MANILA, Philippines – Binibining Pilipinas International 2017 Mariel de Leon is busier than ever. On top of preparing for the Miss International 2017 pageant in Japan, she is also filming Ang Panday, where she is cast as the leading lady of Coco Martin, who is both star and director of the remake.
In an interview with reporters after the Grandparents Day celebration at Gateway, Araneta Center on Sunday, September 10, Mariel clarified that contrary to what people are saying, her movie shooting schedule does not take up much of her pageant preparation time.
“For Panday, our shooting is only once or twice a week and every weekend lang. So of course, most of my time still goes to Binibini and our preparations for our pageants. I think that’s what people mostly don’t understand – [it] is only once or twice a week. Maybe they thought it’s going to be all day everyday,” she said.
Mariel shared that she already had about 3 to 4 shooting days on the set of the movie for the Metro Manila Film Festival in December. When asked how it was like working with Coco, Mariel, the daughter of Cristopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong, said: “It’s really good working with him. He’s easy to work with because he really knows what he wants, and he’s a good director and he really pushes us to be better. Although it’s challenging at times because I’m a newbie, I think it’s for the better naman.”
Mariel is aware of the big shoes she’s following since her father is considered as one of the best actors in the country, but she also tries not to put too much pressure on herself, following her parents’ advice, she always remembers to be nice to everyone, memorize her lines, relax, and have fun.
“This whole Panday thing is just a new experience and a step for me, and it’s not really… I haven’t decided the path I’m going to go actually. So i’m just deeping my toes in the water and see how it goes. I’m still trying to do my best in the movie but i’ll do my best.”
Speaking out, pageant preparations
With Miss International scheduled on November 14, Mariel said that she, along with her other Binibini sisters, have been busy with lessons on hair, makeup, walking, and even speech. For her competition, she said that she been reading up on the Japanese culture.
“I have to study the Japanese culture. I need to learn a bit of Nihongo, and I guess be more culturally aware,” she said.
Mariel is also known to be one of the most vocal titleholders in the past years. In May, she made headlines when she expressed her dismay over the appointment of Mocha Uson as assistant secretary for the Presidential Communications Operatiosn Office (PCOO). She also voiced out out her concerns about reproductive health issues in the country, the war on drugs, and took part in the charity events of Bb Pilipinas, which include visiting public schools and spending time with the wounded soldiers in conflicts such as Marawi.
“I’ve always been this way and getting the crown and sash [didn’t] change at me at all and I’m not going to stop anytime soon or ever. I think people should break down the stereotype of beauty queens that we’re just here to be beautiful, wave to the crowd, things like that. We’re here to make a stand and inspire and influence people by using our voice because we have this pedestal and we can reach out to a big audience. So I think it’s important to use your voice and raise awareness for different issues and advocacies,” she said. – Rappler.com