Rachel Peters out to win the ‘Universe’

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Smart and sexy Filipina is making waves in Las Vegas; pageant websites place PH bet in Top 10 of possible winners

After Pia Wurtzbach’s win as Miss Universe 2015 and Maxine Medina’s Top 6 finish at the pageant’s 2016 edition in Manila back in January, all eyes—and hopes—are now on Rachel Peters as she represents the Philippines in Sunday night’s pageant (Monday morning local time) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 66th edition of the world’s most prestigious beauty contest gathers 92 candidates at Planet Hollywood’s The Axis with Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere of France ready to crown her successor.

At the preliminary competition this week, Peters wore a very adventurous number for the National Costume competition—a Sarimanok headpiece, a golden two-piece swimsuit with a train that transforms into wings, and knee-high golden boots.


Designer Val Taguba’s unique take on Peters’ entry for the national costume competition

In a Twitter post Peters said of her costume, “A modern twist of the legendary Sarimanok. A symbol of good fortune for the Maranao people.”

She credited designer Val Taguba for her outfit and Jojo Bragais for the shoes.

In the swimsuit and long gown competitions, Peters drew the loudest cheers with throngs of Filipinos who came to support her, many of whom traveled all the way from neighboring state California.

She sashayed in her signature “infinity walk,” which she told The Manila Times has been dubbed so because she sways “from side to side like the infinity sign.”

“Tonight was sooo much fun! Shoutout to all the Filipinos who were there for me. I seriously felt the love and have been all week. Thank you to all my kababayans around the world for your relentless support, votes and prayers! I appreciate you all,” Peters posted again, garnering 16,212 likes just an hour after uploading her photo.

During her sendoff, Peters said that among the candidates she believes Miss Thailand and Miss South Africa will be her toughest competitors.

Five days before the preliminaries, Peters posted a photo with Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, captioning it: “The Peters. Finally a picture with my sister from another mister, and one of the most beautiful women I’ve met. We were matching too [same style and color]!”

Peters told The Manila Times before leaving for the US that she worked very hard to prepare for the contest; this despite all the bashing she had to endure on social media. Nevertheless, the British-Filipina beauty left the country 100-percent optimistic for a win.

Nationwide support
In her video introduction for the pageant, Peters talked about surfing in Camarines Sur where her boyfriend Miguel Luis “Migs” Villafuerte is governor.

Her motivation to compete, she said, is overwhelming support from home.

“I have the whole Philippines behind me. They inspire me, they motivate me. Even when I’m tired and I’m jet-lagged, reading their messages make me want to get up and do good for them,” Peters said.

Indeed, right after the preliminaries, Filipino celebrities took to social media to support Peters, encouraging their followers to do the same, especially since the candidate with the most number of votes via Twitter and Facebook will advance to the Top 6. (See sidebar).

Go Rachel, go
The 5’8” beauty was born in Bahrain to British national Nigel Peters and Annie Obregon of Camarines Sur. She has a younger sibling named Daniel.

Her parents currently live in Thailand where Peters graduated from Phuket’s British International School, before completing a Business degree from Australia’s La Trobe University.

Peters joined Miss World Philippines in 2014, placing 4th Princess to Valerie Weigmann.

She was crowned Miss Universe Philippines on April 30 along with Elizabeth Clenci as Binibining Pilipinas Grand International (who placed 2nd Runner-Up to Miss Peru in Vietnam), Nelda Ibe as Binibining Pilipinas Globe (who placed 1st Runner-Up to Miss Vietnam in Albania), Mariel de Leon as Binibining Pilipinas International (who failed to advance to the Top 15 in Japan), Chanel Olive Thomas as Binibining Pilipinas Supranational (who will compete in Poland on December 1); and Katarina Rodriguez as Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental (who is the last to compete internationally on January 26 in Egypt).

Should Peters win, she will be the fourth Filipina Miss Universe after Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margarita Moran in 1973 and Wurtzbach in 2015.

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