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3 Moms Reflect On Their Journeys in Joining Miss Universe Philippines 2023

Eileen Gonzales, Claire Dacanay, and Joeymay Leo share their stories as they become the first set of mom candidates to join Miss Universe Philippines 2023.

The Miss Universe Philippines fever is on! And the candidates have been busy with their various activities before the coronation night on May 13. As part of introducing themselves to the public, the organization released videos called HERstory. These videos share details about the candidates and the cities or provinces they represent. This year’s 38 candidates include three moms who will compete in Miss Universe Philippines 2023.

The three—Eileen Gonzales, Clariele “Claire” Dacanay, and Joeymay Leo—narrated their stories about being parents and joining the competition.

Eileen Gonzales, Quezon City

Eileen, who is the breadwinner of her family, recalled how she found out about her pregnancy at the age of 21.

“I was scared. And I am blessed to have a mom who always reminded me not to do anything wrong when she found out about my condition,” Eileen explained in a mix of English and Filipino.

Eileen admits her son Zohan would ask her about her ex-partner. However, she assures that while they are no longer together, she loves him more than ever.

The actress and former titleholder also said that she is not a perfect mom and has her lapses. But what she is doing now is for her child.

“It’s really for him and him only. He has a mom who will go for 101% for him,” Eileen said in between tears.

“There is one child who pushes you every day. He presses you not to give up and continue to fight.”

Joeymay Leo, Benguet

In her video, Joeymay proudly shows roots in Benguet. Moreover, she recalled the first time she won her first pageant at 15. She realized how powerful the platform was.

“I realized during this time that pageants also provide a platform that I can use to push forward my advocacies,” the SK chairperson narrated.

She shared the fabric called Ebban as well, which is used to carry a child. Women, she believes, “weave and mend the social fabric of our communities.”

Claire Dacanay, Parañaque City

Claire, who is one of five kids, shared how her mom raised them while their father was abroad working as a seaman. She narrated the struggles they went through just to provide for and build a home in Parañaque, where they reside.

Additionally, the 24-year-old mother shared why she is proudly representing Parañaque in this year’s Miss Universe Philippines competition.

“My family, the culture, the Parañaquenos, and the city helped me form into the woman most especially the mother that I am today. [I’m] honored and grateful to pass down these teachings to my daughter,” she said.

Making history

Clair, Eileen, and Joemay are three of the 38 candidates who will vie for the most prestigious title. Their candidacy marks the first time that the national organization has allowed married women and single moms to be part of the competition after its mother organization made the announcement last year.

Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi is set to crown her successor, who will compete in the competition to be held in El Salvador by the end of the year.

More stories on pageantry and beauty queens!

Michelle Dee Gives Miss Universe Philippines Another Try

8 Mother and Daughters Who Joined Beauty Pageants

Celeste Cortesi Reunites with Her Mother After Almost Three Years

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