Miss Cebu 2014 marked the 30th year of the annual search for the woman who embodies the traits of a true Cebuana. The coveted crown was bagged by a fourth year Political Science student of the University of the Philippines, contestant # 8 Cheriemel Diane Muego. This is her second try at winning a major title. She was also crowned Miss Ormoc 2012.
Behind the slender figure and striking face is a woman with great sense and passion. During their first meet and greet, Diane was already a natural standout when it came to expressing herself. Just like her idol, Aung San Suu Kyi (check your Asian history!), she is a woman to watch out for. Her beaming confidence paired with a great deal of social awareness brought her the Miss Cebu crown.
032: Let’s start with the most obvious question. Did you expect to win Miss Cebu 2014?
Cheriemel: I honestly did not expect it because I don’t want to be frustrated but I kept my hope. The competition was tough knowing that the other contestants were all beautiful.
032: You had a mind blowing answer during the pageant night but we already noticed you nailed every question thrown at you even before that. Has the Question & Answer portion always been your edge? Do the genes of intelligence run in the family?
Cheriemel: I think so. I believe I was also crowned Miss Ormoc 2012 because of my Q&A. I was born in a family of lawyers. Growing up, I have always felt the need to be socially aware and to have enriching experiences. This helped me determine my advocacies and put it in action.
Cheriemel: I focused more on improving my walk on the ramp. Although I am part of Wafer Models, I still feel that I need to improve my walk.
032: Did you still prepare for the Q&A?
Cheriemel: I read but I think when you are already rich with experiences and have the knowledge on what’s going on in society, it makes it easier for you to effectively express and articulate your thoughts. It all becomes natural.
032: Since you handle yourself like a pro in the Q&A, do you still experience confidence issues on stage?
Cheriemel: When I’m on the stage, I try to forget that people are watching me. I actually fear smaller crowds more than a big one. I was even more nervous during the pre-pageant night than the pageant night itself. I told myself that I can choose to please others or myself. It’s either I give answers which will be agreeable to others or stick to my own perspectives. I chose to be just myself. Always be yourself.
032: Before the final announcement was made, we all saw you bending your head down and staring at the floor. What did you think about then?
Cheriemel: It was my outlet for everything – the stress and the pressure because you are that close to winning the title. During the Top 5 announcement, I was the last candidate to be called out so I felt a bit more calm and confident but the tables turned again because I was the last person to answer the final Q&A. I could see the people’s reactions to the previous contestants’ answers.
032: I’m sure guys want to know this. Are you single or double?
Cheriemel: I’m in a happy relationship right now. (Chuckles)
*Photography by KIT Bajar