PH representative Imelda Schweighart is up against Sweden’s Cloie Skarne—KC Concepcion’s half sis
Gorgeous and towering women from 83 countries are currently in the Philippines to vie for the Miss Earth crown in what organizers promise to be a spectacular pageant on October 29 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The beauty contest with an environmental advocacy held the presentation of its candidates at the poolside of Diamond Hotel on Tuesday, with four emerging as early winners for the Darling of the Press titles. A tie for the gold medal was given for the first time to Miss Ecuador and Miss Philippines. Miss Venezuela and Miss USA won the silver and bronze, respectively.
Reigning Miss Earth Angelia Ong of the Philippines co-hosted the press presentation with Miss Earth Air 2012 Stephany Stefanowitz.
There are actually two Filipinas in the contest this year. Besides Miss Philippines, Miss Sweden Cloie Skarne, is Filipino by blood and strongly resembles singer-actress KC Concepcion as they are actually half-sisters.
Cloie is the daughter of actor Gabby Concepcion by Jenny Syquia but has taken on the last name of her Swedish adoptive father; while KC is Concepcion’s daughter by Sharon Cuneta. With her showbiz lineage, Cloie naturally commanded much interest during the press presentation.
Asked if she speaks Filipino, she told The Manila Times, “Konti lang po [Just a little].” To the follow up question on whether she plans joining local showbiz like her biological dad, mom and sister, she added, “About joining showbiz here, I really haven’t considered it yet as my focus is on the contest. Maybe, just maybe, when Miss Earth is over and when I have fulfilled my obligations as Miss Sweden [I’ll give it some thought].”
The Philippines’ candidate, meanwhile, is half German-half Filipino Imelda Schweighart, who was unable to escape questions regarding her remarks online likening President Duterte to Adolf Hitler.
During a live Facebook interview with Miss Austria’s delegate, Schweighart said, “Our president is doing Hitler stuff in the Philippines,” after she asking if the German Nazi was indeed from Austria. The exchange drew much bashing on social media forcing Schweighart to apologize on the same social network platform, explaining she was just “being a kid expressing [her]thoughts.”
She added at the press conference, “I support Duterte in all of his endeavors. And I hope you [referring to the President’s supporters]find forgiveness in your hearts because I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. Sorry. I just see headlines and I just said it. I didn’t mean it to be like this. I’m sorry.”
Moving on from the controversy, The Manila Times asked Schweighart how confident she is of a three peat win at the pageant what with the Philippines bagging the title in 2014 and 2015 with Jamie Herrell and Ong, respectively.
“We cannot say, but I’m prepared [for the pageant], and I’ll do my best for the country,” she told The Manila Times.
Meanwhile, Carousel Productions’ Judith Reyes brushed aside the notion that a Miss Philippines win in a contest that has origins in the country, and is often held here lacks credibility.
“It is a contest and there are judges. Miss Earth has been credible right from the very start—there’s an auditing firm [SGV] that does the computation. Who deserves to win is proclaimed the winner, regardless of the country,” she said.
Since its inception in 2001, Miss Earth has emerged as one of the “Big Four” pageants in the world in terms of prestige and number of delegates, after Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss International. The first time that the Philippines won the title was in 2008 with Karla Henry. The pageant has been held outside the country twice, in Vietnam in 2010 and in Austria in 2015.
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ARLO CUSTODIO