Right after Miss Universe-Philippines Venus Raj took her bow as STAR columnist (Major, Major, every Sunday in the Entertainment Section) late last year, Funfare’s “other beauty expert” Celso de Guzman Caparas made a major, major discovery.
“Venus is in good company,” said Celso. “There were other beauty queens who became journalists.”
Here they are (from Celso’s extensive research):
• 1908 Carnival Queen Pura Villanueva (1886-1954) wrote articles for and edited the Woman’s Page of El Tiempo (circulated in Iloilo). She was the Spanish section editor of Women’s Outlook (the campaign voice of National Federation of Women’s Clubs). Through her writing endeavors, she met her future husband, renowned nationalist Teodoro M. Kalaw, the editor of El Renamiciento. She founded the Philippine Women Writers Association, an organization devoted to showcasing the literary and writing skills of Filipinas.
• 1912 Carnival Queen Paz Marquez (1894-1983), regarded as the matriarch of Filipino writers in English, she founded the Women’s Home Journal (the country’s first women’s magazine) in 1919. She became the editor of The Philippine Journal of Education for two decades, the job she inherited from her late husband, Francisco Benitez in 1951.
• 1924 Carnival Queen Trinidad Fernandez was the English section editor of Women’s Outlook and wrote the Philippine Women and the Vote for the Philippine Magazine in 1931, a mainstream publication with mainly male followers. She was the president of NFWC that led the campaign for suffrage in our country in 1921.
• 1931 Carnival Queen Maria Kalaw (1912-1992) embraced journalism and literature like her parents, some of her writings were published in Graphic and The Literary Apprentice magazines. She became a columnist for The Manila Times and Weekly Nation. Maria was elected president of Philippine Women Writers Association in the 1950s.
• 1952 (first) Miss Universe Armi Helena Kuusela of Finland wrote her memoirs (translated by her husband, Virgilio Hilario) in her column, Beyond All Barriers, published in The Manila Chronicle (1954) in 62 installments.
• 1952 Miss Europe Gunseli Basar of Turkey wrote a column, Gunseli Oradaydi (Gunseli Was There) in Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet.
• 1960 (first) Miss Philippines International Edita Vital was editor of the fashion and features section of Asian Forum Magazine in the late ‘70s.
• 1964 Miss International Gemma Cruz has written articles for various broadsheets and magazines through the years with the preservation of cultural and historical heritage as its theme in general. At age nine, Gemma was already writing a column, Children’s Corner, for Weekly Women’s Magazine. After college, she wrote for the Sunday Times Magazine and the pre-martial law Weekly Graphic Magazine. Her column, Landscape, is currently being published in Manila Bulletin’s Op-Ed section.
• 1964 (first) Bb. Pilipinas Universe Myrna Panlilio (1942-2009) was a Philippine Daily Inquirer contributor. Barely two months before her sudden demise, her write-up, We Mothers Try to Move on Past Our Grief, was published on May 10, 2009.
• 1967 Miss America Jane Anne Jayroe wrote articles (Out of the Blue, Delight Comes into Your Life and Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul) for McCall’s magazine and other publications. She was Miss Oklahoma 1966.
• 1970 Miss Universe Marisol Malaret of Puerto Rico is the founder and editor of Imagen in 1986, the island’s first women’s and family lifestyle magazine; and Caras in 1992 which she headed until 2002.
• 1970 Miss Asia Zeenat Aman of India became a journalist for Femina magazine in late ‘60s right after she returned from her studies in University of Southern California.
• 1972 Miss Black Tennessee Oprah Winfrey publishes two magazines: O, The Oprah Magazine and O At Home. She was also Nashville’s Miss Fire Prevention 1971 and joined the Miss Black America pageant in 1972.
• 1973 Miss Universe Margie Moran wrote for Across the Nation section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer for two years in the early 2000. Her column, My Point, discussed the peace process in Mindanao, its culture, arts and traditions, among other topics.
• 1978 Miss Universe Margaret Gardiner of South Africa became a print journalist and is presently based in Los Angeles. She’s an active member of Hollywood Foreign Press Association (composed of 90 members from 55 countries who cover the US film industry) that hands out the annual Golden Globe Awards (now on its 67th year). (Trivia: Margaret wore a gown created by L.A.-based Filipino fashion designer, Oscar Challenge finalist Oliver Tolentino, during the 2010 Golden Globe Awards).
• 1985 Miss Universe Deborah Carthy-Deu of Puerto Rico wrote a column for the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper, The San Juan Star, and in Style section of San Juan City Magazine (San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico). Deborah was already 43 when she gave birth to her first child, a boy, in October 2009.
• 1990 Miss Universe Mona Grudt of Norway is an editor of the magazine Ditt Bryllup (Your Wedding). Mona holds the distinction as the last Miss Universe to join the Bob Hope USO Tour.
• 1990 Miss World Gina Marie Tolleson of USA (and Queen of Americas) became an executive editor of glossy Santa Barbara Magazine in 2002. Gina was Miss USA 1990 (from South Carolina) first runner-up.
• 1992 Miss USA Shannon LaRhea Marketic gained acceptance into the Who’s Who in American Women for her writing accomplishments. While still a teenager, she was an editor and a columnist of Prime Time Magazine, a teen magazine. She was Miss California 1992 and a Top 10 semi-finalist in the 1992 Miss Universe pageant.
• 1994 Miss America Kimberly Clarice Aiken is a regular columnist for Pageantry Magazine, touted as the “Bible of the Pageant Industry,” extensively covers the world of both national and international competitions. She was Miss South Carolina 1994.
• 1997 Bb. Pilipinas Universe Abbygale Arenas wrote for Manila Bulletin (Manners by: Ms. Abby) and Mirror Weekly magazine’s Beauty & Fashion Section (For Women Only) in 2000 and 2001, respectively. She gave tips and pieces of advice on personality development, visual poise, wardrobe, etiquette, hair and make-up and other related subjects in both columns. She was Miss Photogenic and placed 11th overall in Miss Universe 1997 won by Brook Lee of USA.
• 2000 Miss Asia Pacific Diya Mirza of India used to write for The Hindustan Times and other publications as a guest writer.
• 2001 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Zorayda Ruth Andam, 2001 Bb. Pilipinas-World Gilrhea Quinzon and 2001 Bb. Pilipinas-International Maricarl Tolosa wrote for Just For Kicks section of Manila Bulletin in 2004. The triumvirate’s column, Innerglow, tackled beauty and personality development.
• 2006 Miss Philippines Earth Catherine Untalan writes a column, Green Niche, in Gen G Magazine, Philippines’ first green lifestyle magazine launched in 2009.
• 2007 Miss Philippines Earth Jeanne Harn used to write for the weekly Showbiz Sosyal. Her column, Green Lifestyle is environment and earth-friendly living up to her beauty title.
• 2008 Bb. Pilipinas International Patricia Fernandez started writing for Showbiz Sosyal’s Lifestyle section mid of this year. Originally titled It’s My World, her column was changed recently to Chot’s World. Chot is her nickname.
• 2009 Miss Philippines Earth Sandra Inez Seifert has written articles for magazines on social awareness issues.