It's an eventful weekend for beauty queen Samantha Panlilio! Tonight, she will be competing at the Miss Grand International 2021 pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand. She's up against 60 contestants as she vies to clinch the first crown for the country.
This pursuit is just within reach for Samantha as she has everyone floored already with her preliminary performances. Following her stunning "Paruparo" national costume, the 25-year-old beauty queen takes our break away in another gorgeous number. For her evening gown, Rian Fernandez created a sheer, crystal-laden floor-length gown that features a midriff cutout, and a bejeweled bodice made of Caribbean Blue opal rhinestones, glass beads, oversized Austrian swarovski crystals.
LOOK: Samantha Panlilio's Evening Gown for Miss Grand International 2021
But the gown's most notable feature is the surprise train that unfolds from the pointed, portruding pagoda shoulders at the tug of the dress' dangling crystal embellishment. See it in action below!
According to the designer, Samantha's hand-embroidered cape gown is inspired by the balangay, the "seafaring vessel of the Philippines [and] the first wooden watercraft excavated in Southeast Asia." Called the Layag Balangay, the dress "is a perfect way to reawaken Filipino pride in a forgotten heritage of the ancient Filipino ingenuity," Rian adds.
Take a closer look at the gown below:
If Samantha wins, she'll be the first Filipina to hold the Miss Grand title since its inception in 2013. Previously, Nicole Cordoves, Elizabeth Clenci, and Samantha Bernardo placed as runner-ups in the competition. Abena Appiah of the United States is the reigning Miss Grand and was crowned last March 2021.
Good luck and go get that crown, Samantha!