From fashion model...
Bea Rose Santiago was made for the catwalk.
At the young age age of 17, she was already immersed in the fashion business. “I was a model and a working student in Canada. I love fashion and I worked with Ford for around three years. I also signed with Elite Models for a couple more years.”
In fact, she was the only Filipina in the prestigious Elite modeling agency in Canada.
Born in Masbate, this 22-year old is the eldest of three siblings. She moved to Toronto, Canada at 15 and studied in York University with a degree in Communications, majoring in Public Relations.
Even then, she was a woman of the world. With a world of opportunities laid out for her, she had her pick of them all.
“I wanted to do so many things. I wanted to be a pharmacist like my mom. I also wanted to become a host, then a Victoria’s Secret model, then a beauty queen,” she said.
When she turned 21, her mother gave her a card which reminded her to make the most out of her life while she still had youth, health and beauty.
“It was the best advice I ever received. My mom was only able to discover the world after having three kids. I’m still young, so just imagine how much more is out there for me to discover. I decided that I was going to save and go!”
Comfortable as she was with her life in Canada, she decided to go back to the Philippines and find out what else was in store for her.
When she began modeling, she was shy and unsure of herself. By the time the Bb. Pilipinas pageant came around though, she was more than ready.
“I’m one of those go-getter girls who would swing her hair with a smile, waving at people. Yes, it was overwhelming, but I figured I had nothing to lose,” she said.
With the glamour and glitz came work, work and more work.
“You know how princess stories seem fun and shiny? But before that, there would always be restrictions and hard things to deal with. Being a beauty queen was like that. You have to really want it to make it. I was trained by the best team!” she said.
“My pageant camp was blood, sweat and tears. There was training for everything: hair, make-up, clothing choices, even Q&A.”
The biggest challenge for her was staying apart from her family. “I love traveling, but being away from my family for a whole year was really hard.”
She found an adoptive family in her pageant mentors, from whom she learned valuable life lessons.
“Everyone’s a critic, but I learned that the ones that matter are from those who love me. We are all born beautiful. We have to be confident in our own skin, and let the beauty of our character shine through.”
When she recalls her moment of glory, she knows it was worth every bit.
“My homecoming parade was like a fairy tale! When people share stories of how they cheered and believed in me, I am filled with gratitude. It was all worth it.”
To international beauty queen.
“We actually work. And we work in heels and make-up,” she shares of her life now. “They say the longer the crown is on your head, the heavier it gets. I have to remind myself of who I am and not let the fame get to me. Wearing the crown comes with duties and responsibilities. There are many who will be affected by my every move, so I have to be careful of what I do and say.”
The pageant experience, more than anything, was a humbling one. “It opened another world for me and allowed me to be hands-on in helping others.”
After her reign, Bea Rose plans to go back to Canada to see her family then come back to the Philippines to stay.
“My grandparents used to go on road trips, explore nature and help communities. I would like to continue that,” she reminisces. “I love traveling, and I look forward to going around the Philippines. We Filipinos need to fall hopelessly in love with our country, to be willing to serve with no hesitation.”
She also wants to pursue a career in hosting while serving in various charities. There is no limit to her dreams. He world is hers to discover, and Bea Rose plans to do just that.
Bea Rose shows no fear in what the future holds for her.
“I am living the life I dream of. I say, dream big and don’t be afraid to lose. Every small success counts. Be bold! Love yourself and allow to be loved for being yourself.”