When Bb. Pilipinas International winner Melody Gersbach was eight years old, she won second-runner up in a beauty pageant for young girls in Germany. Now at 23, can the half-German, half-Pinoy stunner bring home to the country the coveted Miss International crown?
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) had a chance to talk to Melody this morning, November 9, at Heat Restaurant in Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, and she said she's positive she could duplicate the success of actress Precious Lara Quigaman, who won the title in 2005.
"Hopefully, mauuwi ko na yung Miss International crown after Lara Quigaman. Positive naman attitude ko for this pageant," Melody said.
Melody will compete against 69 women from other countries in the 49th Miss International beauty pageant, which will be staged in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. She will fly to the venue on Thursday, November 12, to prepare for the finale on November 28.
To win the title, the beauty queen said she had been going through several training sessions.
"Complete preparation in terms of walking, public speaking, reviewing the Philippine history, kasama rin 'yon. Back to school meron din kami. Makeup training... marami pang iba," she said.
She had also been studying how she can relate to the other contestants.
"Napag-aralan ko rin yung mga ibang candidates ko. And three of them, may mga similarities akong maio-open-up sa kanila. For example, Ms. Mexico, she joined last year's Ms. World, and was a friend of Ms. Philippines, they were close. So may something in common. I'm half-German, I can talk to the Europeans, specially Ms. Germany. And then Ms. USA is Filipina, so something in common din. So kahit papano, may connections ako with the candidates. Pinag-aaralan ko sila at yung mga puwede kong gawin," she said.
But in the end, Melody said her strategy is to stay "true" to herself.
"I will show myself, kung sino ako. Ie-enjoy ko lang. I won't show any lack of confidence. I'll enjoy every experience and try to make friends with other countries," she said.
BUSINESSWOMAN BEAUTY. Melody's family owns Gasthof, a restaurant famous for its baby back ribs. That's why Melody is very business-oriented.
"More of business-minded din kasi ako. 'Cause right after my college days, I went straight to the family business e," she said.
In fact, one aunt had to "push" her before she started joining pageants again. The effort was not for naught—Melody easily won two consecutive pageants in her hometown in Albay, before copping a spot in BB. Pilipinas 2009.
To win Miss International, contestants must present to the judges a comprehensive plan of how they would promote their advocacy during their one-year reign. Melody said her own advocacy is education.
"For Miss International, there's no question and answer portion. There's only a part where we give our speech, on what we would do as Miss International. For me, I would like to focus [on] education, no matter what," she said.
To carry out her plan, she said she wants to build or rehabilitate schools for children in the country and around the world.
"Basically, yung gusto kong gawin for education is to try to build schools for the less fortunate children, or rebuild those schools that were destroyed during the typhoons that came to the Philippines," she said.
To ultimately achieve this goal, Melody said she needs support from other Pinoys.
"To all my Filipino countrymen, please support me through prayers. Your presence doesn't have to be there in China, but your prayers are truly powerful for my success in the pageant," she said.