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Miss Mauritius wears kind Filipino hearts on her sleeve


By Nicole Cordoves

Filipino talent has long been recognized worthy on the world stage, but staging the 65th Miss Universe pageant here in the Philippines has not only showcased our talents, but the heart of the Filipino as well.

Mauritius wore Kirsten Regalado for the national costume portion.(Tom Starkweather / MUO.)

Mauritius wore Kirsten Regalado for the national costume portion.(Tom Starkweather / MUO.)

Just the same as how Filipino designer Jian Lasala dressed up Miss Sierra Leone, Miss Mauritius is getting a whole lot of love from Kirsten Regalado, a Filipina designer from Bacolod City who is now based in Miami.

Tomorrow, Miss Mauritius Kushboo Ramnawajstill will have her finest hour in the Miss Universe pageant, wearing an entire wardrobe created by the Filipino designer, students, and an orphan.

 “When I was six years old, I gathered my friends in a mock pageant. I wrapped them with blankets and we climbed on top of the bed. One by one I called them candidate #1 Australia, Candidate #2 Philippines and so on,” Regalado told The Manila Bulletin.

This year, she has officially become part of Miss Universe Mauritius where she provides all the gowns from photo shoots, to the national costume and the evening gowns.

“I work with nature. My inspiration is the magnificent seven colors of the earth of Mauritius. It comes from a volcanic eruption and a geological formation where 7 distinct colors like red, blue, brown, purple, violet, green and yellow form the hilly sand dunes in Chamarel,” she said.

“The costume consists of three elements: a headdress, a three-piece gown, and a cape. The headdress made of red fabric petals represents the volcanic eruption and also the flora of Mauritius after the volcanic eruption.”

But what makes the national costume really special are the four high school students from La Consolacion College in Bacolod City and a 10-year-old orphan whom Regalado met in a charity mission in Negros three years ago. These kids worked on the skirt and the detachable trail of the costume where they used corrugated cardboard boxes and 1,300 pieces of recycled plastic cups that they hand painted.

She sent pieces of the costume to her home in Bacolod where the kids worked on the costume for days while Kirsten will coordinate with them via Skype and Facebook messenger.

With all the heart poured into the costume, it’s no wonder why Miss Mauritius insisted to go out onstage to showcase her national costume despite the Miss Universe organization advising her not to do so anymore. Someone was unknowingly stepping on her volcano-designed cape which made her trip and fall flat on her face, cutting up her lip with blood trickling down her face.

If you were part of the live audience, you would just assume that she didn’t get to put on her elaborate costume in time to go out the stage because she let a few countries go before her, cleaned herself up, and was back on the stage unfazed and seemingly unscathed.

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