Inspired by environmental concerns, people from all walks of life are embracing a plant-based diet. Thanks also to celebrities who have been inspired to give veganism a try.
Roni Meneses of Mandaluyong City has pushed for environmental vegetarianism as she competes at the Miss Philippines Earth 2021 beauty pageant.
"This is something that I practice, and it's close to my heart. I want to share the benefits of being vegetarian," said Meneses during an exclusive Zoom interview over the weekend. “I am promoting and encouraging everyone to be on a plant-based diet, not only for our health, but also for the health and longevity of the environment. I chose this advocacy because I myself have been a vegetarian for almost two years now. It is my own way of contributing to preserving our environment.”
Meneses, 26, believes that her advocacy will also encourage the public to patronize products of our local farmers and plant in their backyard.
The daughter of former basketball star-turned-policitian Mayor Vergel Meneses of Bulakan, Bulacan recalled how her love affair for vegetables started.
"It started when I competed in Miss Mandaluyong. I told myself I want healthy-eating in preparation for the beauty pageant. On the third day of my diet, I decided that this is something I really wanted. Since then, I pushed myself to be vegetarian," the young Meneses said.
Meneses said that she's the only vegan in her family and close friends. "There are cheat days sometimes. I eat chips made of vegetables," she said.
Asked why she competed in MPE, Meneses said: "I was aiming for another national pageant. Then the pandemic came. I realized I wanted to join a pageant which will not only promote beauty but for a cause. Being in an environment-driven pageant like Miss Philippines Earth is timely and relevant," Meneses said. "I want to make a difference and I want to help."
As a candidate of Miss Philippines Earth, Roni firmly believes it is her duty to promote the protection and preservation of our environment. “One of the top pollutants in the world is actually the fashion industry,” enthused Roni. “Given my background in clothing technology, I can fully educate and encourage people to start supporting slow fashion brands, urging them to recycle and upcycle their clothes and practice a more sustainable lifestyle.”
During her free time, Roni enjoys working out, doing vlogs, and spending quality time with her family who has always been the type to travel, but given the pandemic, “we just try to make the most out of our time at home.” At 5’6,” Roni plays volleyball and badminton for fitness and fun. She was also part of her high school basketball varsity team.
She counts Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as her idol among Filipino beauty queens.
Meneses finished Clothing Technology at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
"I used to be a Biology major, but decided to shift out and pursue my true passion – fashion. One day I would like to be a renowned fashion designer trying to change the way people look at the fashion industry. Owning a clothing line and doing fashion runways are two of my biggest dreams," she said.
Meneses also dedicated a special Father's Day message to her dad.
"Dad, I love you so much. Thank you for everything you have done for us. I may not be able to give everything in return, but I am praying I would be able to surpass everything you have given us," said the beauty queen.
When asked why she deserved to be crowned as the 21st Miss Philippines Earth, Roni smiled and said: “I should be crowned as Miss Philippines Earth 2021 because I have the right intentions, values, and heart to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of Miss Philippines Earth in promoting, protecting, and preserving Mother Nature."