When Mariel de Leon walks into a room even in her casuals, your interest gets piqued by her tall and elegant bearing, the wisdom in her eyes, her enigmatic aura and stunning beauty.

This 23- year old lady is set to make the country proud as she embodies both intellect and grace among our new generation of beauty queens.

While her looks rekindle some sort of déjà vu, taking from the exquisite features and innate charisma of her parents, the veteran actors Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong, Mariel never let their celebrity status overwhelm her. “I know that people identify me as being their daughter, but I didn’t let it get into my head, so I was able to pursue my own interests, one of which is singing”.

It was classical music which drew her interest as a child, her brother introduced her to it. “Whenever I listen to classical music, I instinctively relax allow myself to be transported into a different world and take on a different persona. It is really a spiritual experience.” Mariel went on to become a member of the Opera Belles, an all-female group who popularize operatic singing of cover songs.

 

There are in fact a lot of interesting aspects to her life, as she is a 50s girl, a firm believer of mind over matter and a supporter of women’s causes.

Here she shares with us her journey in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant, her beauty tips and her advice in standing up for ones convictions.

Was it an easy decision for you to join the pageant scene? What made you fully decide to take this on?
I was 19 when I joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2013. It has been an easy choice that time because I didn’t know much to expect. However, after the experience, I realized that I wanted this path, but had some initial second thoughts to join again remembering how stressed I was during my first time. That is why it took me 4 years to decide to join again.

Now that you won at your second attempt, what were the top three things that you did differently this time, that resulted to your win?
First was to be really relaxed, chill lang. I didn’t put pressure on any aspect of the competition, just wanted to enjoy the experience. Though, I still studied for the Q&A and worked hard to keep fit.

Second, I also prayed a lot as I really value my renewed relationship with God.

Lastly, I concentrated on important people in my life, so that I wouldn’t be affected by negativity and those who are trying to unduly influence me. I just tried to be grounded on what was important.

Now that you will represent the country in the upcoming Miss International pageant, how do you prepare yourself for it? How do you handle the pressure?
Can I just say, I don’t feel any pressure right now (laughs). Since it will be my first time in Japan, I aim to enjoy the experience. Since I know that they are really going to immerse us in their culture, I want to study the Japanese culture and their language. For the competition itself, I undergo a lot of trainings, practicing my walk and of course preparing myself for the Ms. International speech.

You stood by your conviction and was unafraid to express your political views in spite of the critics, what would you advise the youth who are bashed for voicing out their opinions in social media.
I would advise them to not to mind other people, especially the bashers and haters who attack out of boredom. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and don’t be afraid to voice out your opinions, as long as you express your thoughts with respect and you have proper knowledge about the topic.

If there is just one social issue that you would champion, what would it be and what role would you take to address this?
I feel strongly about supporting the right of women towards their reproductive health and the use of contraceptives. I know that my view is harder to express given how our country is very conservative on this issue. However, I would like to help other women who also takes the same stand as I do.

Who are your fashion influencers? How do you describe your sense of style?
From a day-to-day basis, I am very relaxed in my clothing choices. But I would like to dress like the fashion pegs today, more of the 40s, 50s and 60s. I love the classic style of Audrey Hepburn, Bridget Bardot and Grace Kelly.

As an avid fan of makeup do-it-yourself videos, what top tips can you give ladies to achieve the “I woke Up Like This” look?
First, they really need to have a very good skin care, so always wash your face, tone and moisturize. I like using oil such as rosehip and argan oil. In terms of makeup, don’t take on a lot of products, but make sure that it is full coverage, but not too cakey. Keep it light that is why good skin is a requirement talaga.

If you are to choose just 5 objects to put in your bag, what would these items be?
I would have to my cellphone, wallet, a lip balm, powder and candy.

If you are to relate your life or your aspiration to the recent Wonder Woman film, what scene in the movie resonated with you the most? Why?
It is the part where Wonder Woman stands up to what she believes in and she is not afraid to fight for her beliefs whatever they may be.