A New Kind of Queen Featuring Teresita Marquez

Teresita “Winwyn” Marquez is the first Filipina to be crown Reina Hispanoamericana. As she takes on this new role as a beauty queen, Teresita takes a step back into our history and re-paints our colorful Hispanic culture into a brighter and more positive light.

It was a dream come true for you to be crowned Reina Hispanoamericana. Talk to us about the time you first realized that you wanted to become a beauty queen.
Well, bata pa lang, I really wanted to be beauty queen. And then I realized nung tumanda na ako, like my mom is an actress, my dad is an actor. They’re both public servants.

Then my aunt is Miss International, my other aunt is a supermodel. And then I realized I like doing all things–I like walking, I like dancing, I like performing, I like helping people, I like talking–and in a pageant, you can do all of that at once.

So, na-realize ko, ‘Oo, this is really my dream. This is what I want to do.’ Because everything that I want to do is incorporated there, and now, ito nga! I have a crown. Totoo niya siya! It’s all real!

You once considered joining Bb. Pilipinas as the “wildest decision” you’ve made.
Yes, because I decided on joining the night before the last screening. I decided lang na parang, ‘Sige na nga, let’s try it.’

So, I didn’t have shoes. I borrowed shoes–actually yung shoes malaki pa nga sa akin. If kukunin niyo yung pictures before, malaki. Then I borrowed a dress. I didn’t know how to do my makeup. So, I had to call someone to do that for me. Parang last minute lang.

And even my training was just on the day itself.

Then, when I was told nakapasok ako, I was crying! Like, I felt like I was a winner already. Pinatawan ako ng PA ko, si Ate Ernie, sabi, ‘Hindi ka pa panalo, nakapasok ka pa lang!’ So, it was the wildest decision for me because I didn’t have any preparation.

I went in there na parang bata pa. Not yet, you know, “hinog” as they say, but I performed what I can show everyone and it was an experience for me.

How much did the Binibini experience help you realize your dream? What were the things you learned?
I actually learned what my weaknesses are, like I didn’t know how to do my makeup! So, I had to train kasi it’s important when you are in a pageant–if you win a pageant, you’re just by yourself. So, that’s one.

And then two, I’ve become stronger because at that time, I was really bashed [because of] my height, my name–I just joined because my parents were known… Parang naging mas confident ako because I know I can do it not just because I have a Marquez on my name.

So, yeah, I think that changed–I think everything in general. I studied in everything, I read more, I practiced my speech more…

And that’s also why you took a while to get back to the beauty pageant circuit?
Two years. Yeah. Para lang maging confident sa sarili ko because after you get bashed and you lost the pageant, it hurts! Then I studied, I got my teacher’s certificate.

So, I got more experience from life, because, again, it’s better that you know a lot of things around you. When they throw questions at you, it’s easier to answer. So, I think confirmed na dapat ganun kasi I’m more confident with Q and As.

Why did you choose Miss World? Did you feel like it was better suited for you?
I did my research. It’s really different.

You know, Miss World is really for their advocacy. They really have an advocacy. They’re serious about what you want to do. It’s not just about beauty, it’s not just about how you walk. It’s also about how you answer a certain question and, you know, it’s all about having a purpose.

So, I joined, I tried it, and I think it fit me well because there’s three more crowns, right? They put three more crowns and I also searched that. Though it wasn’t really familiar to me–honestly I didn’t know what crowns were those, but my dream is to have crown, not to have a specific crown.

So, what I thought is, ‘If I win Reina, I’d be the first Filipina to win. If I won Multinational, I’ll be first Filipina to join and to win it. If I win Miss Eco, I’d be the first Filipina to win it as well.’

I was just really positive. Whatever crown is given to me, okay. If it’s Miss World, very good, di ba? But I joined there, I just wanted to win, and I think that’s the best attitude to have when you join a pageant. Don’t expect what crown you get. As long as you want to represent the country, then that’s it.

This was the first time Philippines joined Reina Hispanoamericana. What was it like to compete in a pageant that no other Filipina beauty queen has joined yet?
You’ve been thrown into a pageant that you don’t understand, you don’t know what to expect; no one’s joined yet, no one can tell you that you have to do this, you have to do that, you have to look this way, you have to perform this way.

But the positive side is I can just be myself. Like I will be the standard of this pageant, so whatever I do, it’s because I wanna do. Not because I’m following other candidates before me.

But it was hard because it was all Latinas–you know Latinas perform. They’re powerhouse beauties! If you’re beside Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica! Like oh my gosh! Why am I here?! Right?!

So, mapupush ka sa sarili mo na you really have to perform because these countries will perform no matter what.

It’s a battle between Latinas, so it’s not easy; but we’re also just 27 or 28 [candidates]. They look at you one by one. They will really talk to you one by one. They will see your strengths, if you know how to dance… and onstage, if you don’t know how to perform, you will really be seen!

Imagine how sad it is if you don’t know how to perform and you’re the only one who don’t know how to perform, right? So, I was really scared!

But, as I’ve said, it’s not just me [I’m bringing], I’m [also] bringing the Philippines there. So, I had to suck it up, and cry for a few days, ‘Okay, Winwyn, you can do this! It’s for the country.’

Of course, you didn’t disappoint us at all with your performance because here we are with the crown! But can you talk a little bit about the advocacy of Reina Hispanoamericana?
It’s about promoting Hispanic culture. Ininvite ang Philippines for the first time because of its past, its history, its culture. We actually are very Hispanic if you think about it. May dugo pa tayong Español. Like my grandmother is Spanish.

So, basically, it’s about celebrating life, celebrating the arts, which I like. Kasi dun it’s about dancing, about performing, singing. It’s a pageant na hindi lang dapat lakad, beauty, or anything. Dapat alam mo rin ang talent mo, marunong ka nito.

At the same time, marunong ka makibagay sa ibang tao and you have to know where you come from. If you know your history, if you accept your unique heritage, you really have your respective identify.

Before joining there, you really have to know your identity. If ano ka, parang, ‘Ay, hindi naman ako Hispanic. Ayoko naman yung past. Masama,’ ganyan. Hindi ka makakasali dun.

Dun kasi you have to appreciate everything positive and negative.

I like that concept. This crown really sounds like it was made for you the more we talk about it.
Yun nga, e! (Laughs) Performing is something I really love, and performing is one way for me to really also grab the attention of people, to listen me for something good. You get what I mean? So, kung ano yung strength ko, gagamitin ko na.

Like, I have this platform, I can perform, why not do it for something good?

Masaya naman ako!

How much of the Hispanic culture have you come to appreciate? What should the Filipinos re-learn about this part of our history?
You know, a lot of people are actually telling me that the past wasn’t good. But we are our history. We wouldn’t be matatag if it weren’t for our history.

I’m not covering it up or anything. Gusto ko nga malaman nila kung anong nangyari lahat.

But they also have to see the positive side. Dapat naman ganun, e. May positive, may negative. We learned a lot. We have a religion. Our festivities came from there, and I think we have to celebrate that. Yung celebration life, yung Christianity natin, yung appreciation for culture, for arts, for food, and I want that na malaman ng mga millennial.

This is our past. This is what we learned, and we have to celebrate what we learned.

True, true. Do you already have action plans for the youth, for the kids to appreciate our Hispanic root?
I’m going to use what I know. My skill is dancing. I love dancing, and one thing I’m going to promote is the music, the arts. I’m gonna have–hopefully matuloy–workshops for street children. So, magtuturo ng singing, ng dancing.

It’s going to be partnered with Tita Juline Eugenio–she’s like a legend in dancing–with Miss World, and with Reina.

Singing, dancing, acting, maybe painting, and then before class start, there will be a teach how will explain the importance of life, the Hispanic culture, kung paano siya nag-fusion sa FIlipino culture, parang lang din may background sila sa ginagawa nila.

I’ll also have inter-barangay first, then hopefully inter-city na dance competition that will fusion with Latin dance. But before they dance, they have to explain why they chose this music, what’s the meaning of this music to their dance.

So, lahat yun, may activity na masaya, pero kailangan alam nila yung history, alam nila yung background. While they talk, the audience natutunan.

So, those little things, word of mouth, e. Lalapad nang lalapad. The more I talk about, the more they dance the song, mas lalawak yung Hispanic culture and iisipin nila yung magandang bagay na natutunan nila.

Bashers will never go away, especially at this day and age, do you believe it is much harder now to be a beauty queen?
Of course, because if you are a beauty queen, they will really look at you head to toe. Whatever say parang hihimayin nila kahit wala ka namang intention na makasakit or anything. They are going to give meaning to whatever you say, and it’s hard because ang kalaban mo is just your cellphone and hindi mo naman kilala in person!

They don’t even know you.

So, it’s hard also. When you wake up in the morning and see that? Mahirap, but you have to learn how to block it. You have to learn the art of deadma, di ba?

If you’re happy, kontento ka sa ginagawa mo, hindi ka insecure sa sarili, then deadma!

Or sabihin mo, ‘Ikaw na lang kaya sumali?’ (laughs) Minsan kasi they don’t appreciate it. They belittle the pagaent I joined because its the first time they’ve heard it, because it’s not like a hundred girls that joined, di ba?

But if you look at it, try joining it and tell me your experience it. Before saying something, try researching about it also. But siyempre hindi mo naman puwede sabihin yun… wala naman kailangan i-explain.

For me, ah? Kindness.

Nanalo na ang Philippines Let’s just be happy!

Nowadays, what does any aspiring beauty queen to be ready for the crown?
Experience… Yun yung advice ko. If you want to join, if you want to be a beauty queen, gain experience. Huwag ka magmadali kasi mahihirapan ka if you’re answering a question and you don’t know anything about life and you just know about Twitter, Instagram, social media…

If you don’t have any experience, it’ll be so hard for you to adjust.

So huwag magmadali.

Basta you’re confident about yourself and you’re not scared to take risks.

Ngayon nga, ang hinahanap sa beauty queen is substance. It’s substance. I suggest ahve more experience, enjoy life before joining a beauty pageant because I did!

At the end of your reign, what’s next? Or we’re still living at the moment?
I’m here in my zone, in my happy place, pero after this, I’m a teacher. I got a certfifcate. Maybe, hopefully, I get myself license to teach, build my own preschool because I love kids, and go back to acting. Sayang yung platform na yun, e. Hindi sana mawala kasi dun yung tao nakatutok ngayon. You know who it is, di ba?

And maybe, maybe politics! Pero sobrang far away pa yun! Mga 30-something pa yan!

Pero now, I have 15 months to enjoy the moment. 15 months na walang tulog kaysa 15 months na nganga, alam mo yun?

So, I’m happy. Ito muna. Hindi ko pa iniisip [masyado] yung future.