A FEW years ago during “Pasko Sa Sugbo,” Apriel Smith was one of the “Gimik Sa Sugbo” performers at Fuente Osmeña Circle. About this time she was also mastering her walk for the pageant and modeling because she wanted to become a beauty queen.
“I want to be a role model for the youth,” Apriel tells us, adding that part of her advocacy is against substance abuse.
Actually, at 12 she started joining beauty pageants, winning several titles such as Ms. Milo Little Olympics (2010), Ms. Cebu City Olympics (2012), Sinulog Festival Queen (2012), Ms. Mandaue third runner-up (2013) and Ms. Badian Tourism (2015).
And today, 20-year-old Apriel takes her dream to the next level by joining this year’s Binibining Pilipinas, her first national pageant.
Aside from the color of her skin, the Cebuana beauty stands out because of her confidence and athletic build. This varsity volleyball player and Tourism Management student at the University of San Carlos (USC) is considered one of the early favorites for the Miss Universe Philippines title.
Will she bring home the crown on April 17 and be the next Cebuana queen?
How is your Binibining Pilipinas 2016 journey?
It has been a roller coaster ride. The fun, challenges and surprises are merged into one. There are a lot of good memories to share and be thankful for.
Then there are the people involved in those memories. My journey taughtme a lot of lessons. I’ve learned how to slow down, to constantly remind myself to appreciate every single moment.
How are you preparing for this big one ?
Aside from all the pageant trainings, I am having the proper mindset with the right attitude.
You’re one of the early favorites in the pageant. How do you handle the pressure?
I have to be honest. Yes, the pressure is there, but I realized that real beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. By showing everyone the real me…this is what captured their hearts, and for that I am forever grateful.
What is the most memorable and exciting Binibining Pilipinas experience so far?
The swimwear shoot, because we were given the opportunity to enhance the styling of our swimwear.
How about the most challenging?
The most challenging experience is self-assessment, evaluating one’s self on a daily basis so that you become a better individual.
You are training under beauty queen powerhouse, Aces and Queens. What’s it like?
Aces and Queens never fails to remind us that we truly can make a difference. They bring out the best in you by knowing your purpose.
Do do you do your own makeup?
I do. Aces and Queens trains us how to put on makeup. It’s really beneficial, and fun. Marion Alcasid of Ozar is also helping me with makeup materials, which brands to use and how to apply them.
Do you have family in Manila who can provide you with the support you need?
I’m alone in Manila but not quite lonely because Aces and Queens is a very homelike camp. But communication with my family is always there. I always find time each day to talk to my family.
How do you cope with stress that comes with pageant preparations?
I talk to people with positive vibes, like my family and friends. I also walk till I smile. Studies show that even a 10-minute walk immediately boosts one’s mood. It
What will be your advocacy in case you win?
My advocacy would be to steer the youth away from substance abuse. Because of drugs, many lives are being destroyed. Young people are robbed of a bright future. Being a volleyball player and a model at the same time, I’m aware that introducing sports and modeling workshops will help create a sense of purpose in one’s life, to keep young people away from drugs, and all those vices.
What can you say about Miss Universe 2016 Pia Wurtzbach?
I am a fan of many beauty queens. They have inspired me to be what I am today. I haven’t met Pia yet but I think she is quite inspiring. I see her as a fighter with a good heart. She goes all out in bringing honor to our country.
Who chose the songs for your performance during the talents night?
My elder sister Emz and I dance a lot at home. It’s our favorite pastime. Still, I never really thought it would take me as far as showcasing my talent through dancing. I love Beyonce, and that is why I chose her songs.
Your fellow Cebuana Maria Gigante, who’s also in the competition, comes from a different group. Do you keep in touch?
We may belong to separate camps, but that does not create a gap between us. We do talk. Maria is a kind-hearted individual and fun to be with.
Who’s your closest friend among the candidates?
My close friends are the girls in my same camp because we are all living in one place.
You were here in Cebu for the Holy Week. What did you do during the break?
I visited the Basilica to thank the Sto. Niño. I also had interviews and photo shoots, but most of the time, I was with my family.