|PATRICIA FERNANDEZ GRADUATING FROM UP COLLEGE OF ARTS AND LETTERS (2007) AND ST. PAUL COLLEGE PASIG HIGHSCHOOL (2003) AND GRADE SCHOOL (1999)|
VN: Being the first Paraluman ng Panitikan, what do you intend to do about Philippine literature?
PF: I promote everything Filipino in every way I can. I am quite fond of watching Filipino plays, shows, and musicales. I always push performers, writers, and playwrights to guest in our show.
VN: As a former Miss International finalist, how can you help to promote reading and intellectual property rights?
PF: We do promote the value of education in Miss International. Majority of the finalists are multilingual and are quite adept in terms of intercultural communication. For Bb.Pilipinas, we read books to kids during our charity events. I attend whenever I can.
VN: How did you manage your life, as a student, while, at the same time, a beauty queen?
PF: I'm grateful my professors were very understanding when I had to fulfill my duties as Mutya ng Pilipinas on my senior year. I remember Ma'am Villy Buenaventura (bless her soul) even bought and promoted several ticket booklets when I joined Mutya ng Quezon City prior to the national pageant. I obtained thesis respondents from Mutya. For Bb Pilipinas, I was already working at the time I joined.
VN: All in all, you have four titles?
PF: More or less. Aside from the Miss International Top 12 Finalist and Bb. Pilipinas International – both in 2008 – I was chosen Ms. Natasha. Two years prior to that, during the Mutya ng Pilipinas, I was First Runner-Up, Best in Swimsuit, and Ms. Stesstabs Stressfree Beauty. But, before that, I became Mutya ng Quezon City Turismo in 2006 too. There I was proclaimed Ms. Bobson Jeans and Ms. Gibi Shoes.
VN: Any ugly duckling story when you were still a kid?
PF: I was Little Miss Basilan, Mandaluyong 1991. (My mom just didn't allow me to join Little Miss Philippines though I had everything planned already at that time). However I was terribly awkward during my gradeschool and highschool years. I just didn't care. I would wear anything my relatives would give me during Christmas -- regardless of the size. I had so many other pretty batchmates in Immaculate Conception Academy and St. Paul College Pasig. I only became UP's Centennial Muse after Bb.Pilipinas.
VN: How did you enter the world of beauty contests?
PF: I was an alto singer of the UP Singing Ambassadors from January 2005 to March 2006. Our conductor, Sir Ed Manguiat, took us to premier designers like Mama Renee Salud and Tito Pitoy Moreno for our choir costumes. I was very fortunate because both designers encouraged me to join. Mama Renee said I had the waistline of a kontesera (23" at that time) and introduced me to my pageant mentor, Mr. Rodgil Flores. Tito Pitoy, on the other hand, used to refer to me as his Darling Little Princess in his shows and made me wear all sorts of head pieces. He helped improve my poise and confidence and encouraged me every step of the way.