MANILA — (UPDATED) The Miss Grand International (MGI) 2021 pageant announced Friday that Binibining Pilipinas pageant veteran Samantha Bernardo will represent the Philippines in the 8th edition of the competition slated in Bangkok, Thailand on March 27, 2021.
MGI’s official announcement, which was shared by Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) on its Facebook account, ended speculations on the participation of reigning Binibining Pilipinas Grand International Aya Abesamis in the pageant. Abesamis replaced Samantha Lo who was unable to finish her reign in 2019-2020.
In her statement to ABS-CBN News Friday night, Bernardo said it is a privilege to finally be given the opportunity to represent the country in an international competition.
“I always believe that everything has its own timing. Thank you so much, Binibining Pilipinas family. It’s an honor and privilege to represent our country at Miss Grand International. I hope the whole Philippines will support me in this journey as I finally represent our country. All I can say is that, finally, this is me realizing my dream.”
BPCI has yet to issue its explanation on the selection of Bernardo, who won runner-up placements in the Bb. Pilipinas 2018 and 2019 pageant editions.
Bernardo was a candidate in the 2020 Binibini edition which was postponed to April 2021.
In its welcome announcement of candidates, MGI billed Bernardo as “an empowered woman from the Philippines’ last frontier, Palawan.”
Her MGI profile also had the following details:
“She stands 5 feet 8 1/2 inches tall and has a body measurement of 36-23-37. She finished a degree in Hospitality Management, where she happily serves, interacts and listens to different stories from across the globe.
“She was a competitive rhythmic gymnast for 9 years and represented her province in national competitions. Aside from sports, she is a cultural performer and a former president of Sining Palawan Dance Troupe that showcases Philippine tradition through folk dances. She has also worked as a professional model and an entrepreneur who owns and runs her clothing company. Her heart to serve fuels her competitive spirit and determination to excel in her field.”
“Samantha is a Philippine Movement Against Malaria volunteer and spokesperson, a movement that aims for a malaria-free Philippines by 2030."
It has been a difficult time for Bernardo since the start of the pandemic and postponement of the Bb. Pilipinas pageant. With her economic prospects dimming, Bernardo decided to train as an insurance agent with Sun Life last year.
“I am focusing on myself now. Life must go on," Bernardo told ABS-CBN News in a previous interview, citing her chances to be promoted to a managerial post.
“It’s an opportunity for me to grow in this industry. If I depend on Binibini and modelling, walang mangyayari sa ‘kin!,” she said.
Bernardo will turn 28 this year, the supposed maximum age requirement for MGI candidates.
The Philippines had several runner-up placements at the MGI with Nicole Cordoves reaching the highest placement as first runner-up in 2016.