EXCLUSIVE: Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2019 Resham Ramirez Saeed Shines The Light On Gender Equality, Unity In Diversity, And Women Empowerment
An unica hija, This Filipino-Pakistani binibini stands out with her independence and dedication to leading a life filled with passion and thirst for learning.
Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2019 Resham Ramirez Saeed was born in Buluan, Maguindanao. The eldest and only daughter among a brood of four, she was raised to be one of the boys. Over the years, she realized this upbringing shaped her to become the strong and outspoken woman she is today. She tells Metro.Style, “Both Pinoy and Pakistani cultures are in my house and the norm was the importance will be given to the eldest son, and I feel like my parents treated me like the eldest son which made me very independent and bold.”
Her childhood was defined by memories of her traveling and playing sports. “I was raised in six different countries because my dad was a businessman. I also learned to speak five languages because of that,” she shares. When she was younger, she joined various sports programs partly because of her mom who handled the Physical Education department in her school. Resham adds, “I was at the basketball team, the soccer team, the baseball team, the wrestling team, and I used to swim competitively in high school.” She got to appreciate more the importance of staying physically active and healthy given her inclination to sports.
"My parents treated me like the eldest son which made me very independent and bold"
Though she was crowned Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2019 recently and is excited about the new direction this has steered her life in, Resham emphasized the importance of getting a college degree. Prior to Binibini, she was in her third year of college majoring in Psychology at York University, Canada, and she plans to push through with her studies after her reign. She may not have a definite plan yet on where to finish her studies, but she shares, “Maybe here. It’s actually pretty good for me to stay here and my heart belongs to Philippines now. So I would like to look into continuing my education here.”
Resham appears to be an intimidating woman with the way she confidently carries herself. Despite the pressure that comes with pageantry, this dauntless and goal-oriented woman stays composed, focused, and graceful. Being a beauty queen is just one of her many facets. When asked about her interests outside pageantry, she tells Metro.Style, “I love food! Prior to joining Binibining Pilipinas, I was about to launch my vlog about food. I was working on a food blog/vlog and that took a pause when I joined the competition.” For someone who’s passionate about food, she’s truly an inspiration for people who love to eat yet able to remain in good shape.
“A lot of people didn’t see me being able to pull off winning or me fitting that cookie-cutter pageant girl. And that actually motivated me more to feel like, ‘Okay, great! I’m different’”
While she seems perfectly comfortable in the pageant scene, it wasn't always that way. She recalls the beginning of this journey, “5 years ago when I first came here, Tito Rodgil (Flores) from KF (Kagandahang Flores) Camp approached me and told me to do Miss Universe, and I was only 20 at the time. I just got a scholarship for a Psychology program and there was no way I was putting my education on hold. But when I came back a year ago and he found out, he didn’t let me go. He’s the one who made me believe it’s something I could even do.”
This is Resham's first time to join a national competition, and she feels very grateful to have been given a chance to represent the Philippines in an international pageant soon. “A lot of people didn’t see me being able to pull off winning or me fitting that cookie-cutter pageant girl. And that actually motivated me more to feel like, ‘Okay, great! I’m different,’” she continues.
Maroon gown by Mark Bumgarner | Printed bandeau and bolero by Randy Ortiz and mustard wide-legged pants by Jaz Cerezo
Now that her Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2019 title holds huge responsibility, she’s eager to champion what she believes in. An embodiment of a modern woman, Resham stands to fight for gender equality and women empowerment. She’s currently working with SPARK (Samahan ng mga Pilipina Para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran) which is a non-profit organization that focuses on the development of women and women’s organizations as full partners in national development. “I feel like equality needs to be pushed more than ever. Not only in terms of gender that is my advocacy, but in terms of backgrounds and diversity. There’s so much to learn from one another.”
Passionate and driven to make a difference, she has set her eyes on one thing, and that is to learn and evolve through her life experiences. She says, “There’s so much to experience and that really expands our knowledge not only towards other people, but our world. Just a simple respect and acceptance, not tolerance, but acceptance is going to push humanity to a whole new direction. And that’s something that should be celebrated and looked forward to.”
As an advocate for women empowerment, she also shows that believing in oneself and not being afraid to push the envelope can lead to amazing results, saying, “I’ve taken my notes in my life and I’ve been blessed enough to have parents who always pushed me to become vocal about what I believe in. I’m ready to be the voice of those who don’t have it or can’t find it.”
“I feel like equality needs to be pushed more than ever. Not only in terms of gender that is my advocacy, but in terms of backgrounds and diversity"
As Resham strives to be the woman she aspires to become, she is fully aware that life could throw her a curve ball any moment but she is aware, too, that she is not one to easily give up. She acknowledges that life is ever-changing, and she believes she is resilient enough to weather whatever hurdles.
For a young woman who is new to the beauty pageant industry, joining this competition was also a huge leap towards reaching her full potential. Resham wants to reach out to more people through her advocacy, and it is one of the main reasons why she joined Binibining Pilipinas in the first place. Resham thinks beauty pageants are relevant because they draw people's attention to worthy causes and allow them to see beyond the physical beauty of a person. She shares, “As humans, we are attracted to beauty. When we see a beautiful flower, we pluck it. In a sense, that’s what we are. We’re these beautiful flowers that people want to look at then eventually, we manage to draw them in with advocacies and the change we want to create. And in that sense, we inspire.”
"Just a simple respect and acceptance, not tolerance, but acceptance is going to push humanity to a whole new direction. And that’s something that should be celebrated and looked forward to”
Struggles and failures are inevitable, but what makes people different from one another at times like these is the way they look at these things and cope with them. Sometimes, however, she admits “you forget that you can’t control everyone and that things are not always gonna go your way.” Still, she always chooses to be hopeful.
Resham believes genuine happiness can only be truly felt once you’ve experienced sadness. Her idea of happiness revolves around pursuing a meaningful purpose. And today, her purpose is to fully embrace the responsibility that comes with her crown and sash. She says, “It’s not about me anymore, it’s about the people I represent. And when that comes into play, you have to put your feelings aside, put what you want aside for the greater good.”
Behind every strong woman is a rock that inspires her to keep going. “Everything that’s part of me just come from my parents, and there can’t be a greater equal model to look up to,” Resham declares. Her Muslim background did raise some questions regarding the way she carries herself especially in the pageant industry. Despite being a part of their tradition, she opted to not wear a hijab. Explaining the reason behind it, she narrates, “There was a moment in my life when I was of age around 15-16 and my dad asked me if I would consider wearing a hijab. My mom doesn’t wear a hijab but then, my titas in my dad’s side of the family wear hijabs. So I was given a choice because my father believed that, as a woman, I have the right to make a choice just like my brothers. My father didn’t want to force something upon me because he knew the relationship I have with God. God knows best.” As a Muslim, she wishes that people would be more open to ask questions about their culture. And she hopes that in the future, she’ll be able to spread awareness about their practices and that diversity is alive in the Islam community.
"I’m ready to be the voice of those who don’t have it or can’t find it”
At only 25, Resham knows there's still a lot for her to learn, but she's not pressuring herself to be someone she wants to be quickly. She understands character building can take time. Over time, she can become smarter, stronger, and more fearless. “I want to do more and I think that’s a positive thing, because it means I’m always going to strive to be better. And that’s something I want to instill more to the youth,” she beams.
Resham adds, “I think that there’s no ultimate goal. Sometimes we find comfort in thinking that there’s some ultimate goal and that one day, you’re going’ be fully happy and satisfied but that’s not true. Especially when you’re passionate about life.” She emphasized once again her love for life as she continuously talked about joy with unmistakable sparkle in her eyes. “Find joy and embrace that, because that means you’re always going to be evolving. And that’s the gift of life,” she points out.
Now that she's getting ready for the Miss Supranational 2019 competition set to be held in Poland, she is looking forward to discovering more of this European country. Immersing herself in another culture makes her anxious yet excited at the same time. “I am looking forward to Poland simply because I’m going to be exposed not only to the Polish culture, but the woman from all around the world,” she shares. Her love for tropical countries kept her from visiting Europe, making this experience yet another first for the Pakistani-Pinay beauty. But above all that excitement, she highlights the top things she hopes to do in the journey she's about to embark on and says, “I want to teach them more about my Pinoy-Muslim culture and the diversity we hold. I really do want to showcase that there are so many parts of the Philippines and we’re all united yet we’re all so individualistic.”
Read our exclusives on the other reigning Binibining Pilipinas queens:
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Seven Barretto
Creative direction by Chookie Cruz
Makeup by Martin Enrique Hizon of Ever Bilena
Styling by Bonita Penaranda
Video producer: Joan Ko
Videography by Spotlight Creatives
Shoot assistants: Sara de los Reyes and Renee Nuevo
Shot on location at Cove Manila in Okada - New Seaside Drive, Entertainment City, Parañaque
Special thanks to Annie Alejo and Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc.