Miss Eco International 2024 first runner-up from PH almost didn't make it

At a glance

  • The Philippines has had two winners in Miss Eco International, namely Cynthia Tomalla (2018) and Kathleen Paton (2022).

Miss Eco International 2024 first runner-up Chantal Elise Schmidt won Best in  Evening Gown for creation by Filipino designer Val Taguba

Now it can be told: Chantal Elise Schmidt moved heaven and earth to join and eventually win first runner-up honors in the Miss Eco International 2024 pageant, which was held last April 28 in Cairo, Egypt.

The Filipino-German beauty queen from Cebu recounted how she almost didn't make it after being "stranded in Dubai for 20 hours" during the storm last week, sleeping on the airport floor, going hungry, and getting terribly sick on the day of the competition.

"I faced more obstacles than a usual pageant queen would," Chantal recounted during her homecoming media conference at KAO Manila in Pasay City.

"I got stranded in Dubai for like 20 hours. Me and Miss Japan, Miss Taiwan, Miss Australia, and Miss Malaysia, we were stranded by our gate, sleeping on the floor. We were trying to find food, because the Dubai airport also ran out of food. We were waiting for the storm. We were waiting for our luggage. It was such a nightmare getting there, but I can literally say that I fought to be at Miss Eco."

Chantal called herself a "determined" winner and remarked that she remained "happy" when the contest ended with Angelina Usanova from Ukraine being crowned the new Miss Eco International 2024. The whole experience made her a better, stronger person.

"So, not just that, but I also got sick. I was in the hospital, and thankfully, Miss Eco International took very quick action in bringing me to the nearest hospital, which happened to be a provincial hospital in the desert, with no electricity. In the darkness of that hospital, with blood on my hands and an IV in my arm, I told myself that I did not come this far to only come this far. So, yes, I would say my journey could be described with the word determined," she narrated.

Chantal Schmidt with her proud parents

In addition to being named first-runner-up, Chantal also won Best in Evening Gown and  Best in National Costume, wearing a colorful ensemble from the Masskara Festival of her grandfather's hometown, Bacolod.

She pointed out that developing the "mental fortitude" and appreciating herself was her key takeaway from joining an international pageant.

She recalled that in the past, "I hold myself to a very, very high standard. After every single one of those pageants, usually, I would end up in tears, whether that's happy tears, mainly sad tears. I just want to be honest."

"I think my big development was that I stopped holding myself to such a high standard," she added. "I started celebrating my victories. There was no space in my head for anxiety and nervousness. All you could see on stage was that I was performing and that I was focused and also having a good time.  I would say my mental fortitude improved, but also I started celebrating myself more and that's what led me to appreciate my victory.That would be my main development in my pageant journey."

During the program, Miss Universe Philippines Executive Vice-President Voltaire Tayag lauded Chantal for being a "trendsetter and working so well to collaborate with her creative team and designers" to bring awards for her participation. " You've set such a high standard for the rest of The Miss Philippines sisters," he remarked.

The Philippines has had two winners in Miss Eco International, namely Cynthia Tomalla (2018) and Kathleen Paton (2022). Aside from Chantal, the first runners-up winners were Maureen Montagne (2019) and Kelley Day (2021).