She’s beautiful, she’s brainy. But is she world-class?

Another University of the Philippines-Diliman graduate was crowned a beauty queen.

She is Miss Earth-Philippines Athena Mae Imperial, graduate from the UP College of Mass Communication, who bagged the title last Sunday night.

Just a few months ago, the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe crown was given to Shamcey Supsup, who is a graduate from the College of Architecture on the other hand. I must say the latter deserved the crown more.

For one, her beauty and grace are more pleasing to the world, as the two ladies would compete in international pageants later this year. What beauty pageant organizations in the country miss out is the fact that we are now in a modern search for young women. In the previous years, the time of Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz, pageants always exhibit the Maria Clara type of woman. Now, it is altogether different.

During the Miss Universe 2010 held in Las Vegas, some of the candidates agreed to pose nude in photoshoots which some organizations condemned. But the trend of this strong system defines what beauty pageant mean nowadays. While it’s still about beauty, grace, talent, and brains, it’s now also about empowerment through showing a female’s body.

Imperial lacked these qualities if she wants to win in the international competition. I would prefer Miss Cebu or Miss Las Pinas to win. While she is the most outstanding when it comes to intellect, this does not define modern beauty pageants anymore.

But her answer to the final question was admirable, I shall say. She truly knows a lot.

When asked on her stand on establishing nuclear power plants in the country, she answered: “Just look at what happened to Japan. The toxic waste that emanated from its nuclear power plant is harmful to the environment.”

She said that the country should instead focus on hydroelectric, solar and grid as an alternative source power.

All because of the stereotype of being a UP graduate. When other candidates aren’t, it might be unfair for them. If a UP student or UP graduate joining beauty pageants (which have been tagged as irrelevant where women are yes, great in the final question but plagued with issues on some of the candidate’s intellect in the past years) continues as a trend, then we shall expect a winner.

They say you can’t have it all but the perfect blend of a world-class beauty and brains (plus the X-factor) can always be worked out.


Or let’s ask, what beauty queens look like without make-up or less make-up?

Here’s Aishwary Rai, a former Miss World:











And here’s Athena Mae Imperial:


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