EXCLUSIVE: Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2018 Jehza Huelar Overcomes Insecurity And Failures To Take The Crown On Her Third Try
A BEAUTIFUL DREAMER. • . It took her three tries, a huge heartbreak, and lots of courage and faith to come back and take a #BinibiningPilipinas title and crown, but she finay did it! Despite being nervous during the Q&A portion, Jehza told herself, "You can't let this pass by again for the third time, Jehza. Kunin mo na ang korona.'" @jehzahuelar #JehzaHuelar . . Produced by @gracelibero Photography by @rxandy Styling by @stylizedstudio Creative direction by @theonlychookiecruz Make-up: @mhoyvistan_mua Hairstyling: @iamolisara Special thanks to Gines Enriquez, Ivan de Lara, Terry Dy of @cafeamazonph, and Stephen Capuchino Writer: @akosiboyjorge Shoot assistant: James Mangile . Shot on location at @zoomburst . #BbPilipinas2018 #BbPilipinasonMetroStyle #Queens #wellstyledlife #lifestyled #lifegoals #inspiredliving @bbpilipinasofficial
It took her three tries, a huge heartbreak, and lots of courage and faith to come back and take the Binibining Pilipinas Supranational 2018 crown—but she finally did it.
Jehza hails from the province of Davao, the only daughter among five brothers. She lost her parents early in her life, when she was still studying in college. Just short of six months after her dad passed away, her mom succumbed to depression and left them.
So right after she finished her college degree from Ateneo de Davao University, Jehza decided she wanted to give back to her parents and achieve the dream they wanted for her: to become a beauty queen.
Accidental Bb. Pilipinas queen
Her first year with Bb. Pilipinas came unexpectedly, as Jehza was only supposed to train with Jonas Gaffud’s pageant camp Aces and Queens to join Mutya ng Dabaw. Jehza recalls, “It just so happened, nauna ’yung screening ng Bb. Pilipinas. So my mentor said, ‘Jehza, just go out and see the girls in the screening of Bb. Pilipinas, para pagbalik mo ng Davao, may edge ka. So nag-screen screen din ako. Tapos suddenly, I was part of the official list! Sabi ko, there’s no turning back.”
But her lack of experience didn’t deter her; she made up for it with her overflowing enthusiasm and confidence. The young Jehza, who was only joining a pageant for the first time then, found herself the 2nd runner-up to Kylie Verzosa, Maxine Medina, and Nicole Cordoves, who were crowned during Bb. Pilipinas 2016.
It was a victory nonetheless, but there are titles and crowns that were up for grabs. So in 2017, with the support of her various organizations, family members, and fans, Jehza resigned from her reign to join again in the competition.
But the stars were not as kind to Jehza this time around, and she only made it to the Top 15.
“That’s when I felt like everything was shattering down. Nu’ng namatay kasi ’yung parents ko, parang I set myself na it’s time to let go. Pero nu’ng natalo ako, naramdaman ko na kailangan ko pala sila—pero wala na sila. Sobrang sakit pala na ’di ko na kayang iahon sarili ko. Nahiya ako sa mga nag-support sa’kin, my family, my team,” Jehza recalls.
Giving pageantry another try
With so much despair in her heart, Jehza walked away from Bb. Pilipinas and set on a new journey. Earlier this year, she also got engaged to her boyfriend, PBA star PJ Simon.
But then, the opportunity knocked on Jehza’s door again. Even with their marriage and a new life for them already in the horizon, PJ reminded her about the dreams she buried when she lost in 2016. She remembers him asking her, “Do you wanna join? ’Di pa naman tayo magpapakasal this year. We’ll move our wedding next year, depende kung mananalo ka, depende kung ano'ng magiging journey mo, I will wait. Gusto ko na i-pursue mo ’yung rason kung bakit andito ka sa Manila.”
So, Jehza prayed and asked for a sign. “I felt like I was happy, I was contented with my life. Ayoko na rin na masaktan,” she recalls telling herself on the morning of January 8, the deadline of applications for Bb. Pilipinas 2018. But at the back of her mind, she did not want to regret the things she didn’t do.
So that morning, at the last minute, Jehza submitted her application. And the next thing she knew, she was standing on the Bb. Pilipinas final question and answer stage, the spotlight on her, with the question, “What do you think is the most important quality of a millennial woman?”
“Honestly, I’m not very vocal as a person,” Jehza says, admitting the question and answer portion was always the most difficult part for her. “’Di rin ako sanay sa media kasi nu’ng pagkabata ko, I was all numbers. I’m very much into business. My mom is an accountant, and I’m always competing in Math quiz bees. Bigyan mo pa ako ng equation, mas masasagot ko pa ’yan! I’m not really the person who talked a lot, so nahirapan ako. But during the Q&A, I told myself, ‘Jehza, focus. You can’t let this pass by again for the third time, Jehza. Kunin mo na ’yung korona.’”
Third time's the charm
And finally, as they say, third time’s the charm. She has finally emerged with the crown, the dream that her parents have long wanted her to achieve.
“It’s not my fight anymore. It’s for my family, I wanna make them proud,” Jehza says about her victory. “And this year, lahat in-offer ko sa Panginoon. Even from the very beginning that I’ve decided to join Binibini, sinabi ko, ‘Lord, sa’yo ’to.’ Hanggang sa nanalo ako, ‘Lord, sa’yo ’to.’”
Jehza emerged from her three-year struggle with lessons to treasure and new strength to keep. She reveals that she has undergone so much insecurity, so much doubt, and so much pain throughout her journey, but at the end of the day, winning the crown also comes with the responsibility to share her voice with those who have yet to find theirs.
For her, “The crown is the opportunity to share my advocacy with others, to inspire others. I want people to aim for a healthy lifestyle, engage into sports. Because I know how life is when you are dragged down to negativity, depression. And during those times, being active in sports has helped me a lot to cope.”
So what’s next for Jehza? She is set to represent the Philippines in the upcoming Miss Supranational 2018 at the end of the year. It’s going to be another tough fight, and Jehza has a lot to learn still—and a lot of weight to gain (she admits she has to increase her daily intake to bring her body mass up). But for now, she’s eyeing dance lessons to help her get her grace and energy up to par.
Jehza’s been through her fair share of doubt and failures. But standing up after falling down hard is what makes a true fighter and a true queen. When asked about what being a true beauty queen means for her, she says that’s it something that everyone has in themselves. “It’s not always what you see physically. A queen is not only beautiful, a queen is not only ‘she,’ but everyone who wants to be a beauty queen, even from the opposite sex. Let’s not put a barrier that a beauty queen is only a girl. Let’s not only look at the physical attribute but also what’s inside one's heart and one's head. That’s what makes a true beauty queen.”
Q&A With Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2018 Jehza Huelar:
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is when you're already contented with what you have in life, and when you have faith in God.
What is the trait you most deplore about yourself?
My being an overthinker.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Angelina Jolie—not just because she’s a celebrity and she’s beautiful, but because of her life, her advocacies. She’s adopting kids. I really appreciate that. It takes a great heart to accept someone that you don’t even know, and to raise them as your own.
What do you like most about your appearance?
My face. I think it's because my face is very Asian. Sobrang baby face niya in relation to my age.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Inisip ko tuloy ’yung fiancé ko… Siguro, the personality itself. Gusto ko kasi ’yung may humor, masaya kausap.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My feet! Sobrang laki kasi ng size, size 10. Ang hirap maghanap ng shoes! (laughs)
What is your greatest regret?
I think my greatest regret is not saying how much I love my parents before they passed away. If I were given a chance to meet them, or to talk to them once again, even a single second, sasabihin ko talaga, "Mahal na mahal na mahal ko kayo tsaka 'I'm sorry for everything that I did.'"
What is your motto?
Always be happy. I know how it feels like being sad and lonely every single day. So be positive, smile.
White top and shirt, Zara
Shoes, Charles & Keith
Black / gold gown, Rob Ortega
Purple gown, Steph Tan
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Creative direction by Chookie Cruz
Styling by Stylized Studio – Danae Dizon, Patrick Perez, Joy Bernardo, Steven Coralde, Aina Ampil, and Aia Tabuzo
Makeup by Mhoy Almazan
Hairstyling by Oli Sara and Sam Guerrero
Shoot assistants: Sara de los Reyes, Mariel Abanes, and James Mangile
Special thanks to Gines Enriquez, Ivan de Lara, Terry Dy of Café Amazon, and Stephen Capuchino
Shot on location at Zoomburst Studios