“Beauty Queens” stars Maxine and Winwyn bare inspiring pageant journeys, talk about online businesses

Many expect beauty queens to be perfect. But in reality, these gorgeous women with good hearts and sharp minds are just humans – hurt by cruel words and hustling for survival. Miss Universe-Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina and first Pinay Reina Hispano-Americana titleholder Winwyn Marquez share engaging stories about their ‘new normal,’ and heartfelt revelations about their pageant journeys in light of their newest project “Beauty Queens” on iWant.

Maxine starts the day early with a routine that’s pretty easy to memorize. She does her workout regimen, faces household chores, and then goes on with her online business born out of the quarantine. She currently owns two business pages on Instagram – one that’s meant for her pre-loved clothes and the other one marketing her meat products. Being swamped with different activities adds positive results to her physical fitness, especially during the first few days of quarantine where she had to do all the house cleaning on her own. The beauty queen turned actress had more time learning Filipino dishes like adobo, sinigang, and caldereta.

Maxine has a lot on her plate but she isn’t complaining. With the pandemic that’s happening to the world, she believes that getting active is a useful weapon to fight the anxieties.

Winwyn agrees with her Maxine’s thoughts on mental health, adding that the crisis taught her to be more sensitive in dealing with other people. She learned to be more careful with her choice of words, knowing that it matters to people struggling with depression in secret. Winwyn makes sure to always check on her friends as well.

How they manage to still keep fit despite selling yummy treats – steak for Maxine and homemade bread for Winwyn – might be puzzling. The key, according to them, is discipline. They can pig out if they want to, while making sure that heavy meals are burned off the next day.  Just in case you still don’t know yet, these women can go hardcore when working out, especially Maxine who likes to train with intense cardio exercises. Winwyn, on other hand, is into weight lifting and yoga.

A strong mind is just as important as a healthy body. Winwyn studies online courses and reads a lot when not baking. She said getting busy with positive activities is way better than sulking around trying to overanalyse the negativities. “Tomorrow is not promised. We may not be prepared sa mga nangyayari but we need to adapt to what is happening. As much as possible, gawin na lang natin kung anong kaya nating gawin para maging okay tayo,” shared Winwyn.

Besides the quarantine-born side hustle, Maxine and Winwyn are busy promoting their upcoming iWant series titled “Beauty Queens.” This isn’t a series that only showcases the glitz and glamour of the pageant milieu. It goes beyond the perfect illusion of beauty queens. Interestingly, the show circles around a family of beauty queens, the depth of individual and collective dreams, and the rigorous process of securing a crown.

Winwyn, who plays the role of Cristina De Veyra, shared that winning a crown was her ultimate childhood dream. It doesn’t come as surprise, for we all know she grew up watching her aunt Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez conquer the pageant world. And as she becomes older, Winwyn realized that the pageant stage is a perfect place to exercise all her passions – modelling, performing, public speaking, and engaging in advocacies.

In 2015, she boldly tried her luck in the Binibining Pilipinas screening without her parent’s knowledge. She knew she won’t be getting her father’s go signal. Her dad, veteran actor Joey Marquez, was scared just imagining his princess getting scrutinized from head to toe. For him, the beautiful Winwyn doesn’t have anything more to prove. But his daughter’s loud tenacity and performance during the coronation night have totally surprised him. He then realized that there’s no stopping Winwyn from chasing her dream.

Maxine’s story was a stark contrast. Growing up shy and full of insecurities about her skin color, Maxine never thought of joining the modelling industry, much less the pageant world. She wanted to become a volleyball player then.

Then, at 18, she was persuaded by her photographer cousin to pose for a shoot. She obliged, trading her still unlocked modelling skills with a free layout of her debut party invitation cards. Maxine’s modelling photos turned out stunning, giving birth to her family and friends’ insistence to push her into joining pageants. In limbo, Maxine decided to try modelling first. Until, she finally gave in to everyone’s endless persuasion, leading her in a spot in the Binibining Pilipinas 2016 pageant and, later on, in the Miss Universe stage.

Many would think that what a beauty queen does is a walk in the park. After all, we just see them sashay on stage with so much ease, answer one-liner questions, and wave at the crowd non-stop. But those who witnessed Maxine, Winwyn, and other beauty queens’ intense trainings would all agree that winning a crown is always a hard-earned victory. Add to that, the pain that comes with rampant online bashing.

Netizens have seen Maxine getting stoned with hurtful words and comments yet she remained warm and unbreakable. But behind closed doors, Maxine was admittedly hurt. She had to go on a social media detox. And just as when she thought she could go on with her life peacefully, Maxine learned that bashing doesn’t happen on social media alone. Hurtful words can be spitted right at her face. “I was celebrating with my friends. Randomly, may lumapit sa akin. Sabi niya, ‘You shouldn’t win. You don’t deserve it.’”

Winwyn had the same experience with a female viewer who got totally annoyed with her kontrabida role in a teleserye. “Akala niya ako talaga ‘yun in real life at ang sabi niya ‘Buti nga sa’yo nasasaktan ka. Ang sama ng ugali mo.’ Nasaktan din ako pero pag may ganun, siyempre I was brought up a respectful child. Thank you na lang, iwas na lang,” said Winwyn.

The realities of a beauty queen’s emotional struggles are also tackled in Maxine and Winwyn’s iWant series. The latter breathes life to the character of an aspiring beauty queen turned activist, Tingting. The change of heart happened in college where she got a bigger view of the realities of women’s role in the society. Nevertheless, she would continue joining pageants for reasons that go deeper beyond the desire for glitz and glamour.

Playing as the eldest child, Maxine’s Daisy defied everyone’s expectations when she turned her back on the family’s pageant legacy to pursue a religious vocation. Maxine hinted at a deeper motive behind her character’s desire to become a nun.

Joining them in the series is Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz as Dahlia, the matriarch of the De Veyra family. Maxine and Winwyn are both in awe of Gloria’s queenly nature. They said the veteran actress and pageant virtuoso is a woman of wisdom, and they enjoy learning a lot from her.

Catch Maxine and Winwyn alongside Gloria Diaz, Maris Racal, Nella Dizon, and Ross Pesigan in the iWant original series “Beauty Queens” directed by Joel Lamangan.

Watch for free starting this July 15 (Wednesday) on the iWant app (iOs and Android) or iwant.ph