(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) 26-year-old Indian-Filipino beauty Parul Shah won the 51st edition of the Binibining Pilipinas" competition which started in January.“Born and brought up in Dubai made me dream big” says Parul Shah 26-year-old Indian-Filipino beauty queen who came to Dubai for 10 days to visit her family which has been here for 38 years. Having spent her childhood here she started dreaming of becoming a beauty queen when she was just 10. And winning the Binibining Pilipinas Tourism title at the Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Philippines) 2014 competition made that dream come true.
“I saw it was more than just a pretty face and a crown. The voices of these beauty queens advocating empowerment echo around the world and I wanted to be like them. I went to the Philippines to pursue my college education and I realised my dream.
“You represent women from all over the world especially the most vulnerable. I want to be an inspiration for them to meet their dreams and goals; to be of service to those victims of exploitation; and to share functional literacy and education especially to those who cannot afford.”
“One thing I’ve learned from my Indian father and my Filipina mother is to have humility and respect for all living things and this will take you a long way in life” she adds.
When asked whether her mixed genealogy helped her win the title she says: “I never looked at it that way; just mightily blessed that I was able to grow up experiencing the best of both worlds. It gave me cross-cultural perspectives. It was not the reason I won but it gave me the edge.”
She says it’s just the difference of skin colour and geographical location. “What matters is your principles and how you see the world. My hear is big and it can accommodate both Filipinos and Indians there lies a home for both.”
Shah desires to foster women’s rights across the globe if she wins in an international competition.
Being a beauty queen representing the Philippines her favourite project is definitely one that is close to her heart and that is for women. “A project that will empower them to be skilled confident and independent fighting violence and gender-based discrimination in conservative society through economic empowerment.”
A nursing graduate from the University of Cordillera in Baguio City Shah was in Dubai last month. “I visited my mom because she was not well.”
Her mom 57-year-old Luzviminda Framil Quitola and dad 60-year-old Pramod Kumar Shah did not know that their daughter joined the competition until their friend informed them that her photos were all over Facebook.
Shah joined the 51st edition of the “Binibining Pilipinas 2014” competition which started in January and ended with the coronation night on March 30. Some 100 beauties from across the Philippines applied of which 40 were chosen. “The screening was like applying for a job interview. Ladies should be more than just a pretty face. They should have a personality that should shine through. It was a two-month competition. A plethora of charity works sponsored visits TV shows photo shoots talent shows and judging was done” she concludes.
She first participated in the “Binibining Pilipinas” last year and ended up as one of the semi-finalists. But that was not the first time for her. In the UAE she had participated in the “Miss Teen Philippines UAE” and won “Miss Confidence” when she was 14 years old.