MANILA -- Former Binibining Pilipinas runner-up Meiji Cruz said it was a dream come true for her to be the first Filipina to win in the Miss CosmoWorld pageant.
Cruz was crowned Miss CosmoWorld 2022 at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia last November 30.
In an interview via Zoom with TeleRadyo's Sakto on Thursday, Cruz said she started joining pageants when she was in high school.
"Noong bata pa lang ako like 16 years old nag-start ako sa school ko, high school. Hanggang sa barangay, inter-barangay, hanggang sa city ko, hanggang mag-national ako. Kumbaga sinuyod ko 'yung steps. Dream ko talaga since I was young. And kinukuwento rin ng mom ko na maliit pa lang ako ay rumarampa na ako at kinukuha ko ang heels niya," Cruz recalled.
"Dream ko talaga siya kaya sinasabi ko sobrang nakakakilig, sobrang grateful ako na finally na achieve ko itong dream ko na ito," she said.
Prior to joining Miss CosmoWorld, Cruz finished as second runner-up in the 2021 edition of the Bb. Pilipinas pageant, which also includes the likes of Miss Intercontinental 2021 Cindy Obeñita and Miss Globe 2021 Maureen Montagne.
In the interview, Cruz acknowledged that her experiences joining Bb. Pilipinas helped her win the Miss CosmoWorld title.
"'Yung preparation ko for Bb. Pilipinas really helped me a lot kasi rigorous training din ang ginawa ko roon. And lahat ng aspeto like 'yung pasarela, Q and A, 'yung mga shoots, lahat ng aspect -- mentally, emotionally tinrain ko talaga 'yon, kaya naging ready na rin ako for international competition," Cruz said.
Miss CosmoWorld aims to select women who are "independent and passionate about life and with good leadership quality."
The 18-year-old pageant is run by Malaysian celebrity and Miss Chinese Cosmos 2004 Carrie Lee.