MANILA, Philippines—Less than a year into her reign, Miss Universe Philippines Beatrice Luigi Gomez is set to relinquish her crown to her successor who will not only inherit the duty of maintaining the country’s triumphant streak in arguable the most prestigious global pageant, but also embody the ideals the national contest has set upon its queens.
“I’m hoping to see a girl who is a fighter just like me, just like all of the previous queens,” Gomez told the Inquirer in an interview.
But she clarified: “A fighter in a good way, someone who will fight for the things that she believes in. In my time, I was fighting for the youth, and the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual plus) community. Hopefully the winner this year, she will represent a sector who hasn’t been well represented.”
Gomez is the first out bisexual representative from the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant. She finished in the Top 5 in the international tilt’s 70th edition staged in Eilat, Israel in December.
This year’s Miss Universe Philippines pageant also carries the theme “uniquely beautiful” in selecting the Philippines’ bet to the global competition’s 71st edition later this year. Thirty-two ladies are competing for the crown.
Shamcey Supsup-Lee, national director of the Miss Universe Philippines organization, said this year’s edition will be the grandest.
Lee, who herself competed in the Miss Universe pageant having finished fourth in the 2011 competition, said the 2022 national pageant will pull out all the stops to make up for the first two installments that were conducted under tight pandemic protocols.
The inaugural edition in 2020 was staged in Baguio City, where the delegates, the organizing team, and production staff stayed in a bubble. The ceremonies were streamed online.
Last year’s edition saw the ladies engaging in activities in different places in the country before heading to Bohol for the coronation night where a limited audience witnessed the occasion.
This year, the Miss Universe Philippines will open its doors to a live audience at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on April 30. Filipino rock star Bamboo is set to perform, along with singer-actor Sam Concepcion and “American Idol” grand finalist Francisco Martin.
Four Miss Universe titleholders are also set to grace the occasion. Filipino queen Pia Wurtzbach, who won in 2015, will host the ceremonies together with her successors Iris Mittenaere from France and Demi-Leigh Tebow from South Africa. Reigning queen Harnaaz Sandhu from India will sit as one of the judges.
But before that, the pageant will also welcome a live audience for the preliminary competition on April 27 at The Cove Manila in Okada Manila in Parañaque City. On April 19, the new Miss Universe Philippines crown will be unveiled at “The Ultimate Reigns” gala night at the Hilton Manila Grand Ballroom at the Resorts World Manila complex in Pasay City.