Did you know he has pageant shoes named after Filipina beauty queens?
Filipino pageant fans rejoiced over the weekend as Miss Universe 2020 announced homegrown brand Bragais as its official shoe sponsor. The brand makes history as the first Filipino footwear brand to showcase in the prestigious pageant, joining the likes of global footwear brands Chinese Laundry, Payless Shoe Source, and Stuart Weitzman.
But before his shoes made it to international beauty pageants, the journey to the success of his business is not as easy as clicking your heels three times. Believe it or not, the making of his brand is a product of a dark time in his life. Sad and depressed, Jojo moved from Bicol to Rizal and discovered an old shoe factory. He checked it out, and relying on his gut feel, bought it and started a business.
“Sa buong buhay ko, that is the only time na nag-decision ako sa isang bagay na never ko talagang pinag-isipan,” he said through an Instagram post. “For me, parang hindi ko inisip na I will have a career doing shoes… it is more of like wala lang, gusto mo lang maging busy.”
Eventually, his shoes made their pageant debut through Yvethe Santiago, who competed for one of the biggest local beauty pageant, Binibining Pilipinas, in 2014. Soon enough, the pageant’s big bosses took notice of his work and offered him the chance to be the pageant’s official shoe sponsor. In the seven years of him being in the industry, his shoes have been the standard for beauty contests.
Pageants have greatly impacted Jojo’s brand that he started to produce pageant heels in homage to Filipina beauty queens. From Miss Universe champions Margarita Moran, Pia Wurtzbach, Catriona Gray to Miss World beauty Megan Young and Miss International muse Kylie Verzosa, among others, he captured their grace and charm in his chic and towering footwear.
“The goal is to help the girls walk with ease in order for them to do their pasarella,” he said. “I didn’t expect people to think highly of my brand… I’m super thankful for the beauty queens who believed in me, and of course Binibining Pilipinas.”
This time, Jojo is continuing his mission of empowering women as his shoes will be worn by the delegates competing at the Miss Universe 2020 pageant. According to a story by Rappler, expect to see the candidates wearing the brand’s “Jehza” heels, inspired by Binibining Pilipinas Supranational 2018 Jehza Huelar.
“Jojo Bragais is a world-class Filipino brand that understands how walks in life can make or break one’s ability to win. For that reason, it has always designed its shoes to be uncompromising on style, comfort, and quality,” the brand posted. “As each of the (Miss Universe) contestants brings with them the learnings from their own winning journeys, we are confident that Jojo Bragais can help them walk closer towards their rightful places in the universe.”