Words | Flor Leaño
A VICTOR IN TOWN
Undeniably looks regal. Every move she made during the photo shoot could make it to the magazine’s cover. It is not surprising though, especially that she was crowned Binibining Pilipinas-World in 2007. She must know every fab move for the cam to capture.
At first, Maggie will give you the impression of a “damsel in distress,” like the other pretty faces in Tinseltown. But as her story unfolds, she will leave everyone in awesome admiration. She may not have the looks for it, but she can be the epitome of strength and determination; yet she is not in any way intimidating like other beauty queens with a prima donna attitude. She even talks gay lingo, like charot, and is not at all shy about it.
The former beauty queen compares the blossoming of her career to the advent of spring, likens it to a rose that begins its life as a bud and that slowly unfolds into one lovely flower. The success she enjoys now came from hard work blended with her innate ability to strategize. She was a dark horse in The Amazing Race Asia Season 5. Nobody would have thought that she and her partner Parul Shah who was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Tourism in 2014, would win the race.
Here is more of her inspiring story that is worth being written in a book.
Maggie never seems to run out of energy and takes on opportunities with commendable zest. Before competing in The Amazing Race, she watched over 120 episodes of the show’s previous seasons, with versions from the US, Canada, and Asia, to get some clues on the tasks waiting for her. “In The Amazing Race, your inner strength naturally comes out. You’ve got to give it a serious thought and lay out plans to win. You will be judged on how fit and clever you are,” she explained.
She and her partner travelled six countries and twelve cities. They raced over 12,000 kilometers, had to eat exotic food and did incredibly difficult tasks. Nonetheless, her queenly poise remained even under extreme pressure. “They expected me to be the first one to cry and back out especially when we had to eat something funky, but since I am naturally competitive, I proved them wrong. I will never go into a competition not wanting to win. If that meant shaving my head, I would shave my head by all means,” she said with all conviction.
As she recounted the tasks she had to go through, one would feel how sweet the victory was. “Many times, I woke up with body pains and still had to go through the unexpected routes and challenges for the day. Add to this the fact that I could not call home and did not have money at all. But you see, all the tough challenges made joining the race more deeply fulfilling,” she exclaimed.
More importantly, Maggie said that her most astounding feat was being able to prove that beauty queens are more than just being fit and fab. “Joining The Amazing Race confirmed that beauty queens also work and strive hard to win. We can be active and competitive yet remain beautiful,” she pointed out.
Most of the time, people think that beauty queens can’t be dared to do something physically and mentally demanding, but Maggie and her partner changed these misconceptions. “Even the producers thought we would quit and would never survive,” she revealed.
“Classics never go out of style. People often love wearing trendy fashion, but sometimes it does not really t them. Although I love Mango and Top Shop, I like to buy something worn by just few girls in town.”
Just recently, she received a message from one of the producers of The Amazing Race America congratulatingherandParulfortheirperformance as they were able to finish the competition with cleverness and grace. And because of this, they were able to change the way beauty queens are perceived— now, this is the change that beauty queens need to keep proving.
ON KEEPING HER LOOKS
Maggie’s skin looks supple and fresh, of course. Not even a trace of stress can be seen although she is busy with her commitments. Thanks to the Caveman Power Diet, also known as Paleolithic Diet, which does not include grains or bread and entails munching on greens, fruit, honeyandleanmeat.Itincreasesenergyand the ability to burn fat while strengthening one’s immune system and making the skin clear and glowing. Maggie also shuns away from soda and has never had a drop of it in ten years. She avoids powdered juices and recommends a heavy dose of water. In particular, she suggests drinking alkaline or distilled water.
“I’d like to visit my dermatologist at the very least once every two weeks to make sure that my skin is nice and prepped. I recently bought a whole bunch of face masks and put them on my face every night,” she shared. She is not picky when it comes to the brand of her face masks, but she loves those that contain hyaluronic acid, which has powerful anti-aging properties and hydrates the skin, even the oily, sensitive, or breakout-prone skin. She also likes face masks with mandelic acid which is a go-to anti-ageing ingredient that accelerates cell renewal and removes dead skin. She said that there is nothing wrong with drugstore beauty products as long as one knows the ingredients that get into their skin.
For her ultimate beauty tip, she said: “Less is more. I don’t bombard my skin with a lot of cream.” However, Maggie can’t live without her lip liner and lipstick; although she can survive without her mascara. She also uses a mousse kind of blush, and as long as she has her blush and lipstick, she is good to go, proving that she lives on the principle of “less is more.”
With regard to what she wears, Maggie goes for classic but sexy cuts and pieces. “Classics never go out of style. People often love wearing trendy fashion, but sometimes it does not really fit them,” she said. Although she loves Mango and Top Shop, she likes to buy something worn by just few girls in town. One of her favorite local designers is Mark Bumgarner who happens to be a good friend. She was one of his first muses when he was just starting. She also likes Charina Sarte because of her relaxed style and boho designs and Patty Ang for her classy fashion sense.
ON A BETTER, BRIGHTER CAREER
“Let’s admit it. The show business is fully saturated. That’s why I want to penetrate the wider Asian market and try to make it big outside the local industry. I have been here for 14 years and I think it’s about time for me to grow somewhere,” she said. This is almost a reality now since she and Parul have just gone to Taiwan, then to Singapore, to start on a show to be aired in other Asiancountries.
Hosting, which aptly fits Maggie’s bubbly personality, will definitely be her next main domain. In March, she’ll hit the stage of the Philippines’ Next Top Model as its host. The Philippines’ Next Top Model is the country’s edition of America’s Next Top Model, a long-time running reality fashion show for all aspiring female models who dream of becoming a super model. The show ultimately picks one deserving super model who passes the standards of respected judges from the glittery world of modelling. This isn’t entirely a new turf for Maggie as she used to be an MTV VJ,thefirstPhilippinebeautypageanttitleholder to become one.
“You’ve got to work really hard to reach success. Never stop learning because if you stop learning, you will be left out. Always try to improve and study yourself— know your strengths and weaknesses and learn from them,” Maggie firmly advised.
In order to succeed, she said that people must always believe in their talents, skills and capabilities. Even if one would receive a hundred “no,” someone will say “yes” eventually, so a person must work harder and be more persistent. She also pointed out that success does not happen overnight. Often, it takes time. And her final advice is: “Once you get there, do not forget where you started.”
Make-up Artist: Xeng Zulueta
Hair Stylist: Iwa Ajinomoto
Fashion Stylist:Ryuji Shiomitsu and
Joa Ilonah Santos, Assisted by: Louie Miller
Photographer: Dix Perez