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EXCLUSIVE: Miss Intercontinental Karen Gallman's Evening Gown Was Inspired By Bohol Waterfalls

The Philippines is on a roll! Meet the newest addition to our growing roster of queens: Karen Gallman, the first Filipina to be crowned Miss Intercontinental

READ: 10 Must-Know Things About The Philippines' First Miss Intercontinental Winner, Karen Gallman!


We did it Philippines! ???? . I’m so proud to bring our nation its first Intercontinental crown. The overwhelming support from you all has been amazing and I can’t thank you all enough nor have done it without you. This crown is not just for me, its for all of you and a representation of what we can achieve as a nation. Keep pushing to be the best version of yourself by “always looking up to God and being thankful for everything” ?? . . Thank you to my MIC queens, chaperones and the team for a wonderful three weeks that I will always cherish! ? My team @kfforcrownandcountry @bbpilipinasofficial @itspatriciasnts @patriciasantosatelier @benjleguiab_iv @mypatrickstarr @styledbypatrickhenry @antheabueno @kierlovelasco @renzpangilinan @gangalonto @uhhminah @miggywest @bragaisjojo @stephtancouture you guys are incredible and words cant express my gratitude. Thank you also to everyone who has helped me on this journey, maraming maraming salamat po! ?? #missintercontinental2018

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For the pageant's evening wear segment, our country's best sported a sultry, silver Swarovski-embellished dress created by Filipino designer Benj Leguiab. The backless piece perfectly hugged Karen's figure—a feminine gown that fit the beauty queen like a glove. "Being a part of Karen's team made me feel like I was already a winner. When she won, I was beyond grateful because all our efforts paid off," the couturier quipped.


LOOK: Miss Intercontinental Philippines, KAREN GALLMAN (@karen_gallman) in a Benj Leguiab ensemble during the Evening Gown Competition of the 47th Miss Intercontinental pageant held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City! According to Benj, Karen's evening gown was inspired from the Loboc River and Camugao Falls which was the tourist destinations of Bohol, her hometown. Photography by: @dionbesa of the Qrown Philippines Gown by: @benj_leguiab_iv #KarenGallman #MissIntercontinentalPhilippines2018 #MissIntercontinentalPhilippines #BbPilipinas2018 #BinibiningPilipinas #MissIntercontinental2018 #MissIntercontinental #MissPhilippines #MissFilipinas #RoadToMissIntercontinental #TheQrownPhilippines

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In an exclusive interview with Metro.Style, Benj shares us the low-down on everything you need to know about Karen's stunning dress. We also interviewed the designer on other beautiful beauty queens he's dressed up. Scroll ahead for more!


1. The gown was inspired by Bohol waterfalls

According to Benj, Karen's evening wear gown was inspired by the Camugao Water Falls from Karen's province in Bohol.

Photo: Benj Leguiab



2. The silver masterpiece took two months to create! 

The standout dress was intricately embellished with Swarovski crystals and Japanese bead glass. 


Another Victory for the Philippines???? Congratulations Karen J. Gallman Who made a history for the Philippines, we finally got the first ever Crown in Miss Intercontinental. Designer: Benj LeguiabIV /Benj Leguiab IV Couture Proud Young Kapampanga Designer To God be the glory Thank you for this photo : @bruce.casanova #BLIV #missintercontinental #KFcamp #BenjleguiabCouture #Philippines #KarenGallman #Pageant Pageants Fanatic Miss Philippines' Road to the Miss Universe Crown Philippine Pageants Pageantry Fanatics Philippine Pageant News GMA News Abs - Cbn News ABS CBN Integrated News & Current Affairs Rated K CL TV Channel 36 TV Patrol Pampanga

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3. Benj has been working with Karen since December 2017. He was also the designer of the fire-inspired dress she wore in Binibining Pilipinas 2018.

"In December 2017, Karen's friend referred me to her. She then contacted me for a collaboration," Benj shared. "Karen loves my style! Madame Stella [Araneta] was also wow-ed when Karen wore my gown during Binibining Pilipinas 2018."

The fiery dress the beauty queen wore to Bb. Pilipinas was inspired by fire. According to Benj, the two lines in the bust area also had a deeper meaning: they symbolized Karen's second attempt to join the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. As destiny would have it, she won the title Miss Intercontinental Philippines that evening.


4. The Kapampangan couturier is also known for creating the iconic, patriotic dresses worn by beauty queen Alyssa Muhlach Alvarez!

Who could ever forget the stunning long gowns worn my Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas Alyssa Alvarez? Featuring classy, patriotic details, these gorgeous pieces were game-changers




Mula sa aking puso para sa mahal kong Pilipinas ????: I really did my best to win the crown. ?? I may not have won Reina Hispanoamericana 2018 but I’m going home as a stronger and wiser woman. I was crowned as Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas 2018 last October 7 and I only had 12 days to prepare for the pageant. Although I failed to win the crown, I still believe that I am a winner because I gained experience from joining an international pageant, I was able to explore Bolivia, I gained kind-hearted friends whom I will cherish forever, I was able to travel alone with my 4 luggages from Manila-Vancouver-New York-Panama-Bolivia, I survived a pageant wherein I was the only candidate who did not speak in Spanish fluently and all the other candidates were very competitive Latinas. @teresitassen was right na mahirap po talaga ang Reina Hispanoamericana. That is why saludo po talaga ako sa kanya kasi nanalo po siya sa isang challenging na pageant tulad ng RHA, which brought so much honor and praise to our country. To the one and only @benjleguiab_iv, thank you so much for my patriotic red gown. I was so amazed at how you were able to incorporate the 3 stars and a sun on my gown as inspired by the Philippine flag. To my KF family (Tito Rodg, Tito Gio, Mommy G & Sir Migz), thank you for training me to be the best version of myself. To my #Alyssabelles family and to Ate Maricel & Kuya Javier who took care of me in Bolivia, thank you for supporting me in my Reina Hispanoamericana 2018 journey. To ALV @arnold_vegafria, @bessiebesana, and the MWP 2018 Organization, thank you for choosing me to represent the Philippines in Reina Hispanoamericana 2018. To all the pageant and media pages, thank you for supporting me all the way. To my sponsors, thank you so, so much! To Papa, Mama, Illa, Inna and Chris, thank you so much for everything, I love you all very much! And of course, thank you so, so much to Papa God for being my daily source of strength and inspiration. It was truly such an honor to have represented the Philippines internationally. ?? Mahal kong Pilipinas, maraming salamat po muli! ?? • Gown: @benjleguiab_iv Earrings: @christophermunar Bun Hair Extensions: @tokyoposh

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5. Finally, Benj Leguiab also created evening gowns for other contestants in the Miss Intercontinental 2018 pageant.

The Filipino couturier dressed up Miss Costa Rica (1st runner-up) and Miss Ethiopia (5th runner-up) for the Miss Intercontinental pageant. "One important thing I learned is to help candidates in this journey, regardless of what country or camp they came from," Benj shared. "I am happy I did my job to make them feel confident and to feel like queens. I believe helping others is to build bridges, not walls. This is my passion."




Lead photos via Benj Leguiab and Dion Besa