When Gabriela Isler was crowned Miss Universe 2013 in Moscow, Russia on December 10, 2013, the southern regions of the Philippines were reeling from the fury of Typhoon Yolanda.
Devastated to hear about the disaster, Isler established the Miss Universe Relief Foundation shortly after her coronation and raised $250,000 dollars to finance relief efforts in the region.
She first visited the Philippines on March 27, 2014, heading straight to Coron, Palawan to start rehabilitation projects for three coastal communities, with the support of the Miss Universe Foundation and Cordaid.
Last January 17, the Venezuelan beauty queen returned to Palawan to oversee the progress of the relief efforts, particularly in Malawig and two other remote fishing villages. Gabriela was happy to see how the local economies have flourished, thanks in part to ongoing livelihood programs and the enhancement of basic necessities such as water and electricity.
“It’s amazing how they’re all very much committed to strengthening their sense of community,” she remarked. “These model communities can hopefully be replicated in other impoverished communities in the Philippines.”
Unknown to many, Gabriela has always held the Philippines close to her heart.
“Actually, the Philippines was always on my mind. Even during my tenure as Miss Universe, I realized how the Philippines has the biggest fanbase, pageant-wise. They love their queens. They’re also very respectful. I received a lot of love and respect from them during my year, and even after,” she reminisces.
With her humanitarian advocacies over and done with, Gabriela is exploring the possibility of furthering her modeling, hosting and possibly even an acting/showbiz career while in Manila.
With the guidance and mentorship of Miss World Philippines national director Arnold Vegafria, the 5’11” style maven is sure to bag a number of endorsements for lifestyle brands, do some cover shoots for leading fashion glossies, and breeze through a flurry of media interviews.
While eager to pursue acting projects, Gabriela feels more at home doing hosting gigs, or being able to share her gift of gab.
“I believe in the power that women have in utilizing our voice when we spread a powerful message. I would love to have a show where I can interview people and show their missions and purposes. We can embrace stories that can empower or inspire people. I love content and I love creating impact. If I can combine both, that would be great!” she exclaims.
Gabriela started her very own blog in 2017, tackling travel and lifestyle stories.
“I’m a storyteller. I created a movement called Choose You, where I invite the audience to put themselves first.”
Her exemplary communication skills fit her to a T as Venezuela’s National Director for Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss International―a job that she describes as “corporate work” and which she started on since April 2018.
Even before she became a beauty queen, Gabriela already had a headstart with her social advocacy. Born to a family of doctors, she spearheaded her own initiative for curbing teenage pregnancies in her homeland. Armed with nothing more than her guts and derring-do, she forged partnerships with various medical institutions as well as social welfare organizations.
It’s no surprise then how that snowballed into the Isler Initiative―a humanitarian project aimed at contributing to social activities that promote youth empowerment, education, maternal mortality, as well as helping curb teenage pregnancies and human trafficking, bringing an end to modern slavery and other oppressive practices around the world.
Photo credit: Joy Arguil
As most of you know by now, the search for Miss Venezuela is being run by three of its former big-league Queens from three separate decades – Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, Miss World 1995 Jacqueline Aguilera and Miss International 1985 Nina Sicilia. And this troika is really deep in preparations for the next national search.
Here is an update of Gabby on the progress in Spanish. The English translation will follow after.
Buenas tardes, buenas tardes!✨ Reaparezco por aquí después de varios días y quiero contarles el por qué de mi ausencia: el proyecto de @missvenezuela ha requerido de mucho tiempo, y me ha tocado ponerlo de primero en la lista de prioridades… ✅
Aún estando en la distancia, son múltiples las cosas que estamos resolviendo desde el #ComitéEjecutivo y estamos dedicadas a ello. 🙌🏼 Con mucho esfuerzo y compromiso hemos asumido este reto y estamos seguras de que todos los resultados que alcanzaremos serán satisfactorios. 🙏🏼
Ayer lanzamos el proceso de postulaciones a través de missvenezuela.com y me emociona saber que cualquier joven de Venezuela, que cumpla con los requisitos mínimos para participar, puede registrarse libremente y manifestar su decisión de formar parte de este sueño, sin ningún tipo de intermediarios. 👑
Juntas, @ninasicilia @jacquelineaguilera y yo, estaremos revisando los perfiles y haciendo la primera preselección.👀
Más adelante anunciaremos las próximas fases y les seguiremos contando mucho más de lo que estamos haciendo. 👩🏻💻👩🏻🔧👩🏻💼
Por ahora, los invito a mantenerse atentos de las redes oficiales de @missvenezuela para todos los detalles. ❣️ Si tienen algún familiar o amiga que pueda reunir las cualidades de una reina, y que se caracterice por actuar apegada a sus valores, menciónenla aquí en los comentarios para que se anime a postularse. 👸🏻❤️
. ¡Cariños para todos!
Will the three beautiful ladies measure up to the achievements of Osmel Sousa in Miss Venezuela?
Gabriela Isler, or Molly if you will, is Venezuela’s 7th big winner of our favorite beauty pageant. She also happens to have one of the more meaningful reigns to date. Her popularity remains positively high, as she has also started a number of significant charity causes that stretched from New York City to Coron, Palawan. To top it all, she is a nice person all around, especially after her visit to our shores during Bb. Pilipinas 2014.
Watch a video of her farewell walk during Miss Universe 2014 in Doral, Florida now.
courtesy of James Donald
To say that Gabriela and Megan are tough acts to follow would be an understatement.
The 63rd Miss Universe Paulina Vega Dieppa of Colombia and Miss World 2014 Rolene Strauss of South Africa have the demanding work cut out for them. With their respective predecessors serving reigns that were considered more than successful in terms of appearances, international causes/charity and positive sustenance of the crown and brand name for more than 365 days, the challenge now is to exceed the efforts and make both Donald Trump and Julia Morley happier bosses. That won’t be too much of a difficult mission to accomplish, right?
Call me quick to judge at this point. But methinks Rolene will meet the expectations more handily than Paulina.
It is a proven fact that the South African has one of the most wonderful down-to-earth personalities during the competition in London last year. On the other hand, the Colombian has been rumored to have a recurring diva attitude that even Mr. Trump allegedly anticipates to border on being an all-around b**ch.
What do you think, dear readers? 😉
Hers is an active reign that extended far beyond everyone’s expectations. And Gabriela Isler made sure that she lived up to every minute of her commitment as Miss Universe 2013 with the beauty and grace of a Queen, the fluidity of a spokesperson and the constant warmth of a role model for all aspiring crown-wearers.
When Gabriela topped the competition in Moscow last November, 2013, she was ushered in to a world that she could only dream of. And she embraced the responsibility with love and passion. It’s no joke to wear the Miss Universe crown. Beyond the glamour, glitz and pride, there is the heightened level of involvement in worldwide charity causes that has really made the MUO (Miss Universe Organization) step up in its image of going deeper than skin-deep. And this Venezuelan is the near-perfect choice for the position. She didn’t only look the job. She assumed the whole thing with open arms and traveled around different countries to continue with the evolution of the title.
And I couldn’t be prouder of Gabriela in particular after her visit to the Philippines last year and the unstinting support to the Cordaid Fund that has helped a large number of Filipinos who were displaced by ST Yolanda. Up to now, she is still pitching for the same.
Now is the time to watch Gabriela’s farewell video as Miss Universe 2013 before taking a bow. The reign may be coming to an end, but her efforts will long be remembered even if a new successor takes her place 24 hours from now. 🙂
courtesy of Miss Universe
But no, that’s just the reckless side of my brain working in maximum overdrive. In making fearless forecasts, there is no such thing as hitting 100% accuracy, let alone a second-guessed line-up that would score 14 out of 15 at best.
Be that as it may, I now present to you my final picks to be called on Sunday night’s finals and leave seventy-three (73) clappers in the dusty background.
Don’t mind the golf balls. They’re there just so that I can keep up with the Doral theme.
Following the conclusion of the Preliminary Competition, some re-shuffling is in order to give way to ladies who outperformed the others and to downgrade those who are initially seeded to stamp their superiority but fell short of expectations.
The most consistent ones among the favorites are Miss Colombia Paulina Vega and Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa. They did not allow the pressure to get into their performance, unlike Miss Spain Desireé Ferrer and Miss Venezuela Migbelis Castellanos who were just alright in comparison. This development certainly allowed Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell to shoot up in my own rankings, alongside Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha. Miss USA Nia Sanchez remains middling, but at least she did not slide down in overall assessment. But breathing down her neck could be Miss Argentina Valentina Ferrer who is fast-tracking herself the true pageant way.
Miss Costa Rica Karina Ramos and Miss Serbia Andjelka Tomasevic are also solid spoilers who could tilt things in their favor. But for now, I still see them as safe Top 15 entries with a good shot at the Top 10. The rest of my Top 15 could be a bunch of wildcards where one or two just might deliver well on finals night. The most glaring part here, however, is Migbelis falling down several notches from the top tier to the third rung. She has a beautiful face and all, but sadly, will never hold a candle to Gabriela Isler. A back-to-back is clearly out of the question.
And so, we have here the five (5) delegates I am feeling so much love for that I have decided to make them Top 5. Miss USA Nia Sanchez almost didn’t make the magic circle for me, owing to a bull-headed performer from Ukraine who threatened to grab one golden place in the quintet. In the end, I gave the slight edge to the host delegate who will most likely be given higher scores by the judges.
Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa and Miss Colombia Paulina continue to lead the pack, but it is Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell who could be the thorn in either ladies’ path. The final Q&A is the one last hurdle to complete. Given that scenario and how I would expect these five beauties to answer the question, I am assigning my #1 to #5 places to:
I am not dreaming. I can definitely see the Philippines winning a 3rd Miss Universe crown via Mary Jean Lastimosa. While others will counter that there are more crown-worthy victors, there is this element of boldness and maturity that embodies her personality. In my opinion, she is the one who has shown the most determination to win the whole thing. While Miss Colombia is very likely to get just as close to the crown as her, gut-feel tells me that Miss Jamaica will do a Yendi Phillips and finish next to our bet. Nia and Desireé will rank 4th and 5th in my endgame.
As I’ve always said in the past, predictions will never be absolute. In fact, I could still be overlooking one or two this late in the competition. But decisions need to made, and with finality. I can always healthily move on from defeat in my guesses and gracefully take all the potshots if proven to be sorely misguided in my views. One thing is for sure, though. I will never relinquish my support for Miss Philippines if the feeling is right and nobody – outside of the traditional judging & nothing – outside of acceptable lobbying – will get in the way. 🙂