CEBU CITY, Philippines–Samantha Ashley Lo, who represented Cebu in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant, is in Venezuela to compete for the Miss Grand International (MGI) 2019.
Lo was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2019 last June 9, 2019 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, which earned her the right to represent the country in a pageant that the Philippines has never won a crown.
For many pageant enthusiasts, Lo may just win the Philippines’ first MGI crown.
In August 2019, Lo made a bold decision when she announced that she will still be joining the pageant despite the political crisis in Venezuela, which poses safety risks.
Lo said she is aware of Venezuela’s political unrest brought about by the power struggle between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
Lo previously said it was her personal decision to move forward and compete in Venezuela.
In her MGI introductory video, Lo said she grew up in Florida and was raised in a Filipino and Cuban household where certain traditions and values from both cultures were instilled in her as a child.
“They shaped my views on cultural diversity. There shouldn’t be a divide amongst cultures. No one is better than the other and there is just so much to learn from them,” Lo said as she delivered a narrative in her signature husky voice.
Lo was born to a Filipino-Chinese father from Cebu and Cuban-Nicaraguan mother.
She was born and raised in the U. S. and then later moved to Cebu to finish her nursing degree.
Lo made the video as a platform to inform the public about her advocacy: literacy development.
“I love to read and that’s why I’m an advocate for literacy,” she said.
“I think it’s everybody’s right to be taught to read and write. Just imagine living a life without knowing how to; it like living blind and mute to some extent,” added Lo.
Lo was Binibining Cebu Tourism 2017, placing second to Apriel Smith who won the crown that year.
In 2018, she became Best Model of the World Philippines at the Global Asian Model (GLAM) Philippines competition.
She represented the Philippines in Turkey during the international GLAM competition on the same year.
Lo said she will give it her best shot as she competes for the crown.
The coronation night for Miss Grand International 2019 will be held on October 25, 2019 in Caracas, Venezuela.