MANILA - Filipino-Australian model Chanel Olive Thomas, who made headlines last year for her relationship with "Pasion de Amor" actor Jake Cuenca, was introduced on Thursday as one of the 41 candidates in this year's Miss Philippines-Earth.
Thomas, 24, represents San Antonio, Nueva Ecija in the homegrown pageant that champions environmental awareness and sustainability practices.
Pageant organizer Carousel Productions held the media presentation of candidates at Diamond Hotel in Manila, less than a month before the coronation night on May 31 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the event, Thomas said she joined Miss Earth because she believes in the pageant's cause. She also considers the stint the next logical step in her career, as she hopes to be a TV host in the future.
Considering her inclination towards showbiz, Thomas said she is ready to face intrigues, especially in connection with her past relationship with Cuenca. The Kapamilya star recently went public with his new girlfriend, model Sarah Grace Kelley.
Asked for her reaction to comments that she joined the pageant to spite Cuenca, Thomas said, "Seryoso? No! No naman. I'm really close to his mom, so no. Nothing like that."
She added: "I'm doing this for myself. I really want to see myself grow. I just felt like I wasn't growing anymore in modelling. I want to experience, I want to grow more, I want to make change. That's what I'm passionate about doing. It's a good experience."
Thomas said she has no ill feelings toward Cuenca, stressing that they split amicably and that she would not even mind if she sees him with his current partner.
"We're fine. We had a really good breakup. It never ended badly. Everythings' fine between us. It's just life. Sometimes, people just aren't meant to be together," she said.
Miss Philippines-Earth candidate with former boyfriend, actor Jake Cuenca. @juancarloscuenca on Instagram
"[I have] nothing bad to say at all [about him]. He was a good boyfriend," she added. "We broke up officially before Christmas and I still spent Christmas with him and his family! We had a really good breakup. Nothing bad there."
Sharing how she dealt with the "heartbreak," Thomas pointed out the coincidence of the separation and her itch to start something in her career -- such as being the Philippines' representative to the international Miss Earth competition.
"After we broke up, my family was there. I was surrounded by my close friends, my family. I figured out what I wanted to do for the next stage of my career, because I've always wanted to constantly improve," she said.