“Why, come on in,” the sweet voice from Room 805 called out in between welcoming hellos. I was at the Midas Hotel suite of Miss World 2010 Alexandria Mills, who is in town to help crown the first ever Miss World Philippines winner, upon the gracious invitation of the pageant’s national director and organizer, Cory Quirino.
There she was, a luminously beautiful girl with long blonde hair, a robe, and bare feet. “Hi,” she says smiling. “I’m Alex.” Barely a year ago, Alexandria stood tall and proud in Sanya, China, as she bagged the United States’ third Miss World crown. It was her first ever pageant, having been handpicked at the national level. But it was her courage, determination, and charm that had her winning over 114 other beauties from all over the world.
On the popular belief about beauty queen life being a life of glamour, Alexandria strongly begs to differ. “It’s not,” she matter-of-factly says. “Miss World is all about hard work.” Her boss, Julia Morley, president of the Miss World Organization, has offered her the best and most inspiring advice yet: “Crying doesn’t help anyone. Instead of crying with people, you should help them smile.”
With world tours and charity visits attached to her crown and title, Alexandria was able to find small but meaningful surprises along the way. There was her visit to the children of Buffalo, New York, who had long been supported by Variety, The Children’s Charity. To mark the occasion, Alex gave 2011 Variety Kids Telethon Celebrity Child Gracie Joyce the honor of wearing the Miss World crown, the symbol of fundraising for “Beauty with a Purpose,” and the Miss World sash.
Surprisingly, little Gracie goes down in history books as the first ever non-Miss World to wear them. Alexandria confesses, “I get emotional easily. It’s difficult. But I am lucky because I have the best job in the entire world.”
I expected beauty queens to be guarded in interviews, but Alexandria’s mood was relaxed and open. “Very open,” she describes herself candidly. “I am very close to my family. I’m a vegetarian. Actually, what you see is what you get,” she says when asked about things people don’t know about her. At five-feet-nine, her presence is electrifying.
As Alexandria finished being made up for her shoot, then came the dresses and accessories—most, if not all, by Philippine fashion royalty. “Oh wow,” she said as designs by Auggie Cordero, Randy Ortiz, and 2010 Look of Style Award winner Pablo Cabahug were unwrapped and arranged.
‘I love fashion!’
“I have no specific style,” Alexandria reveals. “But I love fashion!” Unlike many other teenage girls her age, Alex’s exposure to the latest fashion trends have not totally put her on the edge. “I’m not into what’s in style or new. I love vintage clothing—something I’ll look back on and wear even 20 years from now.”
What was initially a sunny morning turned into a rainy afternoon. But it was Alexandria’s chance to relax. The next day, she would be crowning the first ever Miss World Philippines titleholder. Winning the franchise in December last year, Cory Quirino couldn’t have been prouder.
Bringing Alexandria twice to our shores, securing the trust of big time sponsors, and eventually having Gwendoline Ruais as the first ever Miss World Philippines winner are only half of her achievement. Winning our country’s first ever Miss World crown is her biggest task yet.
When asked what she was looking for in the Miss World Philippines winner, Alexandria replied, “Miss World should always embody ‘Beauty with a Purpose.’ Must have a big heart. Must always be willing to welcome everybody, and use her beautiful smile to show her appreciation.”
Alexandria is all set to crown her successor in London on November 6. “I will never forget this year. I’ve been so blessed in my life,” she says. Her advice to the next Miss World: “Embrace it. It’s quite a bit to get used to, but it’s a great opportunity. Sixty women have enjoyed this opportunity.”
A family person and a devoted dog lover, Alexandria sets her sights on her next plans: college education, more charity involvements, and a world tour with her family. “About that world tour, I’m willing to explore outside of Manila. Puerto Princesa is stunning!”