MANILA — Like many pageant-crazed Filipinos, Kapamilya actress Kira Balinger was tuned in to the Miss Universe competition on Monday, cheering on the Philippines’ representative Rabiya Mateo.
In her tweets, Balinger rooted for Mateo, who settled for a top 21 finish, and also weighed in on the deserving winner.
Her pick, after Mateo’s early exit, was either the representative of Peru or Brazil. Ulimately, Mexico’s Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe 2020.
While Balinger now counts among the fervent millions backing the Philippines’ queens in international pageants, she may one day have the country rallying behind her, too, as its representative.
One fan saw that possibility as a near-certainty, as they shared with Balinger on Monday an edited photo depicting her with the Philippines sash, captioned, “Future Miss Universe Philippines.”
“This made me smile today,” Balinger wrote.
Balinger, 20, has made no secret of her dream to enter pageantry, saying as recently as December 2020 that “it’s definitely in my plans.”
For now, Balinger intends to focus on acting, and to gather experience, specifically in civic work, that would equip her better as a beauty queen.
“I’m still quite young to be focusing on a beauty pageant, and I have a lot of things in life that I still need to learn before I enter one,” she said.
The next three years, she said, would be an opportune time to enrich and expose herself, to determine her own advocacy.
“I think that’s when I feel I will be ready to join,” she said. “Siyempre, nakaka-pressure din ang beauty pageants. It’s a big platform where makikita lahat ng advocacies, how you can help, so I really need to be prepared for that type of responsibility.”
Balinger regards Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, the most recent and 4th Filipino to win the coveted title, as an “inspiration” whose pageant journey she hopes to emulate.
Gray, who has been described as the “new standard” of Miss Universe queens after her applauded performance in 2018, has emphasized the importance of a prospective candidate’s willingness to undergo rigorous preparations to become a titlist.
“It needs to be the girl who wants to do it,” Gray has said, pertaining to popular actresses, such as Liza Soberano, being urged to join pageants.
“Even if you have so many people saying, ‘Yes, this is for you! This is your path!’ unless you feel it… It needs to be your own passion, it needs to be your own will.”