Beauty within breathes new meaning for Miss Universe Philippines 2017 Rachel Peters as she shares her journey of winning the title whilst staying true to herself. We’ve had the pleasure of knowing the woman beneath the crown and came out with shared stories of stage fright, roughhousing with the boys, and how genuine individuality is the best ammo in taking on a pageant (and life in general).
Get to know Rachel before and after the crown and be ready to fall head over heels for the woman who will take us once more to the universe.
How does it feel representing your country in the Miss Universe pageant next year?
It’s amazing! We have all worked to hard leading up to the pageant and our hard work has paid off in a position that we matter and what we say matters. We are able to touch lives, whereas before, if we believed in something, we weren’t really heard.
So now we can touch lives for the better, we can promote our advocacies – mine is celebrating one’s individuality.
Could you expound on your chosen advocacy?
It’s mainly promoting to be yourself. There’s so much pressure these days caused by social media, to conform to a certain ideal of beauty. I’m here to be the voice to remind people that it’s not all about what you see on the outside, you don’t have to follow the standard of beauty we see through media.
How did you uphold your advocacy throughout Binibining Pilipinas?
Throughout the pageant I tried to stay true to myself and in the industry we’re in it’s tough. You get bashed a lot and people say things about you, it’s quite hard to block out what people say, but I did and tried to stay true to myself and just by being Rachel. Hopefully I can inspire others to do the same but in everyday life.
How was life before the crown and the Miss Universe Philippines title?
Before Binibining Pilipinas, I was working for our family business which is in concert promotions, I was the artist liaison. I’d be doing road management. I was also writing for a local website on the side whilst doing a bit of hosting, singing, and acting.
What made you get into pageants?
I felt like I wasn’t really pushing myself enough with that I was doing at the time so I decided to give beauty pageants a try. I first tried out in Miss World in 2014, afterwards I’ve been getting messages from supporters to give Binibining Pilipinas a try this time around.
What were you most nervous about during the competition?
I didn’t really have a good run with Q&A before but I always had friends in pageants who I’d watch and support. I was watching one time in the audience and I thought to myself that I wished it was me up there onstage, despite my fear of the Q&A portion.
Do you have a ritual you do before getting on stage in the pageant?
I have really bad stage fright [laughs]. Before going onstage I’d try to fight the nervousness by making funny noises to stretch your mouth, sometimes animal sounds too [laughs].
How was it like during the Q&A portion this time?
I wasn’t nervous anymore. I’ve just accepted the situation, savored every moment, and left it all in God’s hands.
Was it a dream of yours to become a beauty queen?
Growing up I wasn’t very girly. I’d always hang out with boys and we’d be playing on the beach, I’d also play lots of sports like rugby. You can imagine how it was a transition for me when I needed to start walking in heels, but I kept my style completely the same. As I said my advocacy is staying true to oneself and that’s what I did all throughout.
How did you keep your style while joining the pageant?
I didn’t want to conform to the usual beauty queen image, as a matter of fact, in one of our interviews, I showed up in ripped jeans while other people were in cocktail dresses. That is what’s expected of me but I stand by my advocacy.
You’ve gotten a glimpse of the clothes for today. Anything catch your eye?
I like the clothes actually, a lot are from H&M which is great because I shop from there too and their show room is the best! What I’m wearing today is actually from there [laughs].
What do you usually shop for at H&M?
All basics, I like keeping my clothes comfy and I like their ripped jeans and also their basic tees. But my style changes depending on where I am, I’m very chill and laidback while I’m in the city. I’m usually at the beach since I’m from Cam Sur. While I’m there I’m always in my bikini and just a sarong around me.
You’re an inspiration to a lot of young girls. Any last words you’d like to share with them?
My advice for young girls is to know yourself. Take some time to sit down and think about what you stand for, what your purpose is in life and set goals and boundaries for yourself. Once you truly know yourself, you can literally do anything you ever imagined and so much more. Don’t let anyone put you down and celebrate your individuality!
Words: Louise Sicat | Art Direction: Deiniel Cuvin | Photographer: Erwin Canlas | Creative Direction: Rain Dagala | Styling: Patricia Melliza | Makeup: Sari Campos of Makeup Forever | Hair: Renz Pangilinan | Location and Special Thanks to Moss Manila Home