MANILA – Clare Dacanay, a mother from Paranaque City, is breaking barriers by pursuing her dream of becoming a beauty queen.
Hoping to break the notion that motherhood limits one's aspirations, Dacanay is out to prove that her responsibilities as a mom should not be a hindrance to pursuing one's dreams.
In an exclusive interview, she said she has always been interested in beauty pageants since she was young, but due to personal circumstances, she was unable to pursue this dream until now.
“I call it destiny,” she said. “I was scrolling through social media and I just saw that MUPH (Miss Universe Philippines) removed the requirement of civil status. At that moment, it was just pure bliss to me. I felt like this must be a sign from the universe.”
For Dacanay, it was more than just a coincidence that she just had a baby when MUPH decided to remove that one requirement stopping her from fulfilling a life-long dream.
“There was no fear or doubt in my mind that stopped me from deciding right there and then [that] I wanted to join. As a mother, I wanted to make sure I have done all that I can to fulfill my individual goals. I wanted to show to my daughter the value and importance to never hold back your dreams,” she said.
When asked about the potential obstacles she may encounter as a mother competing in the pageant, Dacanay appears unfazed, saying she’s already faced one of the most challenging experiences a woman can go through, that is pregnancy.
Dacanay, meanwhile, noted that adaptability is the key when asked about the attribute that makes a great beauty queen and how she exemplifies this trait.
The 24-year-old beauty said a queen should learn how to overcome any adversary that may be thrown her way.
Despite having no prior experience in pageantry, Dacanay is determined to succeed. She may be a newcomer, but she has learned the ropes from her mentors, sisters, and personal experiences through trial and error, which have taught her valuable lessons. She has applied and integrated the knowledge gained from them into her daily life to improve her chances of success.
She also shared a few words to her fellow moms who are aspiring to join beauty pageants someday.
“Tap into your magic. If you know this is a dream of yours... just go for it. Make sure your mind is ready, because it reflects in how you perform,” she said.
“One of the biggest importance is prioritizing your mental health because you have to love who you are to be able to enjoy the wonders life gives you. There will be days like thundering storms but our mentality or mind is one of our strongest assets. You’ll learn to love even the harshest storm because when the sun comes out, it's a brighter day to start another routine into become a better individual, and this is something you have to apply not only in pageantry but also in your personal environment.”
As the screening process of aspiring beauty queens is now in progress, Dacanay, along with other mothers who have taken the leap of faith, is now brimming with excitement and confidence.
“I plan to win this pageant and wear this crown representing all women,” she said. “Through the recent abolishment of the civil status requirement in the MU and MUPH organizations, mothers like myself can now use this platform to spread awareness [about]… maternal health. That is why I am not holding back, I’m giving it my all to stand and be the voice of mothers
around the world.”
Though it is her first time trying her luck in a beauty pageant, she believes she is well-prepared and equipped with the essential qualities of a great beauty queen.
Dacanay’s determination, perseverance, adaptability, and eagerness to acquire knowledge have demonstrated that being a mother does not curtail one's aspirations.