I must admit: I’m not really a fan of pageants in general. To quote my friend, Carla, “I find it’s an avenue to reinforce stereotypes on women and beauty—objectification of women to the highest level.”

This is why I’ve never really watched any Miss Universe telecasts before, but I always found the post-telecast memes entertaining.

This year probably has some of the funniest I’ve ever seen. Here are a few:

There was even one in honor of the latest UAAP championship.

For a change, though, I actually watched the live telecast this year. Why? Did my opinion about pageants change? No, it hasn’t.

I watched, not because of the pageant, but because of Catriona Gray. She captured my attention with her slow-mo turn in the catwalk, yes, but upon delving into her life more, I realized there’s more to her than meets the eye. And that’s when I wanted to see her story unfold.

Catriona joined the pageant because she is a woman on a mission. She knew her role as salt and light, not just to the little town of Tondo, but to the world.

And when she saw the opportunity to serve more, she took it, regardless of other people’s opinions about pageants.

She serves to show the world different aspects of Philippine culture and has even taught me to appreciate certain facets to it that I didn’t see before.

She serves the poor through efforts seen and unseen. You knew she wasn’t simply mouthing platitudes during the contest.

She is ready to serve through the advocacies of Miss Universe and expand her own experience on fighting for the poor and the oppressed.

Who knows what else she can do in her position of influence?

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther‬ ‭4:14‬

She taught me two things:

  1. Regardless of my opinion about a world system (e.g., pageants, politics, taxes), there is always a way to be salt and light in it—to change the way others see it and influence future participants to it. My hope is that, like Catriona, more would-be beauty queens will aspire to promote life and growth.
  2. When God calls you to an opportunity to serve more, be excellent in everything about it (catwalk and costumes included), but don’t forget that your ultimate mission is to demonstrate God’s love to the broken and the hurt in this world.

How about you? What was your takeaway from this year’s pageant?


Photo credits: https://www.facebook.com/MissUniverse