Welcome Home, Miss Tourism International 2012/2013 Rizzini Alexis Gomez!
Rizzini arrived late last night on a Cebu Pacific plane after a successful bid for the Miss Tourism International 2012/2013 crown in Malaysia, besting 55 other contestants from different nations. Yes, Rizzini’s sash bears the years 2012 and 2013 simply because MTI is the only New Year’s pageant on the planet and winning close to midnight on Dec. 31 makes you a Queen of that year and the next. Loving it to the max!
Rizzini Alexis Gomez swept on to the stage at the lobby of the Midas Hotel on Roxas Blvd. in a simple black cocktail dress with a smile that said, “I’m a winner!!!” Fashion designer and beauty queen maker Mama Renee Salud could not help but say, “Rizzini has been vindicated!”
Although Mama Renee did not specifically say why, Rizzi (as she is fondly known) mentioned in her short message that 2012 was a roller-coaster ride for her after her unsuccessful stints at Bb. Pilipinas and Miss World Philippines. But no bitterness was evident in her voice. I can only imagine that she is grateful for the way things turned out for her.
(Bb. Pilipinas rejected her in the initial screening of batch 2012. While Rizzini Alexis Gomez made it as a candidate in MWP 2012, she was unplaced. IMHO, Bb. Pilipinas missed out on a gem and in MWP I believe she deserved to be a runner-up or finalist at the least. But my bigger belief is that sometimes we need to go through the desert a few times before we reach the oasis…)
Failing at both pageants did not hold her down for long. According to Rizzini, there was something inside her that kept pushing her to try again. When she told her parents about it, her Dad, former PBA Player Roel Gomez said, “If you have a dream then chase it!” And chase it she did by joining Mutya ng Pilipinas 2012 and winning the Tourism Title which granted her the right to compete in the Miss Tourism International 2012 beauty pageant in Malaysia.
Did she have any inkling that she would win Miss Tourism International 2012? Definitely not, she said. She never received special treatment during the weeks she spent in Malaysai. Neither did she win any special award during pre-pageant activities. However, right before the announcement of the Top 5 Rizzini Alexis Gomez was called forward as the winner of Miss Sunway Resort & Spa (host venue of MTI 2012).
When I asked her what was her edge above the other contestants, she said it was her faith in God that helped her win!
Aside from being the only New Year beauty pageant, Miss Tourism International is unique because it does not have a swimsuit competition. Instead, the girls compete their gowns and cocktail dresses. Emphasis is also placed on the Q&A portion. While I respect the conservative Malaysian culture, it’s too bad that our Rizzini wasn’t able stun them with her curves, specially since she won the Best in Swimsuit in Mutya 2012.
Going back to the Q&A, Rizzini said that it was strange luck that the question she got was very similar to the one she answered in the Reyna ng Aliwan 2010 (which she won): What festival is important in your country and why? Rizzini Alexis Gomez said that the Sinulog Festival of her province Cebu was a very important festival in the Philippines because it was the feast of the Santo Nino who symbolizes unity and diversity among Filipinos. (After she shared this story, the audience clapped and cheered!)
At the tail end of the presentation, her Dad Roel and brother Kim came up on stage to say a few words and it was a very sweet moment. Daddy Roel did not forget to mention just how much her Mom loved her. (Rizzi and her Mom are both Registered Nurses). But the quote that took the cake came from her brother Kim who said:
“Win or lose, ok lang. But you won, buti nalang!”
Brothers say the darndest things! But it surely made my day because it’s EXACTLY how I felt.
As regards her prize, Rizzini Alexis Gomez reluctantly declined to mention any figure because the Malaysian pageant organizers asked her not to talk about it. But I did hear a rumor floating in the crowd that she won at least 6 million pesos worth of cash, jewelry, gift items, scholarships etc. I can’t confirm how true that is, alright, so please treat it as a wild rumor.
What are the next plans for Rizzini Alexis Gomez, now that she has achieved her dream of becoming an international beauty queen? Well, she’ll be busy fulfilling her duties as Miss Tourism International 2012/2013 so she will be shuttling between Malaysia and Manila this whole year. Although she loves acting, she didn’t mention it as a priority, instead she plans to put more focus on her post-graduate studies. After her reign is over, Rizzini Alexis Gomez says she might either take up her Masters in Nursing or study law.
ABQ’s Impression: I never really heard Rizzini talk and have only seen her photos online (all beautiful) and her catwalk (very fierce) so it was wonderful to find out that she also happens to be gently eloquent with an understated kind of bubbly-ness. She never lacked for gracious words to say! The only reason I can think of why she didn’t make it in Bb. and MWP is that the Miss Tourism International crown was waiting for her and only HER!
After the presentation was over, I had the chance to chat with Rizzini Alexis Gomez about her hobby: reading Paranormal Romance, Fantasy and Adventure novels. My blog post about her favorite books is coming up NEXT WEEK!