Rachel Peters: From “one of the boys” to Miss Universe hopeful

Photo credit to rachelpetersx IG 

Would you believe the last thing on Rachel Peters’s mind growing up was to be a beauty queen?

Actually, Rachel tells ABS-CBN.com, she was just “one of the boys.”

“No. Never, never, ever, ever did I imagine that I’ll become a beauty queen,” Rachel said. “Growing up, I was one of the boys, like we spend all our weekends to the beach, watch rugby or (pro wrestler) British Bulldog.”

Photo credit to rachelpetersx IG

Even with that irrefutable beauty, Rachel would not take effort to emphasize it. “There was never any time for dresses, nail polish, or heels, or doing my hair,” she added.

“Super, super tomboy”

“I was super boyish, super super tomboy. Literally, shower and then go to school. Like no hair brush, I never had a mirror. As I got a little bit older, I started to [wear girly outfits]. We lived in a beach so there’s no need to really dress up,” Rachel recalled. “I struggled a bit when it comes to fashion; it’s never been something that I have to get worried about. I just wear maong pants, bikini – that’s my usual get up.”

And, she was that simple, girl-next-door who, after graduating from the British International School in Phuket, Thailand, and La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia worked for the family business of events organizing in the Philippines. Even dad Nigel Peters and mom Annie would not give her special treatment, dispensing her daily chores the same way as the next employee.

Biggest surprise

But what if Rachel would give those who think she’s boyish and ordinary the biggest surprise of their lives?

Photo credit to rachelpetersx IG

That was when she decided to join the Miss World Philippines beauty pageant in 2014, without her friends and family knowing.

“They were really surprised that this is something I pursued,” she said.

And there she strode to the utter shock of people close to her as she evidently showed she had what it takes to be a beauty queen. But she fell short of realizing her goal.

She ended up 4th Princess next to Valerie Weigmann who eventually won the title.

Photo credit to rachelpetersx IG

That loss was disheartening and made her think if all the effort was worth it. She resumed her low-key life the year after until she witnessed her biggest inspiration in realizing her calling.

Persistent after losing in two previous attempts at a Binibining Pilipinas title, Pia Wurtzbach tried a third in 2015. With Rachel closely watching, Pia finally succeeded, as she was crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Universe. Later that year, we all witnessed Pia’s victory as only the third Filipina after 42 years to win the Miss Universe crown.

Following Pia’s footsteps

Motivated by Pia’s triumphant journey, Rachel now wanted to follow her footsteps.

“Pia really did have a big influence,” Rachel said. “And I’m just really wanting to challenge myself, pageant can be really hard but they really make you level up as a person, like physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and so I was ready to take on that new challenge.”

Photo credit to rachelpetersx IG

Rachel worked extra hard in her return to the pageant stage in 2017. Amid the “challenges” she faced, showing more determination and will to walk home a winner, Rachel indeed followed Pia’s lead in the pageant night. She was named Binibining Pilipinas-Universe in a monumental victory.

“I can’t describe it, like I’ve never been that happy in my life... Stunning, incredible, amazing. I wish I could replay it over and over again.”

Rigorous training

Rachel had since underwent rigorous training for the grand coronation night in The AXIS, Las Vegas Nevada on November 26 (November 27 in Manila).  This includes “gym, training, you got to look good obviously, the pastorella training which is the walking, hair training, make-up training, personality development training. A lot, there’s a lot,” she divulged.

In a separate interview on Magandang Buhay, she revealed the rationale behind it.

"The whole point of having something like this is to really get to know yourself. When you are on stage you need to know who you are and what you stand for and what you believe in, para when they ask you a question, it comes more naturally. You don't have to make it up, you don't have to fake it," she stated.

Rachel’s boyfriend, Camarines Sur governor Migz Villafuerte, assists her in sharpening her Q&A skills for the pageant night.

"He asks me the question, I answer it, tapos he critiques it. Kasi he's also super smart and I can learn a lot from him and also from my brother and my family," the proud Bicolana added.

“Have fun”

Photo credit to rachelpetersx IG

Rachel is now in the US, enjoying the pre-competition activities and building connections with her fellow hopefuls as shown in her recent posts in her Instagram account.

What’s on her mind a few days before the Miss Universe pageant? Rachel cited one helpful advice from her friend, Elizabeth Clenci, a fellow 2017 Binibining Pilipinas title holder and 2nd runner up in the Miss Grand International pageant: “She said, have fun and don’t listen to anyone else, just you, what you really feel is right.”

We’re rooting for you, Rachel!