Back in my day, there were only two types of women: the beautiful ones and the smart ones. During the heyday of the early 2000s, there was no way you could be both (you can just ask Regina George if you don’t believe me). Today, I am glad that more and more women are for each other instead of against each other. The labels are crossed and in this era of feminism, women can literally be anything.
Just like Jian Salazar who holds the 2016 Miss Bicolandia title and a 2015 runner up for Miss Philippines Earth.
The beauty queen recalls that she mostly kept to herself in college when her dean encouraged her to join the university pageant, “I was what others would define as chubby. I never really imagined walking or even speaking in front of a crowd. But I took the chance and was discovered by my handler, Mommy Apple who later on encouraged me to join several pageants.”
After winning several crowns, she is most proud of her Miss Bicolandia title because as she would put it, “Bicolanos take pageants seriously.”
She goes on to debunk myths about beauty queens, “Initially, I wasn’t someone who would put much interest in the pageant scene until I myself got involved in it. Being completely submerged in different pageants opened my eyes to the fact that it’s more than just being pretty. I admire them because of the effort and work they put in to win. It’s not just about physical beauty because it takes a lot more to be a woman that is worthy to look up to.”
She goes on to add, “As I navigated through the ins and outs of the industry, I came to realize the importance of the intangibles that come to play – the courage and the undeniable confidence that is in every contestant.”
She goes on to emphasize on the importance of depth, of being a well-rounded and empowered woman who uses her talents not just to better herself but those around her as well, “Being selfless is one of the greatest things I’ve learned, to do good, no matter how big or small because we have many opportunities to do so.”
For Jian, her biggest advocacy is to make women everywhere feel like beauty queens too. The self-confessed “jill of all trades” recently put up her own business venture, Jicaresa, the dress for queens to fulfill this personal advocacy of hers, “Our vision is to make women everywhere feel like they are queens regardless of figure, size, age, and yes, even gender.”
It was her own personal pageant experiences that helped inspire Jicaresa, “I remember having trouble finding the perfect dress and it wasn’t just me, it was all the candidates. That’s when I realized that each women is unique and that should be celebrated by the clothes that they wear.”
She goes on to say, “I’ve always envisioned dresses that would transcend the barriers of beauty and confidence and although the line was inspired by ‘beauty queens’ doesn’t mean it’s limited to them. I think that every woman is a beauty queen in their own right and these dresses aim to make them feel that way. The dresses are elegant, classy, affordable, and designed to empower them.”
When asked what makes one beautiful more than just skin deep, she responds with a genuine smile, “As what my mentor used to say, everything you do should always be done from the heart. To be beautiful does not require physical looks. What makes you loved and respected by people is the kind of person you are – compassionate, loving, and most of all, a blessing to other people.”
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