Follow us for updates
© 2021
Read the Story →

How Beatrice Luigi Gomez Redefines Womanhood Through Her Tattoos

It's more than a body decor.
by Ara Eugenio
2 hours ago
Photo/s: AFP

The Philippines' Beatrice Luigi Gomez, throughout Miss Universe 2021, proudly showed the arm band tattoo she's been sporting since her 23rd birthday, telling a curious Steve Harvey that it symbolized how she had blossomed as a woman.

Finishing in the top 5, the highest placement for the Philippines since Catriona Gray's crown performance in 2018, the 26-year-old from Cebu City also broke beauty queen stereotypes as the first openly bisexual Miss Universe Philippines and as one who displayed her ink as part of her total look.

“You have a tattoo with a special meaning. Tell us about it,” Harvey asked Gomez after he called her into the Top 16.

“So the tattoo you're talking about is the one that I wear on my sleeve. It actually means, rebirth and new beginning," she responded, adding: “So this is a cherry blossom. I got it on my 23rd birthday, and I got it to celebrate my womanhood."

Continue reading below ↓

Continue reading below ↓
Recommended Videos

Pageant fans say an inked Miss Universe Philippines would be unimaginable if the national finals were still under Stella Marquez de Araneta of Binibining Pilipinas, who is notoriously conservative with styling.

It isn't just the literal meaning behind her tattoo that's significant. Her sporting it alone means a great deal, especially towards the end of a year in which among the biggest issues in culture was the supposed exploitation of Kalinga's oldest mambabatok (tattoo artist) by a foreign vlogger. 

Continue reading below ↓

Having tattoos in the Philippines remains stigmatized especially in popular culture as many still associate it with criminal or deviant behaviors. But if Bea Luigi Gomez were born in the pre-colonial times, her being inked would not be regarded a rarity or a defiance to social norms.

Instead of being frowned upon, she would be revered as brave, like the Visayan warriors called "Pintados" who inspired her evening gown by Francis Libiran.

Continue reading below ↓

Gomez was one cut short of the final three, ending her journey in the top 5 after answering Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere of France's question on mandatory vaccine passports. 

While she blazed the trail for queer people in pageants, Gomez did not let it define her.

"Honestly, I haven't been highlighting my LGBTQIA+ advocacy kasi nga for me, we should normalize it. 'Yung idea na we exist," Gomez said a week after she was chosen as the country's representative, explaining why despite taking great pride in it, she doesn't want her sexuality to be a big deal. 

As representative of the Philippines, a country whose Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) bill has been morphing through the legislative mill for 21 years, Gomez' championing the idea of "sameness" as a way of normalizing being queer is important given a Miss Universe stage that only saw an openly transgender woman participate for the first time during its 67th iteration in 2018. 

Continue reading below ↓

Her flair for breaking tradition was again shown Saturday, when she wowed fans during the National Costume Show with her moon-eating dragon costume that was far from the variations of the terno and Maria Clara-inspired costumes that her predecessors wore.

ALSO READ: Miss Philippines Now Flies Like a Dragon, Thanks to the Sexiest Birthday Cake

Reportr is now on Quento. Download the app or visit the Quento website for more articles and videos from Reportr and your favorite websites.

Latest Headlines
Read Next
Recent News
The news. So what? Subscribe to the newsletter that explains what the news means for you.
The email address you entered is invalid.
Thank you for signing up to On Three, reportr's weekly newsletter delivered to your mailbox three times a week. Only the latest, most useful and most insightful reads.
By signing up to newsletter, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.