Teresita Ssen “Winwyn” Marquez made history in more ways than one on November 4 (Morning of November 5 in Manila time) for being the first Filipina and Asian to win Reina Hispanoamericana 2017. The 22-year-old showbiz personality bested 26 other candidates from both Latin countries and/or of Latin lineage in the pageant held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Winwyn was crowned by incumbent titleholder Maria Camila Soleibe of Colombia.
Crowned Virreina (or “Vice Queen”) Hispanoamericana 2017 was Curacao‘s Akisha Albert, who had competed in Miss Earth 2014.
Rounding up the royal court are:
1st Runner Up – Brazil – Lais Berte
2nd Runner Up – Venezuela – Maria Victoria d’Ambrosio
3rd Runner Up – Mexico – Karla Berumen
4th Runner Up – Bolivia – Katherine Añazgo
While the following rounded up the Top 10:
Chile – Valentina Schnitzer
Cuba – Gladys Carredeguas
Paraguay – Daisy Diana Lazcano
Peru – Lorena Larreviere
Conceived as Reina Sudaamericana (South American Queen) in 1991, the contest began opening its doors to countries outside the continent in 2003, welcoming delegates from Central America and the Caribbean. The contest was then revamped into its current name in 2006 and welcomed delegates outside of the Americas. This year’s pageant also included delegates from Australia and Canada.
Winwyn’s participation was initially met with backlash from the Latin American community as she doesn’t speak a language with Latin roots. She finally addressed this in her final interview (through a Spanish interpreter):
“Language can be learned, but the will and determination to contribute something to the organization cannot. It has to come from the heart and it has to be natural. I believe that kindness is a universal language — that if you treat people with tolerance, patience, and love, you will understand each other. Hispanic culture is not about language only. It’s about love for God, love for country, love for history and culture,, and love for family. As a Filipina with a unique heritage, I am ready to promote the Hispanic culture, not just in Asia, but in the whole world. It is time to celebrate the Hispanic culture. It is meant to be celebrated.”
WinWyn is the daughter of Filipino actors Joey Marquez and Alma Moreno and niece of Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez. She was a contestant in Bb. Pilipinas 2015. Two years later, she earned the right to represent the country in this pageant through the recently rebranded Miss World Philippines contest, now headed by Arnold Vegafria.