Miss Philippines Earth stands by its height requirement policy after 3 hopefuls’ disqualification

July 16, 2022 - 1:02 PM
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Composite photo of Miss Philippines Earth candidates who were disqualified from the contest due to their height (Michele Angela Navarro Okol of Surigao del Norte, Cess Cruz of Antipolo and Renee Coleen Sta. Teresa of Batangas) (via Facebook, Instagram)

Miss Philippines Earth stood by its decision to exclude three candidates because of their height despite being midway into the competition.

Michele Angela Navarro Okol of Surigao del Norte, Cess Cruz of Antipolo and Renee Coleen Sta. Teresa of Batangas were disqualified on Thursday, July 14 after falling short of the 5’4” height requirement.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News on July 15, MPE organizer Lorraine Schuck said that MPE has retained its standard height requirement for years.

MPE was formed in April 2001.

“The Miss Philippines Earth pageant has its own criteria. Prospective candidates must meet those requirements including the standard 5-foot-4 minimum height requirement,” Schuck was quoted in a report as saying.

Schuck also lamented that the three candidates did not make it.

“I am sad at nakakahinayang talaga kasi ang gaganda nila and they’re bright but we also have to be fair with other candidates who have complied with the requirements,” she said.

The 1979 Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia thanked the three young models for their hard work and efforts during their time in the pageant.

“Their videos will remain in our site and online platform and will still be considered for special awards,” Schuck said.

Height measurements of the 38 contestants were taken at the MPE headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Thursday, ahead of the Top 20 announcement on Friday.

Okol, Cruz and Sta. Teresa fell short of the requisite height.

Meanwhile, Miss Universe Philippines, the most esteemed local pageant, scrapped its long-standing height requirement for its delegates in June 2021.

This allowed long-time beauty queen hopeful Rousanne “Ayn” Bernos, who stands at 5’3”, to fulfill her dream and start her pageant journey on that year.

READ: TikTok creator Ayn Bernos pursues pageant dream after Miss Universe Philippines scraps height requirement 

Aside from Miss Philippines-Earth, Miss World Philippines is also still implementing its height requirement for its contestants.

Grateful yet heartbroken

Okol, Cruz and Sta. Teresa shared the sad news of their disqualification to their supporters via their social media accounts.

Okol expressed her frustration on Instagram about measuring their height in the middle of the MPE journey.

“Had we been measured earlier on and that this was the case, it would have been much easier to figure out what to do since we’ve already prepared all that was sent as requirements for both our online and face-to-face competition,” she said.

Okol still expressed gratitude to the organization for the opportunity it gave to her.

Sta. Teresa bared on Facebook that she was “extremely heartbroken” for how things have turned out.

Nevertheless, the beauty queen hopeful was thankful for all the support she received.

“Though I am extremely heartbroken, my heart is still full of gratitude for the love and support that you’ve shown me for the past months. I hope that somehow I was able to instill my advocacy to you. It has been an honor to be your Miss Philippines Earth- Ibaan Batangas (heart emoji),” Sta. Teresa said.

Cruz, meanwhile, shared that she was surprised that she stood at 5’3” because she had always thought she met the minimum height requirement before.

“I had always thought I stood 5’4” as this was indicated in my past commercials and projects. I am still at a loss for words as this is my first national pageant, and I tried—did my best, and have come this far,” she said.

Screenshot of Miss Philippines Earth candidate Cess Cruz of Antipolo on her disqualification from the pageant due to her height captured on July 15, 2022 (Instagram/Cess Cruz)

Similar to Okol and Sta. Teresa, Cruz also respected MPE’s decision and wished the best for the other contestants.