Katarina Rodriguez’s Miss World journey: Taking risks, staying true to herself

Alexa Villano
Katarina Rodriguez’s Miss World journey: Taking risks, staying true to herself
Katarina took the risk, even if she already had a title to her name

MANILA, Philippines – Miss World 2018 concluded on Saturday, December 8 in Sanya, China with Mexico’s Vanessa Ponce de Leon succeeding India’s Manushi Chhillar. (READ: Who is Vanessa Ponce de Leon, Miss World 2018?)

The Philippines’ bet Katarina Rodriguez failed to enter the Top 30 of the competition – a surprise to many since she was touted as one of the ladies to watch out for. Even Venezuela’s top pageant trainer Osmel Sousa reportedly had her in his list.

So many were puzzled. What went wrong? 

Her journey to the competition involved risks from the beginning. Early in January 2018, she competed in Miss Intercontinental in Egypt. She was also a favorite to win the contest. But it did not happen. Veronica Salas of Mexico won the title and Katarina was 1st runner-up. Less than a year later, Katarina lost again to Mexico – deja vu?

INTERCONTINENTAL QUEEN. Katarina represented the Philippines in Miss Intercontinental last January in Egypt. Photo from Facebook/Miss Intercontinetal


After she crowned Karen Gallman, who will represent the country in the Miss Intercontinental pageant in January 2019, Katarina took a breather and flew to the United States. But even then, she was encouraged to try her luck in another pageant.

Unknown to many, she was taping the show The People’s Queen, which Rappler contributing writer Voltaire Tayag and Miss Supranational USA director Cecilio Asuncion hosted. ( WATCH: Katarina Rodriguez’s transformation in ‘The People’s Queen)

In an interview with Voltaire, she hinted at the possibility of giving pageantry one more try. In August of this year, she found herself applying for a slot in Miss World Philippines.

This was a bold decision. Katarina took the risk, even if she already had a title to her name. It meant giving up some endorsements (she was the face of a jeans brand) and making the necessary paper work to be released from some commitments.

MISS WORLD PHILIPPINES. Katarina during the charity gala. Photo from Facebook/Miss World Philippines

From the beginning of the Miss World Philippines competition, Katarina made the effort to prove that she was doing this for herself. (READ: Katarina Rodriguez: From Top Model to Miss World PH representative)

Filipino fans were overjoyed. This was a girl who had a good background in competitions. She had a solid chance to win the blue crown again after Megan Young in 2013. She had what people believe the Miss World Organization liked – a beautiful face, charitable causes – she had all it took to represent them.

But in the world of pageantry where luck is a factor, things don’t always fall according to plan. She nailed the Head to Head Challenge. But in the last round where she tried to explain her Beauty with a Purpose Project, she ran out of time. Stephanie del Valle and Manushi Chhillar decided to vote for Venezuela, while Megan voted for her.

What made it even more devastating was the news that her Beauty with a Purpose Project was disqualified. She apologized for a supposed “violation,” which she did not expound on. Still, she was firm in saying that she was proud of the work she did in Marawi.

MARAWI. Katarina interacts with the kids in a school in Marawi, which is part of her Beauty with a Purpose Project. Screenshot from Facebook/Miss World-Philippines

“Where peace lacks, everything else becomes present. Peace education is so important because it will teach the children and youth the differences between people and promote acceptance over exclusion. It’s a simple solution to war & violence and other stigmas WORLD WIDE. My BWAP focuses now on the community in Marawi, but my vision for the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement is GLOBAL,” she said. (READ: Katarina Rodriguez fails to win Miss World’s Beauty with a Purpose award)

Despite the odds, she fought to the end. She sought help from friends, fans, family, and strangers for votes to enter the final round of the competition. But it was not enough.

As she closes this chapter of her pageant life, Katarina can look back with pride. She stayed true to herself despite the long and painful road. She held her head up high. 

Salute Katarina! You are the Miss World of the Philippines and for that, you are a queen. – Rappler.com


Alexa Villano enjoys watching pageants and has been covering the beat for Rappler since 2014. She wrote a paper on pageantry for her fellowship. 

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.