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Alicia Faubel Conquers the Universe Through the Best of Both Worlds

Alicia Faubel Conquers the Universe Through the Best of Both Worlds

As I stepped inside her dressing room, Alicia Faubel was already dressed down in her jeans, plain white tee, and slippers. It wasn’t even that long ago when she first walked into the photoshoot looking every inch of a beauty queen. Sitting comfortably in front of me, she had both of her feet up while enjoying her sliced pineapple. By the looks of it, she seems unfazed by how busy these past few months have been for her.

By winning Miss Universe Spain 2022, the life of this 25-year-old model and actress practically changed overnight. Not only was Alicia redirected into another career, but she was also redirected back into an important part of her past. As some of you may know, a few years ago, Alicia had the pleasure of living in The Philippines. This is why when she won, her story quickly gained the attention of many Filipinos. And in an instant, found herself in the middle of the spotlight.

With the collision of two separate worlds—Alicia’s transition from modeling to pageantry as well as her ties to The Philippines—binding her together, she gears up for the biggest stage she’s ever walked on. Fueled by these two defining moments of her life, Alicia launches herself into motion. All in the hopes of reaching the highly coveted title.

From model to role model

At the beginning of her shoot, Alicia (pronounced as Ali-thia) greeted the team with a warm smile while enthusiastically asking the question, “let’s begin?”. Surprisingly, it only took us a short amount of time to get everything done. With little to no assistance, she was able to breeze her way through each layout.

I can only work in front of the camera for a maximum of six hours, if I go beyond that, it’s already too much.

Alicia tells us while preparing to strike her next pose. Already equipped with a plan in mind, she displays respect both in time and with the people she’s working with.

These are some of the qualities that she was able to develop during her 8 years as an international model. While still figuring out how to fit into her new role as a beauty queen, Alicia Faubel relies on that one thing she’s good at.

I’m very lucky with the fact that I didn’t have training when it comes to beauty pageants. I wasn’t ready when it came to the Q and A, pasarela but I have been modeling since I was 17. I can move in front of the camera, I know what looks good on me, I know my body, I know my style. It is an advantage, and I can use that to boost myself up.

Each year, there are innumerable stories about candidates who have spent their entire lives dreaming of winning a beauty pageant. Well, this was certainly not the case for her. Scouted at the tender age of 14 while being thrust into the industry at 17, Alicia knew early on that she wanted to become a model.

I always knew that I wanted to do something related to being creative, whether it’s acting or modeling. I like [being in] that industry, I like [being in] that scene, I love being around people, I love putting on a show.

Hailing from Alicante, a Mediterranean city in the Valencian Community, Alicia Faubel describes her life growing up as unexpected. Explaining that no matter what life throws at us, we are never ready. True enough, never did she imagine that one day, she’ll be competing in a beauty pageant, let alone Miss Universe.

Designer: Jan Joseph Laida

I remember, there was this agent in Spain, she was from Mexico, and she was like “I want to train you for beauty pageants”. But at that time, I was too young to understand what a beauty pageant was.

Unlike The Philippines or any other Asian and even Latin countries, pageants in Europe are both unpopular and frowned upon. It’s because of the prevailing misconceptions that prevented Alicia from tipping her toe and giving it a shot. It wasn’t until years later that she finally had a change of heart.

Upon entering this year’s Miss Universe Spain competition, Alicia didn’t have the same level of experience or preparation as compared to the other contestants. As a neophyte, all that she had was her burning purpose, ignited by a very empowering woman.

In 2021, Harnaaz Sandhu won India its third Miss Universe crown. As inspiring as she is controversial, Harnaaz has since been a target due to her weight and appearance. Aligning with the set of battles that she, herself, had to endure, it was Harnaaz’s story that Alicia finally found the push she needed.

I think if I have to be similar to one of the beauty queens, it would have to be with Harnaaz. Her winning made me want to tell my own story, like I want people to know me. I want to be appreciated because of who I am because I feel that my persona is better than my actual physical appearance.

Designer: Jan Joseph Laida

In a culture where beauty queens are in held high regard, Alicia recognizes the need for authenticity. Moreover, through the power of relatability, she uses her influence to teach and shatter any pretenses of perfectionism.

I want to be an “Ate” to many girls because I was alone. I want to be that person that someone reached out about their insecurities, about what they feel, about their problems because I didn’t have that. Like I already experienced that, so I want to pass on the message and pass on the knowledge.

Keeping Spain at heart and the Philippines in mind

As Alicia’s journey to Miss Universe officially begins, so does the work that comes with it. Aside from the inherent pageant training—body, pasarela, and Q &A—conditioning herself to understand each of her co-candidates’ culture is also important. One that she’s already mastered.

With her line of work, she has blazed herself through different parts of the globe—citing places like New York City and Dubai among others.

However, it was her trip to the tropical haven of Asia that proved to be the most life-changing. Coming in without any prior knowledge of The Philippines, Alicia Faubel immediately recalled how challenging the first few weeks were.

It was hard to adapt. I think about how stressed I used to get around here because I was coming from Spain. At first, I remember everything was so hectic in my eyes. There was a lot going on, a lot of noise, a lot of traffic. I remember it being hard.

Designer: Al Rey Rosano

One particular experience that she would never forget was the time she got sick. “I had a stomach problem, and I was far from my family. I think that’s one of our fears, being sick away from home.” Being in a country overseas, away from the people she loves meant that Alicia had no one to turn to, or so she thought.

Being able to see firsthand how truly warm Filipinos are, Alicia discovers that their hospitality isn’t run on homogeny, but rather propinquity. It was right then and there that she realized that the country was no longer just foreign soil; it’s become her solace.

I remember a friend of mine who came and brought me to the hospital, he stayed with me because I am very scared of needles, he was holding my hand. The nurses also stayed with me, even if I was a foreigner. I was 17-18 years old; I was crying, and they were like, “don’t worry”. They really made it helpful for me and I felt very safe, I felt at home.

Designer: Al Rey Rosano

When asked about how The Philippines helped define her as a person. In addition to our similar culture and values—which are rooted in three centuries of colonization—Alicia shares that it was the people that sparked her budding love for the country.

What inspires me most about The Philippines is the energy of the people because I’ve been all over the world. I don’t think you can compare the happiness and the warmth of the Filipinos anywhere else.

Furthermore, Alicia Faubel also realizes that moving here had a significant impact on her, more profound than she could have ever expected. More than just teaching her to tolerate all cultures, and all types of personalities without any prejudice, her experience helped contribute to her newfound outlook on life.

I think anyone that comes here will say that they become a better person. When you come here, you just really learn how to appreciate things and be happy. Because you see people being so happy with so little and they appreciate everything that they have. And the energy is so infectious like I feel energized recharged here. You’re motivated, you’re inspired, you’re happy at life and for me, I would recommend everyone to come and stay at least two weeks just to observe the culture. You just feel so much lighter, and you don’t appreciate it because you live here but for me, everything becomes lighter.

Designer: Al Rey Rosano

In the end, her three-month stay would go on to last for three long years. Quickly adapting to the country that welcomed her with open arms, it was here that Alicia found herself a new home. Stating that while circumstances may have led her here, it was fate that ultimately made her stay.

As a model, basically, you come, you fly, you stay for 3 months, you work, you leave, you move on to the next one. What had happened when I came here, I was like, “I want to stay”. I left, went to Thailand, and stayed there for 3 months. And then, I was supposed to go to China, but I told my agent, “No, I really want to go back to the Philippines”

Merging two worlds to conquer the universe

Thus, the countdown toward the most beautiful day in the universe commences.

In about a month, Alicia Faubel will finally represent the land of Flamenco as she departs for New Orleans. With the excitement that she feels, of course, comes the pressure. Over the past few years, Spain has been struggling to advance to the semifinals, with their most recent finish coming in 2017. Not to mention that it has been 48 years since they last won the crown. As she’s slowly becoming a full-fledged beauty queen, Alicia begins to utilize each parallel that connects her life together. Using it as a guide in helping her bring her country back on the map, doing so in a big way.

Designer | Arhon Macaraig

Because she comes from a profession where she learned to be sensitive to criticism, Alicia is cognizant of the physicality of how beauty queens are constantly scrutinized.

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I really salute all the beauty queens because I’ve been in that situation, and I think it is something you don’t realize until you’re there how hard it is. Modeling and beauty pageants are very complicated industries that in a way, it could go both ways. You can either become a very strong person and learn and make the most out of it or it can either destroy you. Because you’re literally being observed, being judged, being labeled by your physical appearance all the time, constantly. Being a model, being a beauty queen is a 24-hour job.

In return, she uses her apparent “flaw” to her advantage.

You are using your attributes or your beauty as a tool to make an impact, to inspire. Because in the end, let’s be realistic, beauty is also attractive, and everyone loves beauty. If people find me attractive, then they’ll listen to what I have to say. I can use my beauty for something bigger.

Designer | Gown (Arhon Macaraig) Filipiñana top (Job Dacon)

Meanwhile, they say that experience is the best teacher and Alicia definitely knows this by heart. Becoming independent at a young age has not only matured her but also shaped who she is as a person. Sharing that by surviving every poignant situation, she’s proud of how far she’s come.

If I could have stayed in Spain, I would have been a totally different person. But I am who I am because of the choices that I made and the ways that I went through in life.

Designer | Arhon Macaraig

Being honest with her expectations for the pageant, she confesses that if she doesn’t win, she doesn’t consider it as a loss. What matters to her is that both her story and her message resonate with a lot of people. Only by then that she knows, she did a great job.

Even if I don’t win, if I can make an impact, if I can help one person to get out of the pressure, to prevent them from doing anything, and just for them to be inspired, then I feel like I’m accomplished. I feel happy because every single life matters. If I was that girl when I was seventeen and I was lost, and I felt insecure about my life, my weight, my body. If one girl would have inspired me the way I want to inspire, it would be enough.

However, if she does pull the impossible, Alicia Faubel states with full pride that she didn’t do it only for one specific country. Although her sash and the recognition it may bring would say Spain, The Philippines is never far behind.

The pressure is higher, but the love is higher, I’m very happy. I always say that If I were to win the crown, it can’t just be about Spain. I owe the Philippines my training and everything, so, if necessary, I won’t think twice about chopping the crown in half.

Designer | Gown (Arhon Macaraig) Filipiñana top (Job Dacon)

Wrapping up our substantial chit-chat with a hug, and some words of advice, made me realize one thing. We’ve always heard of the adage “never meet your heroes”, because, in the end, they might disappoint you. However, based on what I have seen and heard from Alicia; I can honestly refute this.

Getting to know her on a more in-depth, private, and vulnerable level, it became clear to me how grounded a person she is. Her experiences, whether they were from modeling, or her time spent living here, changed the way she perceives the universe. As a result, it made her strong, self-assured, and patient.

And that, more than anything else, is a true sign of what a beautifully confident woman should be.

Publisher | Richie de Quina & Gwynn Crisostomo
Editor-in-Chief | John Luke Chica
Senior Editor | Rapha Garcia and Angela Baltan
PR & Advertising Manager |  Josh Austria
Digital Manager | Allen Esteban
Words by Vee De Serra


Creative Director | Vee De Serra
Producer | Josh Austria
Photographer | Roj Miguel
Assistant Photographer | Junessa Rendon
Videographer | Pogs Francisco
Makeup | JC Morris
Hair | Arthur Tolentino
Stylist | Nash August
Associate Assistant | James Bryan Moral

Accessories
Earrings | Flutter Statement Jewelry
Shoes | Jojo Joaquin Bragais of BRAGAIS SHOES

Designers
John Joseph Laida
, Al Rey Rosano, Arhon Macaraig, and Job Dacon

Set Design
Joey Peria Aguilar of Joey Peria Event and Floristry

Special thanks to Tea Ni Juan, Papay’s Franchise, and Jacko’s Burger

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