Her feminist agenda: Encouraging other women to be who they really are
“I will celebrate by encouraging other young women not to bow their heads down but to stand up for their right. I will celebrate by not being afraid to be myself.”
Beauty pageants can get flak—from the physical standards they project to the way they encourage competition between women. Megan Young, Miss World 2013, knows this all too well. “These beauty pageants all started as bikini contests for festivals in their countries. There was nothing more to it,” she says.
But what made Megan decide to join Miss World? “It was always at the back of my mind, but I never really saw a purpose for it. All I could see were women showing off their beauty, which wasn’t a bad thing for me, but I didn’t see any depth in it. Once I got older, I decided to look into it more and finally saw what they stood for: beauty with a purpose.” The whole landscape of pageantry has changed drastically, from the glamorous but often problematic contests that judged based on outer beauty to becoming a platform for women to push for their personal and community advocacies. “You have women all over the world coming together to create something and make life a bit better for their community. I have conversed and been alongside such beautiful women–but only the beauties who are true and pure on the inside really shine through.”
For Megan, joining a beauty pageant can run parallel to contributing to society. “One of the reasons why I joined Miss World was that of the advocacy it presents. Now, it’s all about creating a voice, leading for change, pushing for certain advocacies.”
Before becoming a beauty queen, she started out as a hopeful in a local talent search for a TV network. Despite regular engagement with fans and industry people, she wasn’t as outspoken and open back then. “I’ve always been the type of person to keep quiet and just shrug off anything insensitive or sexually inappropriate that’s being thrown at me. I was the type of person who would just keep quiet so I don’t hurt anyone,” she admits. “But I would end up hurting myself emotionally in the process. I used to beat myself up about it.”
Social media has been a great part in her self-development. Success stories online about women standing up for themselves has given Megan more courage and a whole lot of spunk to defend herself.
“I was definitely able to create more of a voice when I got into the world of pageantry,” she says. “Meeting different people, seeing different cultures, experiencing different struggles all over the world opened my eyes and it took me out of my comfort zone.”
After Miss World, Megan decided to continue her showbiz career. But returning to showbiz after such a pivotal win brought some changes. With the weight of the crown, people tend to be more careful in front of her. She doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal; Megan would rather be seen as her usual self–kalog, sweet, and talkative.
Being put on a pedestal when you’re a public figure is inevitable. But maybe it helps that Megan and beau Mikael Daez are both living that life together. With a show together on the works, Megan is ecstatic to focus on acting and work with Mikael. ”I’m currently working on a TV show with GMA called The Stepdaughters. I think this will be a great step for us as actors, as individuals and as a couple. We’re definitely going to have good and bad days so I’m excited to see how we’re going to tackle that!”
Despite a refocusing on acting and a schedule filling up with tapings for her new show, Megan has firmly set her priorities straight. With or without a crown, she’ll continuously work towards women empowerment. “I will celebrate this month by celebrating the good I have done for the people around me–and the good they have done for me. I will celebrate by encouraging other young women not to bow their heads down but to stand up for their right. I will celebrate by not being afraid to be myself– not being afraid of not conforming to other people’s image of me.”
SUMMER FASHION SELECTIONS
Megan likes to keep it cool, casual, and fun in the summer sun
“I’m all for white T-shirts from Bench and dressing them up. Super comfortable during the summer! Plus, it’s hard to tell if you’re sweating.”
“I use moisturizer even on hot days. I can’t have my skin getting patchy and scaly. Then I top it with sunblock on my t-zone.”
“Mascara for my lashes and eyebrows then a cheek tint for my cheeks and lips. I don’t wear foundation and just cover blemishes with concealer if needed. I can’t deal with foundation rolling off my face when I get sweaty. How do others do it?”
What Megan Likes to Eat
“I’m always in SM Megamall because my dermatologist (Aivee Clinic) is there. I’ll either go to Satchmi to chill if I’m there early (they have small rooms where you can listen to records while having some merienda!) or I’m down at Tuan Tuan having some laksa and pork buns!”