When you competed in teen pageants such as the case of Marinduque’s Simone Nadine Bornilla, some people may have a hard time getting over the idea that she is not a teen anymore. She also did a couple of businesses, dabbling in swimwear and makeup.
Now 18 and an incoming freshman student at De La Salle University, Simone is ready to compete for the biggest crown – Miss Universe Philippines.

Fulfilling a lifelong dream

In an interview with the Qrown Philippines aired last August 25, Simone said that when she and her parents found out that the height requirements were removed from the national pageant, she knew it was an opportunity.
“I was 16 or 17 when we found out from my pediatric endocrine specialist that I was going to stay 5’3 for the rest of my life,” Simone said. ” Ever since then, I thought my dream of becoming a beauty queen has come to an end.”
But destiny has a way of making things work. Simone and her parents decided to give the contest a try after the announcement.
Her experience in the pageant scene has also been an advantage since she knows the criticism that comes with it.
“I was exposed to a lot of things and one of them was bashing and negative criticism that I was getting online. Mind you, I was really young at that time and I really don’t think I was handling it very well,” she said.
“Of course my parents and my team they’d tell me not to respond and I think that’s the smartest thing they could have told me. Being exposed to this at an early age, [and] now being a contestant in Miss Universe Philippines, I have to say I really don’t mind it anymore.”

Proud daughter of gay parents

Prior to the Qrown Philippines interview, Simone has shared her story about being raised by gay parents. In a series of social media posts, she shared the discrimination she went through after she was rejected by a school because of her family background.
“I myself experienced discrimination first hand. I was not accepted in an International Catholic School when I was an incoming Grade 4 student simply because I came from a gay family,” she wrote.
“That’s why I want to be a voice for the LGBTQ+ community. No one should be judged based on your sexual preference nor the sexual orientation of your family.”
“I am your LGBTQ+ ally on the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 stage.”
Simone said that when she shared the story, she did not expect it would get a lot of attention.
“I really didn’t think it would catch a lot of attention because it was only for my viewers at that time,” she said.
” But I am really glad that it did because joining this pageant – to be able to share that story. Because in doing so, it would really be able to inspire a lot of people.”
When she got into the Top 30, her family and team were so excited and happy as seen in a video shared by her stepdad Manix Genabe. They are definitely 100% behind Simone’s campaign.

Why she deserves to be Miss Universe

From the beginning of the competition, Simone has been consistent in posting beautiful photos. Her background in teen pageants has truly helped as she and the team have been posting a lot of eye-catching shots with no less than Raymond Saldaña and Owen Reyes, who have photographed several beauty queens as her master lensmen.
Although she is young, Simone already possesses so much strength and wisdom beyond her years. During the interview with the Qrown Philippines, she was asked why she deserved to be Miss Universe Philippines. Aside from shining the light on the LGBTQ+ community, she said she was a team player.
“I believe that I can be an asset to the organization in helping them achieve their goals of inspiring people and in turn help achieve my goals. As a team player, I trust the organization wholeheartedly ever since the beginning. And I think trust in a team is important.”
Anytime now Simone will join the rest of her Miss Universe Philippines sisters in the bubble to formally begin their activities. But now, she’s already enjoying the journey, and it’s just beginning.

For Simone’s complete interview, check out on the Qrown Philippines’ YouTube page – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2UBKchlXuo&t=1084s

About The Author Alexa Villano