Filipino-American Megan Lynne Young is a multifaceted celebrity: an actress, model, TV Host, beauty queen and peace ambassador. She started her public life early in 2006 as a contestant of the reality television show StarStruck and later became a member of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic and then she returned as a contract artist under GMA Network in 2015. She starred in some 13 projects and hosting jobs for the two rival channels between those transition years.
On August 18, 2013, Young, then 23, was crowned as Miss World 2013 in Bali, Indonesia, making her the first Filipina to win the title of Miss World since the London-based pageant’s creation in 1951. During the preliminaries, she also won the “Top Model” competition, placed second in the “People’s Champion,” placed fourth in the “Multimedia Challenge” and fifth in the “Beach Beauty” contest.
Young also received the Continental Queen of Beauty title as Miss World Asia 2013, the highest-ranked contestant in the Asian region.
As Miss World 2013 she has travelled to England, France, United States, Haiti, Indonesia, China, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Russia, India, Barbados, Spain, Sweden, Colombia.
Women’s Journal recently talked to her and despite the long trip from New York – for a short vacation after wrapping up GMA’s teleserye Alyas Robin Hood – Young comes refreshed and full of refreshing thoughts on her life which, since winning the Miss World title is still a work-in-progress, albeit a wonderful journey.
Women’s Journal (WJ): During your reign as Miss World, what were the three memorable places (and experience therein) that had much impact on your thinking and lifestyle?
Megan Young (MY): In Haiti, we had an accident while we were visiting an orphanage. It was my very first trip as Miss World and that set the tone for all my following trips. . . that anything can happen and you have to be fully aware of your surroundings.
Right after the Haiti accident, Typhoon Yolanda happened in the Philippines. I was still in shock but we had work to do, so we travelled to the Philippines. Here, I gained strength from the people I met in the areas that were devastated. I saw how despite all the tragedy that had happened around them, they were trying to look at the better side of things.
Then we went to Iowa, USA for Variety Children’s Charity’s yearly telethon. They raise money for the children’s hospitals in the area in only 24 hours. We raised $4M that day. Seeing all these businesses and locals coming together for the future of their youth was incredible. Having seen the facilities as well in which Variety has donated to made we want to strive for the same kind of facilities to be offered to children’s hospitals in the Philippines.
WJ: What was going on in your mind when you visited the places in Leyte that were devastated by then typhoon Yolanda?*
MY: When I finally came face to face with the Typhoon Yolanda victims, I couldn’t help but admire their resilience and tenacity. They may not have had the chance to fully regain most of the resources they lost, but when you look into their eyes, you will see that glimmer of hope, and their willingness to stand up and fight, if only for their family’s survival.
The local government has been mobilizing its resources, and channeling the resources coming in from other parts of the country or even all the donations coming in from abroad.
What’s amazing though is that there have been smaller groups from all over the world who have been coming in and doing their own humble efforts to contribute and rebuild, but we hardly even read about their efforts anywhere. They are true heroes.
WJ: Now, and on hindsight, do you still feel that more could be done
(could have been done) for the concerned people and the province. What do you think are still needed to be done for them?*
MY: Yes, of course! There’s still a lot that needs to be done. . . For rebuilding their homes alone, I think it would take years before they get to build a decent facsimile of what used to be their old homes. Aside from that, there’s also a concerted effort to rebuild the basic public infrastructures, such as roads, bridges, etc.
It is only when these basic amenities are finished that the people will finally be fully empowered to function as productive citizens once more. Of course, they cannot do all these by themselves. They will always need a helping hand from their fellow countrymen.
WJ: Before your win – and after your win – the Miss World crown has become elusive for Filipina contestants. What would you advise now the ladies who are eyeing a shot at the Miss World Philippines – and eventually the ultimate Miss World title and crown?
MY: Ultimately, it’s all about being yourself. Beneath all the glitz and glam, you have to be more than just the proverbial pretty face. I actually feel proud for being a living testament to the Miss World motto, “beauty with a purpose,” because it was only after winning a crown when I realized that there really is so much more that I can do, as the face behind that prestigious title and that prestigious crown.
And it’s not always about being pretty. For most of the times that I’ve been traveling across the globe as part of my reign, there were times when we had to literally get dirty as we buckled down to work to help other people.
So, my best advice really is all about knowing how much of yourself you can give. You can always learn all the right moves, all the right ways to project and speak smartly, but at the very core of all that, you will have to go deep inside yourself and ask yourself what it is about yourself that you can give and make people remember you by.
WJ: What’s keeping you busy now in the TV/entertainment industry?
MY: We recently wrapped up with our show for Alyas Robinhood on GMA 7. I’m very happy with how the show went. I think my character Sarri had a lot of sacrifices which not only strengthened her, but also the characters around her.
WJ: Looking forward, how do you see yourself say five years from now.
MY: Of course, any woman dreams of having her own family, raising kids and all that. I also do hope that within the next five years I can keep reinventing myself career-wise, so that I will always have something new to offer. It would also be interesting to start on some entrepreneurial ventures.