MANILA – Did you know that Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, who has been spearheading the country’s preparations for the upcoming Miss Universe competition, was once a beauty pageant contestant?
In an interview with ABS-CBN News on Wednesday, Teo said she was in third year college when she joined Binibining Pilipinas, which sends representatives to international pageants including Miss Universe.
The Tourism Secretary was not sure about the exact year when she joined, but she mentioned that the winner at the time was Armi Barbara Crespo.
A quick check on the Bb. Pilipinas website showed that Crespo won the pageant in 1972.
When asked about her performance in the national pageant, Teo replied: “I think doon lang ako sa pinaka-start. Yes [sa semi-finals].”
Teo did not join any other pageant aside from Bb. Pilipinas, with the Tourism Secretary saying she only competed in the beauty contest out of curiosity.
“Siyempre I was still young then, and siyempre ‘pag sinabi mong Miss Universe, malaki ‘yun,” she said. “So sumali ako sa Bb. Pilipinas.”
“May classmate ako na sumali sa Mutya ng Pilipinas. So ako, sa Binibini naman.”
A year after Teo joined Bb. Pilipinas, Margie Moran was crowned Miss Universe, making her the second Filipina winner of the international pageant.
The country’s two other Miss Universe titleholders include Gloria Diaz (1969) and Pia Wurtzbach (2016).
The 65th Miss Universe pageant will be held on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.