Miss Cebu 2014 Cheriemel Diane Muego has the looks, smarts and heart
By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
A POLITICAL question was thrown at her during the preliminary round, the kind of question that sparks lengthy, passionate debates. Yet Cheriemel Diane Muego nailed it perfectly, in a short, articulate and sweet response that got the audience roaring. This became her stepping stone to winning the crown.
It helps that the 20-year-old charmer is a political science major and has been exposed to pressing issues constantly. But it was ultimately her brilliance and confidence that led her to emerge victorious, considering that throughout pre-pageant activities she was overshadowed by more popular candidates.
To family and friends she is fondly known as just Diane, but now she has another name to add to that, since to the rest of Cebu, she is now its reigning star.
Diane had been joining pageants in her hometown, Leyte, since she was 15 years old. Her first title? Being Ms. Intramurals in her old high school. This was followed by joining pageants in neighboring municipalities, and finally to where she was born and raised, Ormoc City, where she was crowned Miss Ormoc in 2012.
“In Miss Cebu and in the ones I’ve joined before, I didn’t really expect to win because I might get frustrated. I just hoped to get in the top five—and, of course, to give my best,” said Diane.
To prepare for the pageant, the 5’5” beauty trained with Jonas Borces and Wafer Modeling Agency, which she has been part of since 2012. She took cue from her gigs in fashion editorials and product endorsements, and simply brushed up her ramp walking and posing.
Public speaking, on the other hand, was all natural for her, as she had been part of oratorical contests and debates — and not to mention, she has consistently been in the honor roll from kindergarten to high school, and graduated valedictorian.
Diane moved to Cebu to pursue her studies at the University of the Philippines – Cebu College. Of her course, she said, “I really planned to be a lawyer and that was also the dream of my parents. Since I was a child, I was oriented in social awareness, but over the last four years, I realized it’s not my passion. I want to be a professor, and a researcher and contributor to non-governmental organizations.”
An advocacy and organization particularly close to Diane’s heart is the Fisher Folk Development Center. She had her internship there and up to now continues to help in its various activities. Needless to say, Diane has immersed herself in the advocacy she campaigns for — making her a rare gem in an industry that tends to get caught up in the glamour.
“One reason I joined Miss Cebu is to prove that pageants aren’t purely discriminatory or oppressive to women,” Diane said. Ironically enough, many of her detractors are those she has worked with, such as professors and colleagues, who do not approve of beauty pageants.
But in a manner just as cleverly and poised during the pageant night, to that Diane replies, “Pageants enable women to show their capacity and to push the advocacies they’re passionate about. It provides the platform and venue, and the opportunity to meet people along the way who can help them. In a way, it’s a form of women emancipation.”
Photography: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome | Hair & Make-up (Cover): Roger Gomez
Designer (Cover): Joseph Abelida | Venue: Rizal Library & Museum