MisOr Designer Dominates the Ms Philippines-Earth Pageant
Misamis Oriental designer Jie-Jie Aisa’s creation took center-stage last week, at the Mall of Asia Arena for the Miss Philippines Earth 2017 pageant. Her design for Miss El Salvador, Elizabeth Amahan, led her to win Best in Cultural Costume. (see featured image)
She said: “I really want to thank the judges who appreciated my creation. Miss El Salvador’s cultural attire is a Kuyamis-inspired Philippine Terno made mainly of some essential coconut parts, exquisitely representing the evolution of culture in our province of Misamis Oriental. Kuyamis is a variety of sweet coconut, which became famous during the colonization of the province by the Spaniards. Their arrival dislocated a significant number of Higaonons, who were the original occupants. As a result, these brought changes in the ways of living by the people of Misamis, including the introduction of a culture inspired by the abundance of coconut trees.”
Noteworthy, this is not the first time Jie-Jie was recognized for her avant-garde designs in a national competition. Her very first award came in Queen Philippines 2015 pageant where Carla Madrigal cinched the Best in Regional Costume.
On top of designing for Miss El Salvador, two other candidates also donned her creations the night of Miss Philippines Earth’s Cultural Costume contest division; namely, Miss Manolo Fortich-Carmela Quirog and Miss Villanueva-Nellza Bautista. The latter went onto win Miss Philippines-Earth-Fire 2017.
Jie-Jie feels proud to have a hand in helping these girls reach for their dreams. She believes making the cut to be a part of the prestigious national competition geared for saving Mother Earth already makes them winners. She noted that this success is not easy, and it only made possible through team effort.
She said: “Please allow me to mention that this is a collaborative effort of the Team Amega Image Stylists. They have been my constant support, not just as colleagues and friends, but more as a family. We are a group of makeup artists and stylists who handle, train, and mentor aspiring pageant candidates. Not only that, we also handle corporate events and cultural/non-cultural activities. We’ve also produced and directed pageants; organized and coordinated weddings, debuts, and other special events.”
Noting that artistry has been her passion since she was young, Jie-jie shared that she actually stared out as freelance makeup artist 25 years ago. She narrated: “It all began by representing my high school into various citywide arts and creative contests. My first clients were my classmates and teachers. These elements really opened doors for me and have contributed in harnessing my artistic skills and taking my confidence to greater heights.”
She candidly expounded: “I honestly have no formal schooling in a beauty or design institution, but I feel thankful to God for this gift of mine for the arts. I’ve enhanced my talent through various seminars, self-study with online tutorials, and untiring practice. I believe my passion, dedication, and unwavering faith have all brought me to where I am now.”
Her designing career is actually an off shoot of her engagement in the world of make-up. She explained: “I helped girls in pageants as a mentor, and at the same time, as their hair and makeup artist. From the smallest sitio, to different baranggays and municipalities here in CDO, even to the neighboring provinces, I would go there to help. Eventually, my candidates asked me to make them costumes and that’s how I ended up designing.”
Jie-jie feels fortunate that little by little, many noticed her potential and believed in her. She really appreciates that her clients trust her skills to do their dresses. “At first, it was fantasy attires, then for party and casual wear, then to pageant gowns, and eventually I was asked to design bridal gowns including for the entourage. A few years ago, I have also started designing for men’s wear. So now it’s a complete package.”
In this millennial era, competition is more stiff and tough, that’s why she’s extra-thankful for the loyal patronage of her many clients. In fact, her business has grown mainly through word of mouth. Thus, she always strives to give everyone her professional best in return. Her mindset is not just to master the art, but to also put her whole heart into every single piece of clothing she crafts and every face she touches with her make-up brush.
This article appears in my column on SunStar newspaper: July 27, 2017