ABQ’s Unpublished Interview with Ariella “Ara” Arida…
Dear ABQ Readers:
With Ara’s fantastic finish at fourth in the Miss Universe 2013 beauty pageant which concluded on Nov. 9, 2013 in Russia, let me celebrate by publishing a pre-Universe interview I had with her before she left for Moscow. I never got to publish it because I had just gotten too busy with a student film and then a teaching mission in Thailand, where I am right now.
This interview took place in August during Cindy Miranda’s send-off to the Miss Tourism Queen International 2013. However, the photos are from Ariella’s own send-off. Hope this isn’t too confusing.
Anyway, I can’t tell you just how proud I am of our girls; from Venus to Shamcey and Janine to Ariella! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Joyce: What was your childhood like?
ARA: It was a very simple childhood and a happy one. I grew up in Laguna with my family. My life is very monotonous. No intense hardships. My childhood was really different from my life now. During gradeschool I used to compete not in beauty pageants but in sports. I wore rubber shoes, Jerseys, jogging pants… I didn’t know how to wear heels and put on make up . I was teased, specially during my high school days I was teased for never wearing sleeveless until my graduation. I used to wear jeans and a shirt until college. I took up Chemistry in UP Los Banos so most of my subjects have laboratory. So sa lab I can’t wear sleeveless, can’t wear shorts. I always wear jeans and t-shirt. They never thought that I’m going to be a beauty queen someday…
Joyce: When did you start joining pageants?
ARA: After I finished college, that’s when it started. But (I started becoming interested in pageants) when Miriam won, when I watched her on TV. That’s when I developed a fascination for pageants. Even with modeling, when I watch channels with models, I find it interesting. I just couldn’t imagine then that one day I might do it because it’s so different from what I used to do before.
Joyce: How were you discovered?
ARA: It happened after I finished college when this designer in my hometown found me in a coffee place. Nilapitan lang niya ako, a designer from San Pablo, Noli Pilapil, and he asked me if I’m from where and I told him I’m from Alaminos. He’s a designer and he was in a competition and wanted me to model his designs. I had to ask permission from my mother because it’s a different world and they’re kinda strict about it. Then I told (my parents), “I finished my college already,” which is what they wanted.
After that, I modeled. Many designers saw me and wanted me to join Bb. Laguna. I joined. That’s my first beauty pageant, it was in 2010. I was a semi-finalist. It was my first time to wear 5 in heels. Super-awkward and I didn’t even know how to put on make up.
Joyce: Tell me about your parents.
ARA: My parents are both grade school teachers that’s why they really wanted me to finish school. They wanted me to focus on school and only that.
Joyce: Were they shocked?
ARA: Actually when I won (Bb. Pilipinas Gold 2013 Universe), they went down from where they were and at first my Mom said, ‘OMG, I didn’t expect it!”
Joyce: What about your siblings?
ARA: I have one sister. She’s a researcher-entomologist. Very ‘science’ ang mga courses namin, she’s a biologist. It’s really a different world…
Joyce: What will you do with your course afterwards?
ARA: I will use it .Before I joined (Bb. Pilipnas) I was working selling chemicals in the food industry. When I have money from all of this I really plan to put up a business, my own perfume line. That’s my plan with my friends even before. Perfume. Its accessible. It’s possible. It can be done.
Joyce: Speaking of your friends, what’s their reaction to your new life as a beauty queen?
ARA: (Laughs!) Hindi sila makapaniwala, tutoo ba?
Joyce: So what are you hobbies?
ARA: Me, I do love the outdoors! You can ask me spontaneously to go to the beach and I’ll go with you without preparing. One time I went to this virgin island without a decent CR (bathroom) and survived. You can send me anywhere! I actually planned to join Survivor, Fear Factor, Amazaing Race; that’s what I wanted to do. Sobrang outdoors-y ako then all of a sudden, Beauty Queen!
Joyce: How is your training for Miss U coming along?
ARA: Right now it’s been intense unlike before I can rest. I can get to chill but now that Cindy is leaving the attention is with me. I’m here everyday here in Araneta for training.
Joyce: Grabe ba ang pag-strategize for Miss U?
ARA: I’m just thankful that I know myself more. That will be my advantage. Shamcey and Venus say its so important to know who you are, especially your roots and where you come from because when you get there that’s where you will pull from especially during the closed-door interview. That’s really a big impact. Everybody is beautiful but what will make stand out is your personality. That’s what the judges want to see. So its really important that you know who you are and you have to have your own stand.
Joyce: Have you seen your competitors…
ARA: Actually I find this year competitive talaga. Especially with the looks. From the start they’ve been doing hotpicks and Ive been tagged. Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Spain. Miss France looks Pinay.
(Note from ABQ: Puerto Rico entered the semi-finals. Venezuela won. Spain was 1st runner-up. France was unplaced but still hot.)
Joyce: Do you think you have a Latina vibe?
ARA: People say that about me. But I’m a pure Filipina, I think that’s my one advantage. I noticed the candidates are brunettes now.
Joyce: And do you have a special walk like Shamcey and Janine?
ARA: I have a special walk but it’s just called – the Miss Universe walk. They (Bb. Pilipinas) don’t want to give it a name. (But its a walk) that will separate me from the other candidates!
Well, Ara Arida certainly stood out from all the other girls in the Top 5 of the 2013 Miss Universe Top 5 – she was the only one in a bright colored gown, the only straight-haired beauty, the only Asian AND the only one who answered without the need for a translator. Although she placed 4th, many feel that her answer in the Q&A portion should have gotten her a higher placement if not the crown itself. ARRIBA ARIDA! Congratulations!!!