Filipina beauty and newly crowned Miss International Bea Rose Santiago inspired by the support of her country, says she is ready to 'walk the talk' to make a change.
TOKYO, JAPAN (DECEMBER 20, 2013) (REUTERS) - Filipina beauty and newly crowned Miss International Bea Rose Santiagospoke to media in Tokyo on Friday (December 20) following her win at the 53rd Miss International Beauty Pageant on Tuesday (December 17).
Santiago credited the back to back wins to the overwhelming support and enthusiasm from her country.
"We're... the people of the Philippines supports us, 1000%. They're there to protect you, to help you, to guide you, everything. Pray for you, feed you if they can. That's how much love I get from the Philippines, that's why, I think that's why I was so inspired, so motivated to just have fun," Santiago said.
Santiago sought inspiration from a recent visit to cities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, dedicating her speech to those still suffering in her home country.
"And before I came here I went to one of the cities that was devastated by the Typhoon Haiyan and I think that was a turning point of why I won because that experience gave me the biggest inspiration. My speech was for them, my pageant, this whole time was dedicated for the people who suffered," Santiago said.
Responding to the media about the negative criticism beauty pageants receive regarding body image and depth of character, Santiago replied that they were more than just a 'stage presence' and that she sought to use her title as Miss International to bring about change.
"I mean I am actually very happy that you gave this opportunity for us so that you can, you know us better because we're more than just a stage presence, we can talk and we can walk the talk also. So I hope that you wait and be patient for the next year that we're going to be working on our responsibility because we are actually thinking of doing more," Santiago said.
Sixty-seven countries and territories sent representatives to the Tokyo pageant.