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Miss International 2016 Kylie F. Verzosa of the Philippines returned last Friday night to a warm welcome as she promotes her advocacy on mental health and cultural diversity.
“I am really happy to be back here today. I left with the Philippine sash and I’m glad to come back with the Miss International sash. Like I said in my speech I did not go into this journey alone. I had helped from my mentors, I had helped from Binibini, I had helped from my angels, I had help from the people of the Philippines who have prayed for me. This is not only my journey but your journey as well,” said Verzosa during a victory press conference at the Novotel in Cubao, Quezon City.
“So I stand here in front of you as your new Miss International. I promise to be the best Miss International,” said Verzosa, 24, as she ended her welcome remarks.
Verzosa, who graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University, was recipient of the Manila Bulletin Readers’ Choice special award during the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant in April.
Asked why she did not wear her crown, Verzosa said: “It will follow. It’s still with Miss International.” She is the 6th Miss International from the Philippines since the pageant started in 1960.
Verzosa also said that she will promote mental health and cultural diversity as part of her advocacy.
Sought to give to advice to people who are suffering from depression, Verzosa said: “It’s important to know that you have it. To accept that you have it. Once you know it, it is easier to fight depression like what’s really causing it. You take care of your body, your mind, your thoughs. It’s not easy but you have to surround yourself with good people, educate yourself and a lot of other things going through it. You are not alone and it is curable.”
The beauty queen from Baguio City also clarified reports that President Rodrigo Duterte visited her during his state visit to Japan recently.
“President Duterte did not visit me. He was at a conference in Japan and a lot of people think I met him. No. I chased him. But what I liked about it was that he stopped for me, He did not stop for anyone else but me. Fan moding at that time. I’m looking forward to meeting the President again,” Verzosa said.
Verzosa also said that she prayed a lot during the finals of the pageant. She added that she could have done better with her speech during the semis. In the contest, girls who made it to the semifinals round were asked to deliver a speech on why they should be chosen Miss International.
“Actually with the speech I could have done better. It wasn’t as perfect as I wanted it to be. In the middle I stumbled a bit. But I told myself ‘bawiin mo ito cause it’s not perfect.’ So I made it the best that I could. On stage you don’t know how you’re performing. You just do the best you can and you’ll see the result in the end.”
A victory parade will be held at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City on Friday, November 18. Another victory parade has been scheduled in her hometown.
Kylie’s parents – Raquel and Ari – also welcomed their eldest daughter. Her parents keep themselves busy managing Forest House, a hotel and restaurant in Baguio City.
“Kylie is so bubbly, loving and articulate,” said Racquel when asked about the childhood days of the new beauty queen. “Of course when they were kids, they fight which is normal to children.”
But Kylie’s mother said that her daughter became close to her four siblings when she went to Manila to study in Ateneo at 16. “Kapag may tampo sila, they would call their ate. Nagsusumbong. They do that all the time and they talk on the phone.”
Raquel also said that her daughter is not in a relationship these days. “As parents, I think we have to guide our children. But we do not meddle in their relationships.”
She also said that she was surprised that her daughter joined the beauty pageant because her interest is modelling.
“She took business management in college so that in the future she can manage our hotel business. But the path of her career changed but we are happy for her. Pageants and modelling are two different things. You cannot do that at the same time. So I told Kylie it’s okay. We will support you.”
Raquel, who became a semifinalist in the Bininining Pilipinas contest in 1985, said that she still does not know if her daughter would pursue a career in show business. “I always ask her that question. And her answer is we’ll see.” She added that Kylie loves music and fashion a lot.