MANILA - Newly-crowned Miss Earth Katherine Espin dared her Filipina rival, Imelda Schweighart, to prove that she underwent plastic surgery.
Schweighart resigned as Miss Philippines-Earth on Monday after she was caught in a viral video telling supporters after Saturday night's pageant that Espin had work done on her face and chest.
"I’ve never done anything in my face, never. I’ve never even done plastic surgery in my face. No. Her saying that, she will have to prove it I guess," Espin told ABS-CBN News’ Mario Dumaual on Monday night at a dinner reception at Manila Polo Club Forbes Park Makati.
The 23-year-old Espin is the second Ecuadorian to win Miss Earth, a Manila-based pageant that aims to promote environmental awareness. Schweighart failed to reach the semifinals.
Espin also addressed Schweighart's other claim that the yellow Leo Almodal that she wore to the finals was originally meant for the Filipina beauty queen.
The Ecuadorian beauty said Almodal failed to finish her dress in time for the pageant.
“When I got into top 16, I was like, ‘Where’s my dress?’ His assistant was telling me, ‘We didn’t finish. We have this yellow dress. Try this yellow dress.’ I’ve never even tried the yellow dress in my life. I never even knew how it looked on me. They just put it on me and I never knew it was Imelda’s dress,” she said.
Espin said Almodal should take responsibility for the mix-up.
“Imagine, I [did not have] a dress. It was crazy backstage. No one knows about this. I think Imelda got upset about this. She must know that it wasn’t my fault. It was actually a misunderstanding with Leo. He didn’t know what to do. I’m clarifying that right now. Leo will do it on social media and probably have an interview explaining all these issues. It’s his responsibility actually,” she said.
Espin said she accepted Schweighart's apology for her rant, saying she wished the Filipina well in her decision to move on after resigning as Miss Philippines-Earth.
“I have nothing against her. She is a woman. I truly respect her. I hope that anytime, I can be able to talk to her about it. I wish the best for her… I hope she really puts all her best to overcome the issues and be able to make her dreams come true because she really wants to be successful,” she said.
Espin also reiterated no amount of intrigue or hurtful words will ruin her triumph as her country's new international queen, a dream she worked hard to fulfill.
“Despite any of the things that I’ve seen, I am happy with what I’ve done. I’ve done my best. There have been many rumors but I don’t really pay attention to any of that because I know what I’ve done,” she said.
She is also set to take the Bar exams in her country after finishing her law studies.
"I want to practice international law but that will have to wait as I prepare for my projects as Miss Earth," she said.
Espin wants to work with farmers to push her agricultural advocacy.