A Triumph of a Nation

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How Megan carried the hopes and aspiration of a nation  

 

You can never go wrong with kindness. That’s the wisdom that Megan Young’s mother shared with her. Compassion, humility, service…the very core values of Miss World is clearly embodied by the new Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines.

 

Her journey towards the crown is an interesting story. Megan as a young girl was already competing at local pageants. Though she was born in the United States to an American father and a Filipina mother, Megan embraced the Philippines as her home country. It is the country where she ventured in the world of showbusiness by participating in a talent search and then later in a reality show. Philippines is the true home of Megan and where her potentials were discovered. Megan eventually landed on several roles at the Philippine TV soaps and also became a VJ in a music channel.

 

Despite being a local celebrity, her dream to become a beauty queen and to represent her country lingered. She is supposed to join Bb. Pilipinas and well in fact there was that annual ritual at Missosology forum where her fans would petition her to join. Unfortunately, because of her daring photographs during her modelling stint, Megan’s plan to join the Bb. Pilipinas never materialized.

 

Megan instead trained for the Miss World Philippines contest, an upstart pageant after the Miss World franchise was transferred from Bb. Pilipinas. At the pageant, she shined and she was a very clear front-runner right from the beginning. When she eventually won the crown, she was instantly tagged as a strong contender for the Miss World 2013 crown.

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Megan joined the local pageants as a young girl. Photo: Miss World Philippines FB Page 

When Megan began her preparations for Miss World 2013, it was clouded with doubts and apprehensions. First, she had less than a month before she headed to Bali for the opening ceremonies. Miss World is a pageant that requires extensive preparations because of the Beauty with a Purpose requirement. Second, as a local celebrity, she was obliged to appear in various TV interviews just a few days before her send-off. Her appearance schedule was too hectic such that she suffered a minor cold before she left for Bali. Third, the competition was very strong. Brazil, France, Ukraine and Spain were all tagged as the possible next Miss World and they were way ahead of Megan when it comes to preparation.

 

At the opening ceremonies of Miss World, Megan again shined. She was hailed by pageant observers not just from the Philippines but also from other countries as a strong contestant. Her inclusion at the Beach Beauty Top 11 was another confidence booster for her as well as for the Filipinos that avidly watched virtually her every move in Indonesia.

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Megan won the Miss World Philippines crown just weeks before the Miss World pageant kicked in

But at some point of competition, there was strong feeling that the host girl was being favored. This was apparent with the placement of Miss Indonesia as one of the Beach Beauty finalists. When the local girl won the talent competition, which by the way she truly deserving, some of the very few but the very loud Filipino fans poured down all the vitriol and name callings. Mud was thrown everywhere and it was disgusting.

 

But all the negativity can be explained. Filipinos were frustrated with Miss World. There was an urban legend in the Philippines that the country will never win the Miss World crown. Plus, the trend last year where three of the Big4 pageants crowned the local girl was still having some effects in the minds of the pageant enthusiasts. Very much aware of the sentiments of her countrymen, Megan even posted a beautiful message in her facebook page calling for calm and civilized discourse. But some Filipinos continued to hurl nasty accusations. For them, the crown was slipping away.

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The viral photo of Megan by Missosology

 

When Megan however was announced as the winner of the Top Model contest as the finals night neared, the hopes for the crown ran high. It was at that point that the path to victory seemed to be inevitable. Then at the very last minute, the reason why she can’t join the Bb. Pilipinas contest, haunted her.

 

The photos of Megan in a local fashion magazine, were called “topless” by some news outlets despite the fact that there was no nudity involved. It was a modelling photo that was artistically done. But some irresponsible media like the International Business Times UK collaborated with Megan’s detractors and published a very nice story suggesting that Megan can be disqualified all because of the photos.

 

The rest of course is history. Despite of the short preparations, despite of the strong competitors, despite of the last minute propaganda to disqualify her, Megan triumphed. No doubt, her kind demeanor and her sweet aura allowed her to win. But she is a woman full of humility. She believed, even at the very last moment of her campaign to win the very elusive title, that the most crucial thing for her success is the support and love of the Filipino nation. No wonder that at her victory speech she dedicated her victory to the Filipinos and she did so using her native language.

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Megan during the send-off. She had just few days to prepare for the pageant 

 

Megan’s journey to greatness is just beginning but it is amazing to see that she actually believed in the power of support that her countrymen generously gave her. It is wonderful to see a Miss World winner unabashedly proclaiming her victory as a victory of her nation. But it is far more amazing to realize the depth and intensity of support that her countrymen have truly given to her.

 

As she fulfills her duties as Miss World, Megan will travel around the world and will be relentlessly involved in charity projects. It will a tough job. But with the values of kindness that her mother thought her, this tough job will come easy and natural for Megan. Above all else though, to realize her promise to become the best Miss World ever, she can bank on more than 90 million Filipinos for a solid support. Truly, the honor that Megan brought to a pageant-obsessed nation called the Philippines, will be forever etched in history.