Halden, Norway – She didn’t expect to come to the finals. For her, she just wanted to give it a try. Marie Therese Van Eeden, 21, is one of the 16 out of 120 contestant who made the cut to advance to the finals of Miss Norway 2017.
While other Miss Norway 2017 hopefuls quit school to focus more on the pageant, Marie Therese continues to juggle between school, work and Miss Norway duties.
“Being in Miss Norway is a lot of work. We have to find sponsors of our own, do charity works, write blogs and promote ourselves. Since I have school and work besides Miss Norway, I felt that I had not given enough time and effort in the competition as I wanted to,” Marie Therese told Pinoy Legacy.
She goes to International Marketing in HSN (College of South-East Norway) Bø as a first year student. After school and some Saturdays, she works part-time four times a week in a Café called Caffe Vero in Bø, an Italian Coffee-bar and restaurant.
Most memorable experience
After High School she moved to Los Angeles, California and studied Business Administration for one semester at Santa Monica College (SMC).
“It was a nice experience. I recommend everyone to study abroad to experience new culture, language, getting new friends and most of all learning to be independent. Studying abroad made me know myself better. However, strolling down Santa Monica Beach and watching the sunset with my friends will be forever cherished ” she said.
A proud Filipino
Born and raised in Norway from a Norwegian father and a Filipina mother, Marie Therese is proud of her Filipino roots. She still can recall the karaoke sessions whenever her mother Cecilia Pagdalian and her friends get together where they sing their hearts out to Tagalog, Bisaya and English songs. It was then that she realized that Karaoke is such a huge part of Filipino culture.
When Marie Therese was 9 years old she visited Cebu, her mother’s hometown. She met for the first time the person whom she would later be close to – her lola. Although they seldom talk now due to busy schedules, the closeness remains the same.
“I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world to visit my family on my mother side,” she said.
Marie Therese is the eldest of four siblings (2 sisters , 1 brother). She also has an older half-sister and an older half-brother. “She’s close to all of them,” said Rey Pagdalian, Marie Therese’s uncle who works as an English teacher at Phitsanulok University in Thailand.
The road to Miss Norway 2017
It wasn’t rainbows and unicorns when she joined one of Norway’s most prestigious beauty contests. She’s an underdog and she knows it, compared to most contestants who have been preparing for years. When people told her team that her photos only looked average, she simply smiled. But she took it as a challenge to do better next time.
She is a woman who doesn’t allow negative things to stop her or slow her down. She fights, and she knows how to fight harder.
“First of all, you have to believe in YOURSELF. And don’t let negative comments affect you. Also, be humble and don’t stress yourself out. HAVE FUN, Marie Therese said.
PH might host Miss Universe 2017
If crowned Miss Norway 2017 on July 29, Marie Therese will have the chance to go home to the Philippines to compete for the Miss Universe 2017 pageant if the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) decides to host it again this year.
According to DOT Secretary Wanda Teo, Miss Universe Organization has approached them about hosting the pageant again after a recent successful hosting when Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach crowned Iris Mittenaere from France.
The DOT has yet to announce their decision whether the country will host the 2017 Miss Universe pageant or not.
“If I win Miss Norway I will work hard to represent the Philippines as well. This is the least I can do to the country where half of my roots originated,” Marie Therese concludes.
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