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Bb. Pilipinas Globe 2021 Maureen Montagne on Beauty, Fitness, and Mental Strength

Bb. Pilipinas Globe 2021 Maureen Montagne on Beauty, Fitness, and Mental Strength

Can you imagine what it’s like to be scrutinized and judged by your looks while your social media presence and answers to media questions are also nitpicked and broken down? This is just part of what a beauty pageant contestant has to go through, and it does not end after she wins her title.

In this special #CoffeeWithKai series, we meet the new queens of Bb. Pilipinas 2021. They share beauty tips, fitness tips, and mental health tips that can help you.

Kai Magsanoc: Hi, everyone! Welcome to #CoffeeWithKai here on Hello Doctor Philippines. My name is Kai Magsanoc, I am the editor-in-chief of Hello Doctor PH, and with me today — so this is the 4th, and the last, but certainly not the least, with the Binibining Pilipinas 2021 queens.

So we have today with us no other than Binibini 10, Maureen Montagne. She is our new Binibining Pilipinas Globe. Hi, Maureen!

Maureen Montagne: Hello! Thank you so much for having me!

KM: Well, of course, because beauty queens are a different breed of influencers for Filipinos. And I thought if we could feature you and get to know you better, then people will have another role model they can look up to, especially an advocate like you.

Okay, we’re gonna talk about your advocacy later, pero Maureen, for the sake of the people who weren’t able to follow your Binibining Pilipinas journey — I mean, the year is pretty weird, we’re doing things differently, so just in case, for those who don’t know you yet, can you please tell us more about our new Binibining Pilipinas Globe?

MM: So hello, my name is Maureen Montagne. I’m 28 years old, and I represented Padre Garcia, Batangas, in the last edition of Binibining Pilipinas. I grew up in the States, in Arizona, pero I moved here in 2017 for work, and I’ve been doing commercial modeling and hosting here since 2017.

KM: Okay, so that’s great. Why did you decide to join the beauty pageant, Maureen?

MM: I wanted to push myself to keep growing. I’ve competed before, in the States, and then I actually competed here in a national fitness competition for Century Tuna Superbods.

Pageantry in the Philippines is just so elevated, it’s really a sport here, and over the years I’ve grown such a fond admiration for Binibining Pilipinas, and it’s — medyo interesting with pageants, you have age limits.

So I actually turned 28 the day before coronation, so this was kind of like my last hurrah in pageantry. So I thought why not end my pageant journey with Binibining Pilipinas, ‘cause it really is the gold standard of pageantry.

KM: Yeah, that’s true. And I guess depending on how you utilize your year in the crown, wearing this title — and then hopefully of course, you win your international pageant in November — but depending on how you utilize your influence now, and your voice, this could just be the start of many great things for you.

MM: Yeah!

KM: So what was your Binibining Pilipinas journey like? How do you compare a pageant versus a fitness competition, for example?

MM: So for a fitness competition, you really just focus on your body, and just showing up and looking good. With a pageant, there’s so many different sides to it.

Not only do you have to be beautiful, but you also have to be an excellent speaker, you have to be up to date on current events, you have to have a great walk, you need to be warm, you need to be likable by your audience.

So it’s much more competitive for a beauty pageant because everybody has a different standard of beauty.

So it’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge that I’m always up for because with the crown comes such a wonderful platform. I love it, it can be hard, especially with the pandemic, our pageant ended up being I think one year and seven months? So it was so long, but it was a labour of love.

KM: So it’s been more than two weeks since you won your title, how has it been for you?

MM: It’s been wonderful. It’s honestly — so when we originally started, I was 26 years old, and I was eligible for all of the crowns. And then come this coronation, two birthdays have passed.

I was medyo sad kasi I aged out of two of the crowns, but I figured I sacrificed so much, I’m gonna stick through it. And even for my birthday, I wished for a crown, and when I got it, it was like — even when you look at my crowning photos, I’m so happy.

Because with the pandemic, I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it to the coronation. We started with 40 girls, and then because of life, and financial issues, and jobs, we ended up having 34 girls compete.

So it wasn’t easy for everyone, but I was just happy and I made sure to tell myself that no matter what happens, you’re gonna enjoy every moment. And ever since a crown was placed on my head, I’ve loved every moment, [I’ve] been so thankful. Binibini has been wonderful, and I really, really love the girls, and I mean it. Our batch is so, so sweet.

KM: Yeah. Well, based on my earlier interviews with Hannah, with Samantha, with Cindy, everyone’s been pretty balanced, and very impressive. And when you ask them about mental health, everyone says the support system they got from each other in the competition, which was quite unexpected for me, I wasn’t expecting that.

But speaking of mental health — well we’ll talk about that later, let’s first talk about your advocacy. So on the Binibining Pilipinas website, when people look you up, they’ll find that your advocacy is on HIV and AIDS awareness. Why did you choose that?

MM: I think it’s a relevant issue in our country, and it was interesting, because before, I felt like there were a lot of eyes on the subject. However now, with the pandemic, everyone’s focused on COVID; it’s almost as if other diseases and ailments have completely disappeared — at least from our radar. But of course, we know they’re still there.

So for me it felt like something that I could help break the stigma, raise awareness, and encourage testing. I felt like it was something I could make a difference with, so that’s why I decided to choose HIV and AIDS awareness.

KM: That’s true. Last June, when we had our Facebook live for Pride month, and then we had Mr. Renaud Meyer of UNDP in Thailand. He did say, you have a pandemic, but AIDS in the country, in the Philippines, is still an epidemic, it’s still a big problem. So it’s good to have someone like you, Maureen, to keep shining a light on that particular disease that we can help people manage and raise awareness about.

Okay, this wouldn’t be a health and wellness interview if we don’t go into the fitness aspect, right? Who else but — aside from our athletes competing in the Olympics, or I think they’ve gone home today, but who else can we look up to for fitness tips and advice but our beauty queens?

Because we know it’s a lot of hard work also, it’s not easy. You make it look easy, but we know a lot of hard work goes into it.

So Maureen, tell us about your fitness routine. What is your exercise or workout routine, and what do you do when, like any human being, you don’t feel like it? On days that you’re not really motivated to exercise?

MM: Yes po. So like everyone else, the closure of gyms and working from home, staying at home has been so hard to manage fitness with, but it’s been interesting.

So I actually was in Siargao for the majority of the pandemic, for the first 6 months. Towards the end, we were allowed to get outside, but the best fitness activity you can ever do is surf. And it’s really full body ‘cause you’re paddling the whole time, so it’s cardio, it’s balance.

I’m also huge into yoga, and then I recently got into boxing. Boxing makes you feel good. I don’t know, it’s almost building my confidence too, because I feel very coordinated, and I feel like Manny Pacquiao, I can defend myself. But I really don’t like just going to the gym, I prefer activities.

That’s one thing I really hope we can get back to is yoga at the park. For now, socially distanced yoga. Pero I really look for activities, so whether it’s to go running — I live here in BGC, and there’s a beautiful running track. So doing that, just getting outdoors, and yeah, I always love exercising with a friend.

KM: Okay, that’s good, that’s good advice. So activities, if our situation permits, and then doing it with a friend, a buddy. Okay, that’s good. Those are good tips.

But how about your diet, Maureen? Because they say fitness is not so much the exercise, but also what you put in your body. Because you can be exercising really hard but eating pizza every day. So yeah, how do you do it? What do you eat, what is your way of eating?

MM: Yeah, well they always say abs are made in the kitchen, it really does matter what you eat. So for me, my major rule is try to eat as much unprocessed food as possible. So if it’s natural, it’s great.

I don’t really — I don’t calorie count, I don’t completely cut myself off from things. For breakfast, I’ll have rolled oats with almond milk and tons of fruit, so berries, bananas.

For lunch, I’ll have chicken breast and zucchini and maybe some quinoa, so I eat super healthy. But because I eat super healthy, I don’t have to limit my portions.

And I’ve just noticed through my own trial and error that I don’t process dairy. It makes me feel sluggish, even though I love cheese. But I try to limit my dairy, and then red meat. I actually really wanna have a blood test done to see my food intolerance test. Actually for Christmas, I think I wanna treat myself to one of those tests.

But I’ve really just started listening to my body, because as a model, although I am thin, sometimes I bloat like crazy. And especially as a woman, nobody wants to feel bloated, so I’ve just been listening to my body, and I try not to indulge. I think portion control is my biggest tip, like you can have your favorite foods, just don’t overdo it.

KM: Okay, alright. Very relatable, very realistic, thank you. Easy to follow for mere mortals like us.

How about your hair and skin care routine, Maureen? Because I’m guessing how stressful it could be for you, your schedule, packed with guestings and all that. But at the same time, your skin is also your biggest asset.

That’s what the people see, so how do you take care of your skin and your hair?

MM: Yes, I really do believe that beautiful skin can give you beautiful makeup and a beautiful look, so for me, I try to put the least amount of products as possible. Even when I apply makeup, I try not really to put it where we put the mask. Because I’m not trying to get maskne and it’s so hard now. People really look at your eyes, so I try to focus my makeup up here.

But yeah, I clean my face every day, if I don’t need to wear makeup, then I don’t. I’m a big advocate of wearing sunblock because I naturally have freckles, but I don’t wanna get additional sun damage, because while I was in Siargao, I was sobrang tan, I looked morena, and I loved it, but I got so many new freckles.

And my derma was just like, “Maureen, those aren’t just freckles, that’s sun damage, so take very, very good care of your skin.” But I also think just eating healthy, I probably have a smoothie every other day. I do take vitamin C as well.

And then for hair, I just try to be as easy on it as possible, ‘cause I know it gets a lot of abuse. Even when I’m not doing pageantry, I am a full-time model, so I just try to not style it or put it in a bun when I’m not working.

KM: Okay, that’s nice, really just being natural if you can. Like if you don’t have to wear makeup, don’t wear makeup. Okay, alright.

The most important part, I think, of health that a beauty queen like you manages is her mental health. More than anything, what really keeps you up, what gets you out of bed, is your mental strength.

I don’t know what are things that you are also taking care of, apart from being our beauty queen, our Binibining Pilipinas queens, but I can also imagine how it must have been difficult during the pageant.

Like you said, it was a very long pageant, so how did you take care of your mental health then, and how are you doing it every day?

MM: During the pandemic, I really had to disconnect from social media. I actually had two instances where I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue.

One was because of work, and then I was actually offered an international title during the pandemic as well. I declined it, of course, because I knew in my heart that I wanted Binibining Pilipinas, so I said no. And then I was actually canceled online.

The org that offered really changed their tune, and it was so hard on me mentally. And it’s so funny, ‘cause everybody’s like, “Oh, I remember that, huh.” But for me, that was such a hard time in my life, because I really felt like such a villain for saying no.

But at the end of the day, all you can really do as beauty pageant queens, we do have to empower ourselves, and not just talk about “woman empowerment” and actually practice it, which means choosing the decisions that are best for yourself.

So for me I had to disconnect, and I really volunteered. We started a community kitchen in Siargao, and that was really my main focus during that time. Because it also is fulfilling for you when you’re helping other people.

But I really just have to disconnect and I like to take a lot of the harsh criticism as a joke, kasi sometimes if you take it too seriously, you’ll cry. So of course, you have to laugh, and always respond to the haters with love. I think it shocks some of them, but it can really turn your haters into your fans when you handle it the proper way, with love and caring.

KM: Yeah, but that’s easier said than done. But props to you, Maureen. I didn’t know about that issue. I think when people are not able to control us, they want to take control of how other people also see us. That’s why they’ll make you look bad. All you did was say no.

So what’s wrong with saying no? At the end of the day, if I wanted to compete in another pageant, that’s in a risk of itself, which was very brave of you to choose. So, yeah.

Well, great to be talking to you now, someone who’s gone through that. That’s a great insight. Social media is a double edged sword, and I do hope, Maureen, that moving forward, that social media will work in your favour in terms of your advocacy, and then your competition in November.

So before we end our interview, please tell the viewers of our interview how and where they can follow your journey to the crown, towards your competition in November.

MM: Well thank you again, Miss Kai, for having me. And thank you to all our viewers at Hello Doctor, thank you so much.

You can find me at maureenmontagne on all social media. So YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and on TikTok, my username is @mauragne. Please follow and support my journey.

I leave [on the] third week of October, dates are still being finalized, but raise your flag, and I hope to bring home the second ever Miss Globe crown back to the Philippines.

KM: Okay, thank you so much Maureen, for doing this for the country. You have our support, of course we’ll be rooting for you.

So there you go, that’s Miss Maureen Montagne, our Binibining Pilipinas Globe for this year, off to get the second Miss Globe crown for the country.

Thank you again for joining our interview here on Hello Doctor PH, I hope you learned a lot of valuable tips from Maureen on fitness, on diet, and on mental health. Until our next interview, stay dry, and be well.

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Written by Kai Magsanoc Updated 3 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.
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