Last Tuesday night, I had the privilege of spending a few hours with MWP2012 and MW2012 Semifinalist Queenie Rehman during the Meet-and-Greet organized by Mercator at Izakaya in Greenbelt 2. Actually, I “shared” our Queen(ie) with several others as I could only muster enough one-on-one time with her just before majority of the guests and well-wishers started arriving in the venue. So the minute she showed up, I quickly jumped to the seat closest to where she sat and started throwing questions which she – quite candidly – replied to with just the right tact befitting her stature.
Before the juicier tidbits she shared, here are rapid answers to initial queries:
Who were your BFFs among the candidates? “Colombia and Indonesia”
How was your roommate Miss Japan? “We were okay at first”
If the pageant was called ‘Most Beautiful Face in the World”, who would have won? “Ukraine”
Who was friendliest in the big group? “Mongolia, she was kikay.”
Do you believe that the results were ‘strongly pushed’ to favor China’s victory? To this, she could only give a meaningfully diplomatic smile and a slight nod.
Queenie was at her most down-to-earth during the Meet-and-Greet. She even played a video on her mobile phone where she was shown with best friend Barbara Turbay of Colombia during the post-coronation ball. I asked the details on how come the two of them hit it off really well. And she went on explaining that they started to get close during the Top Model event when the latter discovered that she can beatbox – a talent the beautiful Latina loves and which she tried to learn during their time together. From that point, they were like sisters.
As for Indonesia’s Ines Tjiptadi, they became close pals after telling Queenie that she frequents the Philippines as a Professional Lady Golfer playing in the various tournaments locally. Somehow, the Asean connection became strongest between the two of them, although she is also friends with Thailand’s Vanessa Hermann.
I pushed her to expound on the supposed ‘strained’ relationship with roommate Miss Japan Nozomi Igarashi. She said that the first few days went well. But thereafter, she became witness to some of the latter’s ‘mood swings’ that started pulling them apart. Small issues somehow snowballed into differences that would have driven her to ask for a change of roommate, especially after their extended pit stop in Shanghai where many ladies (including Nozomi) were ‘forced’ to share dresses when majority (including Queenie) ran out of attires to wear. Good thing Miss US Virgin Islands Taiesa Lashley was particularly most generous. At any rate, she survived the ‘ordeal’ and could only look back with a sigh of relief.
If not for the company of 115 other delegates, plus the arrival of Jonas Gaffud and discoverer/friend Mark Besana, she will not have lasted a month in Ordos. She took care in describing the place, but the bottomline is that the city can be a real drag, with nothing much to do during their precious free times.
As for the the various challenge events, Queenie was obviously most disappointed with the Talent results. During the live event – and as the five finalists were standing on centerstage – she was close to readying herself as the name of the winner. But when China was announced instead, her heart sunk. She was confident that she had it in the bag by then. Never mind that the World Designer Award was never included in the finals, and that she was allegedly nowhere close to the Top 3 with the fab Michael Cinco gown. Her excellent beatboxing deserved recognition. This was echoed by majority of her fellow candidates as well.
Once more, she and Barbara Turbay (who failed to make the Top 15) were there for each other after the coronation and in high spirits inspite of everything. They were later joined by Venezuela’s Gabriella Ferrari (Colombia’s roommate) who initially feared that her non-placement would be a major embarrassment for her countrymen. In the end, they boosted each other and eventually came out of Ordos more accepting of the results, however questionable the winner was.
By the way, Queenie added that Miss China was warm and friendly and tried to be the most gracious host delegate. But she also noticed that Wenxia felt increasingly ‘awkward’ that she was being favored in almost all the challenge events. And just as Queenie was confident of a Talent win, the latter (being a Music Teacher) was also pinning her hopes on topping the same category.All things considered, Queenie Rehman has no regrets. She may not be open to experiencing the same thing in Ordos for a second time, but all the genuine friendships made somehow offset the down times. She really wanted to bring home the Miss World crown to all Filipinos. But as fate would have it, another Asian was rewarded.
As soon as the crowd inside Izakaya got bigger, Queenie was pulled away from our table to greet all guests and give her thanks. She also did an encore of her beatboxing performance during Miss World, much to the delight of everyone in attendance.P.S. Other beauties who graced the Meet-and-Greet were Miss World Philippines semifinalist Carla Lizardo (who was offered by a different group to represent us in the Look of the Year 2012 in Italy, but begged off when she was told that the plane fare, visa fee and allowances should come out of her own pockets) and former Bb. Pilipinas 2010 candidate Rachel Bustamante who is now an ABS-CBN talent (currently doing “Princess and I”). A beautiful ‘lady’ (who I initially mistook as Mary Ann Ross Misa) was also there in the person of Miriam Jimenez, one of two Philippine reps in the 2012 Miss International Queen in Pattaya, Thailand.