A NEGRENSE designer based in Miami, Florida is taking pride in designing the costumes of one of the 86 candidates of the 65th Miss Universe pageant to be held in the country on January 30.

Kirsten Regalado, 48, of La Castellana, Negros Occidental made the national costume and evening gown of Miss Mauritius Kushboo Ramnawaj.

Regalado, in a phone interview with SunStar Bacolod on Thursday, said she was referred by some fashion designers and also by the press in Florida to design the costumes for the Mauritian candidate.

Regalado said designing costumes for the biggest pageant to be held in her home country means a lot to her.

“I am happy to be part of Miss Universe team in promoting the concept of women empowerment and making them confidently beautiful,” she said, adding that “it makes me more proud to be a Filipino, a Negrense.”

Regalado, who spent her early years at the town proper of La Castellana, said her interest in drawing started when she was seven.

“I would normally go to the plaza and draw, my subjects were mostly nature,” she shared.

In 2002, her family moved to the US where she started her modeling and fashion designing career although she studied medical technology.

In designing Miss Mauritius’s national costume, Regalado said she made a multi-colored masterpiece which showcases the seven-colored earth of Chamarel in Mauritius, consisting of three elements – a headdress, a cape, and a three-piece gown.

The environment-friendly-themed costume was done in two weeks through the help of four high school students of La Consolacion College-Bacolod and a 10-year-old orphan child from the city.

“I would like to involve these children, sharing them the life-changing experience that they will forever cherish,” she said.

For the evening gown, Regalado based the dress on the favorite color and personality of the candidate.

It shows Miss Mauritius’s beautiful shape, hand beaded and made of lace.

“My participation in this year’s pageant shows that Negrenses have the ability to compete globally in any field. We can do anything as long as we put our hearts into it,” she added.

During the 2015 pageant, Regalado dressed the candidates from Mauritius and Australia, and also the Philippines’ 2014 bet MJ Lastimosa,

Regalado also designs for local pageants, celebrities, and designer brands such as Gucci.