To make it to the final cut of a pageant, it takes more than just beautiful attire, makeup, and expertly styled hair. It’s obtained through hard work, dedication, preparation, and now, a sense of purpose.
Unlike the previous competitions, Mr. & Ms. Chinatown Philippines 2020 had no geographical boundaries, height requirements, and swimwear portion. It was more than just about beauty, it was a clash of wits, creativity, and virtual showmanship. Above all, it’s a continuous movement calling to Rebuild connections, Inspire others, Strengthen the community, and Empower one another.
And these four individuals shined brightest in the competition. CHiNOY TV had the chance to ask first runners up Camille Buenaventura and Kevin Ty as well as the 2nd runners up Don Tang and Anie Uson on their pageant journey.
Q: What was the impact of your win?
Camille Buenaventura: This has been my dream since I was a little girl, so placing in Mr. & Ms. Chinatown 2020 made my dreams a reality. Aside from that, now I have a bigger platform and more reach to continue to push for my advocacy which is mental health awareness.
Anie Uson: For me, Winning Ms. Chinatown 2020, 2nd runner up is a game-changer. I joined the pageant without the approval of my parents because they still think pageantry is a typical beauty contest, not knowing that this year, it is a movement. After my win, my parents did a little research about it and was able to change their mindset and somehow I can now feel that they’re proud of me. So I think that my win has changed their outlook towards pageantry and that is something that I can say has impacted me the most.
Q: What was going on in your head minutes before you heard your name being announced as a runner up?
Don Tang: Honestly, I was just hoping that our host Janeena would say my name! I was a bundle of nerves all throughout coronation night so I kept to myself for the most part and that wasn’t meant to be an affront to anyone—keeping quiet and disengaging for a while is just how I cope during stressful situations so I can focus. I don’t know if the other guys noticed but when we would be on standby in the boys waiting room, I barely said a word. It didn’t help that I had to take an important phone call also while we were waiting to rejoin the live event. So much to my chagrin, that split my mind into two. Talk about rattling!
Kevin Ty: To be honest, it never even crossed my mind that I would place in this competition. All I wanted to do was to have fun and enjoy the journey. It’s not every day you get to join a competition like this and I was just truly happy that I was able to get this far. I was just thinking to myself “Wow, I made it, this competition is about to come to an end. What a journey this has been. I did my best. It’s all up to God now.”
Q: Who were you before Mr. & Ms. Chinatown 2020?
Camille Buenaventura: Before Mr. & Ms. Chinatown 2020, I’m the operations head of our family business, and the corporate secretary of CCIP, a cosmetics organization. Never did I think I would apply for a movement like Mr. & Ms. Chinatown.
Kevin Ty: It’s safe to say that I’m still the same person before and after Mr. & Ms. Chinatown 2020. What changed for me is that I think I was able to get to know myself more during this competition. I found out about my weakness, which was public speaking, so I trained myself in that area.
Anie Uson: Am not gonna lie and it might be shallow for some, but before MMCP, I faced a heartbreak. Yes, during the pandemic, but I overcame the situation by pushing and encouraging myself to live a healthy lifestyle because it doesn’t just help us physically but mentally as well! And we all know that now more than ever, health is wealth and strong is the new sexy! So do not ever allow yourself to live in misery, and always find your purpose and try to be stronger and better every day.
Don Tang: This is the first time I’ve joined a pageant, let alone a contest that puts you in a position where you are openly judged based on how you present yourself and the output you produce. So you can say that I was a complete novice. Prior to Mr. & Ms. Chinatown 2020, I’ve always been a very private person whose days revolved around work and personal hobbies. If I’m not spending time with family or my best friends, I really just cozy up at home and enjoy my alone time. That was pretty much the general cycle of my introverted life.
Q: Which Chinoy trait best describes you growing up?
Camille Buenaventura: The trait that best describes me is frugality. Being frugal helped me understand that everything is earned, not given. It made me work hard for what I want and for all my goals.
Kevin Ty: Frugality, it’s been a habit that I’ve been carrying with myself from childhood even until today. Before the pandemic, I’d go to work with a packed lunch in my car. I don’t stay in the office so I go from one place to another, so I’d usually eat my lunch in the parking areas in between meetings. As a kid, I always knew that how we spend our time, money, and resources, leads us to who we will become in the future.
Don Tang: Growing up, I’ve always had a knack for saving money and it’s something I genuinely enjoyed doing as a kid. I remember saving coins and bills and feeling like I hit the jackpot with a few 20 peso bills. Even as an adult, I try not to be wasteful with resources and avoid unnecessary expenses.
Anie Uson: The Chinoy trait that best describes me growing up is having the characteristic of empathy. Especially now during the pandemic, I realize that we need each other the most. And through that trait, I was able to share my blessings with other people. And in return you see the smiles on the faces of the people around you, knowing that it’s caused by your little actions, it is actually heart fulfilling! It also allows us to appreciate life even more.
Q: How would your family describe you?
Camille Buenaventura: My family would describe me as a goal-getter. If I set my mind on something, I know what I have to do to achieve it.
Kevin Ty: I was always the quiet one in the family. I always enjoyed just listening to my family. So whenever I have to say something my family already knows that what I’m about to say or announce is something important.
Don Tang: I think my family would describe me as independent and self-motivated, someone who has a mind of his own. I’ve always striven to be a responsible, reliable, and conscientious person and I want to think that all those show in my decisions and actions, as well.
Anie Uson: I am always the ‘pasaway’ in the family. I came from a very traditional family, who prioritizes business over anything. I pursue a career in a man’s world, I finished architecture but I also do modeling. Everything I do is something new to them. But my mindset has always been to believe in what you stand for and do what makes you happy as long as you’re not stepping on anyone or hurting anyone, it will lead you there. You live without regrets.
Q: What are your personal advocacies aside from the #RISE campaign?
Camille Buenaventura: My personal advocacy is mental health awareness. Even today, there is a stigma. It is easily dismissed as something smaller, but I believe that it could be changed if we make our community more aware of the impact of taking care of their mental health. Who knows, we might be able to save a life.
Kevin Ty: My personal advocacy is financial literacy. Money is such a taboo thing to talk about, there’s no set rule that you should have an x amount of money at a certain age. Some people aren’t aware of inflation. It is my duty to inform the people and the youth of the importance of saving money.
Don Tang: Of the four pillars of the #RISE campaign, Empower is the one I gravitate to the most because of my strong belief in the importance of mental health. Having been on the receiving end of life events that have made me feel less than I am and having to deal with insecurities that can run through my head like wildfire, I understand just how debilitating and overwhelming emotions, mood, and trauma can be much like physical ailments too.
Anie Uson: Ever since I joined pageants, my advocacy has always been on education. I am a firm believer that education is the basic foundation of human life. I believe that especially during these trying times that every child must be given the fair opportunity to continue to dream and to be educated.
Q: What’s next after the MMCP? What are your plans?
Camille Buenaventura: I will push for my advocacy even further as I believe this could be a great help to our community. I’ll continue being the head of operations, a corporate secretary, MMCP’s 1st runner up while upholding the true values of a modern Chinoy, and empowering our community to help and support one another.
Kevin Ty: I want to continue to do great things because being great to me is being able to inspire the person next to you. I hope I can inspire the person reading this and make them dream big and to work hard on them. My next plan is work-related, I’m hoping to build a team of young financial advisers so as to make more people aware of financial literacy.
Don Tang: I want to practice what I preach and push for kindness and compassion — simple but profound values that I believe should cut across the Chinoy community and society as a whole. I’ve always been a believer that we always have to be the embodiment of what we stand for. Maybe someday, I can even create and curate a bigger space for everyone who believes in it too. Other than that, life goes on for me after MMCP.
Anie Uson: For now, I am preparing to take the Architecture Licensure Examination this coming January, at the same time I’ll continue working as a junior architect. I am about to finish my first residential house that I handle and that makes me super excited about it.