Meet Gazini Ganados: the half-Palestinian beauty queen crowned Miss Philippines 2019

The Philippines has a new beauty queen. Here's everything you need to know about the 23-year-old

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Beauty pageantry is big business in the Philippines. Across the country, thousands of hopefuls every year spend months prepping, practising, and even attending pageant school with the hope of earning a coveted crown.

And on Sunday night, 23-year-old Gazini Christiana Ganados was awarded one of the most coveted crowns of them all: Miss Philippines 2019.

Ganados represented Cebu in the Binibining Pilipinas contest, and beat 40 contestants to be crowned the overall winner.

The honour will earn her the right to represent the country in this year's Miss Universe – the biggest and most prestigious pageant around. And Ganados will have big shoes to fill. The reigning Miss Universe, Catriona Gray, is a fellow Filipina, and in the seven months since she took the title, has become a national treasure. She was there on Sunday to hand over her crown to Ganados.

Who is Gazini Christiana Ganados?

Ganados is a 23-year-old model who comes from Talisay City, where she moved at the age of five after being born in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte.

Her biological father is Palestinian, and although Ganados has never met him, she hopes she can reconnect with him through the competition.

However, Ganados still honours her Middle Eastern roots, and chose to do a belly dance during an earlier stage of the contest.

She started her modelling career at the age of 15 after being scouted by Sven Chua of Origin Model & Artist Management.

She is a graduate of the University of San Jose Recoletos, having studied a degree in tourism.

Her modelling career

After signing with Chua, she won a number of titles as a teenager, including Miss Milo Little Olympics 2011, Miss Cesafi 2016, and came in as second runner-up in the Reyna ng Aliwan 2015, and was Miss Cesafi 2016.

Miss Philippines 2019 is Ganados first major crown, and will take her on to the biggest pageant in the world.

What she will work towards during her reign

Ganados told pageant judges she wanted to work to promote women’s rights and to take care of the Philippines’ elderly.

During the final of the contest, she said: “If I win the crown tonight, what I will do is to promote my advocacy. My advocacy is for us women to fight for our rights and for elderly care and for us to be able to know that someone is loving and someone is pushing us to whatever ambitions that we have. We will be able to rise from our decisions to whatever dreams that we have, goals that we have, and we will achieve it because of those values, those wisdoms that they gave us.”