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National athlete makes giant leap as Iloilo bet at Miss Universe Philippines 2024

MANILA, Philippines — From acing high jumps to gracing the beauty pageant world, Alexie Mae Caimoso Brooks has added another feather to her cap by winning the right to represent Iloilo at this year's Miss Universe Philippines tilt.

The Ilongga athlete was crowned Miss Iloilo 2024 last January 13.

Prior to her beauty pageant stint, Brooks was a heptathlete who played for the athletics team of her university and was a member of the national team that competed at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games.

Brooks said that her journey has always been marred by challenges. The athlete-beauty queen shared to ABS-CBN News that she grew up being bullied for her skin color in her hometown Leon in Iloilo.

"My life isn't easy back in Leon. I often get bullied for being black. I don't have my parents growing up," she recalled.

Brooks was born in Manila to an Overseas Filipino Worker in 2001. She did not know her father and grew up with her Lola Basing in Leon.

"At times, I didn't have lunch going to school. I remember that we don't have money to buy rice so ang mais nga ginalaga amp ma hinajimo namon nga rice and my viand was just pinakas (dried fish) and the kids they would always eat sa table and I make sure that everyone's done eating and I would go to the restroom and eat there cause I don't want them to see what I'm eating kasi they'll gonna bully you for that," Brooks shared.

She also helped her grandmother sell vegetables every Friday after school.

The Ilongga still persevered and considers her Lola Basing as her inspiration.

"My grandma, I really came from nothing. Someone saw you, someone believed in you, someone encouraged you, someone gave you love without you even asking and once someone did that to you selflessly, you just know that's a real one. That's a genuine type of love and when she gave you all those love without me even asking, I know that moment that I knew that I need to return even more of what she gave to me," said Brooks.

RELATED: Miss Universe Philippines announces 2024 local coronations

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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