Nicole Cordoves: From Miss Grand International to a mentor

01 May 2020 | Angelique Reyes

Nicole Cordoves was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2016 on 17th April 2016 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Philippines. She represented the Philippines at Miss Grand International 2016 and was declared the 1st runner-up at the coronation night, with Indonesia's Ariska Putri Pertiwi winning the crown.

Recently, Nicole Cordoves was interviewed prior to the diva’s quarantine about the stint in the pageant world. The theme of the interview was ‘one’s life’s peg’ and Nicole mentioned that, “I get it a lot, in a sense that it’s very fulfilling because as a beauty queen you always strive to be this role model. So, for people to actually say that to you are one’s life peg not because you are beautiful, you’re sexy, but because of what you are doing with your life, the choices that you made and that’s the most fulfilling compliment I can ever have because it’s not superficial at all.”



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Nicole further explained that people have hard time adjusting to the fact that she is Filipino- Chinese root descent. She said that it’s not only the fact that she is Chinese but people are shocked when they hear me talk in Mandarin and Fookien language fluently. She explains that her family has been close to their Chinese as well the Philippines’ culture very much and that is why she is fluent in the languages. Prior to Binibining Pilipinas 2016, Nicole participated and won Miss Chinatown 2014 which she joined only when her grandmother insisted her to participate.

Nicole’s strong performance and winning at Miss Chinatown 2014 gave her confidence to participate in Binibining Pilipinas 2016. She states that she was very self-assured that she can win the competition. She stated that “there was no doubt at all that I can do it because I strongly believed I can do it. I grew up with this work ethic that if you give it your all, you can get what you want, and I believe that hard work always pays off. You never lose because you always learn from something and I feel like failure has always been my greatest teacher in life.”

Nicole mentioned that she feels nervous only when she never fails because she believes that if she doesn’t fail, she’s not growing. Nicole explained that the aura that one likes to feel like one is ready for anything that comes their way is when one is ready at whatever fate you have and building that up leads to fearlessness. “Pageants bring out the trait in girls which is the fearlessness; the fear of the unknown, the fear of risking everything so that’s why I fell in love with pageants really apart from the advocacy and the speaking platform.”



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Before being a Binibini, Nicole tried her luck at the corporate world and worked as a speech writer for former finance secretary Cesar Purisima.“There were a lot of moments in my life where I wasn’t used to at all because you just get used to studying and studying and then suddenly you are at the part of your life when for other people it would automatically go to a job and then go to their next job. Once you get thrown into this big stage, you know you just can’t get a job. You really need to find your passion and you need to find your best self in that job,” she said.

Nicole mentioned that if one has decided to be a part of a beauty pageant, they can’t keep switching jobs because it’s impossible to win without being able to clearly find yourself and not know who you are. It’s impossible because of all the challenges that are thrown at you. Stating example from her life, the Binibini queen mentioned that she had a time in her life where nothing was happening but Binibining Pilipinas 2016 happened. So, it’s either opportunity comes to you or you tear down that wall and build your own door and not wait for a door or a window to open. After the beauty pageant, the diva was offered to work as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin and later worked as an online editor for a wedding magazine. It was during that time that the offer from ‘It's Showtime’ came. She immediately grabbed it.

Nicole’s question and answer round at Binibining Pilipinas 2016 was considered as controversial. Talking about that, the diva stated that she understands that the divas are expected to stay in the mould, stay in the template, stay politically correct. “But when I got out of pageantry, and into Showtime, people yearn for out of the box ideas and they welcome unfamiliar ideologies. And I feel I was free and the more I became outspoken I am, the more they would appreciate what I say.”



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The Binibini queen is switching her careers but before that she is aspiring to get her master’s degree and build her brand and focus on mentoring and hosting. Aside from hosting, she's mentor to many aspiring beauty queens and public speakers. She's since gone back to school for a master’s degree in Speech Communications at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She mentioned that “I don’t want just to be that girl on TV who hosted Bb Pilipinas or who hosted the New year countdown of ABS-CBN or who mentored Catriona Gray. I want to have the technical knowhow as well because one thing about me that really that has been an anchor in my life is, I don’t want to be half-baked in anything that I do."

Nicole agreed that the beauty pageants are now focusing on women empowerment and that’s the main theme of the pageant and beauty queens are getting more respect and affection from the society unlike the past. Praising the Binibining Pilipinas Organization, Nicole stated, “There’s a huge contribution of Madame Stella [Araneta] being the institution that Binibini that is now. There’s so much respect the way she has protected us girls, the way she has taught us how to be a Binibini. I feel like it has evolved from year to year until that stereotype was dashed. Pageants are an ode to women; we must make sure that people won’t use us for bad intentions. That things won’t go back to the way it was because we’ve made progress, finding what the modern Filipina is.”

Talking about the recent years in the world of beauty pageant, the former Binbini stated that now the beauty queens or divas who participate are not just pretty faces but have well-established careers. The divas have more than one goal on their mind and they are inspiration. Talking about her own goal, she mentioned that she aspires to write a book on Public Speaking and other aspects of life because people look up to her for these topics.

Nicole Cordoves’ journey is proof that with hard work, determination, and a fighting spirit, nothing is impossible. From a beauty queen, Nicole is now a mentor, sharing and spreading the gift of gab that helped her snag that crown and made her the woman she is today confident and witty.