Miss Fil-Am Florida 2018: Beauty Beyond Description
Report: Raymund Thom Golez | Managing Editor
Photos: Lorna Smith and Josh Bozarth
“The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description.” – Steve Maraboli
TAMPA, Florida – Five equally stunning women representing the local hometowns of their respective kin in the Philippines battled it out and showed their supreme individuality and unique beauty to earn the coveted crown of Miss Fil-Am Florida. Twenty-year old Bridget Bryant of Ocala, Florida who represented Cebu City, won the top plum by being crowned as Miss Fil-Am Florida 2018, at the coronation night held on August 25th at the Bayshore Grand Ballroom of Hilton Hotel in Downtown Tampa.
Bryant was born in Oklahoma City in the State of Oklahoma, and is of Filipino, Caucasian, and Native American descent. Her mother is from Cebu, Philippines. She is currently earning her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management at the University of Central Florida, along with being a part of UCF’s Equestrian Team. She has been showcasing with her horse “Calum” for almost 5 years, but she has been riding since the age of 3.Her passion for volunteering started at a young age. She would often travel with her parents and siblings to villages in the Philippines on missionary trips to help show other children how to properly take care of their dental health.
Bryant is the fourth winner of this title, and following the footsteps of her predecessors, she earned the rights in becoming the official Ambassadress of Goodwill of the Filipino American Social Club (FASC) and the Filipinos of Tampa Bay. She will directly get involved with the charity and humanitarian works of GAWAD KALINGA (GK) and CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL. Apart from winning the crown, Bryant also bagged three (3) special awards which includes Best in Swimsuit, Best in Talent, and Best in National Costume.
Wearing the First Runner Up sash and also awarded as 2018 Miss Fil-Am FL-Paraluman is Nina Marie Trojillo of Tampa, FL who represented the City of Manila. She will work closely with Bryant and with FASC to further the cause of the organization. Nina joined the MFAF Pageant because she “wants to work with the local community to help spread Asian Awareness, and help encourage younger Asian women to empower themselves.”
Second Runner Up and 2018 Miss Fil-Am FL-Lakambini is Jamaica Beltran of New Port Richey, FL who represented the Province of Pampanga. Beltran also the Best in Evening Gown special award, while Miss Congeniality special awardee Lexi Perry of St. Pete, FL who represented Negros Island Region clinched the Third Runner Up and 2018 Miss Fil-Am FL-Diwata tilt. Completing this year’s court of winners is Sarah Edmondson of Spring Hill, FL who represent the City of Davao got the Fourth Runner Up and 2018 Miss Fil-Am FL-Mayumi title. Edmondson also received the Social Media Fan Favorite special award.
This year’s panel of judges includes Atty. John Distasio, Mrs. Asia Classic International Goodwill 2015 Ludivina Nacionales, Businessman Jimmy Macalalag, Miss Fil-Am Florida 2015 Mary Yasol, and Mrs. Worldwide International 2015 Chey Dela Rosa. They were given the tasks to rate the performances of the candidates in each segment of the show, which includes National Costume, Swimsuit, Talent, Evening Gown, and the Final Question and Answer. The program was hosted by Joey Omila and Vanessa Q.
The candidates have undergone rigid pageant coaching and training on pasarela, poise, posture, and personality development under the tutelage of Raymund Golez, and truly, it manifested in their ‘electrifying‘ performance in all the segments of the program, particularly during swimsuit and evening gown competition. The opening number was choreographed by actor and model, Raenen Josh Golez, which added to the fierceness of the show.
FASC President Gigi Gerbolingo-Smith said during her speech that she was so proud of this year’s roster of candidates, as each one of them possess innate qualities of a modern-day Fil-Am woman. “I am confident that each one is capable of representing FASC, as well as the Fil-Am culture with dignity, charm, and knowledge.”
“The FASC the Miss Fil-Am Florida pageant three years ago to celebrate and publicize the modern-day Filipino-American woman, who exhibits those those admirable qualities of “Brains, Beauty, and Culture”. Each candidate is qualified in their own personal way. Each has put in much time and effort to put on a great show“, Gerbolingo-Smith added.
The success of the pageant would not be possible without the support of its major sponsors which includes OAI Visual Branding, Jazzy Jewels, Kouture Aesthetics, and La Isla Creations. The program was run by MFAF Pageant Director Tiffany Long and Production and Creative Director Raymund Golez, along with the with the officers and board members of FASC.
FASC has been a charity and non-profit organization for over a decade already. It is an exemplary organization in the Filipino-American community, having contributed time, effort, money and food to a plethora of worthy charities and causes.