Shekinah Delos Santos; a Law graduate and the sole Filipina finalist in Miss Universe NZ 2017; was picked 2nd Runner Up on Finals night on 12th August 2017.
Photo/Video Credit: EPIK Studios
AUCKLAND – “You can see a woman’s beauty through her heart.” These words of wisdom from her Lola inspired Shekinah Delos Santos, 22, to participate in the Miss Universe NZ Pageant 2017. The finals of the contest was held on 12th August at the Skycity Theatre in Auckland.
“I joined the competition because I believe that it provides a platform for young women like me to raise awareness about issues that are close to our hearts,” Shekinah confides.
“If I win the competition I will use that new found platform to raise awareness about mental health. There is a stigma around mental health and I know that people find it hard to speak up because of this. I want to be able to break that stigma and normalise conversations when it comes to this.”
She is the only Filipina in this year’s competition and is among the top 20 finalists who got to sojourn at the luxurious Thavorn Beach Village Resort and Spa in Phuket, Thailand, recently.
It’s good to know that one of her first experiences in a pageant was at the ‘2nd Maginoo at Binibining Filipino News NZ Cultural Pageant’, held in 2014 at the Westlake Boys High School Auditorium in Auckland.
“I moved to New Zealand from the Philippines a little over 10 years ago,” recalls Shekinah. “I found that people (here) were as warm as people back home and instantly I felt New Zealand was home for us.”
To keep in touch with her Igorot cultural roots she dances with Cordilleran dance groups. So it was a no brainer that she organised a a cultural night event as part of the entrepreneurial challenge that contestants undertake to raise funds for ‘Variety’ the Children’s Charity and to cover incidental expenses for their journey through the contest.
“This was a chance to showcase and celebrate the diversity in New Zealand by putting on performances throughout the night. My aim was to have at least 200+ people attend the event at the Mangere Arts Centre.” Shekinah was the star of the show, performing with her Igorot dance group.
An AUT University law graduate, she is hoping to be admitted to the bar in November.
Editor: We would like to thank EPIK Studios for allowing us to use quotes from their promotional video in the above article.
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A winning streak for Filipinas
Of late Filipinas have done exceptionally well in pageants in New Zealand. In April 2013 a half-Filipina, Justine Groen, who was 13 at the time, was crowned Miss Junior NZ.
Then in 2014 it was double joy – half-Filipina Arielle Graciano, 22, was crowned Miss World NZ with Rohaibie Rennie, 23, the First Runner-Up.
In 2015, Gabrielle Manaloto, a hot favourite, was crowned the Second
Runner-Up in Miss Universe NZ.
On 19th September last year Cosmiana Brown placed First Runner-Up in the Miss Auckland 2015 pageant, held at the Auckland Town Hall.
We seemed to be on a roll, because two Filipinas took out the top titles in the Miss Universe NZ 2016 pageant held in Auckland.
Tania Dawson, 23, a teacher from Auckland, was crowned Miss Universe NZ 2016 (MUNZ) and she went on to compete in the international finals in the Philippines in January this year.
A runner-up in the Maginoo at Binibining Filipino News NZ cultural pageant 2014, Seresa Lapaz was crowned the runner-up in MUNZ 2016.
The winning streak continues because Shekinah Delos Santos was crowned 2nd Runner Up in the Miss Universe NZ 2017 pageant on 12th.