TRACY PEREZ KEEPS HER WINNING EDGE, GEARS UP FOR MISS WORLD 2021 FINALE ON MARCH 16
Tracy Maureen Perez remains in top fighting form as she faced the pageant press in an intimate catch-up huddle earlier at Pandan Cafe in Quezon City.
Despite the unexpected last-minute postponement of the Miss World 2021 pageant in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the morning of December 16 prior to competition night, Tracy remained unfazed as she and her fellow candidates heeded the directives of the Miss World Organization in ensuring everyone’s health and safety amid mounting cases of Covid-19 in the region.
To keen pageant watchers, the decision seemed anti-climactic for Tracy, who was then clearly ahead of her game—having just assured herself of a Top 30 spot after winning the Head-to-Head Challenge.
Looking back, the Cebuana beauty has no regrets about the decision.
She rationalizes, “It could be frustrating for some, but I tried my best to compose and calm myself, ‘coz it’s something I couldn’t control. I’ll just take it as a blessing that I’ll have more time to prepare.”
As the Miss World 2021 pageant resumes on March 16 in Puerto Rico, pageant critics and fans alike can’t help but ask: Will Tracy be able to leverage the same momentum to keep her edge as one of the strongest contenders?
Amid a whirlwind of activity prior to last year’s yuletide season, Tracy was able to take some time off as she took her first U.S. trip and spent her holidays with her relatives in Oceanside, San Diego, California.
Since her return to Manila in mid-January, Tracy had already been mapping out her battle plan to mount her own relief operations for the victims of Typhoon Odette, which wruck extensive devastation in the southern regions, including her hometown in Argao, Cebu.
She says, “I’ve been in contact with relatives and friends in Cebu even during the height of the typhoon, so I know the situation. Some of the areas still don’t have power yet. Even our house in Argao was hit, but not as badly as the other areas.”
Foremost among her priorities as well is her outreach project for the single mothers in Cordova, Cebu, the privileged few whom she had chosen as her beneficiaries of her Beauty With A Purpose Challenge.
She proudly recalls, “During the Miss World preliminaries, I think that was one of my proudest moments—not because I was being recognized—but more because I had fulfilled my mission for them. That’s the time I realized that there have not been as many efforts addressing the struggles of single moms. So, when the Miss World Org chose my project, I knew that I had done my rightful part.”
Tracy beams even more proudly as she talks in detail about her plans for the solo parents.
She explains, “It’s all about capabilities training, giving them the skills to earn a better livelihood, specifically BPO and computer training. We’ve also bridging the gap for them by hooking them up with their eventual employers. One of our partners in the project is a BPO owner. So, they’re literally ready to take them under their wings very soon.”
Despite the ominous threat of the Covid-19 virus in Puerto Rico amid mounting news reports, Tracy can’t help but look back at her positive experiences with her fellow candidates.
One thing’s for sure. Tracy and her cohorts were swept in a more infectious wave of kindness, compassion, and mutual understanding.
She shares, “Even before I start talking about the girls, I’d like to say that I was blown away by the overwhelming support of the Filipino community in Puerto Rico. They made an effort to find me, met me at the airport and they gave me a lot of stuff. Some of my things are still actually at their houses now. They keep on sending me food. They just leave it outside my room, or they even let me borrow their phones, just so that I could have internet access.”
Even more heartwarming were the random acts of kindness that Tracy shared with her fellow candidates throughout the preliminaries.
She couldn’t have been more thankful to the generous souls who were always willing to help her zip up her dress, share an extra slice of pizza or just boost each other’s self-esteem during those crucial moments when they least expected it, especially coming from a close competitor.
With the guidance of Miss World Philippines National Director Arnold Vegafria and the expert supervision of her Aces and Queens trainors, Tracy is confident that she can prep herself up again for competition within a month’s time. With all the physical training and mental conditioning she’s undergoing, she tries not to overthink her battle plans.
She admits, “If there’s one thing I learned from my Miss World journey so far, I just always have to stick to what I know. It pays to just be yourself. ‘Coz they’ll know if you’re putting up a facade.”
“That’s also my takeaway from our previous queens, that there’s really no formula. At the end of the day, it just faith, it’s about you performing and just being prepared for anything.”
Does Tracy feel any pressure being the official flagbearer of a country renowned for being a breeding ground for global pageant winners?
She muses, “I don’t really think about it too much. My co-candidates told me that I’m different from what they envisioned Miss Philippines to be.”
“I’ve worked the hardest to be where I am, and I’m proud of that. I basically came from scratch, and they see that. They don’t see a beauty queen, they see a person. And that’s very important.”