AN ENGLISH Language alumna made it to the top 75 candidates of this year’s Miss Universe Philippines pageant.
Rousanne “Ayn” Bernos, who graduated from the university in 2015, placed second both in headshot and video introduction and fourth in the runway challenge, three of the pageant’s series of challenges that determined the finalists.
In a Tiktok video, Bernos, who represents San Juan City, said she has been a pageant fan since she was a kid and has always aspired to be a beauty queen. However, due to the pageant’s previous height restriction, she was not qualified because she only stands at 5’3.
“When Miss Universe Philippines announced that they would be opening the application to everybody, no height requirements, [those were] magic words for me. I applied on the spot. I dropped everything, sent in my application that day,” Bernos said.
“I was always dreaming of this, I always planned for this, and I am very very serious about joining Miss Universe Philippines. I’m not just here to compete, I am here to fulfill a promise that I made myself many years ago. I promised young Ayn that I would try if I could and so I’m here today,” she added.
When she was still a student, Bernos participated in the first-ever search for Artlet Youth Ambassador and Ambassadress in 2015, where she represented the UST-English Language Studies Society. She won second runner-up and was named Ambassadress of Service. Bernos was also the Artlets Student Council Community Development Committee head six years ago.
Formerly an interior design student at UST College of Fine Arts and Design, Bernos shared on Instagram that her first-ever pageant experience happened in 2011 when she joined “The Search for the Ideal Fine Arts and Design Ambassador and Ambassadress.”
The brown-skinned pageant contestant considered herself as “not a typical candidate” since she does not meet the traditional pageant beauty requirements of height and skin color.
“I know I am not the typical candidate, but that’s exactly why we will keep going. Beauty and purpose come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and this year we get to show that on this MUPH (Miss Universe Philippines) journey,” wrote Bernos on her Instagram post.
Bernos became well-known for teaching English on Tiktok.
She has reached one million followers on Tiktok, over 100,000 on Instagram, and over 90,000 subscribers on YouTube. She is also the founder of a skin color-positive clothing brand, Morena the Label, and hosts “Camp Confidence Radio,” a podcast on self-love, confidence, and success with entrepreneur Rizza Lana-Sebastian.
The top 75 contenders will be narrowed down to 50, who will go to Metro Manila for in-person interviews with the MUPH organization. Only 30 of them will be chosen on Aug. 31 to be the official candidates who will compete on Sept. 25 for the honor to represent the Philippines during the Miss Universe pageant. F – K. Nogoy