Queens don’t always wear crowns or sashes. Sure, when they are on TV and in magazines, you see them all dressed up and made-up. Kylie Verzosa is no exception. But since winning the title of Miss International last year, she’s been active over her advocacy, working tirelessly to promote awareness on mental health. Going through depression herself, the personal experience transcended into being fuel to make the change she can in the world.
She tells us, “I want to increase awareness about it so people aren’t afraid [to discuss depression] and that more people will get the attention they need.” This makes her schedule hectic, but she doesn’t mind. “I’m super busy now that I’ve been working on a lot of projects. I’m quite happy about this.”
Kylie is working as much as she can because she has something to prove. You can’t hold her down. “It’s difficult to be in my position. But you know what, I’ve earned my spot here. [Being here] wasn’t easy at all. I had to prove myself.”
She relates, “To win a competition is also difficult because you’re up against 40 girls—you’re judged and scrutinized on social media. Everything’s magnified, so you really have to be at your best. It’s not enough that you look good.”
So what does it take to surpass the hardships? “Some say it’s luck,” she says. “Mine was strategy and willpower. You have to have strong mentality. It’s not just about the looks. There are so many pretty girls but what makes a girl stand out is her personality.” In this itself, Kylie stands out. She’s the type of girl who talks a mile a minute because she’s got a lot to say. She wants to overcome the misconceptions that beauty queens are “pretty without brains.” “That’s just not true. That’s something I had to overcome.”
But like everyone else, Kylie also cuts loose. If not doing what she sets out to do, she loves to just chill. “I love just staying at home.” For someone who has been blessed with a lot of things that other people can only dream about, she still knows what counts, “As long as I have my friends and family with me, good music, and a good book, I’m good.” She goes back to her childhood in Baguio and shopping with her family. “When I was young, when you said go to the mall, you meant SM,” she quips.
So where’s this all headed to? Beyond being a beautiful face and an up-and-coming personality, Kylie is aspiring to be influential, looking up to people whose works have gone past the spotlight. “I want to be a 21st-century Audrey Hepburn. I love Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou. I also like Jennifer Lawrence.” Like these women whose opinions mattered, she wants her voice heard—and, luckily, being a beauty queen just afforded her that.