Miss Philippine Quest USA 2014

Article By Joy Chiang Ling
Photo credit Xue Liang

The first ever Miss Philippines Quest USA contestants were unveiled in New York this Friday, June 27th 2014. Ten beautiful and talented Filipino-American women aged between 17 and 24 showcased their skills and intelligence in front of a panel of three judges and an audience. The contest was divided by a Q&A and talent performance.

The first contestant was Alexa Kirby, an 18-year-old high school graduate from Romansville, Pennsylvania. When she was asked, “What do you think of reality TV shows like Teen Mom turning pregnant teenagers into celebrities?” she answered that “she didn’t like it” but she also believes that “it helps show the hardships of being a teen mother.”

The second contestant was Norella Nacis, 24-year-old Miss Earth Philippines-Miss Friendship 2011 from Passaic, New Jersey. For her performance, she performed a pop/house dance and sported a sparkling dress. When asked what some of her stress-relieving hobbies were, she replied that she “loved to hang out with her mom.”

The third contestant, Isabella Estella, is a 24-year-old internationally educated public relations and marketing practitioner as well as a filmmaker. Her performance was a monologue/skit about love and heartbreak. When asked if transgendered people should be allowed to enter pageants, she answered, “Yes, because people should be allowed to follow their dreams. Equality for all.”

The fourth contestant was Misook Mendoza, a 20-year-old nursing student at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She performed a ballroom dance with her partner, Oman Mierza. When asked, “What would you look forward to most about being Miss Philippines USA?” she answered that she looks forward to “representing women and being a strong role model for girls in the Philippines.”

Contestant number five was Jenica Balmes, a 24-year old with a B.S. in psychology from Holy Family University in Pennsylvania. She performed a jazz dance for the audience, and when asked to name one inspirational female figure and explain what she would discuss with her, Balmes answered, “Ellen Degeneres. We would discuss poverty, which is a topic special to me because I care a lot about the poor and their children.”

Contestant six was Melissa Ocampo, a 24-year-old CBS Sports’ production assistant from Levittown, New York. The question she was given was: “If ignorance is bliss, why do humans pursue knowledge?” Her response was, “Because we need to gain knowledge for our family, and to know what we want to do in life.”

The seventh contestant, Erin Manansala, is a 19-year-old freshman at Fairleigh Dickinson University from Garfield, New York. A member of the press in the audience asked her, “Why did you wear black tonight?” to which she spiritedly answered, “Because it makes me look slimmer, and it’s a soothing color that matches my skin tone.”

Contestant eight was Shina Langat, an 18-year-old upcoming criminal justice student at Farmingdale State University in Long Island, New York. She sang and danced to Whitney Houston’s song, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” A member of the press asked her a challenging question: “What do you think should be done to prevent gun violence?” to which she responded: “We must add laws to the constitution and enforce gun safety.”

Contestant number nine was Dominique Ivory, a 22-year-old music and journalism student at Farmingdale State University in Long Island, New York. She played a song on the violin titled “Stardust.” When one of the judges asked her, “If you could have one secret power, what would it be?” She answered, “I would like to fly because I hate driving.”

Finally, contestant ten was Danielle Savitsky, a 19-year-old junior at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. For her performance, she did a Filipino folk dance called Asik. It is a solo dance traditionally performed by slave maidens waiting for their masters. When asked who her role model is, she responded, “My mother, because she is a strong woman who endured many hardships. She is also a breast cancer survivor.”

Miss Philippine Quest USA was made possible by its co-producer and creative director, Izza Dungca, Synergy Production & Marketing inc., One10 Collection, MS Event Solutions and the family and friends of the people who participated in the competition.

MISS PHILIPPINES QUEST- USA is set on July 12, 2014 at Symphony Space in Manhattan. The winner will travel to Philippines and compete for the Miss World Philippines title.

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