Everything Cebu had the privilege of having our first interview with no less than the reigning Miss Cebu 2011, Mia Zeeba Ali Faridoon. The fourth year BA Mass Communications student granted us our first-ever video interview within the premises of her alma mater, the University of the Philippines Cebu College campus in Lahug, Cebu City.
As we sat down with Cebu’s fairest, we discovered a lot of interesting facts about Mia as a student, as a beauty queen, as a young lady, and as a Proud Cebuano.
As a UP Student
Mia secured the crown when she confidently answered the 2011 pageant’s final question. When asked “In what way as a Cebuana can you help in the aspect of nation building?, ” the 19-year-old beauty replied with poise, “As a mass communication student, the most effective communication tool is through the word of mouth. I will use my knowledge and my recognition to spread the word, keeping my value and confidence in helping build a stronger nation… It starts as a Cebuana and as a Filipino.”
Mia admits that being part of the UP Cebu Lantugi Debate Society has helped her win the coveted title of Miss Cebu. As a debater, she was trained to answer questions and defend her position with only a few minutes to organize her thoughts. The UP Cebu Lantugi Debate Society is one of the earliest established organizations in the university. It was founded with the aim of giving the students a venue where they can hone their reasoning and argumentation skills. The organization envisions being able to open the minds of eager UPians and other Cebuanos to how vastly complicated the intellectual world is. The organization is a two-time winner of the Visayas Universities Debate Championship. It is also a founding member of the Philippine Debate Union. According to the information provided on http://www.wix.com/vudc5cebu/vudc-5-ii/up-cebu-lantugi, Mia was recently elected as the organization's Prime Minister. Lantugi has a Facebook profile and you can add them up through this link: www.facebook.com/people/UP-Cebu-Lantugi/1068124920.
Aside from the debate team, her other affiliations include UP Tsinelas and Tug-ani. UP Tsinelas is the University of the Philippines Cebu’s campus chapter of the Tsinelas Association Inc., which is a non-government, not-for-profit organization that gives educational assistance to underprivileged children in Cebu. For more information on UP Tsinelas, you can check out their Facebook account at http://www.facebook.com/uptsinelas?sk=info. For more information on the Tsinelas Association, visit their Web site at http://www.tsinelas.org and their Facebook account at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tsinelas/113675965350955.
The Mass Communications student hones her journalism skills with her involvement with Tug-ani, which is the official publication of the University of the Philippines Cebu College. The newsletter is published on a monthly basis, with occasional special issues. You can check out updates from the Tug-ani staff through their Facebook account, http://www.facebook.com/up.tugani.
As a Beauty Titlist
The year prior to winning the Miss Cebu 2011 pageant, Mia was also crowned Miss UP Cebu 2010.
During our exclusive interview with Mia, she revealed that she joined the search for Miss UP Cebu because she was encouraged by her friends and classmates. After she bagged the title, she was convinced to join Miss Cebu 2011 after much coaxing from local designer Ronald Navales (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=897170233&ref=ts). Mia fondly recalls how she declined offers to join the other pageants, Miss Mandaue and Miss Lapu-Lapu. However, and quite fortunately, Mr. Navales mistook Mia’s “undecided smile” for a Yes, and he filled up a Miss Cebu 2011 application for her. This was the start of her memorable journey with Miss Cebu.
The 5’5” Filipina-Bahraini beauty relates how she prefers to dress up in shorts, slippers and simple tops. After she was officially crowned Miss Cebu 2011, she had to up the ante as she was no longer just another Cebuana, she was already Cebu's ambassadress. This required several adjustments to be made as Mia was not used to wearing high heels and fancy gowns and getting all dolled up every so often. Still, unlike other personalities who walk Cebu covered in cosmetics and loud wardrobes, you’d be surprised to see this natural stunner casually sitting across you inside a jeepney. Yes, this very down-to-earth beauty queen rides a jeepney when she’s not on official Miss Cebu business. Isn’t that awesome?
The designers and make-up artists who attended the pre-pageant for Miss Cebu 2011 gave Mia some cheerless feedbacks, including her lack of confidence and attitude. Even during the pageant night, she was asked to smile more and put on a confident attitude by her designer Wendell Quisido (http://www.facebook.com/wendellq) and make-up artist Vanessa Gamus (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000690385808). Mia considered herself thankful for these reminders, which helped her bring home the crown created and designed by Miss Cebu 1984 Janice Minor (http://www.everythingcebu.com/featured/janice-minor/).
Aside from the crown and, of course, the title, Mia was also named the pageant’s Kapamilya Star of the Night. She received Php50,000 in cash.
As a Daughter and Friend
After she was crowned Miss Cebu last January 12, 2011, Mia called her mom who watched the pageant online. Her mother was emotional and pretty sentimental because she knew that only Mia’s designer and make-up artists were helping her. Mia’s parents are in Bahrain and she is currently staying with aunts and cousins. Thankfully, her relatives were present during the coronation night.
She also relates having received numerous messages from UPians after she won. Although she continues to wonder how they got her number, she remains flattered by the act. Indeed, she recounts how her friends from school would usually cover for her if she missed some classes while she was pre-occupied with the pageant.
After her reign, which ends on the coronation night of Miss Cebu 2012, Mia reveals how she wants to make the most out of her remaining months in school. Her undergraduate thesis is focused on the Cebu film industry and this will surely keep her busy for the first quarter of next year. Eventually, she intends to practice what she studied to the benefit of her fellow Cebuanos.
As a Young Cebuana
Notwithstanding her hectic schedule, Mia remains grateful for the opportunities that Miss Cebu has given her. As of the interview date, she was juggling Miss Cebu 2012 workshops and activities with school work. She pleasantly quips how all these changes have had a positive effect on her.
When asked what aspect of Cebu she believes Cebuanos should pay more attention to, Mia pointed out the historical aspect of Cebu. She believes that we should know that there’s more to Cebu than the Magellan’s Cross and the Sto. Niño Church. In this line, she introduced the Cebu Tourism Commission’s Paseo sa Kabilin heritage walk tour (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111288563737 or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pasiyo-Sa-Kabilin-Heritage-Guides/110515659004487?sk=info). She believes this will be helpful in educating our fellow Cebuanos and visiting tourists, as well.
As she finishes a wonderful year, she has this to say to the winner of Miss Cebu 2012, “embrace and enjoy it because the year will just pass.”
Indeed, it has been a memorable 2011, not just for Mia but for Everything Cebu as well. We have you, all our visitors and avid readers to thank for! (Above is an excerpt of our exclusive interview with Mia, consider this our holiday gift to you.)
We hope to see you more often this 2012. Have a Happy New Year ahead everyone!