“Pregnancy only lasts nine months, so I’ve been trying to experience all the emotions fully,” the former Miss Universe Philippines 2017 tells Preview. The beauty queen recently tied the knot with long-time beau Migz Villafuerte in a quaint civil ceremony in Camarines Sur. She picked a simple empire-cut dress with billowy sleeves that showed off her baby bump subtly. A relatively covered up look compared to Rachel’s signature hubadera 'fits at the beach.
It’s no surprise one of her first post-nuptial OOTDs is a bikini snap. “Usually, you’d find me in an oversized top and boxers but today I was feeling a little extra so this happened. I still love me a good bikini moment.” she captioned on Instagram. Unlike her bombshell poses in the post, a more vulnerable Rachel is seen in this clearly unedited photo. Her makeup-free skin, stretchmarks, and beautiful body folds on full display to showcase an expectant mom’s journey with nothing to hide.
“Knowing that in just a few weeks we’ll have our daughter in our arms is the craziest, most amazing feeling ever and I’m so grateful for the little life growing inside me but honestly I can’t say I’ve loved being pregnant. I’ve had many friends tell me that they’ve never felt sexier than when they were pregnant but I’ve yet to feel that,” the beauty queen admits in the exclusive interview.
Being a woman who has worked so hard all her life to maintain a “certain level of fitness” as part of her job and role as a beauty queen, model, and host, seeing her body expand to a size and shape she’s never been in was sometimes worrisome. But nothing really beats the idea of bringing new life into the world.
“Pregnancy hormones are such a trip and I have days where I feel sad; other days where I sing in the shower; days where I just want to Netflix and binge eat, and days when I want to do laps and Pilates and clean the whole house. I have days when I feel sad about my body, and days where I’m just amazed by the changes, so I say celebrate those days! Put a bikini on and take a hundred selfies cause no doubt you’ll enjoy looking back on them in the future!” she shares.
But not everyone seems to appreciate Rachel’s preggy bod and the way she chooses to flaunt it. “I’ve gotten a few messages from other women who disagree with the photos I’ve posted on my Instagram, the beauty queen admits. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and deciding how they want to go through their own pregnancies, but being at the beach and in a bikini has always been a big part of my life. So I don’t see why I need to show up to the beach in a full wetsuit just because I’m now pregnant?”
True enough, most Filipinos still value conservative and modest dressing when it comes to expectant mothers. But over the years, local celebrities and influencers have come to break that mold with empowering pre-natal photoshoots, and have traded typical tent dresses for more body-hugging frocks. Who could forget Anne Curtis’ nearly naked baby bump pic before Dhalia was born? Or even Kim Kardashian’s risque mirror selfie while expecting? Just recently, Sam Pinto posted a slew of maternity photos with a sexy boudoir concept—proving that sultry mom fashion isn’t going anywhere.
Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to cover up! At the end of the day, it’s really all about allowing women to dress the way they feel the most themselves. And if that means baring some skin while expecting, why not? “Being pregnant is a natural and beautiful thing. Yes, I’ve had my low moments, but at the end of the day it’s the greatest blessing a woman can experience, so I see absolutely no reason why a woman should feel the need to hide under layers of clothes (unless of course that’s what makes her comfortable),” Rachel explains.
“Your growing belly and breasts, stretch marks and varicose veins are all real and it’s a woman at her most natural state so why try to hide it? I think sharing the reality of pregnancy should be normalised,” she adds and we couldn’t agree more.
“Learning to love my new body hasn’t been a breeze but I’m at peace and in a good place now. I hope that I can spread the message that it’s okay to feel lots of different emotions about your body but remember that at the end of the day, you only have one body. So take care of it and learn to love yourself.”
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