Mutya bet has timely advocacy

Published September 11, 2018, 6:35 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The 19-year-old Fil-Am Jessica Duhay is in it to win it in this year’s Mutya ng Pilipinas by keeping it real, including an advocacy she promotes that resonates with her personally.

Mutya ng Pilipinas candidate Jessica Duhay (Photo by Lester Ramos) /
Mutya ng Pilipinas candidate Jessica Duhay (Photo by Lester Ramos)

In an interview, Jessica revealed she champions mental health awareness.

”Growing up I have a friends who dealt with depression, my brother dealt with that and so did I,” she said. “It’s something I struggled with for the past years and have overcome.”

We asked the sophomore of Southwestern Community College in San Diego how she did it. Jessica majors in Psychology.

“Speak up and never be silent when you feel down. That’s how I acted when I was in the deep hole of depression,” she said. “I never told anyone about it at first but it became worse. So, I sought treatment – I went to therapy every single week. I was in medication, I went to see psychologists and psychiatrists. With the help of family and friends, I was able to beat it.”

She thinks social media may contribute to contracting mental illness if used the wrong way.

“It can be beneficial but at the same time it can be dangerous,” she related. “Sometimes we are so obsessed scrolling through Instagram and looking at other girls’ pictures that we forget our own worth. We tend to compare ourselves to other women and that really snatches our own joy and our own worth away from us.”

Jessica actually limits the time spent on social media. She claims to only have Instagram and Facebook accounts and there are times in a day that she “disconnects.”

Heart of gold

Born and raised abroad, Jessica said there were times she was made to feel by some people that she doesn’t belong.

She never experienced direct bullying, but she knew people talked about her behind her back.

Being Mutya ng Arizona, one of 15 contestants from Filipino Communities abroad, she finds local beauty pageants to be more competitive.

“I mean at the end of the day all pageants are competitive but this one (Mutya) is extensive. I’m here for weeks and there are events, there are sponsors…there’s more involvement and more commitment,” she said.

Her previous wins were as Miss West Coast Teen USA, Miss North Hollywood Teen USA, and Miss California Teen USA 2nd runner-up.

Still, she has become friends with many of this year’s Mutya ladies.

“I bond with a lot of them with all things relating to pageant,” she said.

Jessica added: “The competition is intense, it’s tiring, but it’s definitely worth it. I think it has made me a better person.”

On finals night

The coronation night of Mutya ng Pilipinas is on Sept.16 at the Mall of Asia Arena. There are 50 candidates equal to the number of year’s the pageant has been around.

Four titles are at stake to represent the country in various competitions. These are Mutya ng Pilipinas – Miss Asia Pacific International, who will represent the country in a competition in Manila from Sept. 14 to Oct. 4; Mutya ng Pilipinas – Miss Tourism International 2018, who will represent the country to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Dec. 4 to 23; Mutya ng Pilipinas – Miss Global Beauty Queen, who will vie for the title in May 2019; and Mutya ng Pilipinas – Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International, who will compete in China from Nov. 1 to 18. (With report from Stephanie Marie Bernardino)