It started with a gown: Controversy forces Miss Earth-Philippines to resign
Carousel Productions, the Philippine-based organizer of the Miss Earth and Miss Philippines-Earth pageants, announced today the resignation of 2016 Miss Philippines-Earth Imelda Bautista Schweighart. The erstwhile title holder found herself embroiled in controversy after a video of her scathing remarks about 2016 Miss Earth Katherine Espin circulated online.
“Imelda came with her mother, from New Zealand, to pull her out because of the controversy. She could not take what was being done to her daughter and will bring her to New Zealand,” Carousel Executive Vice President Lorraine Schuck told the Inquirer in a phone interview Monday afternoon.
Schuck and Carousel President Ramon Monzon called Schweighart to the group’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City for a meeting on Monday afternoon. She was accompanied by her mother and her mentor, beauty queen-maker Rodgil Flores of the “Kagandahang Flores” beauty camp.
“My mom is pulling me out from this mess people are getting me into. I did it myself, but it’s sad that people are doing this to me. And they are the ones calling me crazy,” Schweighart told the Inquirer after the meeting.
Schweighart, who missed the Top 16 in the ceremonies held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday night, said it all started with a gown.
Her remarks in the controversial video, she said, were made “in the heat of the moment,” caused by the anger she felt upon learning that her competition gown was taken out of her dressing room and given to Erin to wear for the evening gown competition.
Shortly after the announcement of the Top 16, Schweighart shared on her Facebook account a video of her fitting the yellow number with designer Leo Almodal.
“It was my gown. He made it for me. He wrote on the sketch that it was ‘for Imelda Schweighart’ and it was patterned after Artemis,” Schweighart explained.
Guam’s Gloria Nelson was generous enough to lend her a spare gown, Schweighart said.
Schweighart maintained that it was not her intention to insult the Ecuadorian beauty.
“I just went out to see my mom and brother, talking to my fans from Facebook waiting outside. I was super comfortable. Whatever I said in the past, I’m sorry. I was not thinking, it was in the heat of the moment, I was just speaking my mind,” she told the Inquirer.
“I was feeling bad, after the tension in the dressing room. I was carrying a heart that was offended, so I said all those things,” Schweighart continued.
But Schweighart also said that she “felt violated” because she was not made aware that she was being recorded when she spoke with her fans.
Schuck said she found the incident “sad” because “I love her. I love all of these girls. But I also heard her explanation on CNN. She was angry at what happened. There were some things that led to this,” she said.
Espin bested 82 other aspirants for the crown foiling Schweighart’s bid to secure a “three-peat” for the Philippines after the country’s historic back-to-back victories in 2014 and 2015 courtesy of Jamie Herrell and Angelia Ong, respectively.
Schweighart is only the third Filipino beauty to miss the semifinals in the Philippine-born international pageant.
This was not the first time that Schweighart got in the middle of a controversy.
She earlier drew flak for asking Austria’s Kimberly Budinsky on a Facebook Live video where former Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler originally hailed, and later declaring “our President is doing Hitler stuff.”
Schweighart earned a few more detractors when, in another interview, she said she possesses the same qualities that the brilliant scientist Albert Einstein had.
She also posted a cryptic Facebook status throwing shade at “two female judges” in a preliminary judging session. It was subsequently deleted.
Schuck said the organizers are planning to award the Miss Philippines-Earth title to Schweighart’s runner up, 2016 Miss Philippines-Air Kiara Giel Gregorio.
“We haven’t spoken to her [Gregorio] about this yet. But she should be the one who should inherit the title,” Schuck added.
The Miss Earth and Miss Philippines-Earth winners are expected to work on projects that help protect the environment.
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