MANILA — “As much as I don’t want to, I need to close this chapter in my life.”
These were Vickie Rushton’s words over the weekend, as she addressed for the first time her status as a Binibining Pilipinas candidate, after speculation she would no longer be eligible by the time the pageant stages its coronation.
“I thought I was okay but today I realized that I might not be as ok as I thought I was. It finally sunk in that I am no longer part of it,” she wrote on Instagram.
“Today, I found myself crying because I am still not ready to let go of this dream but I know I have to and I know God has better plans,” Rushton said.
The former “Pinoy Big Brother” housemate made no direct mention of the reason behind her withdrawal.
Speculation surrounding her eligibility among pageant pundits grew over the past year, as Binibining Pilipinas had to move its coronation day several times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Binibining Pilipinas is the local franchise holder of Miss International, which has an age limit for candidates. According to its pageant director Stephen Diaz, a candidate should be “18 years old by the time she arrives in the host country and should be 28 years old by the pageant night.”
Rushton turned 29 in May 2021.
Binibining Pilipinas will crown its winners on July 11, while Miss International is scheduled in November.
Rushton would have been eligible for both the national and international pageants, had they not been postponed for a full year due to the global health crisis.
The Binibining Pilipinas pageant was originally scheduled on May 31, 2020; while Miss International cancelled its 2020 edition altogether.
Rushton has had a storied pageant career. She was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas International in 2011; placed 1st runner-up in the 2018 Binibining Pilipinas pageant, and then settled for a top 15 finish in its 2019 edition.
“I never imagined this journey would end this way but maybe it’s time to dream a new dream,” Rushton said.