MANILA – Miss Philippines-Earth 2016 Imelda Bautista Schweighart knew very well how ‘everybody hated her’ – at least the 45 other aspirants she bested in the recently concluded beauty pageant held at the UP Theatre in Quezon City.
“I’m a victim of pageant bullying. There were vicious women in the pageant. Everybody hated me,” Schweighart said in an Inquirer.net report. “I lost my pageant heels, foundation, and my only eye-shadow palette. Someone got those before coronation night.”
“I’m surprised they went missing because I’m a very organized person. They were stolen, and my fellow candidates didn’t help,” she added.
Being the front-runner in the preliminary pageant competitions, the 21-year-old Filipino-German beauty queen from Palawan saw how the other candidates were not delighted with her winning in the pre-pageant swimsuit, cocktail wear and evening gown competitions, and receiving corporate titles Miss Pontefino Residences, Miss Ever Bilena and Darling of the Press.
“They’re pulling me down,” she said in the same report, adding that she fell ill prior the closed-door preliminary selection after taking a ‘brain booster’ she received from a fellow contestant.
“She told me it’s a brain booster. That’s what’s written on the bottle. It smelled like eucalyptus… I trusted the girl who gave it to me, so I took it before I entered the room. But it made my sinuses act up and gave me a sore throat… I even got a toothache and I felt pain all over.”
Not having the support of fellow aspirants, Schweighart recalled how the mudslinging leading to the final moments of the pageant was so hard for her. But refusing to be defeated, she found strength from former titleholders who also experienced pageant bullying.
“I just focused… I traveled from Puerto Princesa to represent my city and bring home the crown. And it’s our first time to win; Palawan deserves it,” she shared.
“When I confided to Ate Jamie (Herrell, Miss Earth 2014), she said the same thing happened to her. She told me, ‘When I started in the competition, I had 24 swimsuits with me. By the time the pageant ended, I only had four left… and my heels also went missing.’ And Ate Angelia (Ong, Miss Earth 2015) told me she also experienced bullying abroad,” she continued.
Now proclaimed as the new reigning queen, Schweighart is determined to brush it all off.
“Those bullies were psyching me, to weaken me; but I didn’t give in. I had to kill the demons and survive,” she said emphatically. “I hope you (fellow candidates) find yourselves in a place where you can be healed from the past hurt. Find forgiveness and peace.”