The crown may have been out of reach, but for Beatrice Luigi Gomez, the friendships formed and sisterhood strengthened from Miss Universe was a triumph in itself.
If Miss Congeniality, the seminal classic comedy, taught us anything, it is that beauty pageants are never what it seems. From the outside looking in, it is every inch graceful, glistening, and glamorous, what with the towering heels, kilometric trains of bedazzled fabric, and smiles that can light up an entire, well, universe. However, as Gracie Hart (or as we know her, Miss New Jersey, Gracie Lou Freebush) learned, what is essential to the Olympics of beauty and purpose is the empowerment of women, and what would prove to be far more precious than the crown, bonds that would last them a lifetime.
Sure, we were taught how to sing (aka the self-defense technique focused on the solar plexus, in step, nose, and groin), that hairspray stops the swimsuit from riding up, and never to mess anyone with little to no sleep and gel in their hair, but most importantly, that friendships are one of the good things that come out of the competition for the crown. “I came here and I realized that these women are smart, terrific people who are just trying to make a difference in the world,” answers Gracie Hart when asked about her thoughts on those convinced that beauty pageants are outdated and anti-feminist. “And we’ve become really good friends.”
Whether one likes to admit it or not, the energy towards beauty pageants can get pretty heated and often uncalled for, especially from some of the onlookers with a seemingly misplaced sense of aggression. While the comments section or timelines on social media becomes a war zone of opinions, hot takes, and fearless forecasts, the beauty queens competing in the pageant are actually having the time of their lives representing the colors of their country and forming a sisterhood. Because really, isn’t that what it’s all about in this day and age?
Queen Things Only
In the recently concluded Miss Universe 2021, Miss Philippines Beatrice Luigi Gomez was a spectacular, stunning sight, sauntering her way to a stellar top five finish. While this was arguably one of our strongest showings in recent years, the crown remained at arms length. However, despite the big win being elusive, there was a lot to celebrate from Eilat, Israel, because judging by what we’ve been seeing emerge all over social media, there was a lot of friendships to go around, especially when it came to our very own Beatrice Luigi Gomez. By all accounts, the competition at Miss Universe was fierce, the best in years many attest, but so was the sisterhood.
From chance encounters at connecting flights, roommate bonds, and the friendships formed during the blur of pre-pageant activities, the manifestations of sisterhood was something to look forward to at Miss Universe. For Beatrice Luigi Gomez, it seemed clear that she and Miss Singapore, Nandita Banna, would be close friends throughout, which would prove fortuitous as they were paired as roomies, and in a supervised group together with Miss Nepal and the eventual winner, Miss India. “Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a competition. It just feels like we’re all here to have fun and enjoy and make friends,” asserted Beatrice Luigi Gomez in a rare Instagram Live. “We really are all sisters here.”
Proving that this sisterhood was not just for show, it would later on be revealed how much they helped each other in the wringer of the Miss Universe competition. In the case of Beatrice Luigi Gomez and Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu, they had each other’s back very early on. “Knowing Harnaaz na she only wants to do her best all the time, so ‘pag minsan nakikita namin na nahihirapan siya, tinutulungan namin siya,” she shared in an interview, detailing how she would share her steamer in the time of Miss India’s need. “So, I told her, when we met, I’m so proud of her, and she’s very grateful na I was there when she needed help…naghihiraman kami ng mga gamit, nagtutulungan kami.”
The Sisterhood Is Strong
There were a lot of instances that showed how much the sisterhood at Miss Universe 2021 was really strong. From Beatrice Luigi Gomez and Miss Armenia Nane Avetisyan roughing it up in the terrains of Israel, Miss Bahamas helping her put on a pair of earrings during crunch time, and even the heartwarming hug she gave Miss Colombia seconds after they weren’t called for the top three, there was really a lot of love, respect, and care to go around. It comes to no surprise then when Nandita Banna and Beatrice Luigi Gomez joked that they would just keep getting together with their batch of sisters for as long as they can.
“We were joking that each year we’ll do a reunion because we’ll just come back and our own Miss Universe 2021 part one, Miss Universe 2021 part two…and we’ll keep doing that until…” quipped Nandita before Beatrice finished her sentence with “we’re old?” To which they both laughed like friends who have known each other for a long while. More than the giggles, it really is always inspiring to see queens supporting each other, especially in the perceived heat of the moment. Clearly, they weren’t affected by the competition, because here they were, sharing snacks (hello, Miss Vietnam), swapping stories, and sticking up for each other to the very end.
The sisterhood that would grow each day during time at Miss Universe 2021 was so solid that when asked who she would like to take to Cebu given that she could only choose five, Beatrice Luigi Gomez balked and said, “Mahirap po ‘yan kasi marami po akong friends sa delegates.” But eventually, she named Miss India, Miss Vietnam, Miss Singapore, Miss Nepal, and Miss Armenia. Okay, so a proper Instagram Live is in order when that happens, ladies.
Crown or no crown, it only makes complete sense that these women would find solace and comfort in each other, because aside from the communal experience of the competition, it is surprising similarities, the stories of empowerment, and the sisterhood gained from Miss Universe that is celebrated and nurtured. All things aside, this really is the beauty of the pageants, women coming together for women, period.