New Faces: Michele Gumabao
The Modern Beauty Queen
People already know her. She first gained national recognition as the striking MVP from the women’s volleyball team of De La Salle University, so it’s not a surprise to see her in a t-shirt, sweatpants, with hair tied in a neat ponytail. Michele, after all, is an athlete. But what some people are still getting used to is seeing her in a glamorous gown with a crown perched on top of her head. Michele, millennial multi-hyphenate, has, after all, added another hyphen to her name: Binibining Pilipinas Globe 2018.
Today, Michele, as she has done with so many opposing teams on the court, continues to demolish preconceived notions about a “Beauty Queen”. She is neither princess nor prissy, and she carries herself with the same grace and dignity one would expect from top athletes. These qualities-- not traditionally associated with the sequined and glammed up world of pageants--may just be the same qualities that will land this spiker an international beauty title.
Sporty yet refined, competitive yet gracious, and stylish but with substance— Michele Theresa Imperial Gumabao is truly the beauty queen we need today.
Want to know more about one of the freshest new talents in Manila?
Watch or read our brief interview with Michele.
What was life for you growing up?
MICHELE GUMABAO: Life was rather easy for me growing up. I have four other siblings at home and it was like a constant competition between us. Living with my parents was fun because they let me do what I wanted. They let me make the mistakes I needed to in order to learn in life and it was really focused on sports.
Were you always sporty even as a kid?
MICHELE GUMABAO: I was always sporty even when I was a kid, parents were both into sports. My dad was a pro basketball player. All of my siblings, my brother into volleyball. So, that’s like a bonding experience for us.
When you were a little girl, was this your dream?
MICHELE GUMABAO: When I was a little girl I’ve always loved dressing up. I’ve always like putting on makeup and wearing high heels and dresses, but unfortunately, pageantry never entered my mind. Although, I do have a cousin who won Miss World back when I was younger and I did look up to her. But, it was always sports that took most of my time. It was always sports that I was inclined to because of my parents, probably, and I think that one thing led to the other and a lot of people came into my life. They were the ones who were interested in pageantry and that’s when I realized and I saw that this can also be an avenue for me.
When I was a little girl I’ve always loved dressing up. I’ve always like putting on makeup and wearing high heels and dresses, but unfortunately, pageantry never entered my mind.
Tell us something about yourself that is totally unexpected.
MICHELE GUMABAO: I think a lot of people don’t know that I’m a huge nerd. I love studying, I love school. I always look forward to school. I always make sure that my grades were up and I love reading.
What made you join Bb. Pilipinas?
MICHELE GUMABAO: I actually saw the opportunity that all these beauty queens had and they’re a voice for people. They have a huge platform that I never got to step onto being in sports or even being in showbiz. It’s a different world. It’s a different category all together. It’s a different market as well. So, I figured that if I do join a beauty pageant, then I get to reach out to more people.
You come from a family of actors, why didn’t you go into acting instead?
MICHELE GUMABAO: I’ve always liked watching my family on TV, but when it comes to acting I just was always shy. I’ve never been to workshops so I don’t think I have it in me to be an actress so I’m willing to take the risks though. I’ve done a couple of small roles before and it’s something that I’m always interested to venture into but maybe I’ll leave it up to m y brother first as of the moment.
How did your training as a volleyball player help you in the beauty pageant?
MICHELE GUMABAO: It was my biggest asset coming into Bb. Pilipinas, was my training as a volleyball player. I was used to people coaching me and teaching me what to do. I’m used to being a student and so whenever I plunge into something that I really don’t know anything about, especially pageantry. It was easy for me to learn because a lot of people wanted to teach me. It was really easy for me to work with other, to learn and I think the discipline that I got in volleyball also helped me to transform and to be a Beauty Queen because that’s what you need. You have to look the part, you have to stand the part and of course, you have to have that inside of you being an advocate. Volleyball being in media also, it helped me to be more open to people and to show your people your talents and really what you’re good at.
"I’ve always liked watching my family on TV, but when it comes to acting I just was always shy. I’ve never been to workshops so I don’t think I have it in me to be an actress so I’m willing to take the risks though."
“Jocks” are known to be low-maintenance. Do you like getting made-up, dressing in a glamorous gown?
MICHELE GUMABAO: I don’t think I’m low maintenance. I’ve always, I grew up, my sister loves putting makeup on me. I love dressing up, I have my days. I think I have my days wherein I dress up and I want to be in sports clothes, but it’s a job that you have to keep doing every single day. Especially being in media. Being a social media influencer it’s very important that I produce content that’s relevant for all of my viewers especially for all those who follow me because I do want to be an inspiration to them and it’s a job that you have to keep doing every single day.
Is there any other side of your personality you want to explore?
MICHELE GUMABAO: I think I’ve given everything that I have in sports and beauty pegeants. If there’s one thing that I want to explore, it’s that I don’t want to be embarrassed anymore when I’m on TV or when I need to act or when I need to show up and portray a role because that’s what I’m not used to. You know, being into sports, you just have to come as yourself. You have to play and portray yourself and I think that’s what I’m lacking at and that’s what I want to explore and be good at as well.
"I love dressing up, I have my days. I think I have my days wherein I dress up and I want to be in sports clothes, but it’s a job that you have to keep doing every single day."
What is your advocacy?
MICHELE GUMABAO: My advocacy is mainly on sports. I do believe that sports have the power to unite this country. Everybody just comes together when you’re cheering for one name, one flag and our country. So, I really do want to help the youth discover more of their potential when it comes to sports. I want to develop more programs when it comes to sports and bringing sports, not just volleyball, but bring sports in more areas around the country and develop more grassroots programs; because not everyone in the Philippines has access to training, has access to sports and being in the Philippines, being a professional athlete you see that we have so much talent, but it’s raw talent, it’s untapped talent that we really have to get into. Train, motivate, and really cultivate to be able to produce good talent that we can spread across the world.
What is a “Modern” Beauty Queen for you?
MICHELE GUMABAO: A modern beauty queen for me is someone who is not afraid to be herself. Someone who does not let stereotypes dictate her, her actions, how she thinks and does not let anybody stand in the way of her career and her goals. A modern beauty queen is someone who can speak up for herself, speak up for other people and is not afraid to take on risks and challenges to be better to continue learning and to continue being the best Beauty Queen she can be.