The first and last “most successful” Miss World was Aishwarya Rai in 1994. Will this Filipina top the Indian actress’ humanitarian efforts as this generation’s BEST embodiment of “Beauty with a Purpose”?
HER reign as Miss World 2013 has been “one of the best” in the history of the oldest surviving major international beauty pageant – which is why Filipina Megan Young, 25, is extending her stint with Miss World until 2016. While Miss World winners continue to do work for the organisation a year after their reign, an extension like Megan’s – two more years after she has “graduated” from Miss World – is a rare occurrence.
To clarify, there is a new Miss World 2014 – Rolene Strauss of South Africa – but Miss World is keen to continue to put Megan side-by-side the current winner as its (other) ambassador of “Beauty with a Purpose”, the slogan of the 64-year-old pageant, which has taken a more philanthropic route in the last few decades.
A Filipina with a Purpose
During Megan’s reign as Miss World 2013, she has helped raise over US$2 million to donate Typhoon Yolanda victims in the Philippines after a month-long fundraising for different causes supported by the organisation.
The beauty queen also experienced firsthand the dangers from which the Miss World’s “Beauty with a Purpose” program hopes to save one of its beneficiaries, a Haitian orphanage. Besieged by 20-plus excited orphans, Megan – and the terrified children – fell through the second floor of the ramshackle orphanage.
“What if we hadn’t been there at that time? What if this accident happened without people to help these kids? [That’s when I realised] I’m here [as Miss World] for a reason… to do something useful. Somehow… I was in the right place at exactly the right time,” said Megan in a speech at Oxford University, relating the harrowing experience where she managed to hold up a heavy wooden decking to stop it from crushing the kids.
“Risks have to be made to get to where you want to be and to achieve what you want in life.” This was what Megan told herself when she had to choose between her acting career and joining Miss World two years ago. And if she had not listened to herself, she would not be where she is now – a woman poised to be a charismatic instrument of charity for the beneficiaries of Miss World’s humanitarian program, and an influential model, and hopefully, a strong voice for women – Filipinas, in particular.
After all, like millions of Filipinas in and outside the Philippines, Megan was once the underdog, in terms of beauty and even in her acting career. But her perseverance to be “more than she is” and resilience – both literally and figuratively speaking – without losing her “genuine core” as a simple and grounded individual, have brought her to heights she never imagined, and possibly more, if she continues on the humanitarian path she’s recently paved for herself.
She is showing the world – and her fellow Filipinas – that in having the courage to “take the opportunity” to better herself, and her lot, she would be afforded to “give more generously” (the story of every OFW’s life) to those who need it the most.
“Risks have to be made to get to whereyou want to be and to achieve what you want in life."