TATTOOED and openly gay, Cebu City’s Beatrice Luigi Gomez is breaking barriers in the Philippines’ pageant world and was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2021 on Sept. 30 at the Hennan Resort Convention Center in Alona Beach, Panglao, Bohol.

Bea, 26, brought back the crown to the Queen City of the South, succeeding Miss Universe 2020 Rabiya Mateo of Iloilo City, and will represent the country during the prominent 70th Miss Universe pageant in Israel in December.

Aside from the crown, Gomez also won several special awards, including Best in Swimsuit, Best in Evening Gown, Miss Creamsilk and Immunplus Game Changer.

Bea started as a model and has only competed in two local pageants before Miss Universe Philippines: Miss Mandaue 2015 and Binibining Cebu 2020.

As a proud member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community, the beauty queen said during the casual conversation portion, “I think we are definitely ready to send a member of the LGBTQ+ community to the Universe.”

Some of Bea’s supporters, friends and pageant enthusiasts were ecstatic of her success.

“Overwhelmed! So many emotions were rushing through my body at once. I wanted to cry, laugh, scream, and pee at the same time. This is the most candid answer I can give for now. Surreal, but ultimately well deserved. We know how much she worked for it. She is just reaping the fruits of her labor,” said Edward Castro, Bea’s stylist and friend.

Fashion designer and a good friend of the beauty queen, Axel Que shared her sentiments as well.

“I fought for her since day one for Miss Universe Philippines 2021 and I’m so happy that I believed in her. I love her. We have same vibes and she’s up for anything. Truly, I am happy and honored.”

Pageant enthusiast and freelance pageant Q and A coach Mich Padayhag said: “As a pageant enthusiast and freelance Q and A coach, I can say that Bea deserves the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 title. Her “pasavogues,” performances in preliminary and coronation night justified her victory! Aside from her outstanding performance, Bea has a very unique story to share with the universe; a good recall. She is a good representation talking about equality for members of the LGBTQ community who want to raise the rainbow flag for Miss Universe and, of course, being a proud Navy reservist. For me, she is more than a phenomenal woman and I believe she will have a good placement for the upcoming Miss Universe 2021 in Israel.”

“I know from the very start that Bea is destined to represent the Philippines in Miss Universe 2021 because she has what it takes to be a queen and she’s simply the ‘BEAst.’ No words can express how overjoyed I am that she’s bringing back the crown to Cebu. Her hard work, dedication and sacrifices have been finally paid off. And I can’t wait to cheer for her at Miss Universe 2021’s stage,” said Chady Pantaleon, Bea’s friend and make up artist.

Bea’s hair stylist Niño John Solis also expressed his feeling about the beauty queen’s success: “During the last spot for top 16, we are all hoping and praying it would be Bea’s turn. After she was called, it was a riot! We were all happy and during the top 10. We were all nervous because she was called last again for the second time. And during the top five, we went crazy. During the final round of the competition, we couldn’t define the emotions we felt, especially the final two who’s vying for the crown. Right after Cebu City was called, we went all extreme with all the emotions—screaming, shouting with pillow fights. I cannot contain my happiness, I am so proud to be part of her glam team.”

Indie actress and pageant enthusiast Floie May Spearson shared her sentiments:

”When I’ve heard that it was a nerve-wracking experience for Bea to be always be the last one to be called—which I totally agree with—I was like ‘girl, you better prepare yourself for the final announcement because a new queen is always last to be called.’”

Blogger Sinjin Pineda also shared: “I am very happy that the stars aligned and our very own Beatrice Gomez of Cebu City is the new Miss Universe Philippines! I followed her journey, where she was initially perceived as the dark horse until she slowly climbed the ranks through hard work and perseverance. Her preliminary performance days before the pageant cemented her status as a frontrunner. She peaked at the right time and with her overall performance in the Finals night, I was very confident she would take home the crown.” S