Winwyn Marquez, then-sporting her real name Teresita Ssen Marquez, graced TWBA to talk about her struggles before bagging the Philippines and Asia’s first win at the Reina Hispanoamericana pageant in 2017.
Before joining Miss World Philippines where she got her ticket to Reina Hispanoamericana, Winwyn also tried her luck in the 2015 Binibining Pilipinas where she won special awards and finished in Top 15. The loss, according to Winwyn, sparked more bashing from the public.
“Ang daming nagsabi na hindi ako pang-beauty queen. ‘Yung itsura ko, hindi. ‘Yung height ko, hindi. Masyado lang akong nagfe-feeling. A lot of people were saying bad things about me in Binibini,” she recalled in an episode of Tonight with Boy Abunda.
But thanks to all the harsh comments and mockery, she was inspired to be more resilient. “I just learned how to accept myself more after that, to grow more and learn more. Sabi ko, ‘Hindi ako pwedeng basagin ng mga tao after kong matalo.’” Determined to rise above the criticisms, Winwyn decided to re-learn and sharpen her skills as a beauty queen not to please others but rather help her grow as a person.
She became Philippines’ first-ever representative to the Reina Hispanoamericana pageant that was held in Bolivia in 2017. But the journey would turn out more challenging than she expected. As a Filipina boldly competing in a pageant dominated by Latina beauties, Winwyn was clueless and close to giving up.
“Itatapon mo ang isang Pinay na hindi naiintindihan lahat ng nangyayari. You didn’t understand what they’re saying. You didn’t know what to do because you didn’t have anyone there. You didn’t have supporters because the Filipinos there, hindi pa nila alam na nando’n ako,” she said.
She only had two family members cheering for her. “Sa first few presentations, maririnig mo talaga na dalawa lang silang pumapalakpak. And it was hard for me. I was crying at night. Sabi ko, ‘Lord, pinaparusahan N’yo po ba ako? Gusto ko na pong umuwi.’”
Then, the talent show happened. She also had the chance to perform in a Bolivian TV show where she showcased a traditional Filipino dance and later surprised everyone by changing into another costume for a Latin dance.
Winwyn was finally getting everyone’s attention. “After our talent show, tuloy-tuloy na. Ah, may perfect timing pala kung bakit. Buti hindi ako bumitaw,” she told King of Talk Boy Abunda.
Winwyn’s perseverance paid off when she was crowned Reina Hispanoamericana 2017, the first and only Asian to hold the title. Asked about the pageant’s mission, the beauty queen and actress said, “It promotes Hispanic culture. Gusto nila ganun din ang gawin ko dito sa Philippines and Asia. It’s the first time they opened their doors to the Philippines because of the culture and the relationship.”