Do Mixed-Blood Filipinos Have a Higher Chance of Winning Beauty Pageants on the World Stage? 

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Miss World Philippines 2022 Gwendolyne Fourniol From Negros Occidental Photo credit: Ms. World Philippines Organization

A growing number of beauty queen title holders have been mixed-blood with Miss World Philippines,  Gwendolyne Fourniol as the latest to join the beauty queen royalties in the Philippines.

Fourniol is a Filipino-French beauty from Negros Oriental who bested 35 other candidates on Sunday, June 5, 2022. This is her second time competing in Miss World Philippines.

Beautiful tiara

Philippines: A Powerhouse in Beauty Pageants

The Philippines has done well on the world stage in all the ‘Big Four’ of beauty pageants: Miss Universe, considered to be the most prestigious, with Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth. 

Miss Universe Philippines 2022 is Celeste Cortesi who is also of mixed blood. Her mother is Filipina while her father is Italian. In an interview, she says she doesn’t know where she falls in. In Italy, she is perceived as Filipina while in the Philippines, she is perceived as an Italian.

Meanwhile, Binibining Pilipinas International 2021 Hannah Arnold from Masbate is Filipino-Australian.

In the past, international beauty pageant title holders from the Philippines were Miss Universe 2018 winner Catriona Gray, who is Filipino-Austrian, Miss Universe 2015 winner Pia Wurtzbach, who is Filipino-German, and Miss World 2013 winner, Megan Young, who is Filipino-American.

But in places like Japan where it regards itself as a mono-ethnic society, being mixed-blood is frowned upon. Miss Universe Japan 2015 winner Ariana Miyamoto was catapulted to the national level. Her mother is Japanese while her father is African-American. Some critics posted comments online that she was not Japanese enough.

What is Filipino beauty?

There is no ‘pure’ Filipino. In the Philippines, ethnic groups include Filipino (a mix of Indonesia/Malaysian, Polynesian), Malaysian and Negritos, Chinese, East Indians, Europeans, Americans, Arabs, and others.

Beauty pageants in the Philippines are deeply rooted in Filipino culture with the 1908 Manila Carnival as the first recorded beauty pageant. It was organized to celebrate Philippines-US relations and to show provincial achievements in commerce and agriculture.

A contest was organized in search of the carnival queen, which lasted until 1939. Since then, it morphed into other beauty pageants from Santacruzan, a religious-historical beauty pageant, barangays contests, to OFW beauty pageants.

Cortesi will go on to represent the Philippines at the 71st Miss Universe Pageant while Arnold will compete at the Miss International 2022 in December in Japan, after a two-year hiatus.

Still, many Filipinos will continue to watch and support international beauty competitions because it gives Filipinos all over the world a sense of national pride when a Filipino wins, whether they are mixed-blood or not.