Mariel de Leon affirms Catriona Gray deserves the Best in Swimsuit award she won at the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 pageant last March 18.
The award became controversial when two former beauty queens, Maggie Wilson and Bea Rose Santiago, posted on social media that Catriona did not have the best body to deserve it.
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For Mariel, who is Bb. Pilipinas-International 2017, the special award does not entirely depend on body shape.
“Through pageants kasi, we realize that Best in Swimsuit isn’t always about just the body.
“It’s about the overall girl, how she carries herself and it’s about her confidence.
“She deserves it because you could really tell she gave this awesome performance,” Mariel told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at her contract signing with Regal Entertainment, Tuesday, March 27.
Mariel, a victim herself of body-shaming who now promotes self-love, says people should look beyond the physical.
“I always talk about loving your body no matter what shape, what size and always loving yourself.
“I think that sets a good example not concentrating on just the body."
Referring to the Best in Swimsuit award, she said, “It’s really about the girl and we should stop concentrating on the shape, how skinny someone is.
“It may be a beauty pageant, but times have changed. It’s different now.”
A few days ago, another beauty queen, Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental 2017 Katarina Rodriguez, and a batchmate of Mariel, said in an interview that Catriona is also deserving of the award.
Apart from Best in Swimsuit, Catriona also bagged four special awards at the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 pageant.