OUR CEBUANA queen almost did not make it, but thanks to last-minute persistence and the prodding of her handler, she gave the competition a go with nary an expectation.
Coupled with her youthful charm and affable demeanor, 22-year-old Shaila Mae Rebortera won the audience of “Eat Bulaga,” the country’s longest running noontime show, with her stunning video showcasing Cebu’s natural beauty, culture and must-visit attractions for her chance at the Miss Millennial Philippines 2018 crown.
Thus, starting when she introduced herself on stage until she gave her impressive answer during the pageant’s question-and-answer on pageant day, viewers took notice and were rooting for her. And while admitting that she didn’t know if she was
already an early favorite from among the 40 candidates representing cities and provinces all over the country, Shaila nevertheless did her best and proved that she had everything it takes to win the crown.
Still basking in her sweet victory, the charming beauty, who is also the current Sinulog Festival Queen told the Play! pool that she’s open to opportunities that will come her way but finishing her course (she’s a fifth year dentistry student) will have to come first.
Born to a Filipino mother and a British father, this charming beauty with a promising academic background is clearly on top of the world. Shaila is at the threshold of a bright beginning. (NRG)
Has it already sunk in that you won?
Wala pa gyud. Maybe at the moment when I was on stage when it was announced pero dili siya mo sink in all throughout. Because if you think about it na out of 40 candidates and ikaw ang na proclaim na winner it was just so unexpected. Not to mention the prizes— they were all grand. Grabe siya ka overwhelming on stage pero right after na when I went back to my hotel room mura og nabalik na siya, like wala ra’y nabag-o.
Did you see yourself joining Miss Millennial Philippines?
Actually no. Because as the Festival Queen automatically the only pageant awaiting for you is Miss Aliwan. But with Miss Millennial the pageant came unexpectedly because with Miss Aliwan I didn’t get the crown and I was just the runner-up. After like a few months they then contacted me for Miss Millennial and I had to say no because my goal was to finish school first because I only got a year left. So the focus was to graduate muna and then a month after I saw my fellow Miss Aliwan candidates in the welcome dinner for Miss Millennial. Nangapil sab diay sila and I thought nga maybe they already got someone else for Cebu. So mao to I was just enjoying myself, like nikaon ko og daghan because wala na baya koy i-maintain because there are pageants ahead for me.
So what made you join the pageant?
I got another call Thursday morning that week affirming that they have no candidate to represent Cebu and they really need one more. My handler told me that everything is set up for me already as they have a room ready, as well as I have my number ready and they really talked me into joining the pageant. Everything then went on smoothly because the production team of “Eat Bulaga” would do certain adjustments knowing that it is a millennial pageant and they would understand in meeting with me and the other candidates halfway in terms of our needs and obligations, most especially that I am studying. So right there and then I took it and thinking that it was the second time for them to offer me this kind of opportunity maybe it meant something. So Thursday morning they called, that Thursday evening nilupad dayon ko for Manila. And I arrived Friday and I had to catch up. I did all of the photo shoots that they did in one week, I did it in one day. Rehearsals were just one day and by Saturday I was then presented along with the other candidates.
What was the vibe like during the pageant?
It was relaxing lang nga pageant because they really want it nga natural lang mi. They never pushed us to be always prim and proper, to restrict our movements or even to diet, wala gyud. They just wanted us to show them who we really are as an ideal model of the youth and whoever or whatever you are just be yourself, that was the only thing that they wanted from us. In its entirety, it was a happy and joyous experience being with other candidates.
On pageant day, what went through your mind before you hit that stage?
Pag morning adto that very day of the pageant kulba gyud kaayo siya and tinuod lang wala gud ko kakaon og tarong but then I was just praying all the time. I was just praying to the Lord and thanking Him for giving me this opportunity to be part of the pageant and everything meant something. Deeply I was praying that if ever the title was for me, I was asking nga ipa-calm lang akoang heart para maka-perform ko the way I am supposed to perform onstage.
What do you think was your edge over other candidates?
Si Lord ra gyud nakahibaw (laughter). I mean siyempre I have joined other pageants but lahi ra gyud ang feeling adto nga time nga kalmado ra ko. Siguro it was all about me being cool and calm the whole time adto nga pageant and I was just enjoying every minute of it. Siguro from there nigawas ang tinuod nga Shaila nga natural and youthful. It always matters to be genuine and
authentic, like right now me talking to you it’s the same as I was on stage. Siguro it’s all because wala ko nag pretend to be someone I am not.
Did you always want to be a beauty queen?
No gyud. To be honest it never really went to my head as a kid and siguro everything just fell into its place to be where I am right now. I was just taking advantage of the opportunities being thrown at me and I took them.
What were your aspirations way back then?
Before I always wanted to become a lawyer. And also there was a phase that I also wanted to take up accountancy and then law. However along the way there were many considerations to look into that’s why I heeded the advice of my mom to take up dentistry instead. I took up dentistry kay mura’g I like the corporate world, my mom likes the field of medicine and we sort of got into an agreement na with dentistry it’s like we were meeting halfway. And also it was when I took up dentistry that the offers of joining pageants came in so it was all about the right timing.
Who do you think was your biggest competitor?
I have always seen my friend Miss Laguna, Jennifer Lemaitre as my biggest threat and unfortunately, she didn’t get into the top 10. Pero it was like prior to the pageant I was like talking to everybody and insisting that she is so beautiful and so smart. She can talk flawlessly on TV, you can check her videos. She is so lovely and such a natural on the screen so I really considered her as my biggest threat and then I got close to her during the final competition kay always kami man mag uban. Also, she shared to me her life as well as her weaknesses and for me mura og na-attach ko niya. Like the more ni-grow amoang bond because that persona sa iyaha nga na-see nako as the threat, bottom line is parehas or similar ra diay mi na, human as we are, we also have weaknesses and insecurities. On the other hand, Misamis Oriental (Danna Rose Socaoco). I have met her already sa CESAFI and she really grew a lot. Before kay dili kay nako siya mapansin kay I was threatened with the people I had not worked before kay I don’t know how they’d do it on the stage. So Miss Misamis Oriental was unexpected and na threatened gyud ko on stage na kay she grew a lot. Naka-join na siya og Miss Earth and she was able to answer very well already and grabe na gyud iyang confidence level that time.
In life, how do you deal with competition?
I try to erase it sa akoang head lang but of course, I’d share my thoughts only to my closest friends because lain man gud if you’d treat these people as your enemy because they are not. They are just there also to do the same thing as you do, to promote their place as well as to also win the crown. They are also motivated by their family or for whatever reason and I would just try to get to know them better so mao to ang nahitabo with Miss Laguna, and I am so happy that I did because nagka-close hinuon mi.
Did you consider yourself as the winner from the get-go or the dark horse?
I actually have no idea because when I came in during the competition they were already talking about me. But then again dili man gud nimo ma-feel imohang status sa competition at that time because there were 40 of us and all of these 40 candidates are all winners from their provinces so really you won’t know kinsay nakalamang or kinsay dili. You really won’t know it so the least you can do is just hope for the best.
What has changed? What have you discovered about yourself after the competition?
I think I am capable only if I believe in myself more. Because the week prior to the competition kay grabe gyud akoang self-doubt like nag breakdown gyud ko, nihilak gyud ko kay I really thought that I won’t be able to make it. I was thinking negative like I was just wasting my time.
Do you still remember what you spent on the first prize that you received from a pageant?
Save up. Kuripot gyud ko. I have always wanted nga in the future I get to have my own business. I also want to travel so maybe in the future I will fly to London para makita nako akoang dad. Also, I dream of going to Batanes.
What has “Eat Bulaga” in store for you?
I will have appearances in the show but with regards to whether I will be a regular wala pa na naistoryahan. Also
because they are considering that I have my school and I so wanted to finish it. Anyways, six months na lang and it’s a one-year reign so daghan pa og time.
What particular issues millennials face today that are close to your heart?
Although my focus is dentistry, naa gyud ang mental health advocacy because as part of the medical community kinahanglan active gyud mi in terms of spreading awareness. And it’s nice that millennials are very open to learning about mental health awareness and I hope ma-continue pa siya sa future generations.
How do you deal with stress?
Kaon lang gyud og french fries. Mag sige ra gyud ko og kaon that’s why manambok gyud ko (laughter).
What’s an ordinary day like for you?
As a dentistry student, I make sure that I get involved with our free clinics. On some days there will be gown fittings and at night I do hosting for Festival Queen and then I sleep late then start my day early again. The way I see it it’s doble kara nga you have two different personas, a beauty queen and as a regular student.
Are you open to joining showbiz?
I am okay with it because I have the theater experience before when I was in high school. I am okay with the opportunity though sayang man sab gud akoang six years in dentistry so tiwason lang sa nako. And if ever there will be offers, we all know nga dili baya permanent ang showbusiness so you will never really know what your future is if mo-venture ka into that career. So mas maayo nga I have my dentistry to back me up if ever.
Do you have a favorite movie?
If Only. It’s really nice. It’s a romantic movie about second chances. Sorry, kana lang because I really don’t have that much time to watch movies kay busy gyud with school.
Message to young girls out there aspiring to be like you.
Studies first kay nindot gyud nga naa ka’y foundation sa school also sab in the house because we all learn our values sa school ug sa house. So from there, it’s a good jump off point para mahasa nimo imong advocacies. To mold yourself in becoming who you want to be in the future kay moabot ra gyud na ang opportunities to become a beauty queen. You can pursue it when you’re older and when you’re more mature. And then if naa na ka dira always believe in yourself kay your supporters will always back you up but when you’re on stage ikaw ra gyud na and it’s only you ang maka-stop in getting that crown, so make sure that you don’t. Always make sure to believe in yourself. And just grab it.