By: Jenny Aluning
One can never truly underestimate what being in the right place at the right time can do for your future. Alyssa Manalo was taking part in a singing performance when destiny called “I have never thought about trying out for a pageant and I didn’t really know much about pageants, but the lady recommend that I auditioned so I gave it a go.” Little did she know that on June 6, 2015 she would find herself crowned as First Runner Up in the ‘Miss Australasia Official Beauty Pageant’! “I was so overwhelmed and I couldn’t believe that I actually placed since it was my first competition. It was really exciting standing there while I was awarded with a crown and sash in front of family and friends.”
The pageant, established by Maryrose Salubre of Salubre Models International, aims to help empower young women to help others in need. In this, Alyssa will be fulfilling that tenet as she was also named ‘Charity Ambassador for the BNH (Bunga National High School) in Leyte, Philippines which was severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. She will not only be raising money and collecting much needed supplies or the school, she will also be traveling there to personally deliver them and to meet the students!
Participating in the pageant definitely found the 17-year old outside her comfort zone. But she warmed to the experience as she was able to “meet new people” and “I like being able to dress up in different types of clothing and styles to express my personality.” She endured the hard slog of hair (“hair styling can hurt sometimes”) and makeup as she found the whole event, and especially her fellow contestants, very interesting “It was great getting to know them, their past experiences and lifestyles. Especially since we had many rehearsals together, we were able to talk to each other frequently.”
While new to beauty pageants, the half-Filipino, half-Maltese has already spent quite some time in the entertainment industry indulging her passion for music. Indeed since winning her crown, Alyssa also performed at the inaugural Mrs Australasia Official Beauty Pageant on October 24. Being in the limelight is never easy and Alyssa has learned to stay grounded by “staying true to myself and I never put on an act. I’m also focused on other aspects of life like school, family and friends.” She’s also learned to “always challenge yourself even if you’re scared of what others will think. I’ve learnt to always try my best and to not let self-doubt or others stop me.”
For now, it is academia that occupies most of Alyssa’s attention. She plans to finish high school and attend university. Never far from her mind though is her love for singing and music. Now, she also has to juggle her new role as Charity Ambassador amongst all of that! But she has the full support of her family behind her and it will not be a surprise if chance and success finds this talented young lady once again.