Christopher and Sandy’s daughter snags title on second try
Maria Angelica “Mariel” de Leon is definitely on her way to making a name outside her famous parents’ showbiz fame after winning the Binibining Pilipinas-International on Sunday night’s pageant.
The 23-year-old, 5’8” stunner is the daughter of veteran actors Christopher De Leon and Sandy Andolong, and is a second-timer in the country’s premiere beauty contest.
Her beauty undeniable, she also held her own at the all-important question-and-answer portion when asked to name an activity perceived to be male-oriented, but which she can do just as well if not better than the opposite sex.
She replied, “I think I can box better than males,” adding, “I believe I can do anything better than males because it isn’t about gender at all. It’s about your abilities, your strengths, your weaknesses and your confidence within yourself. And with that, you can achieve anything.”
With the Binibining Pilipinas-International title came a P500,000-contract from Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI), a P500,000 endorsement contract, and complete wardrobe sponsorship from BPCI among other prizes.
De Leon also snagged special awards, namely Miss Cream Silk and Best in Long Gown.
The mestiza beauty first tried her luck in Binibining Pilipinas in 2013, achieving a Top 15 finish under the guidance of talent management agency Aces and Queens. In 2015, she signed up with Viva Entertainment as a member of singing group, The Opera Belles.
According to her biography on the pageant’s website, de Leon finished high school at Southville International School, and took up a culinary course in New Zealand where her eldest brother lives.
Asked in previous interviews why she decided to join Binibining Pilipinas again after four years, she replied, “It was this just this year when I realized that I should try [it]again. I was definitely inspired by Pia [Wurtzbach] and I felt something in my heart…like a spark that just went off.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with ABS-CBN, which carried the delayed telecast of the pageant, de Leon’s famous father admitted he prayed hard for her daughter to win Binibining Pilipinas-International.
Boyet, as he is fondly called in showbiz circles was quoted, “This is the most exciting time of my life. I am so proud of her. I’ve been dreaming of this. I’ve been wanting something really, really good for Mariel.”
Meanwhile, her mom who was initially not very keen on the idea of de Leon joining the pageant again, joyfully exclaimed, “She’s a princess. She’s our princess. Now she’s a queen. This is very special. This has been her dream. Second time na nga and finally, she won. She really prepared for this. Talagang determined,” she said.
Given her parents’ all-out support, the dutiful daughter took a moment during her victory to acknowledge them: “Thank you nanay, tatay for all the love and support that you’ve given me since birth. I love you so much and this one’s for you,” she said.