In its 50-year history, only two Filipinas have won the title of Miss Intercontinental. Surprisingly, both of them were very recent and under the same decade. Karen Gallman first won the crown in 2018 which was immediately followed by Cinderella Obeñita, three years later in 2021. As the current reigning country, The Philippines is aiming for a historical back-to-back victory through this year’s delegate, Gabrielle Basiano.
A strong contender for sure, Gabrielle can very much achieve the impossible. However, she isn’t the only Filipina fighting for the crown.
Meet Michelle Thorlund
Selected to represent the United States in this year’s competition is Michelle Thorlund. The 25-year-old Filipina-Danish beauty queen currently resides in the state of California and works as a fashion model.
Prior to her appointment, Michelle has already tried her luck by joining local national pageants in the Philippines. In 2016, she competed at Mutya ng Pilipinas, representing the Filipino community of California. There, she won the title of Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communities.
Crossing over to Miss World Philippines in 2019, this time, Michelle represented the province of Laguna. Here, she won a sponsorship award (Miss CAD Smile) as well as a fast-track activity (Miss Charity). In the end, she was among the Top 12 finalists.
For her modeling stints, Michelle serves as an ambassador for the US-based clothing company, Pinoy Apparel USA. This has led her to be featured on some of the largest billboards abroad, spanning from Times Square in New York to London.
While some of you might be shocked to hear about a Filipina representing another country in a beauty pageant, this, however, isn’t new. Filipinas’ country hoping for international representation has already happened before.
An example is Katrina Dimaranan, Miss Universe Philippines Tourism 2021. She represented the US as Miss Supranational 2018 in 2018. Competing alongside Jehza Huelar of the Philippines, Katrina was named 1st runner-up while Jehza placed in the Top 10.
Regardless of the sash, Michelle is still a Filipina and we’re also rooting for her. Her competing with Gabrielle only entices us pageant fans even more. It’s definitely interesting to see how things will turn out.
Best of luck to both of you, Gabrielle and Michelle! Hoping that the odds will both be in your favor.
Vee De Serra is a go-getter and a writer driven by passion. When in doubt, Vee believes that "Life isn't fair but it is up to you make it one". As a city and a beach person, when the sun is out, expect Vee to spend hours getting lost in the concrete jungle or laying by the shoreline with both finishing the day by watching a beautiful sunset.