40 under 40: Meet the new breed of game changers in Cebu (Beauty)

“SunStar Cebu: 40 Under 40” is a campaign by SunStar Publishing Inc. in celebration of SunStar Cebu’s 40th anniversary. The campaign identifies and recognizes 40 Cebuano individuals no older than 40 years old who have greatly influenced and contributed to their respective fields of expertise.

On the days leading up to the anniversary on Nov. 25, these individuals will be featured in separate lifestyle articles that cover each category — ranging from Health and Wellness to Business. A special publication release will be scheduled on Nov. 23 covering all categories and honorees.

Cebu is no stranger to beauty. From its culture to its heritage, Cebu is in no way short when it comes to giving the world something beautiful and profound. Over the years, Cebu has produced gorgeous and exquisite women who all have it all: beauty and brains.

Today, Nov. 7, get to know these exceptional women and see how Cebuano beauty is deeper and far beyond what meets the eye.

Gazini Ganados, 26 | Miss Universe Philippines 2019

Growing up filled with utmost love by her grandparents, Gazini Ganados has made it a personal mission to ensure that society’s vulnerable seniors are given the love and care that they deserve, most especially those who are left alone and unable to fend for themselves.

Gazini emphasized what we need to give the elderly as they get older.

“One of the better ways to help is to give them your most valuable time. Giving them moral support, showing heartfelt humility and respect makes them aware that someone really does care about them and is trying to improve their condition.”

A beauty with a heart, Gazini is an example of how beauty shines bright through actions rather than face value. She shows her compassion to the elderly by ensuring that they are given the right and proper care.

“By providing them with the opportunities to improve their condition on their own would increase their self-esteem and help them in overcoming barriers they face every day. Work with the poor and needy people and help them discover their own capabilities and capacity and put them to use at the right place at the right time. Support them and let them know that they have something of value.”

Beatrice Luigi Gomez, 27 | Miss Universe Philippines 2021 | Miss Universe top 5

“Beauty pageants haven’t only been a way to uplift the Cebuanos but they have become an outlet for the causes, the talents, the history and culture of the many empowered women who are products of Cebu.”

Beatrice Luigi Gomez is more than her ethereal beauty. As a naval sergeant of the Philippine Navy stationed at the Naval Reserve Central - Eastern Visayas, Gomez is more to what she is on stage. Even before her pageantry stint, Bea has long been an advocate for children in conflict with the law.

“As a student athlete raised by a single parent, it has been taught that I have to fight my way through challenges but if it was possible for me I know that if the youth are given the guidance and right opportunities, it will also be the same for them.”

As much as it is important to amplify the voices of the youth, Bea also emphasizes how it is essential to pay it forward by using her platform in putting a spotlight on various social issues.

“Having volunteered in non-profit organizations and being a part of the Philippine Navy Marines Reserve Force has taught me that if you are willing and that if your intentions are right then there is always a way to help.”

Nicole Borromeo, 21 | Binibining Pilipinas- International 2022

“I take pride in being part of the court of Binibining Pilipinas 2022 together with the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) organization who have been a powerful force in impacting our nation for decades. From workshops and skills building to public awareness and relief operations, I believe the platform benefits the country and especially my home, Cebu.”

Beauty must go beyond its glitz and glamour and Nicole Borromeo, crowned Binibining Pilipinas 2022, is a testament to that. As an advocate for public health and safety, Nicole aims to bring utmost attention to it as it is more important than ever to address the gaps between our healthcare system.

She elaborated: “I prefer to help wherever I can, but I would say I am an advocate for public health and safety. The devastation caused by typhoon Odette on Dec. 16, 2021, was my wake-up call. We were not ready nor prepared for something preventable, but I saw empathy in times of such uncertainty.”

Chantal Schmidt, 20 | Miss Universe Cebu City 2022

Despite being the rookie of the queens, Chantal Schmidt struts like she has been one all her life. Representing Cebu City, Chantal has always had her eye on the prize. However, her grit and determination do not stop in the glitz and glamour of pageantry as she is rather keen on amplifying social issues that society sorely needs to address.

“I personally do not believe in settling for one advocacy,” she said. “The very core of being an activist is extending your help to anyone, anywhere. However, while I am very vocal about animal welfare and the emancipation of women, I am mostly recognized for my work regarding suicide prevention. Upon concluding my Miss Universe Philippines journey, I received an influx of messages from hundreds of people, not just Cebuanos.”

Chantal has made it her personal mission to help spread awareness about mental health and why it is important for global mental health to be discussed more.

“Global mental health care is so lacking, that simply being vocal already brings forth monumental change. What I did on the Miss Universe Philippines stage was to simply exist and unabashedly so.”

Tracy Maureen Perez, 29 | Miss World Philippines 2021

“Being a beauty queen is a dream for a lot of people and just like any other dream, it also requires 100 percent of effort, consistency and dedication. But aside from truly working on honing your skills and your totality as a person, it is far more important that you stay true to your principles and also push for the things that you believe in.”

Standing your ground and consistently working on the causes that you truly believe in is something that Tracy Maureen Perez has exceptionally been doing since she was crowned Miss World Philippines 2021. An advocate for single parents, Tracy aims to shed light on the plight of single parents who struggle trying to be both the mom and dad for their children.

“Pushing for access to education, especially to the impoverished youth, and honoring my mother through helping the solo parents are some of my biggest life missions and through the years, I have been working on those through the different organizations I’m associated with, especially as Miss World.”

Being the true queen that she is, Perez continues to advocate for solo/single parents through the various organizations that she is involved in.

“I am actively spreading word and participating in different fundraisers and trainings that help send school supplies to mountain barangays that help the most vulnerable, especially during the pandemic, and that help solo parents gain new skills, especially when it comes to computer literacy and BPO,” she added.

Follow SunStar Lifestyle for the next edition of “SunStar Cebu: 40 Under 40.”