Wanted: the first Filipina to win the Miss Grand International crown, a beauty title that has so far eluded Filipina queens who competed in the pageant founded by Thai producer and businessman Nawat Itsaragrisil in 2013.
In a glittery program at the Hilton Manila, renowned talent manager Arnold Vegafria said he is up to the challenge of producing the first MGI winner as his ALV Pageant Circle launched Miss Grand Philippines and announced the holding of its first coronation night in March 2023.
Vegafria’s company also owns the franchises of Miss World Philippines, Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas, Miss Eco Philippines, and Miss Supranational Philippines. He acquired MGI after the expiry of its license with Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc.
“Today, we make Philippine pageant history, as we open our doors for our country’s first-ever Miss Grand Philippines pageant, which will serve as another fitting platform for our world-class Filipina queens,” Vegafria noted.
The controversial Nawat was present at the launch event and gamely answered the media who asked him directly about the bashing received from Filipino pageant fans about a possible “cooking show” (rigging) in MGI.
He apologized about the situation, as he pointed out that being in the business of entertainment, MGI should not be eliciting such negative reactions.
“This cooking show is like a joking, it’s not real. By the way, I respect everyone. Maybe some of the Philippine fans don’t understand us very well, that’s why they always talking different thing. I respect them. Let’s start from Step 1 again. You will know who am I,” Nawat explained.
Speaking in his Thai English, Nawat added: “For 21st century, beauty pageants totally changed. We’re not concerned about who are the most beauty. Of course, beauty is important, body, brain. But more than that, ready to work. We’re looking for the one comfortable to work with us, stay with us for a year, travelling to more than 15 countries. At least I hope we find one from the Philippines very soon.”
Nawat was accompanied in the Hilton event by MGI vice-president Teresa Chaivisut and Miss Grand International 2022 winner Isabella Menin of Brazil. Also present were the MGI 2022 court of beauties, namely Miss Grand Indonesia Andina Yulianti (second runner-up), Miss Grand Venezuela Luiseth Materan (third runner-up), and Miss Grand Czech Republic Mariana Beckova (fourth runner-up),
The event also served as a homecoming for the Philippines’ own Roberta Tamondong who was recently appointed MGI 5th runner-up, She was joined by fellow fifth runner-up titlists, namely Hirisley Marrero of Spain, Oxana Rivera of Puerto Rico, Priscilla Londoño of Colombia and Pich Votey Saravotey of Cambodia.
During their short visit, the MGI beauties checked out Manila tourist sites like the National Museum, Intramuros and the Manila North cemetery where Miss Grand has an advocacy to help displaced families there.
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