Mariel de Leon has always had a certain je ne sais quoi. Even without a crown, she is a standout.
After her failed bid in Binibining Pilipinas 2013, Mariel’s victory this year is an inspiring story about second chances.
Our Binibining Pilipinas International 2017 has stepped out of her parents’ (Boyet de Leon and Sandy Andolong) shadow. Mariel is now basking in her own glory.
She’s confidently beautiful with a heart and brains, as well. Hail to the “De Leon Queen.”
Here’s my chat with Mariel:
What motivated you to join Binibining Pilipinas again? Besides watching Pia Wurtzbach’s journey to the Miss Universe, another thing that motivated me to join Binibining Pilipinas again was a certain spark [I felt].
Before rejoining, I wasn’t doing anything at the time, but pageant news just kept popping up everywhere, so I asked myself, “Why not?”
If you didn’t win, would you join for the third time? I would not join again … I would leave the pageant world with a happy heart.
How did you handle the “Mocha Uson controversy” and your bashers? I handled it by not reading any or posts about it. I also held on to my faith in God and the love and support I got from my family, friends and even people I didn’t personally know.
How do you feel when people say you look like Liza Soberano? It’s flattering when people say I look like Liza because I find her really pretty.
What advice from your parents do you find hard to follow? I don’t think my parents ever gave me advice that was hard to follow. I think differently from them, and they respect that.
Are you willing to join show biz? If it’s acting, I will say “no,” but I will not completely close my doors to that idea. I would rather concentrate on hosting, singing and modeling.
Tell us about your singing group and how your love for opera began. The singing group is called the “Opera Belles.”
It’s an all-girl classical-crossover singing group.
We sing modern pop songs in an operatic way, to make opera more accessible and relatable to the younger generation.
What is the toughest part of being the daughter of Boyet and Sandy de Leon? The toughest part is definitely the misconception people have about “celebrity children.”
People think celebrity children aren’t friendly and are snobs, but when people get to know me, they realize it’s actually easy to talk to me.
What makes your relationship with your boyfriend, Eric Luz, work? What made you fall for him? What makes our relationship work is understanding and communication. He has always been supportive of anything I want to do, and that’s one of the things I love about him. He is also super nice and loving. He treats me so well and would do anything for me.
He understands who I am and how I can be on good and bad days. He wholeheartedly accepts me and loves me despite my flaws. We share so much love together. That’s why I fell for him.
How is your boyfriend handling your newfound fame? I don’t think anything has changed for us, because we still spend a lot of time together and people don’t really disturb us when we’re out in public.
But as I said, he’s always supportive and loving, so I’d say he’s handling it pretty well. We help each other.
How are you handling the pressure of a back-to-back win at the Miss International pageant? The pressure of a back-to-back win doesn’t affect me because I choose not to think about it. My goal going into the Miss International pageant is to just enjoy the whole experience, especially since it would be my first time in Japan.
What’s your unsolicited advice to girls who want to be as confidently beautiful as you, but are not blessed with good looks? Don’t accept what society thinks is beautiful because its standards are unreal. What’s beautiful is the journey toward discovering yourself and loving yourself even more.
If you would be a judge at the Binibining Pilipinas, what is the final question you’d ask the Top 5 finalists? What kind of world do you think we would live in if there were no politics or religion?
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