Why Karen Gallman isn’t fazed when people say she doesn’t ‘look Filipino’

'I speak Visaya, I speak Tagalog. So I'm Filipina talaga. I just let them know.' Karen says

PROUD FILIPINO. Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman says she's used to being mistaken for other nationalities other than Filipino. Screenshot from Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman doesn’t flinch when people say she doesn’t quite look Filipino. She’s quite used to it and for the Filipino-Australian stunner, it’s not really a big deal. 

In Rappler Talk interview on Monday, February 4, she was asked how she reacts to people telling her that she doesn’t “look Filipino.” 

“I get it a lot. I’m so used to it. Like, I get ‘oh, are you from Brazil, are you Spanish, are you Indian? I get a lot of it. I’m so used to it. It doesn’t really bother me,” she said.

“I simply answer, no I’m Filipina. Like my mom’s Filipina and I was born and raised in the Philippines. I speak Visaya, I speak Tagalog. So I’m Filipina talaga. I just let them know,” she said. 

Karen, who bagged the country’s first Miss Intercontinental crown in January 2019, said she counts Miss Universe Philippines 2014 MJ Lastimosa and Miss Grand International 2017 2nd runner-up Elizabeth Clenci as among those who helped her prepare for both her national and international competitions the most. 

“[MJ] was really helping me out in Bb Pilipinas. And also Liz. They would give me advice. MJ was trying to help me with my wardrobe, you know just giving me tips and advice.”

Not just a pretty face anymore

Karen said contrary to what most people think, being a beauty queen isn’t just about looking good and having a toned body. 

“You have to have life experience. You need your education as well, I think that would really help. And a lot of ladies and a women now they have their own advocacy. Causes close to their heart, they want to make a difference and have an impact on. So yeah, it’s not just about looking pretty and having that good body,” she said. 

Being a titleholder also means having to keep her social media followers updated with her activities. Asked how she plans to use social media now that she has a crown, Karen said she plans to use it to raise awareness close to her heart.

“I think it serves as a platform for you to like to raise awareness and pick people’s consciousness. And if you want to let people know of your recent activities and up to, raising awareness and what have, that would really help because it has a massive reach.”

Karen said that she will take a short break before formally working with the Miss Intercontinental organization. – Rappler.com