand’s products. She’s already committed to join Avon’s annual Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer walk and run (Oct. 2) at the open grounds of SM Mall Of Asia. “It’s a privilege to be working with a company that is instrumental in making countless women’s dreams come true,” says Shamcey. She is also aware of the company’s advocacy on domestic violence against women.
Years ago, the thought of endorsing a beauty brand, let alone representing the country in a global beauty pageant, seemed a stretch for Shamcey, who was then known more for her stoop than her signature “Tsunami Walk.”
“She was an old-fashioned girl, like a manang when she dressed up,” swears mom Marcelina.
Marcelina, who craved sweet corn and sugar cane when she was pregnant with the would-be beauty queen, came up with Shamcey’s unique name from reading Mills and Boon romances.
A farmer’s daughter, Shamcey knew the value of money and saved it whenever she could.
“Inaamag na nga pera niya,” chuckles her mom as she stresses Shamcey’s thrifty ways. “If she sees something expensive, she returns it. And even if her shoes are old, she’d rather have them fixed than buy a new pair.”
Shopping for clothes, therefore, was a chore left to Marcelina. While mother and daughter share the same shoe size (an 8), they did not have the same interest in fashion. “Walang ka-taste-taste. Ako pa yung namimili. And she always wore flats and walked with a stoop because she was conscious of her height,” says Marcelina with a sigh.
A beauty contest, she figured, would give her daughter much-needed style and poise; it would also open her up to a world beyond that of her classmates in architecture. Of course, no one predicted she would go as far as she did, but when you graduate magna cum laude from the state university and top the 2010 licensure exams, you do not leave anything without a fight. “It was difficult for her, may resistance siya,” confesses Marcelina of Shamcey’s reluctance about beauty contests. “Pero ayaw din niya magpatalo. Gusto niya laging Number One.”
Reluctant beauty queen
Truth be told, Shamcey was praying for only a spot in the Miss Universe Top 16. “That was my ultimate goal,” she now admits.
“This was not for me,” she says about winning the crown. She explains that she had thought early on it was “okay” if she didn’t make it. But she adds that because of the support shown by her countrymen, she felt later she had to excel.
“I would read the fan pages and people would tell me they wouldn’t sleep because they had been voting for me,” she remembers. “Thinking about how everyone spent their time and effort supporting me, I thought, I can’t let them down. So I did my best during the preliminary round, interviews and pageant night, but the rest of the time, I just had fun getting to know the other girls.”
The surprise people saw on her face when her name was mentioned among the Top 16, then the Top 10 candidates, was genuine. “Especially the Top 10!” exclaims Shamcey, who isn’t comfortable in a swimsuit and was made to gain 10 lbs. for Miss Universe; when she won Bb. Pilipinas, the 5’8 stunner tipped the scales at 105 lbs. “A lot of those girls really worked hard for their body.”
“Honestly,” she insists, “from 89 women, Top 5 was a great achievement in itself. So when they said I was third, I went to the front, claimed my title, then went to the side and said, ‘Yes!’ Miss New Zealand, who is a good friend of mine, joked, ‘You’re really happy you didn’t win, huh?’ A lot of the girls knew I wasn’t as competitive as the others. They were surprised and happy at the same time for me.”
Shamcey (and roommate Miss Korea) felt Miss Venezuela had it in the bag. “She’s really beautiful, nice and calm. Everyday, she was always perfect and flawless. If she won, we said we wouldn’t be surprised. Wala siyang ka-effort-effort. She didn’t try hard but she stood out.”
Shamcey may very well be describing herself.
Coming home to a hero’s welcome, Shamcey is slowly adjusting to the attention that comes with her new celebrity status. Watching her graciously obliging media with picture taking and her famed Tsunami Walk, we could readily see that the pageant experience has been good for her—to say the least. Marcelina says Shamcey has improved herself a lot: She has become more conscious that she has to fix herself up.
Still, Shamcey’s mother will be proud to know that her only child, one of the most beautiful women in the universe, remains a probinsyana at heart. “I don’t think it will ever sink in,” says Shamcey of what she’s achieved for herself and the country. “How people treat me today is the only thing that’s changed. At home, I’m still the Shamcey that my friends and family know.”