YOU glance at your watch and stand by for the arrival of the queen.
Since it’s Apriel Smith, you don’t mind. It’s like the infinite wait at the terminal and finally you are ready to board.
She was due to arrive at the Cebu Daily News newsroom; and when she finally got there, you couldn’t help but notice how young and delicate she looked despite the killer heels she’s wearing, her confident stance, and the sash bearing her title as Cebu’s newestambassadress. Truth be told, she exudes childlike candor.
It was, after all, just a few days after her 22nd birthday, the same day she won the first-ever Binibining Cebu crown.Despite her extensive modeling and pageant experience, Apriel—who represented the town of Badian in the pageant —confessed that she was a bag of nerves offstage on pageant night: “I was like dancing and praying at the same time,” she tells us. After being crowned, Apriel has gained clear focus on what to do as part of her duties and responsibilities, and that is to encourage the children and youth to take up sports.
Braver and bolder, and a strong believer in facing storms—and bullies —head on, Apriel is ready for that international title. With grace, wit, amiable attitude and her feet firmly on the ground, the odds are in her favor. Indeed, Apriel Smith is a game changer. And no doubt we will be seeing more of her off and on the pageant stage. (RNG)
What was the first thing you did the morning after you won the crown?
It was actually my birthday, so nag-celebrate ko with my family and we went sa Sto. Niño Church (Basilica). But since wala na ko kaabot sa Misa, nidagkot na lang ko. Then, I went to Mabolo Church to attend Mass.
Your father, the late Daryl Smith, was a popular basketball player during his time. Is anyone else in the family into sports?
I am the youngest of four siblings and I’m the only girl. I love my eldest brother. He’s gay. Ang ubang siblings kay into music. I am the only one who’s into sports, like volleyball. My father also taught me to play basketball.
What’s the story behind your name’s spelling? Why does it have an “e”?
I was named after my dad’s birth month, April. With “e” kay akong mga brothers naa may mga “e”: Michael, Daniel and Rafael. To make it unique, gibutangan nila og “e” akong name. We are named after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And I am “April,” the reporter. My mom wanted to pronounce it as “ey-pri-eyl” but okey na ko sa April. I don’t have a second name. Pag elementary nako nasuya ko sa akong ubang mga classmates kay tag-as ilang name and ako kay Apriel Smith ra. Sige lang ako man sad unang mahuman og suwat. (laughs)
Tell us how you got into modelling.
It was through my one and only manager, Danny Booc. Na-discover ko niya and he taught me the ins and outs of modeling. It was funny. Back then I was living sa Escario, nag-walk ko sa sidewalk then nag-eat sila somewhere there. Gitawag ko nila and then ana si Danny Booc, “Ganahan ka mag-model?” I was in Grade 6. I was 12 years old and niana sad ko: “Oo, ganahan.” Mao to niana sila nga sige daw beh, posing. Naa ko sa dalan and ni-posing sad ko. After ato, ana siya that I have to go to his shop for practice on how to walk properly. Ana ko: Sige, interesado man sad ko mag modeling. I remember his shop was in Cebu Grand Hotel sa una, walking distance ra sa amoa and then I was using the heels sa akong brother, the eldest. With a box pa ko maglakaw didto. Naa man siya’y (Danny) workshop every year, and mao to, for two years ko ni join ko. And thank God na free ko sa fees sa iyang workshops, kay naa ma’y bayad. After two years ako nay nag trainor. Fourteen years old nag train na ko sa uban nga ganahan mag model.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a model?
Before ato kay sa amoang barangay every Pasko sa Sugbo sa Fuente kay mo perform man ko always. I was with a group of LGBT back then and sila maoy mo ingon nga sige let’s make this program into modeling, singing. Part man ang akong kuya kay siya man nag handle sa modeling. Then, apil apil ko ato. From there, probably they saw my potential.
What was your first pageant like?
It was the Miss Milo, for their Little Olympics. Interschool to siya and wala pa man to siya’y question and answer. Ang first nako nga naay Q and A was Miss Dumanjug in 2011. Wala ko mag expect kay first time ko ni join og pageant unya with Q and A and ang ni-join adto puro mga veterans and ako ang pinaka newbie. Ako mga ka batch Edelyn Fabia, Jomalyn Enriquez, mga taga Dumanjug ang the rest.
That must have been very daunting.
Naka-ana ko hala mga ungo naman na sila akoang ma kauban sa pageants. Wala ko mag-expect modaog ko adto. It was same scenario sa Binibining Cebu, I was the one na gitawag first sa Q&A. Unang gi-question and una sad gitawag sa Top 5. My answer was short because dili kaayo ko hilig mo- answer og long. Short ra jud na pirmi. Pag announce sa winners, daug na dayon ko. Fresh pa man to from Miss Angola, Leila Lopes. Nag sunod mi from Miss Universe.
Do you still remember the question thrown at you for Miss Dumanjug and what was your answer?
“Do you agree with abortion?” Nakalimot nako how I answered it (laughs). But I disagreed, of course!
Who are the models that you look up to?
Daghan kaayo. Cebu models like Elvira (Stehr), ate Angel (Luzano), ate Matet (Gorgonio). They are still into modeling gihapon karon. Sila akong gi-look up. Sa international scene kay Tyra Banks, Chanel Iman and Naomi Campbell because I admire their skin color. It’s never been a hindrance to them.
Was it hard for you to switch from modeling to joining pageants?
Dili kaayo because I learned how to be flexible. Okey ra for me. Naka adjust and adopt ko dayon. I always study sad.
Do you have any plans to join other national pageants?
Binibining Pilipinas or Miss Philippines-World. Depende kung asa akong destiny.
Going back to Binibining Cebu, you were one of the early favorites. Did this put pressure on you? Pressure sad but at the same time, wala ko mo-kompyansa. I just did my best jud sa tanan.
At what point during the pageant did you realize that you had the crown in the bag?
That day I posted something on social media, nag grab ko from the Binibining Cebu page with the statement: “Today is the day.” Mura’g wala lang. In every segment man gud sa pageant I would not think na I would be in the Top 5. Like in every portion ko mag think na if production number, production number sa jud. Sa Top 20, focus sa ko sa Top 20. Then sa swimsuit competition, focus sa para maka sud sa next round. It was all about focusing in every segment that I was in. Every segment ko mag think dili ko mag think ahead deretso sa Top 5 or Q&A kay ma-pressure man ko. Siguro maybe sa Q&A kay dinha na makita ako personality.
What was your memorable part in the pageant?
Pag announce sa winner! (laughs) If sa lain, ang Top 5 and the final walk for me since I liked the music beat. That was the new jingle sa Binibining Cebu nga “Nothing to Lose.”
What was on your mind before you stepped on that stage?
Just to have fun and be positive. Don’t think negative things kay mo-reflect ni siya while you are onstage. Mailhan ra man ko na ma-pressure sa likod kay mag lihok na ko sakong feet and mag saba nako like ,”Come on girls! Let’s do this!” Mag ana ra ko sa likod, “Go, go, wooh!”
Who did you think was your closest competitor that night?
Daghan man sila actually, like Ronda (Megan Campbell), Asturias (Samantha Lo), and Bantayan (Maria Gigante).
Who is the candidate closest to you?
My sisters in Team Ozar— sila Miss Alcoy, Miss Dalaguete, Miss Carmen and Miss Catmon.
What’s your dream destination?
My dream is first to go to my dad’s place in Atlanta, Georgia. Next would be Paris.
Are you in a relationship now?
I’m single but exclusively dating.
Can you describe the person you’re dating?
Gwapo siya! Naka-white siya karon!
Your journey from from being a model to beauty queen took you 10 years … Yeah, dugay-dugay sad. Naay mga challenges and I learned a lot. If mo-join kag pageant kay daghan jud ka ma-experience, daghan ka ma-discover sa imong sel, like you have to be more patient and attentive bisa’g small things.
What is now your primary function as Binibining Cebu?
To help their charity and tourism sad. Overall ko like I have my court Binibining Charity and Binibining Tourism.
What is your diet?
Prayers, charot! I have to eat rice. Okey ra baya without rice but naa juy kulang bitaw. Wala koy energy sad. Mo-eat kog rice kay mag workout man sad ko. Wala koy diet but kusog ko mo workout. Paspas man sad ako metabolism.
What food did you eat after the pageant?
Chicken! Nag walk jud mi padung KFC sa IT Park because we were so hungry gyud!
Do you have a beauty ritual?
Always lang gyud wash your face before going to bed and when you wake up. Inig mata nako kay manghilam-os man ko lahi sad na nga hilam-os nig padung kaligo nako. Then sleep early. Have at least 10 hours of sleep. Labi na pag Binibining Cebu namo kay mahuman man amo practice at 11 p.m. so kailangan wala nay laag, deretso naka sleep. And drink milk. Fresh naka inig morning mura rag walay nahitabo gabii.
What are you going to do with your prize?
Akong i-set aside. Wala koy i-buy but i-save nako for my schooling. Para ma-finish na nako ako degree.
What is your dream job?
To become a flight attendant.
How about joining showbiz?
If naay opportunity, then why not? Less pa kaayo ang black nga artista.
Who are your celebrity crushes?
Jericho Rosales ganahan ko sa iyang charm. And Chris Evans.
My favorite singer karon si Morisette Amon. Among the foreign singers kay si Beyonce and Rihanna.
How do you destress?
Eat. Go to the beach. Go out with friends. Lahi ra jud ning with friends, ma-happy ko. Makakuyog ko nila, okey na.
After all you have achieved, what are the things that you still aspire for? To continue inspiring the young ones, especially those who who need someone to uplift their confidence.