A Queen for Change

Gabriella Carballo

They weren’t kidding when they said the eyes are the windows to the soul. You can lie about anything, but the eyes will always give away the truth.

And like a window that can be beautified, the same can be done to the eyes. Taking it from the crowned beauty queen herself, Miss Mandaue Gabriella
Carballo, cannot emphasize more to forget about other touch-ups save for the brows. To quote, “Brows are life.” First runner-up Nicole Borromeo also added a quick tip to attend to curling the eyelashes if you’re on a rush. Enhancing the eyes alone already brings out a huge difference. Women of wit, charm and candor, the two beauties are indeed much more than just pretty faces if one could see right through the eyes.

Miss Mandaue 2018 Gabriella Carballo grew up in the United States and moved to Philippines at age 14 where she experienced being part of the
Santacruzan and modeling for local brands.

In a brief interview after the meeting with few Chinese officials at Mayor Luigi Quisumbing’s Office, Gabby sat with the Play! Pool to talk about her preparations for the Miss Mandaue pageant, backstage jitters, beauty tips, future plans and how she pretty much takes after her mother who studied Nursing and was hailed Miss Valentine back in the days.

A poet, writer, and—who would have thought—basketball player, the 19-year-old Nursing student of Cebu Doctors University aims to be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist one day because a registered nurse just won’t make the cut. Gabby admits to pushing herself to study real hard to be where she is now—top 8 in the Nursing subjects. Yes, never underestimate a queen armed with intelligence and an Anastasia Brow Wiz.

How did you prepare for the big event?

I never really joined big pageants, aside from Miss Mandaue, other than just some school titles. I didn’t start preparing until after screening for Miss Mandaue. Once I knew that I got in, it was the start of my transition from the modeling world to the pageant world. My agent from Models Association of Cebu called Jonas Borces and he asked him to train me and so I started going there after school. I would train around 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., or even later sometimes just for my walk. Even for Q and A also. It was an intense training. After the screening, we had a month or so before the actual night of the pageant so it was during this time that I trained.

How did you feel when you met the other contestants?

Everyone was so pretty. Everyone was so tall. Everyone could speak English really well. So I knew that this year was definitely going to be a hard year, but everyone was really nice and we all became really close friends.

Beauty with a purpose is a major factor of Miss Mandaue and yours is “Cleaner city is a healthier city and healthy minds create healthy change.” Tell us more about your advocacy.

My advocacy is environmental sanitation and awareness for the city. Since I’m a student nurse, I’ve been routed into the Mandaue communities, and I’ve met people, and I’ve spoken to families. I even sat in their homes and interview them one on one. We are to ask, what are your concerns? Cough and colds or hypertension which is very common. But another thing that most families stated was improper waste disposal. Their problem started basically because they said they were promised that the garbage trucks would come around every week but it didn’t for two to three weeks. You can see the trashes are piling up in their homes, and next to the sidewalks, you can see a bunch of garbage there. As a student nurse, there’s only so much I can do to really help them. With Miss Mandaue, I decide to make a greater change as with the platform like this. It’s a nice starting point and I can reach more people through Miss Mandaue to really help clean up the city. And like I said in my answer, I would do it myself. I would drop the glitz and glamour to really help clean.

Is the journey turning out to be what you were expecting?

Well, I actually did not expect to be invited to so many things. I think the prestige and the honor of being Miss Mandaue, you don’t really see it until you are actually given the crown. Even today, I came here just to greet Chinese officials and that was pretty cool. I’ve never done anything like that. Having the crown, I feel the importance of the position which I knew but haven’t really felt until I actually got it.

What would you want the people of Mandaue to remember you about after your reign?

Someone who, even though she wore a crown, is genuinely just herself. I try to be the same person that I was before and after the crown. In any other interview that I had, it’s just me being myself, just laughing and I’ve always never been the type to wear that much make-up either. Like today, I did my own make-up. It’s not really a big deal to me. Even in some practices that we would have, and I was the only one wearing athletic wear. For dance practice, everyone would be pretty dressed up. No matter how far I go or no matter what I’m trying to achieve, I stay totally myself still.

Are you into sports?

Volleyball is my main one now, but my first love was basketball. I was the center because I’m the tall one. I used to play that back in the United States. I also played soccer before, and I did track. For volleyball, I’m the middle hitter. I play during intramurals in school, and I’m in the varsity team for CDU to play in CESAFI. So I think maybe if I didn’t join Miss Mandaue, I’d probably join the Mandaue team. Maybe. Who knows. (laughs).

How do you reconcile being a sporty girl one minute then beauty queen the next?

My friends back in the States who always saw me as the girl in basketball shoes, they were really shocked. They were already shocked when they saw me modelling first, then won the school pageant, and then this pageant, and they were like, “Gabby, what are you doing?” (laughs). I just tell them I’m exploring another aspect of my life, what works out and does not.

How would your friends in school describe you as a student?

Probably The Nerd. (Laughs). I was transitioning from being in the United States to here. I’ve learned that the quality of education here is more difficult so my grades were not as great as they were before. So then I told myself, I don’t want to be just a face that people like to look at. There’s more to me than that. I really wanted to do well in school and then I became the Top 8 in my batch for the nursing subjects. So from there, people are like, “Oh, she studies so hard really.”

Do you really?

To a certain extent, but if I’m sleepy at night, I just go to sleep. My health is more important than my grades.

How did you juggle studies and the preparations for the pageant at that time?

I’m lucky enough to have a best friend who’s actually top one of our class. So if would get home late and don’t have time to study because I’d be too tired, the next morning she would just speak to me about the topic. She’ll discuss it to me, and I get really good scores in the pre-tests and post-tests just me listening to her.

You must have really good listening skills. And a great friend! (laughs)

What do you do on your free time?

Like any other person lying down in bed on Facebook or Instagram, on social media. I like to write also. So I actually mentioned on coronation night that I do slam poetry. I have a sound cloud. There’s a recording of my poems there. I also got published on Thought Catalog. It’s like a big thing on Facebook.

Yes. It’s where you get to write about relationships.
Yes, I have one that’s there too. You can Google it. (laughs)

Tell us what it’s about.

It’s about a very common issue which a lot of girls are facing—trying to fix another person. So I made this out of personal experiences. It’s a lot of metaphors that speak about a girl who tries so hard to change the guy and hopes that he’ll grow to become better. Even if they don’t work out, he will carry on her characteristics that she passed to him to his next girl.

And did you say this is based on experience?

Yes (laughs). I think it’s hard for me to write something that’s not based on an experience. But I can’t write about happy things because I write to release feelings and I want to feel happiness so I don’t want to release that.

Tell us what you did earlier.

We met officials from China. They were 12 of them. They were doing a courtesy call to the mayor. I was here to give them the medals and welcome them to Mandaue. They invited us to visit

If you were given the floor to ask or say something about the current issue with China and the Philippines, what would it be?

I feel like I’d need someone to explain to me the entire situation first from both sides before I decide to say anything just so I don’t say anything wrong or offensive.

It’s a matter of gaining ownership over the island. I’d probably ask first what they plan to do with it because those islands could be another tourist spots for our country or great resources.

How was the Media Choice event?

I was the first runner-up and we all studied the current events at the time, and nothing came up that we have read up on. It was intense. I was reading a bunch of newspapers beforehand.

How has becoming the Miss Mandaue changed your life?

Nothing significant has changed except that I met a lot of people and I have to be more presentable now most of the time and be refined even in the way I laugh. (Laughs).

Now that you have a title, what are your plans?

I’d be graduating in two years but years from now, I might possibly still be here just because in the future I’d like to join Binibining Pilipinas, but after I have my degree and be a registered nurse, so when they announce my name it would be RN and not just nursing graduate. (Laughs). Then maybe after, I might have gone back to the US. I want to become a CRNA or a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. It’s not offered here.

How long have you lived in the US?

I lived there until I was fourteen and then I moved here for high school and

May we know your beauty routine of Mandaue’s Beauty Queen?

Honestly? I don’t even feel like a beauty queen! (Laughs). But in terms of skin care, it’s really just drinking a lot of water and moisturize. I don’t use any specific facial products. I buy most of my things just at a drugstore, but hydration is the most important thing. In eating, it’s just really just up to a point in which you don’t start to feel bad about it.

What’s one thing in your make-up kit that you can’t do without?

The Anastasia Brow Wiz because brows are life! (Laughs). I didn’t do my eyebrows until college. In high school, I didn’t touch them at all. Looking back at the photos, it’s like “Why didn’t I do it?” (Laughs). They’re in the right shape but not dark enough.

As Miss Mandaue, what’s your message to young girls?

It’s already hard enough to grow up as a female in which not only the things we have to deal with as a female, but also society raises you to be quiet, to be someone who’s reserved. But as long as you know yourself and what you believe in, you can change the world.

TAGS: A, change, for, Queen
Latest Stories
Most Read