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After going home empty-handed from the 50th annual Miss Universe pageant in Puerto Rico several months prior, Agbani Darego of Nigeria walked away with the Miss World 2001 crown in South Africa. Ten years later, a dead ringer named Leila Lopes of Angola was crowned Miss Universe 2011. Who would’ve thought that my niece Jersey Anne Allera Salazar grew so fast that she could perfectly pass for Agbani’s and Leila’s long-lost little sister in the Philippines?
Call them triplets. But what’s more interesting is that—considering Agbani Darego’s title as Miss World and Leila Lopes’s as Miss Universe—Jersey Anne may have completed building up their family’s wall of fame by clinching the last (but certainly not the least) of the “Big Three,” which is Miss International . . . by being recently crowned as Miss Teen Gawahon 2013 – International (if you will).
And what a coincidence that, as I was having Jersey Anne fit several dresses courtesy of our New York-based relative Nit Ferguson, she looked best in this body-hugging lime-green dress, virtually the same cut and color or style as Agbani’s gown at Miss World.
Jersey Anne lives just a stone’s throw away from my house in Malabuyoc, and although it seems she’s just one of the girls in Gawahon that play hide-and-seek, I can totally decipher the makings of a beauty queen. So I started brainwashing her about pageants by stressing the value of education, how far reading books could take her, and what good it brings to her and her family if she makes the most of her God-given beauty and brains. She had her baptism of fire at Miss Teen Gawahon 2013 pageant last April 27, although she was two years shy of teenager. She joined because she felt sorry for the organizers who were running out of time looking for candidates and, more importantly, she wanted to enjoy her summer vacation to the fullest.
I have faith that someday, God willing, my niece will go a long way to live her dream and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her big sisters. Wouldn’t it be exciting if, another ten years from now, the triplets were reunited, each wearing a glittering crown: Miss Universe (Leila Lopes), Miss World (Agbani Darego), and Miss International (Jersey Anne Allera Salazar)?
Hair & Makeup on Jersey Anne: Ariel Allera