TOKYO: A Philippines beauty queen has been crowned Miss International in a pageant marred by allegations of intimidation that kept her predecessor away — pledging to use her title to help victims of the country’s devastating typhoon.
“This is my dream. Thank you Japan for giving it to me,” an ecstatic Bea Rose Santiago said at the event, held late Tuesday in Tokyo.
“I’m going to use my crown and my title to help the victims” of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which raked the Philippines last month, leaving nearly 8,000 people dead or missing.
“So this is actually for my province, and this is for the Philippines.”
Santiago was selected from among 67 candidates representing countries and regions of the world.
In a break with pageant custom, she was crowned by Spain’s 2008 Miss International and not by her immediate predecessor, who stayed away from the glitzy show.
“I really wanted to meet her,” the new beauty queen said. “It was very unfortunate because I really wanted to meet last year’s winner also.”
Outgoing title-holder Japanese Ikumi Yoshimatsu told foreign journalists this week in Tokyo that she had been asked by organisers to stay away from the final.
Yoshimatsu said since winning she has faced a running battle to maintain her independence from the management agencies that form the backbone of Japan’s entertainment industry.
She said a senior executive at one agency had been in touch with her on many occasions. After she had repeatedly rebuffed him, he telephoned the main sponsor of the Miss International competition, she said.
As a result, the Miss International office in Tokyo began “instructing me, to ‘play sick,’ ‘keep quiet’ and not to attend the world final pageant here in Tokyo… to pass on my crown to my successor,” she said.
A local tabloid magazine has reported the executive of the management agency denying he was carrying out any campaign of harassment, saying that he was involved in a separate dispute with Yoshimatsu’s agent over money.
Before the pageant starts, the Miss International Organization was rocked with a scandal when reigning Miss International queen Ikumi Yoshimatsu filed a criminal complaint against a top agency executive for stalking, intimidation, extortion and obstruction of business. The alleged executive is Genichi Taniguchi, and according Yoshimatsu threatened her life after she refused to sign Burning Productions, a major film company.
Because of this scandal, Yoshimatsu was stripped with her crown and was banned for this year’s Miss International coronation night. She is supposed to crown the new queen and pass her responsibility as Miss International the new queen but because of this recent event she wasn’t allowed to set foot in the pageant’ final night for the scandal might overshadow the show.
The annual international beauty pageant is a part of the Big Four international beauty pageant, including Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Earth. For this year’s pageant, the 72 candidates has been involved in a series of pre-pageant activities including a tour of Tokyo, know-how of sushi, Japanese traditional dance training, an introduction to the art of Ikebana and a tour of the Imperial Palace.
Miss Philippines Bea Rose Santiago the new Miss International 2013 will serve as the “Ambassadors of Peace and Beauty” as she will be symbol for beauty, friendship and intelligence. The new queen will also demonstrate tenderness, benevolence and the ability to take action to promote world peace, understanding and goodwill.
Miss New Zealand Casey Radley second runner-up and Miss Netherlands Natalie den Dekker is the first runner-up.
The Best in National Costume goes to Miss Aruba Erialda Croes, Miss Lithuania Elma Segzdaviciute is Miss Photogenic, Miss Friendship is awarded to New Zealand Casey Radley and Miss Macau Adela Ka-Wai Sou won the Miss Internet Award.
Miss Puerto Rico
Miss New Zealand
Miss Malaysia International 2013 was represented by Charissa Chong from Kuala Lumpur, who also the winner for Miss Malaysia Globe 2013.