With how big pageantry is in the Philippines, beauty queens who succeed in major competitions are almost always guaranteed national fame and a foot into the entertainment industry, should they want to pursue acting. After all, who wouldn’t want our country’s finest beauties to have more screen time, one way or another, once they hang up their sashes? Alternatively, some personalities, who were actors first before they vied for a crown, only found more purchase in the industry after their pageant runs. Curious to know who they are?
Below are 8 famous Filipina beauty queens who are also established actresses:
1. Gloria Diaz
Miss Universe 1969
As the Philippines’ first-ever Miss Universe, it’s no surprise the always-impeccable Gloria Diaz went on to have a prolific and critically-acclaimed career in acting. Currently, the veteran star has won six acting awards, including two FAMAS trophies for Nasaan Ka Man in 2006 and Sagrada Familia in 2010. She also memorably made a cameo in Netflix’s dark-comedy series Insatiable (2019) as a pageant queen and Debby Ryan’s mentor Gloria Reyes.
2. Pilar Pilapil
Binibining Pilipinas 1967
Another beauty queen-turned-award winning actress, Pilar Pilapil initially received several acting offers after she won the Binibining Pilipinas pageant in 1967. In her prime, she received nominations from various award-giving bodies, including the FAMAS Awards, the Gawad Urian Awards, the PMPC Star Awards for Movies, and the Manila Film Festival. Come the 2010s, Pilar was cast in popular shows like Marimar; Ina, Kapatid, Anak; Muling Buksan ang Puso, Pangako Sa ‘Yo; Pasion De Amor; and First Yaya.
3. Ruffa Gutierrez
Miss World 1993 (Second Runner-Up)
Ruffa Gutierrez started acting in her teens just a few years before she was crowned Binibining Pilipinas World in 1993. Following her second runner-up finish in Miss World, she went on to continue taking up roles in both films and TV shows. Some of her better known credits include Shake Rattle & Roll V; My Monster Mom; Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy; and Maybe This Time. She also recently appeared in the Kathniel-led web series The House Arrest of Us, as Kathryn Bernardo’s mom.
4. Alice Dixson
Miss International 1986 (Top 15)
Binibining Pilipinas International 1986 winner Alice Dixson embarked on her showbiz journey just a year after her stint in Miss International. She debuted in the long-running sitcom Okay Ka, Fairy Ko!, alongside Vic Sotto and Charito Solis. She also consecutively starred in numerous films produced by Regal and Viva in between the 1980s and the 1990s, including To Saudi With Love and Sambahin ang Ngalan Mo, for which she took home the Best Actress award at the 1998 Metro Manila Film Festival.
5. Precious Lara Quigaman
Miss International 2005
Precious Lara Quigaman’s first TV appearance following her Miss International win was for the third installment of GMA’s iconic fantasy series Encantadia. She's since starred in over 60 TV shows, but in more recent years, her credits include The Killer Bride, Halik, and Bagani, which was top-billed by Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano.
6. Pia Wurtzbach
Miss Universe 2015
ICYDK, Pia Wurtzbach was actually a child actress. She debuted at the ripe age of four and went by the name of Pia Romero. Her TV projects pre-Binibining Pilipinas include a stint in Bea Alonzo and Jericho Rosales’ It Might Be You, a number of episodes on Maalaala Mo Kaya, and a supporting role in Judy Ann Santos and Piolo Pascual’s Sa Piling Mo, among others. Her first leading lady role came three years after her unforgettable Miss Universe crowning in 2015, wherein she starred in the romantic comedy My Perfect You, opposite Gerald Anderson.
7. Kylie Verzosa
Miss International 2016
After appearing in Love the Way U Lie with Xian Lim and Alex Gonzaga, Kylie Verzosa landed her first major movie role in 2021 with The Housemaid. A remake of the Korean thriller film of the same name—which starred Squid Game actor Lee Jung Jae—the Pinoy adaptation finds Kylie in the enigmatic titular role. The movie’s promotional photos went viral online last September as netizens and celebs alike raved over Kylie’s daring images in a blood-soaked bathtub.
8. Megan Young
Miss World 2013
StarStruck alum Megan Young was already an established actress and TV host way before she decided to take on the major pageant stage. However, it was after she won Miss World 2013 that she bagged one of her her biggest lead roles yet in the 2015 remake of Marimar. Her other post-pageant projects also include the GMA shows Conan, My Beautician; Alyas Robin Hood; The Stepdaughters; and Hanggang sa Dulo ng Buhay Ko.