Pageantry is ingrained in Filipino culture and history. That’s why “every sitio, barrio, barangay, local town and city holds and conducts its own beauty pageant yearly,” according to Missosology CEO and pageant junkie Pawee Ventura.
That means in pretty much every part of the Philippines, there is someone dreaming to walk in the footsteps of the likes of Pia Wurtzbach or Catriona Gray. If that’s you and you consider these women your role models, then you must be curious as to how they do it.
Fortunately, when Canto got to sit down with Carlos “Kuya Caloy” Buendia Jr. (the man behind Catriona’s famous “Lava walk”) back in December 2019, we learned about his principles and philosophies and how he is big on bringing out the confidence that is already inside of women, as well as preparing for a pageant wisely — almost as if it were a boxing match.
Here are five tips from the architect-turned-runway-coach who helped give the Philippines one of its best beauty queens to date:
BE SCIENTIFIC — PREPARE
We don’t normally think of science when we think of preparing for beauty pageants but this actually means being methodical in how you get into the headspace of it all.
According to Carlos, preparing involves conditioning your brain, muscles, and emotions to avoid “shock” from doing something you’re not used to, such as doing a proper walk on a runway.
Preparing also takes a lot of Q&A training and hairstyling and makeup training, among others, as well as cultural heritage, and history studies to really understand your “core” as a Filipina.
“Kasi yung sash mo, you have 11 letters that is not just a country. Mayroon kang 11 letters with 7,641 islands, 110 ethnolinguistic groups with so many different dialects so, you have so many things to prepare — with just one word, “prepare,” you have so many things to do and that’s the technical thing,” Carlos explained.
If you dream of one day representing the Philippines, or whichever country you’re from, it’s going to take more than just watching a hair and makeup tutorial on YouTube — you’re going to have to really do your homework.
EMBRACE YOURSELF — WHEN YOU PREPARE, YOU EMBRACE YOURSELF
It might sound cliche but embracing one’s self is truly one of the keys to bringing out the natural confidence Carlos believes is already inside every woman. The first step of preparing allows you to discover the beauty of your roots, and how your anatomy and attributes are what make you unique to the country you represent.
This leads you to understand and appreciate yourself better, which can then bring out a confidence that you simply can’t fake.
DO YOUR RESEARCH — DO NOT UNDERMINE THE INTELLIGENT WAY OF DOING THINGS
Another way to pull off such confidence is to do research. According to Carlos, this gives you that “push” and assurance that what you’re doing is legit.
“There are always studies out there, books, articles, professionals, who know better than us,” said Carlos.
Doing your research allows you to speak confidently no matter who’s in front of you because you have that guarantee that what’s coming out of your mouth, or even how you carry yourself, is supported by experts.
HAVE DISCIPLINE — SHOWING UP AND FOLLOWING YOUR COACHES
Discipline might be a bit of an intangible tip, nevertheless, it is vital in getting where you’re aiming to go. Naturally, this entails showing up at training sessions and following what your coaches are teaching you.
“[If] you don’t follow your deadlines, you don’t follow your coaches — you do not believe in your coaches, where does that take you? Nowhere, diba,” said Carlos.
Having discipline shows that you believe in the people molding you into a better version of yourself, and are genuinely interested in learning more from them.
HAVE GRIT — KNOW THAT YOUR BIGGEST COMPETITION IS YOURSELF
To have grit is to be courageous, knowing that nothing or no one can keep you from achieving your dreams — not even yourself.
“Kasi you can do everything. Research, prepare… but then talo ka agad sa sarili mo — then you lose. Sayo palang, talo ka na, what more sa judges? Kasi parang ang end point is, it’s you. Kasi yung prayers, yung beliefs, the faith, everybody can say that,” Carlos explained.
It is only when you’ve silenced the voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough that you can truly say that you’re ready. According to Carlos, it is “conquering yourself, before conquering the universe.”
Notice how beautifying yourself or having the perfect body is not in Carlos’ tips. Sure, the process involves having really nice hair and makeup, but that’s not the point of why you wear a sash across your chest.
You compete in pageants not just to look pretty, but to represent and bear the name of a nation, city, or barangay. Carlos believes that the game is now all about being the face of the place you represent who has something to offer the world, and his five tips tell you exactly how to be that.