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Agnes’ story – The first Filipino woman in Miss England’s history to advance to finals

By 22nd April 2024 No Comments

Creative, curious, and adventurous –the three words that would best describe myself. I was born in Manila, Philippines in 1997, and with my family in 2002 I would move from the beautiful tropics of the Philippines to England after my mum was offered a job as a nurse. I was one of the first three contestants to be announced in the Miss England semi-finals in 2023 after taking part in the year’s first Virtual Heat; I placed 2nd and was selected for an interview with the judges via Zoom. In this interview, I expressed my role model being Michelle Yeoh – former Miss Malaysia 1983 and Academy Award Winner. After a delay, I competed in the contest’s semi-finals in Blackpool on Sunday 7th April 2024 and won the Top Fundraiser Award after raising over £1,200 for Beauty With A Purpose and PAPYRUS, advancing myself to the finals and making me the first Filipino woman in history to be crowned a finalist. Growing up, I had my share of challenges that shaped me into the woman I’ve become today; from learning to speak, read and write English, to being racially discriminated because I looked different to others around me. Much like my idol Michelle being labelled a “minority”, I often questioned whether I would ever be good enough for anything. But I’ve always kept a positive mind; in 2013 I finished secondary school with grades A* – C in creative subjects such as English, Art, and Graphic Design. My creative flair led me to take Art and Design in college and finished in 2015, then taking an interest in Fashion, which I concluded her studies by graduating with a second-class degree in Fashion Design at Cambridge School of Art in Anglia Ruskin University in 2020, during lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic. I took my creative skills and made my own dress for the semi-finals as part of my talent entry in the Miss England contest!

Agnes competing in the Miss England semi-final

Agnes’ digital art illustration of Paul Atreides

Pageantry was definitely not in my bingo card for 2023. At the end of 2022, I made the new year’s resolution of doing something outside my comfort zone; throughout my life, I’ve seen Filipino women such as Megan Young (Miss World 2013), Pia Wurtzbach (Miss Universe 2015), and Catriona Gray (Miss Universe 2018) take the world by storm by entering pageantry and making my birth country proud— “maybe that could be me?” I said to myself. One online application and fast forward 15 months later, I become a Miss England finalist!

If I were to win the Miss England title, I want to encourage and inspire women to embrace their inner creativity, curiosity, and adventurousness. The world is ever-changing, and something as beautiful as writing fiction or poetry, painting, sewing, songwriting, playing instruments, drawing, etc. can be a louder voice than speaking. I want to be able to represent the voices that have a thousand words to say but would rather paint a picture to depict their feelings. I want to inspire women that sometimes looking different to others around them is what makes them unique and beautiful, and that a leap of faith out of their comfort zone can open so many doors and bless them with opportunities and the support of so many others on the same path.

I want to take the opportunity on this platform to thank a number of people, because without their support I wouldn’t have come this far… to my family; mum, dad, Greg, Robert, Cherry, and Daisy. My amazing partner Robbie, and his family: Bridgett, Chris, and Brooklyn. To Kemppi; for sponsoring me in the contest. And lastly my girls; Amy, Laura, Grace, Emily, Pati, May, Katie, and Steph <3