Being the only son of an affluent Cebuano family, one might think that the life of Bee Urgello was always about privileges and getting your way around without any hassle. It was a different story for her as she had a different life. Instead of being served by maids in their huge house with a helipad, the third winner of the Queen of Cebu crown lived independently.
She describes her life as “a drama you see happening in movies.” It was not easy for her family to accept who she was. Her parents somehow understood that she is gay, but for her to dress like a woman was simply unacceptable for them. She decided to runaway and in order to support herself, she rented a small place and worked in a call center. She rode a jeepney, did her own laundry and prepared her own food. She candidly shared how tempted she was to go back home, but she just knew that the comfortable life would not make her happy at that time.
In one of her interviews, Bee shared that her lowest point was probably when she was laid off from her work. With only a hundred pesos left in her wallet, she settled for one piece of bread per meal, which cost Php2 each. She called her mom but she was told that she can only go back home if she agrees to “stop dressing up like a woman.” This time, more determined, Bee found a new job and was once again accepted as call center agent.
Bee has reunited with her family during the Christmas of 2010. The crowned Queen said she recognized her fault and regretted running away. She admitted that she was too proud to think that she could live without her family. “No matter what happens, we would always be a family,” Bee told the press.
With her beauty and charisma, one would assume that Bee has joined numerous pageants before Queen. Contrary to popular thought, the prestigious pageant for alternatives is actually the first beauty contest she had joined. In 2010, she was awarded Best Dressed while she was in the audience supporting her friends who joined the Queen of Cebu for that year (http://www.everythingcebu.com/sidebar-photoblog/queen-of-cebu-2010/).
It was after that winning that Best Dressed award on the evening of November 6, 2010, at the Pacific Ballroom of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, that her parents asked her why she did not join the esteemed pageant. Bee considered this as a sign that her parents have truly accepted her and that she may just have a chance at winning.
“Queen, A Pageant for Alternatives” is an event that showcases Cebuano pride and features the creations of renowned Cebuano designers. A screening for qualified pageant contestants was held last July 30, 2011, at the Sinulog Hall, which is on the third floor of the Rizal Library and Museum (http://www.everythingcebu.com/upcoming-events/queen-2011-screening/).
Inspired by her family, she joined Queen of Cebu 2011 and started the competition with an impressive introduction. She relates being nervous backstage but when she saw her family in the audience, she felt confident. She graced the stage with this lively introduction: “I come from the land of the conquistadores, the country that conquered the Philippines for 300 years. Tonight, I’m going to conquer your hearts with my charm and captivating beauty. Viva España!”
Outshining 19 other glamorous candidates, Bee impressed the judges when she calmly and intelligently answered TV host Boy Abunda’s question regarding the Philippines’ readiness for a gay president. Her response was “Although I agree that our country is ready, I don’t think sexual orientation should be a qualification. As long as one has the skills and the heart to lead a nation, then he or she can be the next president of this country.”
The Queen 2011 panel of judges was composed of Miss Universe 1999 first runner-up Miriam Quiambao, actress-model Angel Aquino, actor-model Victor Basa, Waterfront General Manager Alfred Porten Schlager, hairstylist Moussa Abdayem, model-blogger Divine Lee of Global Asiatique, Dedon Furniture’s Herve Lampert, bachelor Eduardo Ngo II, and Cebu coordinator of the ICanServe Foundation Mary Ann Alcordo-Solomon.
Her parents’ confidence in her and the money they spent for the preparations, which included a one-on-one catwalk training with beauty title holder Anna Maris Igpit and her bold designer gown, were not put to waste when she was proclaimed the Queen of Cebu 2011. In fact, Bee is often quoted for her expression, “It's not easy to be a beauty queen,” because of all the hard work that she put into training for the pageant. The reigning Queen shared that she didn’t actually expect the win because she did not bag any major award.
Prior to Queen, Bee used to think that being a beauty queen was just about wearing a glamorous gown and posing but aside from the intensive trainings, earning the crown also means earning the responsibilities of whatever organization you are representing. Among other things, her queenly duties include philanthropic works. Together with Clothes for Life Foundation, she had been busy reaching out to the pageant’s chosen beneficiaries: Seven Sisters House of Mercy: Home for the Elderly, Little Lambs Children’s Center, Sto. Nino Children’s Center, and the Our Lady of Divine Grace Orphanage. Recently, she joined the charity event organized by ABS-CBN’s Halad sa Kapamilya in partnership with the Make-up Artist Club at Cebu Trade University, ICanServe Foundation, and SM’s Christmas Village of Hope.
Asked if she would join another pageant in the future, Bee said that the Queen will be the first and last pageant she would ever join. Although she is a registered nurse, she plans to take up fashion and design when her reign ends.
Apart from being the current Queen, she is also the covergirl of BLANC in its maiden issue, which will be launched on January 12, 2012. According to their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/blancmagazineonline), BLANC is an online fashion and art magazine dedicated to the underground youth, the vague and the implicit. For more information about the magazine, you can check out their Web sites, http://blanc.com and http://www.blancmag.tk/.
Bee is also active with her personal advocacy and is busy fighting for the approval of the Anti-Discrimination Bill. She is involved with the Coalition for the Liberation of the Reassigned Sex (COLORS), which is a group based in Cebu for transgendered women. They aim to build a society that is equal and free from discrimination.
For updates on Bee, you can check out her personal Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/bee.urgello. You can also like her Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bee-Urgello-Queen-Universe-2011/243272075728131?ref=ts.