Q&A with first Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai Elizah Mendoza

Estimated read time 8 min read

Elizah Julie Mendoza is the Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai winner. SUPPLIED

Q&A with Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai Elizah Mendoza

Abu Dhabi-based Elizah Julie Mendoza was crowned the first Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai in the inaugural Dubai franchise of the popular Philippine beauty pageant.

Mendoza bested 12 other candidates to win the crown on March 3 at the Pakistan Auditorium in Dubai in the presence of Mutya ng Pilipinas National Director Cory Quirino. She also bagged the Best in National Costume and Best in Evening Gown awards. She will be competing in the upcoming Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant.

Speaking to Expat Media after her victory, the 22-year-old Mendoza said winning her first pageant put “a lot of weight on [her] shoulders” but that she is looking forward to representing Filipinos in the UAE and beyond and “make all of you proud”.

“This is my first ever pageant, so just thinking of what it’s going to be like to compete in the Philippines is nerve-wracking, to say the least. However, I’m also excited to see where this pageant takes me,” Mendoza told Expat Media.

She hopes to be more active in the Filipino community in the UAE and use her title as a positive influence. Mendoza and her family moved to the UAE from the Philippines when she was 9 years old. In the last 14 years, she has lived in Abu Dhabi where her father works. She is a student in the emirates.

Q&A with Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai Elizah Mendoza

How did you end up joining Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai?

I was recommended by my university when the organizers visited us in their search for suitable candidates all over the UAE. I was screened and asked some questions about myself while I was in our campus in Abu Dhabi.

Did you expect to win?

I fully trusted the judges to deliberate fairly who would be the suitable candidate to send to the Philippines. I thought that if they picked me, then I would do my best and hope to make my family, supporters, and of course, the Filipino community proud. If not, then I would be supportive and proud of whoever got the crown.

How did you feel when you won the crown?

When I was crowned, I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders. As a first timer, I was very nervous and surprised. Representing the Philippines is a lot of responsibility, so I’m grateful that I was entrusted with such a role and I hope to make all of you proud.

What is next for you after Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai?

That’s the exciting part. I don’t know! I’m simply going with the flow and see where life takes me. Of course, I’m going to keep pursuing my studies, traveling, and enjoying my life here in the UAE with my family and friends. Meanwhile, I’m also going to work on my pageantry, advocacy, and be more active in the Filipino community.

How did this pageant change you?

I haven’t felt the effects of it yet but so far, I’ve been pretty stressed out. I’m an anxious and shy person in nature and this is my first ever pageant, so just thinking of what it’s going to be like to compete in the Philippines is nerve-wracking, to say the least. However, I’m also excited to see where this pageant takes me. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing new things. I hope that by the end of it, I’m gonna change for the better. I wish to be a more confident person and be able to teach young girls to be confident in themselves as well.

What challenges did you face?

I experienced a lot of challenges. First, was how to juggle my schedule. There are a lot of things going on in my life, like my university, work, personal life, events, and of course, this pageant. I overcame it with the help of my family who is always there to support me. It wasn’t easy at all but anything is possible with teamwork.

Your national costume and gown were stunning. Tell us more.

Both my national costume and evening gown were designed by no other than the renowned multi-awarded, Dubai-based fashion designer, Angelo Estera. The winning evening gown is a purple, bedazzled fitted long gown paired with purple gloves to add an elegant feel. The color purple is associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. The couture long gown that’s inspired by a modern goddess features a fully hand embroidered and all-Swarovski crystal encrusted bodice that reveals a dramatic side slit. The figure-hugging gown is a balance of contemporary design yet showcased the mastery of old heritage showcasing the mastery and artistry of the in-house artisan fashion house of the same name in Dubai.

What did you love about your Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai journey?

What I love most about my journey is the sisterhood. It’s so nice to have a group of girls whom you can trust and that go through the same things you do and share this journey with. Even if sometimes the situation gets tough, you feel better when you know there would be people who would back you up and support you no matter what. Even if I lost, I would be still be happy if the girls and I remained friends. I also love the support that came from my family, friends, and followers. They mean the world to me and I hope I can make them all proud.

Elizah Julie Mendoza is the Mutya ng Pilipinas Dubai winner.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I like to solo travel and explore new places. I’ve never joined any pageants before in my life. This is my first one! I was never really interested in performing on stage because I get a lot of stage fright and I tend to mess up a lot when I’m nervous. So despite a lot of people urging me to join, I never did. Until now.

Which beauty queen do you look up to and why?

Catriona Gray is my biggest role model, not only as a beauty queen but also as a woman. She is an amazing spokesperson and advocate for her cause, which is to empower the youth and underprivileged people. I also admire how she’s so passionate and inspiring with everything in her life because she uses her voice and platforms to speak up about injustices and her beliefs. She’s a model, she can sing, she’s a host, and most importantly, she can connect to people.

What do you do on a regular day?

I love spending time with my dog. We always go on walks together or sometimes he comes with me while I do my errands. If I don’t feel like going out, we just stay at home together in my room while I do my chores. I like to stay active, even something as simple as taking a walk or stretching are things I like to do on a regular day.

How do you unwind?

I unwind by taking walks. I just love being disconnected online for a while and taking in the beautiful scenery outside.

What is the most important lesson you have learned as an expat?

The most important lesson I’ve learned as an expat is the importance of friendships. As a foreigner in a foreign country, most of our family members are in the Philippines so it’s important that we cultivate our own chosen family while we’re here and to maintain these friendships as best we can. Nobody stays here forever, especially in the UAE, so it’s best to cherish the time you have with somebody because you never know when is the last time you’ll ever see them.

What would be your biggest contribution to the world?

That’s a big responsibility but I would like to start small and be a positive influence with myself, my family and friends, and my small community of like-minded people on social media. Perhaps, I could continue to do pageants and eventually bring home the crown to make Filipinos all over the world proud. Let’s just wait and see. ICA/Expat Media

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