WOMEN these days are proving that there are different roles to play aside from being a mother and wife.
Marilou Villanueva has set the perfect example as she juggles her time between being a beauty queen, an entrepreneur, and an advocate for women’s rights, side by side with being a good mother to her four kids and a housewife to her husband, Anthony.
“Your life should not stop once you get married. You can still do a lot of things,” the 40-year-old beauty queen told Cebu Daily News in an interview at The Port restaurant.
Marilou will be representing the Philippines at the international pageant for mothers—Mrs. Universe happening in Durban, South Africa from August 26 to September 3. She was handpicked by the Mrs. Universe committee, out of the 56 aspiring women.
“It’s not just a beauty pageant. There’s a forum where candidates will be representing our country,
discussing several diverse issues like tourism, peace and order, environmental issues and anti-domestic violence for children and women,” she explained.
For her, pageantry is an avenue to put her advocacy on the spotlight.
Born in Cebu and currently residing in San Pedro, Laguna with her family, Marilou is making her mark in the pageantry world while advocating for women’s rights and empowerment.
She is the founder of Philippine Honorable Queens, a non-profit organization which aims to recognize Filipina across the world, who are making a mark on their chosen field by giving an exemplary contribution to society.
“It takes courage to do those kinds of things, not just to leave a mark but it’s more of what you can give back,” she told Cebu Daily News.
The Philippine Honorable Queens was launched last May 29 this year and is currently accepting recommendations for the search of the exemplary Filipina woman.
“With the pageant, it has alllowed me to advance my causes. It helped me a lot as it became an avenue for me to influence other people to help. I was able to meet more people as well, who have the same passion as mine,” she said.
Before she founded the Philippine Honorable Queens, Marilou had been conducting outreach programs for kids and even did fashion shows for women in order to raise funds.
Less than two months before the international beauty pageant, the 40-year-old mother is keen on her diet and exercise, at the same time doing a lot of reading to keep herself informed, as preparation for Mrs. Universe.
“Not everyone knows about this pageant. I want them to know that this is the kind of pageant that has its own purpose, and that is to empower women, especially mothers,” she said.