From Moscow with love | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THE OFFICIAL glamour shot taken by Fadil Berisha

As the nation holds its breath and keeps the faith that Ariella Arida will win the Philippines’ third Miss Universe crown in Russia, here’s an update on the 24-year-old aspirant’s activities while preparing for finals night.


It was a wet, chilly afternoon when Arida landed in Moscow. Despite the extremely cold weather at 1 degree Celsius, there was a warm welcome from a crowd of Filipinos waving flags at the airport arrival area.


She has a fear of traveling alone, but, with confidence, she said, “I’m ready for the competition.”


It’s been 40 years since the Philippines won the Miss Universe title, with Margie Moran who competed in Greece.




“Moscow is a great place. The weather is something else, it’s cold even if it’s sunny,” Arida said.


ARA during our Lifestyle fashion shoot wearing Tadashi PAM STA. CRUZ-BELLA

Upon checking in at the Crowne Plaza Moscow World Trade Center, Arida gladly found out that her wish had come true—her roommate would be Miss Canada, Riza Santos, a Filipino-Canadian.


The 27-year-old Santos had briefly stayed in Manila a few years ago.


Even before the pageant officially opened, Arida and Santos have been bonding; they have also hung out with fellow contestants. “Riza is my closest friend,” said Arida.

She has also gotten to know Misses Spain, Venezuela, Panama, Malaysia, Singapore, among others.


There are 86 contestants in this year’s pageant, a dip from last year’s 89.


But who will Arida vote as Miss Congeniality? “I will go for Miss China, who is so funny,” she said.


Red Square


DURING the presentation show

Two days after a whirlwind schedule of registrations, wardrobe fittings and photo shoots, the girls were whisked off to Russian tourist spots.

“We toured Red Square and I was fortunate enough to witness the Kremlin Guard ceremonial parade,” said Arida. “It’s an annual event.”


The girls also had the opportunity to watch Russian prowess in synchronized swimming and magic. Arida got to practice speaking in Russian: “It helped me a lot when connecting with the locals, most especially when we visited a children’s hospital.”




Arida has been preparing for the pageant since January, when she underwent training under Jonas Gaffud and his team at Aces and Queens Studio.

The team had mentored Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon, as well as 2010 fourth runner-up Venus Raj and 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Supsup.


ARA with Misses Canada and Guam

Before being mentored by Gaffud, she had been hitting the gym, treating it as her virtual second home. The workouts were complemented by a strictly no-salt diet.


After getting lessons on personality development, speech, social graces, pasarela (walking), hair and makeup, how to handle the decisive Q&A segment, and one-on-one coaching with Raj and Supsup, Arida said she has gotten more than enough help to aim for the crown.


The Alaminos, Laguna, beauty has also been advised to officially use Ariella as her name and not Ara, as she is more popularly referred to. “Gusto ni Madame (Stella Araneta) na complete name para mas may impact,” she said.




STRUTTING during the preliminary swimsuit competition

Into the homestretch of the pageant, Arida has made good impressions, evident in her official portraits and glam shots, including her attendance in the Mercedes-Benz Russian Fashion Week’s Tony Ward Fall Couture 2013/2014 show.


Early this week, she presented her terno during the national costume show and went through the preliminary interview round. “My interview was so fun. I actually felt like I was just talking with my friends,” she said.


The applause she earned in the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown competitions seemed to indicate that she would make the grade. She exuded sophistication and elegance in her canary yellow Alfredo Barraza number in the evening gown segment.


As the pageant airs from the Crocus City Hall in Moscow at 2 a.m. (Philippine local time) Sunday, Arida remains focused and feels positive that she can claim victory.


She said: “I am really overwhelmed by the support of our kababayan, especially here in Russia. Maraming, maraming salamat! Ang sarap maging Pinoy!”




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