IF GOD WERE HUMAN
Reflections of a Beauty Queen
By Kristine Alonso
Kristine is affiliated with Carousel Productions Inc and is currently working at a call center in Bacolod City.
‘And so it begins’, I said, as I ‘flipped through the pages of my life’.
Nine years ago a new chapter began in an unexpected turn of pitfalls and ruin. I had to permanently move residence and stop school for financial reasons and had not yet recovered from the recent deaths of my grandparents. But in the midst of all this God spoke a little madness, and that was where my journey began.
In the past I never valued dominance through attention, power or glory. And not even in my wildest dreams did I think of becoming somebody I never expected to be – for I was extremely shy and timid.
I felt at home with my musical musings and instruments; dreams of simplicity surrounded my yearnings. For I was never hungry for something egoistic nor imagining what it would be like to be something other than ordinary.
But before I knew it, I was in newspapers, on television shows and massive stages where a different personality was seeping in. God was in this evolution of my being, amidst the criticisms, the lies, the jealousies, the injustices and the victory that accompanied it, leading me towards something extraordinary.
I had never cared for the limelight before, regardless of my participation in theatrical plays and choirs in high school. I always knew I was ‘an old soul’ and never hungered for something temporary such as fame.
At the start of 2007 I started to become a beauty titlist and discovered the faces of human struggles, affliction, and victory. Setting goals was easy because you had special support to back you up, but the challenge was to keep centered on your faith.
I became lost, confused and somewhat arrogant to the point that I devalued myself. For I did not understand yet what value was. Beauty for me was but a silhouette of something that controls you, not knowing that God’s message for me at that time was to integrate what is beautiful to the eyes with what is beautiful for the soul. My journey was not easy and never perfect, but looking back helped me realize why things happened as they did.
I became sensitive to the ways of the world surrounding me, where some saw beauty queens as mere objects to be used for entertainment and others saw contests as occasions to feed a hunger for recognition and prestige. But that is not the point.
For society beauty is not only what you can see but a particular ideal of ‘perfection’. But that also is not the point. Trying to live up to this has influenced my journey and I think that God was speaking to me through this. He seemed to be saying to me, and through me to others, that what is ‘ideal’ is not necessarily what we need.
God is for me the only true perfection and we are like pieces of dust struggling to become sand or being formed into stone to become His solid vessels. And being part of an industry which focuses on what is materially and physically pleasurable can lead to many temptations and ill intentions masked as opportunities.
I began to get rebellious when some people started to treat me as if they owned me or thought that they could spit at me, as it were, whenever they liked. And I began to feel overpowered by an inner chaos.
Kristine (2nd from left) with good friends
But God, who responded with guidance and love through my family and friends who stood by me, made me see that life does not end in harsh judgements or insults and that character only grows under conflict and is never killed. Being kind to others made me see that the ‘stones being thrown at me’ were needed on my journey.
Another setback was when I encountered some who stereotyped beauty queens and titlists as being engaged in prostitution. Some thought I was in this for money and fame and perhaps some even thought I was engaged in immoral behavior. But, with God’s grace, I was protected and accompanied by my family and some real friends who watched over me.
All of this demands hardwork, determination, passion and a purpose. God gave me the courage to ignore the shallow judgements of some and to fight the injustices surrounding me. God was in my words, my actions, within every move I made as I presented myself to people. I wanted to make sure that as a medium, the message should not just touch on what is temporary.
Not all women who walk on-stage can be bought wih money. Empowered women who know their direction and worth, like me, are never intimidated by power. Like other strong women, I know that victory is succeeding in one's ability to be comfortable being real and unique.
Kristine with Fr Christian Benjamin and Aina Siason, advocate for persons with disabilities and interpreter for the Deaf
Where is God in all this? God is in wisdom, in strength, in the actions of all who reject immoral deeds for advantage. Those persons will know that it is only through God’s power that they will advance towards their goal.
I burn with the faith that God has amazing plans for me beyond my own. I must tell everyone that the blinding sparkles of vanity and materialism in the pageantry can also be a medium to heal the insecure, the unwanted, the frustrated, that amidst the disadvantage comes the advantage of becoming an instrument to positively influence a wounded soul, a broken heart or a lost spirit.
‘And so it begins’, I said to myself nine years ago. Nine years later I see that my struggle with temptations and my ego was the best kind of struggle. I needed to throw so much away and become the real me that God wanted me to be. As St Thérèse of Lisieux wrote, ‘Perfection consists simply in doing his will, and being just what he wants us to be’.
Beauty is not just in the face. You need to pair it with guts and faith in God. Then anything is possible. Most people think you become a stranger to yourself in pageantry, but if we dig deeper, we control ourselves with patience, determination, and direction.
Kristine (far left) with good advice for our health and the health of the earth!
The pageantry in all of this has been an outlet for me and others in improving self-confidence, finding self-worth, a place where one begins to create one’s own standards in a situation where others have been doing that for you.
If God were human – and indeed God the Son being a human being in Jesus Christ – I think he would see the spotlight as one means of testing the kind of person that you are. And I have learned that the world is fleeting and that triumphs and failures become part of our story, a story that we will share with others, a story that shows that all wounds can be healed and that one can continue to grow as a person.