4.29.2019

So... Connecticut Wins Miss Teen USA 2019






     Kaliegh Garris, an 18-year-old student from New Haven, Connecticut, was crowned Miss Teen USA 2019 at the Grand Theater at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada on Sunday, April 28. Garris had just competed in the preliminary competition that took place a few hours earlier. She is the second woman from Connecticut to win the crown (Logan West won in 2012).

     The other finalists include 1st runner-up Caitlyn Vogel of North Dakota, 2nd runner-up hometown girl Erica Yvette Bonilla of Nevada, 3rd runner-up Kaylee Brooke McCollum of Mississippi, and 4th runner-up Kalin Burt of Alabama. Minnesota's Olivia Herbert won the Miss Congeniality Teen USA award.

     Rounding up the top 15 were the delegates from Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas,  Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming. The show was hosted by former Miss USA Nia Sanchez and Tim Tialdo. Garris was selected as the winner by a "selection committee" composing of six women. Assisting in Garris's coronation were her predecessor Hailey Colborn, Miss USA 2018 Sarah Rose Summers, and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray

CREDIT: MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION


WATCH KALIEGH'S CROWNING MOMENT:


     Just to give you an idea how I have been "out of the loop" lately concerning pageants: I had no idea that the finals of Miss Teen USA 2019 would take place on the same day as the preliminary competition. I watched the entire prelims on YouTube only after a link to the live stream appeared on my Facebook news feed, but I turned off the TV right after the evening gown competition. After my early morning treadmill workout today, I watched the finals from beginning to end, which went rather smoothly except for Nia Sanchez's flubs (I don't know about you guys, but her voice sounds kinda nasal to me and it is annoying.)
     What is it with these "articulate" and "well-educated" young women starting their sentences with "so" or overusing it? When asked what was going on with her studies at Princeton right now, Hailey Colborn responded, "Yes, so I go back to school with exams..." When asked about her clothing line designed for girls with disabilities, Caitlyn Vogel said, "Yes, so after I did a fashion show... so I wanted to keep... so I did a clothing line..." When asked what her message was to the Hispanic Graduation Ceremony, Erica Yvette Bonilla answered, "So I was able to speak at...." When asked about her experience as a counselor in an eco-friendly camp, Kaliegh Garris responded, "Yes, so I'm an eco counselor..." When asked about her Costa Rica adventure, Kalin Burt answered, "So we actually got to go zip-lining..." When asked why anxiety and depression are rampant in her generation, Kaylee Brooke McCollum said, "Yes, so my platform is..." 
     Is "so" the new "like?" Ummm... so yeah, "so" replaces "like" as the new filler word. 
     Can I just say that Miss Universe Catriona Gray totally stood out in the photo below? Even without her sash on, she drew instant attention to her shorty short Chinese-inspired long-sleeved black dress with dragon appliquĂ©s, accessorized with a pair of red stiletto heels. 

And as usual, she commanded the stage with her famous lava walk:

     OMG! So when they showed a video of Hailey Colborn's year as Miss Teen USA 2018, it included a clip of a speaking engagement where she sat next to a woman wearing a black T-shirt with these words inscribed on it: "White Supremacy Is Terrorism." So I can only speculate that this was Colborn's "subtle" way (or perhaps even Miss Universe Organization's as well) of condemning white supremacists who engage in terror attacks. Colborn, a Princeton University student, is an articulate and talented young woman; she has a bright future ahead of her, so I wouldn't be surprised if she followed the footsteps of any honest-to-good genuine and patriotic politicians like, ummm... President Donald Trump! 😄

     And check out Kaliegh Garris's winning answer to her final question: "A survey of U.S. teens has found that 61% of high school boys believe having a lot of money is important compared to just 41% of girls. Why do you think young women appear to be less motivated by money?"

     Her response: "I would say because they have the confidence in themselves to know that they are enough. They know that no matter how much money they have, that they're still successful being themselves and that no matter who they talk to, what experiences they have, what jobs they have, they're still successful and they're still empowered in themselves."
     So I guess 41% of young women today no longer dream of marrying a rich man or marrying Prince Charming. Yes, so Garris won because the judges (yup, no "selection committee members" for me) were persuaded by her solid delivery, even though I think her response was somewhat trivial. But she's just a teen and she is still learning. Give her a few more years and I'm sure she'll realize that more women than men around the world suffer from lack of confidence, are living in poverty, are regularly abused and mistreated, and have little to zero resources to empower themselves. She's lucky she lives in America where she can be whatever she wants to be, so...
By Rafa Delfin, 4/29/2019

4.20.2019

Miss Bolivia 2018 Joyce Prado Dethroned


Former beauty queen Joyce Prado attends the Miss Universe National Costume Show in December 2018. Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP


Bolivian model Joyce Prado, 22, has lost her Miss Bolivia Universe title after becoming pregnant during her reign. Yahoo! reports that Prado may have been stripped of her title because of pageant rules prohibiting pregnancy.
On Friday, the Bolivian modeling agency Promociones Gloria announced on Facebook that Prado, who had won the group's Miss Bolivia and Miss Santa Cruz pageants in 2018, was dismissed from her role as result of a "breach of contract."
"Promociones Gloria is announcing to Opinion Publica that the current Miss Santa Cruz and Miss Bolivia Universe 2018 has been stripped of her titles of Miss Santa Cruz and Miss Bolivia for reasons strictly related to a breach of contract, noting that we maintain cordial relations in an area of mutual understanding, honoring the confidentiality clause," the modeling agency wrote on Facebook.
While the modeling agency did not explicitly describe the nature of Prado's breach to safeguard a "confidentiality clause," Promociones Gloria did share more information on Instagram.
On Saturday, the agency shared a photo of an El DĂ­a Digital newspaper headline which read, "Joyce Prado is left without a crown because of her pregnancy."
In an interview with El DĂ­a Digital, Tatiana Limpias, an executive at Promociones Gloria, said the agency has "a five-year contract with Joyce," and that she "will remain in the ranks of the agency as a model."

Source: ThisInsider.com, 4/16/2019

4.11.2019

Jonas Gaffud And The Art Of Soaring Higher



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IN GREEK, the name Jonas means "dove." In Hebrew, the name means "a gift from God." In Filipino pageantry, the name is synonymous to an unassuming soul sent from heaven to refine diamonds in the rough. Fondly called "Mama J" by his friends and protégées, JONAS GAFFUD is the force behind the tremendous success of Filipinas in international pageants. On April 1st of this year, he posted on his social media that he has relinquished his position as head of the pageant training camp, Aces and Queens, and accepted a new lucrative post with IMG Universe. Skeptics assumed that the post was an April Fool's joke, but it wasn't. The dove has indeed left the dovecote for new and more challenging adventures.

     I met Jonas for the first time in New York City's Marriott Marquis Hotel on Valentine's Day 2016 during a late afternoon luncheon coordinated by a common friend. Jonas had traveled to the Big Apple for the New York Fashion Week, among other things. His latest "achievement" at that time - Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach - modeled at the event. Although I did not meet Pia, I "felt" her presence by chumming with her mentor whom I found charming, affable and discreet. I have always wanted to interview Jonas for Critical Beauty, so when his April Fool's Day post came about, I jumped at the opportunity to ask him a few questions.
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For nearly twenty years, you have been the architect  behind Aces and Queens (A&Q), which is undeniably one of the best pageant training camps in the Philippines. It must be very hard and emotional for you to leave a group of fellow pageant enthusiasts and experts that have become somewhat your second family. Even though you are no longer officially with the group, will you still be giving them some advice if they ask you for it? And who will replace you as its new leader?
YES, it was a difficult decision indeed. I had to sacrifice the fun, thrill and excitement that came along with this kind of passion. I believe the brand itself will stand no matter who the new leader is, as long as they are passionate enough and not to get distracted with problems and issues. I am willing to give advice to anyone, be it an individual, a team, a camp or whatever they want to be called.
You have worked with countless young women, many of whom have either placed or won in their respective pageants. You have managed to produce three amazing global winners (Miss International 2016 Kylie Versoza, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach). What qualities are you looking for in a potential winner and why?

THE greatest quality I am looking for in someone is her star quality. When she enters a room, she commands attention. Of course you have the physical attributes like beauty of face, height and character. But a woman with a great aura, coupled with substance will make her a cut above the rest.
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Of all the young women you have mentored, do you have any favorites? Who was the easiest to work with? And the most difficult?
I THINK each girl has her own character. Might be difficult to some or not to others. It’s up to you how you perceive things, or how you accept one’s flaws and attitude. I don’t want to single out anyone because they are all unique.
The reality show "The Game of Crowns" featured A&Q's pageant preparation techniques. One of its mottos is, "Beauty queens are not born. They are made." Does this mean that any woman can be a beauty queen?
THE SHOW'S position is all about preparation and training. That is why we put that line. In recent years, one has to really be prepared. Yes, it is one’s destiny, but it won’t hurt to try new things and equip yourself with the best guidance you can get.
As you know, pageant fans can be the most supportive of their favorite contestants, but they can also be the most vicious critics. You have certainly been a target of cruel online bashing, and you will continue to be as long as there are haters out there. How do you cope with bashers who say the most outrageous and asinine things about you or your work?
I BELIEVE I have my own destiny. I try the best way I can to live a life of purpose and be of help to others. People don’t know me, my thoughts, my life, my feelings, my heart. I have been vilified, but then again, I have my core, my strength, and that’s not only my family, friends, career, co-workers, and supporters. It’s my whole being. My path to go on and extend myself to others, to be able to provide jobs so people can help their families, to influence people in a better way, and make the most out of this life. It bothers me of course, sometimes to the point where I question that purpose, but you just draw character and strength from that, focus and move on. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
By the way, congratulations on your new position as the Creative and Events Director for Miss Universe Philippines Brand under IMG Universe! How did you get this job and what will your responsibilities include? Are you tasked to create new events that will showcase the Philippines not just as a tourist destination alone but also the different charity organizations that BPCI support? Or are you tasked to improve on the existing events that BPCI has already initiated?
I AM very honored actually. But I want to make it clear that this job does not make me in any way, part of any screening process, judging, and selection of winners. I believe MUO wants its brand to be more significant, especially in Asia. After all, we Filipinos have emerged as the best Miss Universe fans in the world.
MY TASK is to be the Creative and Events Director for Miss Universe Philippines Brand under IMG Universe. I have programs in mind, well honestly, I would like to bank on the digital space. We plan to use online platform to create more awareness on women empowerment (which might seem clichĂ©, but for me it’s not about going against men but making young women become more inspired in achieving their goals. We would like to share stories. We also thought about contributing to Philippine economy by promoting tourism. We will make it different from what we are used to in pageants. It will totally be creative and carry a more international flair.  Also, we will be raising funds every year. This is not easy to achieve but hopefully we should be able to raise at least $100,000 a year for charity. This year will depend on which charitable cause that Catriona and Pia will choose so we can give the organizations the amount we could raise. And we would like tangible results, of course. This way, I am very happy to say that I am trying again to focus on my purpose, to be of use to others. I have to be creative, innovative.
ACTUALLY, I did not have to leave Aces and Queens come to think of it. But it’s not only delicadeza*. It’s about time to realign my energies for a greater cause. My year is already full with the creation of Empire Group of Companies. I have my digital, events, talent management, production etc. I cannot spread myself too thinly and sacrifice the quality of work I have to deliver.
(*Delicadeza is a Spanish term which means daintiness in English. It is defined as an act of being refined or delicate in tastes or manners. But in simple terms, it is commonly referred to as a sense of propriety or how to behave rightly in all circumstances. It is in essence an etiquette that was passed on to Filipinos as a legacy of the Spanish culture.)
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Will you be reporting directly to IMG Universe or to BPCI (Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc.)? And will you still be managing Mercator, your renowned artist and modeling agency?
YES, I will be reporting directly to IMG Universe, but of course will be collaborating with BPCI. I hope we can have smooth cooperation, because if we do, it’s a win win for all of us. I am not managing Mercator anymore too by the way. I put my trust on people I believe who can focus and handle the agency.
Will there be a totally separate pageant for Miss Universe Philippines in the future?
NO finalized plans as of this moment but we have inputs to step things up. However, of course everything has a process and management will decide on that. I am not part of management decisions, I am here to give suggestions and execute approved events, etc.
With your new position, many pageant fans are anxious that you will have a tremendous influence on the selection of this year's Miss Universe Philippines. Is their anxiety legitimate or not? 

AS I said earlier, I am not part of any judging process. I can't even go every day to their events. I have so many things to accomplish and deadlines to beat.
Should Stella Araneta someday retire as BPCI's director, can you see yourself replacing her?
MRS. Stella Araneta is an institution and I can’t speak on her behalf. She is a woman I admire and respect. If given the opportunity, I won’t say no. I think a lot of people would love to dream that big. Actually, a lot would like that position. But I am not thinking about it because I really want to establish myself and my company, Empire. I believe I can do good where I am needed at.
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GETTING PERSONAL


Who is the real Jonas Antonio Gaffud?
I HAVE always talked about my purpose above. Who am I? I’m this kid who grew up in the province, learning things the hard way, but steadfast on my goals. Whatever is given me, I strive so hard to do my best. I am determined. No matter how people will try to stop you, I believe, your destiny will always find its way.
You always look so proper, elegant and well-dressed. How do you define your personal style?
THERE ARE memes that picture billionaires wearing simple shirts and pants. Then an ordinary guy wears Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, etc. But remember the wealthy have billion dollar homes and private jets. If you feel good about something, wear it. If you can afford, buy it! I am not really stylish as a person. But I do love to dress nicely. Not to brag but just to feel good. Not to impress but to make myself feel confident. I like classy things. I would love to have my own unique outfit designs in the future including shoes.
If you weren't in the beauty or modeling industry, what would you be doing instead?
I AM a geographer but I don’t see myself in that. Perhaps I would be in events and production. I am really happy that in the digital age, we are given the opportunity to do something else. Be creative and have fun!
Do you think transwomen should be allowed to compete in pageants originally designed for biological females?
HONESTLY at first, I thought otherwise. But things change, the world evolves. We have to be inclusive. Now I look at transwomen as women. Not who they used to be.
Do you have any phobias? If so, how do you deal with them?
 I AM scared of heights and the deep blue sea. I fly and travel all the time. I just pray.
What do you do to relax or relieve stress?
I USED to say that to relieve one’s stress, there’s always alcohol. Lately, I have been trying to stop. The thing is, it really makes me difficult to sleep. There’s so many things going on in my head. I could lie down in bed, try to sleep at 11 or 12 midnight. But I manage to stay awake for another four hours. It's so weird, but my brain is restless. The best relaxation for me is to travel. It gives  you this new perspective, the break, the learning and the freedom.
What one question would you like people to ask you and what would your response be?
I THINK the questions above, and my answers define who I am in many ways, but if given a question I would like to be asked, it would be: How would you like to spend the rest of your life when you turn 50? That is 10 years from now. My goal really, as I said, is to help as many people as I can. So by then, I would like to be more stable, fulfilling other people's dreams. However I want to be more relaxed, travel the world, and still believe in “magic”.
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With one of his most precious protégées, Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015
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JONAS'S FAVORITES

Cologne  -  Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia

Flower  - Orchid

Color  -  Blue

Cuisine  -  Asian, Filipino, Thai, Japanese, Chinese

Vacation Destination - Europe

Music  -  Mariah Carey, fashion, anything that makes you want to strut the runway. Walk for me!

Book   - Biography of royalty and significant leaders

Authors  - John Grisham, Paolo Coelho

Fashion Designer -  I have so many! Michael Cinco, Francis Libiran, JC Buendia, Albert Andrada and many others I have worked closely with specially during my stint at Aces and Queens. 

Quote  -  I read this quote when I was in primary school, I don’t remember the book but it goes something like this: "If there is one thing I could to my fellowmen, let me do it now, for I shall never pass this way again." *

(*It appears that this quote has been generally attributed to Stephen Grellet, a prominent French-born American Quaker missionary, 1733-1855. The complete quote is: "I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.")


Well, Jonas, you have certainly done something good to your fellow pageant fans by granting us this interview! We all wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors!

By RAFA DELFIN, 4/12/2019

4.04.2019

CB Loves MAKENZIE DIVINA - Miss South Carolina USA 2019!




GIVE THREE ADJECTIVES THAT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD DESCRIBE YOU.

     Funny, Outgoing, Loud. 

IF THERE WERE NO RULES IN YOUR LIFE FOR ONE DAY AND YOU COULD BE OUTRAGEOUS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

     I would go to the San Diego Zoo and get to spend behind the scenes time with all of the animals for free! I love animals more than anything and the zoo is one of my favorite places on earth!

IF YOU COULD BE GREAT AT ONE THING, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

     I would love to be great at singing. I think music is such an amazing way to express yourself and to be able to do that beautifully and connect with people on another level would be so special. 

WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY IN LIFE?

     My life philosophy is to love and follow Jesus and He will take care of the rest! 

WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON COSMETIC SURGERY? DO YOU THINK PAGEANT GIRLS WHO HAVE HAD COSMETIC ENHANCEMENT HAVE MORE ADVANTAGE  OVER THOSE WHO HAVE NOT HAD ANY?

     I believe that your body is your body and whatever you want to do with it is your business. If getting plastic surgery makes you feel better about yourself then that is what you should do! I do not think that you have an advantage over other pageant girls because pageants are all about being your best self not comparing yourself to others.



SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE IN CHARGE OF MAKING SURE ALL CITIZENS HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE?

     I do believe the government should be in charge of making sure all people have healthcare. They are the voice for the people which means they have to have the peoples best interest in mind and most would agree that that is universal healthcare.

WHERE DO YOU SEE AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT IN OUR COUNTRY AS A WHOLE?

     I think if our country as a whole would stop worrying about what they lack and instead look at all we have to give back, a lot of our problems would be solved. We need to be more generous as a society. If we give more than we take maybe hunger and homelessness would disappear. 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN?

     I am a homebody so I love to spend time with my family and friends at home just watching a movie or TV show. I feel like I can really be myself and anytime spent with my family and friends is time I cherish. 

IF YOU WERE A SUPERHERO, WHAT ONE PARTICULAR POWER WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE AND WHAT WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF?

     I would love to have the possibility to fly. I know that is so clichĂ© but I never feel more free than when I’m in an airplane and to have the ability to do that myself would be a dream. I would call myself Mad Woman because my initials spell MAD! :)

IF YOU WON MISS USA AND ONE OF THE CANDIDATES TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN'T DESERVE THE CROWN, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?

     I would tell her that if she got to know me, hopefully she would change her mind. I would also say that everyone has an opinion but I know my worth and it is not determined by her or anyone else.  

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT THE U.S.A.?

     As a products of immigrants I am most proud that the USA is a melting pot. I am very proud of all of the amazing cultures I have to represent (I am Filipino, Black, Polish, Native American, and Irish!) and I’m thankful that so many other Americans can share this with me.



DESCRIBE AN IDEAL DATE. AND PLEASE DON'T RESPOND "APRIL 25." LOL

     My ideal date would be to go to a relaxing restaurant and then to go and walk on a  trail that overlooks the lake with my dog and have a fun, meaningful conversation. 

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF BEAUTY?

     My definition of beauty is on the inside. When I was a girl I remember a picture of a bedazzled banana that was beautiful on the inside and rotten on the inside. This is what society see as beautiful but this should not be the standard. Beauty depends on your heart because from that everything else will flow.


WHAT WOULD YOU NEVER POST ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA AND WHY?

      I would never post a picture to bring someone else down on my social media. As a strong confident woman, it is my job to empower other people and not to bring them down. 

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FLAW?

     My biggest flaw is that I am very overcritical of myself. I never give myself a break and this causes me to not take part in the things that I love sometimes. This lead to my anxiety and eventually depression but I have now overcome that and have turned that negative into a positive my sharing my story with others.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF TRANSGENDER WOMEN (MALE-TO-FEMALE) ATHLETES COMPETING WITH NATURAL-BORN WOMEN?

     I believe that if you feel and believe you are a women or a man, then you are. It is no one's business but your own on how you want to live your life. Some people might think that these specific people might have an advantage in sporting events, but I disagree. As someone who has gone through adversities, it makes it a lot harder to compete when everyone is against you.





SHOULD THE WALL BE BUILT ON THE U.S./MEXICAN BORDER?

     I do not believe that the wall should be built. I do understand what it is standing for but I believe there is a better solution to the problem of illegal immigrants and I don’t think we should stop until we find the proper solution.

DO YOU THINK THAT SOCIAL MEDIA GIANTS LIKE FACEBOOK AND TWITTER HAVE THE RIGHT TO BAN OR CENSOR USERS WHO ALLEGEDLY PROMOTE "HATE SPEECH?"

     When you agree to partake in Facebook and Instagram you agree to there terms and conditions. So, if they want to monitor and censor what they have on their feed then that is their right. I also believe that you shouldn’t use social media as a medium for hate speech, but you should use it to promote positivity.

DO YOU THINK THAT PAGEANTS SHOULD DO AWAY WITH THE SWIMSUIT COMPETITION? WHY OR WHY NOT?

      I do not think that pageants should do away with the swimsuit competition. I feel so confident and beautiful when I know all of my hard work has paid off and I can stand on that stage and be proud of all that I have done. I think that it promotes a healthy lifestyle when done the right way.




IF YOU HAD $1 MILLION TO BEGIN YOUR OWN CHARITY IN ANY LOCATION ACROSS THE GLOBE, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

     I would start a charity in areas of the United States with high suicide and depression rates. I would open a free therapist clinic with doctors and access to medicine and group activities to just let people know that they are not alone and that they are more than there mental illness. 


PHOTOS COURTESY OF MAKENZIE DIVINA


Thank you, MaKenzie, for granting us this interview 
and we wish you the best of luck in Miss USA 2019!


Follow MaKenzie on her social media:

Miss South Carolina USA: https://www.instagram.com/missscusa