Arienne Louise Calingo: When beauty isn’t just skin deep
Since becoming the Miss World Philippines 2016 First Princess (first runner-up), Arienne Louise Calingo has been juggling her commitments as a beauty queen, college lecturer, Education USA Ambassador for the American Embassy in Manila, brand ambassador for Colourette Cosmetics, and an advocate for education and diversity.
In a recent phone interview shortly after being named the First Princess, the 24-year-old titleholder elaborated upon her advocacies and why the pageant means a lot to her. Aside from promoting the importance of education to Filipino youth, Arienne Louise hopes to create a more open conversation about issues of diversity.She believes that a woman’s beauty and intellect are not defined by her skin color.
“As a proud morena woman, I seek to challenge the common notion that beauty is only associated with light, fair skin,” Arienne Louise explained. She takes pride in empowering and inspiring other morena Filipinas that they too can be competitive in national pageants.
With a background as a Diversity Facilitator from the prestigious Georgetown University, Arienne Louise aims to organize “diversity training, discussions, and workshops at various schools across the country.”
“I believe that it is time to speak about issues of diversity and change perceptions of beauty in order to promote more inclusivity, tolerance, and understanding in the Philippines,” she added.
The Filipina beauty queen revealed that a series of conversations with Miss World Thailand 2014 Maeya Nonthawan Thongleng deeply inspired her. Arienne Louise had been receiving advice from Maeya in the weeks leading up to the pageant.
“Maeya is known to be one of the first dark-skinned beauty queens of Thailand. During her reign, she was able to spark discussion on skin color and beauty,” Arienne Louise recalled.
Before joining Miss World Philippines, Arienne Louise founded a scholarship program in Bangkok, Thailand and also created an informal education program under the acronym LEAD (Leaders in Education, Advocacy and Diversity), which is geared towards the street children of Angeles City, Pampanga.
In preparation for the pageant, Arienne Louise trained since last November under Aces & Queens, the pageant camp that brought Miss World 2013 Megan Young and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.
“I pray every single day. I train and maintain a strict diet. I read a lot. I play Sudoku. I try to get abreast with international news. I stay close to my family and friends. And I think these are the things that I will keep doing while I wait for my time to wear my own big crown,” Arienne Louise said.
To Arienne Louise, emerging first runner-up in a beauty pageant was kind of deja vu.
In 2013, she was candidate no. 16 and placed first runner-up at the Binibining Pilipinas USA beauty pageant. Likewise, last Sunday (October 2, 2016) at the Manila Hotel, Arienne Louise was candidate no. 5 and was proclaimed as the First Princess in a field of 24 candidates from all over the Philippines.
Had she won Miss World Philippines 2016, Arienne Louise would be competing for the Miss World crown in Washington D.C. where she had attended college at Georgetown University.
“That place is special to me. I would have loved to represent the Philippines at Miss World 2016. But, I have no regrets. I know that I gave my all and really tried my best. I always believe that things happen in His time,” she concluded.
Well, we agree to that. And we’re prompted to remind her of the saying: Third time’s the charm.
Oh yes, who knows?