Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados is the latest woman to represent the Philippines at the Miss Universe pageant. The Filipino contestants have a rich history in this competition, having four overall winners of the pageant, two of which are from the past five years.
Can Gazini follow in the footsteps of the current Miss Universe Catriona Gray, who is also from the Philippines, and win the title? If Gazini wins the 2019 pageant, it would be only the second time in its 68-year history that the same country has won back to back titles — Venezuela did it in 2008 and 2008 with Dayana Mendoza and Stefania Fernandez.
Gazini is sure to put on quite a show as she competes for the crown on Sunday (Dec. 8). Here’s everything you need to know about Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados.
1. Gazini is Filipino-Palestinian
According to an interview Ganados gave when she was competing for Miss Philippines, her father is Palestinian and she has never met him. She was raised by her Filipino mother, Carmencita Ganados, and her maternal grandparents in Talisay City in the Cebu province, which is located in the Visayas region and consists of a large main island and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Gazini says she’s in no hurry to find her father, but she wouldn’t mind if she could meet him someday.
“I’m in no rush of meeting [my father],” Ganados told Manila’s ABS-CBN channel. “But someday, finally, I will have time to complete myself, my soul, and to thank him for the genes.”
She also says in a recent profile by Mega Magazine that her dream of being Miss Philippines began by watching the pageant with her grandmother.
“I always dreamt of being Miss Universe Philippines. Before, my grandmother just used to watch in TV and I can’t believe that I’m representing the Philippines in this huge, huge platform that I am a part of,” says Ganados.
2. She Started Modeling at Age 15
According to her profile in The National following her win at the Miss Philippines pageant, Gazini was scouted by Sven Chua of Origin Model & Martist Management company at the age of 15.
Gazini went on to do a number of billboard ads, print campaigns, catalog spreads, television commercials, and fashion spreads in Metro Society Magazine and Zee Lifestyle Magazine. She tells Mega Magazine that she always wanted to be a model, but she’s so glad that that dream evolved into competing in pageants.
“Growing up, I always just wanted to be a model, and through that career, it has evolved into being a beauty queen. It has brought me so much purpose and responsibility, and discipline. So, I’m really thankful for the things that I have learned all throughout,” Gazini says.
3. Gazini is an LGBTQIA Ally
In a June 29 Instagram post, Gazini urged her followers to stand with their LGBTQIA brothers and sisters during Pride Month.
“Happy Pride Month to one of the most accepting and embracing communities, LGBTQIA+ community and allies! Let this celebration serve as a reminder that, while the fight for equality and acceptance may be far from over, we can stand up for our rights, take the baton and join the generation of brave LGBTQIA+ warriors. Raise Your (Pride) Flag!”
She’s right when she says that Filipinos are very accepting of LGBTQIA people. The country was considered the 10-most-gay-friendly country in the world in a 2013 Pew Research Center study, despite the fact that the Philippines is predominantly Catholic.
4. Elderly Care is Gazini’s Primary Cause
A cause near and dear to her heart is advocating for proper care for senior citizens. During a Q&A for The Bottomline with Boy Abunda, she was asked about this cause and how it fits into a global perspective.
“I will never get tired of fighting for elderly care. As a person who grew up very, very close to my grandparents, I’ve seen how the plight of the elderly are when it comes to facilities,” says Ganados.
She goes on to say that as she grows older, she would not want to be in a position that is “depreciating [her] dignity” and that she wants to fight for everyone to have dignity at the end of their lives.
Gazani also writes on Instagram that she is grateful to Philippines President Duterte for signing the National Commission for Senior Citizens law.
“It will be tasked to ensure the full implementation of all laws and government programs aimed at ensuring the welfare of our lolos and lolas and to formulate policies for the protection and promotion of their rights,” writes Gazini. “As an advocate for elderly care, I am always looking for feasible, sustainable and practical ways to help them live fully, healthily and happily.
5. Gazini is Pro-Life
The 2019 Miss Universe pageant is being held in Atlanta, Ga., a state that earlier this year passed the “Living Infants Fairness Equality (LIFE) Act” that bans physicians from performing abortions past six weeks of pregnancy except in special situations. In response, more than 50 high profile people in the entertainment industry said they would boycott the state if the bill was enacted, which it was. It goes into effect in January.
In light of that, Ganados was asked about her views on abortion in the Bottomline Q&A with and she said that she cannot support abortion.
“As a person who was raised by a conservative mother, and of course a country, I guess we are not in the right position to take away life because only God can do it,” says Gazini, adding, “My mom was a single parent and I know for a fact that she had a choice to abort me. But then again, she did not and I am here right now as Miss Universe Philippines, and who knows if that kid that you aborted might have been the person that is standing here in front of you.”
But she does acknowledge that this is her “own personal opinion” and she respects other country’s opinions about abortion.
The 2019 Miss Universe Pageant airs live Sunday, Dec. 8 beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.