Miss Earth

Yllana Marie Aduana is not denied, ‘only redirected’ after Miss Earth run

Jairo Bolledo

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Yllana Marie Aduana is not denied, ‘only redirected’ after Miss Earth run

NEW QUEEN. Philippines' Yllana Marie Aduana is Miss Earth Air 2023.

Miss Earth/ DR Castuciano

Perhaps Aduana not clinching the Miss Earth crown is a sign that she is meant for greater things in this world – or the universe, rather

Yllana Marie Aduana proved anew how a Filipina beauty queen performs on stage: with beauty, grace, and confidence. But unfortunately, Aduana’s stellar run was not enough to convince the judges to give her the Miss Earth 2023 title.

During the weeks-long pageant activities of Miss Earth 2023 in Vietnam, Aduana oozed confidence and showed impeccable styling. From the moment she set foot in Vietnam, she already brought her A-game.

For the preliminary evening gown competition, Aduana slayed the runway with her blue shimmering gown with recycled zippers. Surprising? Not really! Aduana just repeated her schtick – she also wore a gown which had 5,000 safety pins for her national pageant back in May.

All throughout the pageant, Aduana maintained her status as a frontrunner due to her consistency. She was a heavy favorite to win the crown along with the Netherlands’ Noa Claus and Albania’s Drita Ziri.

On finals night, Aduana slayed the swimsuit round with her perfectly toned body. This was actually her strength – she was Miss Fit Philippines 2021. For the evening gown competition, she wore a shiny green dress, matched with a pearl that accentuated her angelic face.

Filipino pageant fans were not nervous when the top 8 question and answer (Q and A) round came. Aduana was known for “eating the microphone” or as a beauty queen who conquers the interview round.

True enough, she slayed the round with her strong but precise response to the question on what age should a child be allowed to access social media. This gave her the ticket to the top 4.

Since she gave probably the strongest answer in the top 8 Q and A round, many fans expected her to do the same in the final Q and A round.

Aduana did not disappoint and undeniably gave the best response among the top 4 finalists on the question: “An official at a recent climate conference was quoted as saying there is no science behind coals for the phaseout of fossil fuels. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?”

Aduana, relating her personal experiences, gave an impactful response: “As someone who is from the medical field, I do believe that everything roots from science. And I think that the greatest gift that we have in this generation is the sophisticated technical installations that we have, and so there is science in the phaseout of fossil fuels. But one thing that we can also agree on is we can always live the zero-waste and sustainable lifestyle. I’ve always been practicing it because sustainability will always ensure the stability in our future. And if we can master the transferability skills from a just phaseout, then we will have a greener and more sustainable future.”

In the end, Aduana was named Miss Earth Air 2023, just a spot behind the winner, Albania’s Ziri. She joined the league of Filipina beauty queens who clinched the same title: Sandra Seifert (2009) and Stephany Stefanowitz (2012).

Nothing went wrong

Many fans were disheartened and probably felt disappointed for the third time this year after the bittersweet success of Pauline Amelinckx in Miss Supranational and Michelle Marquez Dee in Miss Universe. So, what went wrong? Did Aduana make any mistakes that cost her the crown?

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The simple answer: nothing really went wrong. This was just a not-her-time-yet moment. It was obvious that she performed the best, but the judges could have been looking for a different girl and unfortunately, the stars did not align for Aduana.

Another theory is that the Miss Earth organization wanted to try something new and give a chance to countries who have been unappreciated in the pageant world like Albania. After all, the Miss Earth organization is known for also crowning winners not from powerhouse countries, such as Denmark in 2001, Honduras in 2003, Czech Republic in 2012, and most recently, South Korea in 2022.

On the brighter side, since Aduana did not win the top prize, she can still join other pageants in the future – if she wants – like Miss Universe Philippines or maybe, Binibining Pilipinas again? (She joined in 2022 and finished in the top 12).

There have been Miss Earth Philippines winners who tried their luck in other pageants after their reigns. They are called “crossover beauties” or queens who compete in another pageant after their first pageant.

Carlene Aguilar became the first Filipina to represent the Philippines in two major international pageants: Miss Earth 2001 and Miss World 2005. Miss Philippines Earth 2016 Loren Mar Artajos also competed in the highly competitive Binibining Pilipinas 2018.

Aduana can also follow Catriona Gray’s footsteps, who won the Miss Universe 2018 crown after competing in Miss World 2016. And, coincidentally, Gray popularized a mantra about not giving up and taking second chances.

On her final walk, Gray said: “To everyone with a dream, know that your dreams are valid, and on your path you are never denied, and only redirected.”

Perhaps Aduana not clinching the Miss Earth crown was a sign that she is meant for greater things in this world – or the universe, rather. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.