Text by: Zardo Austria
Nine years after winning the much-coveted Miss International beauty title held in Tokyo, Japan, Precious Lara Quigaman is all set to embrace a new and exciting role in reel-and-real-life drama: Motherhood. The beauty queen-turned-TV host and actress is a hands-on mom to baby Noah, her one-year-old son with actor-husband Marco Alcaraz.
I’m actually a firm believer that one’s name should shape up and evoke the character of a person.
So she drew her son’s name from her favorite Biblical character, the legendary Noah, who has been known far-and-wide for his radical obedience to the Lord.
“Noah never doubted the Lord and followed all His Wishes and His Will – never mind what people had to say,” Lara adds. She would want her son to grow up like him, with so much faith in his heart.
Raising baby Noah, in the meantime, is a welcome challenge for Lara who has learned to strike a healthy balance between instilling discipline and showing affection regularly. Sensing that the boy gets his way easily with Marco who dotes on his son very much, Lara adopts a more cautious approach: “I don’t give in to all his whims and caprices. I explain to him the reasons and, amazingly, he listens and learns from them. So in a way, I’m actually stricter than Marco,” she lets out a bemused smile.
Admittedly, Lara is no stranger to parenting, having been a surrogate mom to her three younger siblings. With both of her parents working overseas, early on in the Middle East, and, later, in the United Kingdom, Lara recalls they were entrusted to a very strict aunt, de-numero! “I had to provide the balance at home. I had to be nurturing and protective of my sister and two brothers.”
The best times, of course, were the bonding moments spent with their visiting parents from abroad. “I like the way my parents opened up to us all the time. No secrets. They never kept us in the dark. We were always part of any decision-making. I would want that same openness in my family now.”
Lara and Marco intend to have another child, praying this time for a girl who may yet become another beauty queen in the future. “If my daughter wants to, I will even encourage her,” she says matter-of-factly. After all, it was her beauty reign that opened up all the best opportunities in her life.
“I remember even as a child, I’ve always desired to become a beauty queen. Becoming an actress was way out of my mind,” she relates.
Lara was only fifteen when she first joined the “TV Babe,” a beauty search conducted by GMA-Channel 7 where she ran away with the First Runner-up prize. Then, she became a finalist of ABS-CBN/Channel 2’s “Calendar Girl” before summoning enough gumption to join the 2001 Bb. Pilipinas beauty competition.
“I was only eighteen, and so unprepared to meet the strict requirements of the contest, so I lost easily.”
Lara later decided to widen her horizons and left for England to study Media Production and Communication at the Filton College. Coming back to the Philippines after three years, oozing this time with so much confidence, personality, and womanly charm, she joined the Bb. Pilipinas search once again. This time around, without batting an eyelash, Precious Lara clinched the title with aplomb.
Lara admits the preparations for the international contest in Japan were rigid and grueling. “Everyday, I had to practice my personal walk onstage, answer confidently all the mock-up questions thrown to me for the Q & A portion of the contest, learn to smile the right way, and prepare myself emotionally and mentally. I learned to visualize my winning.”
It was this rare experience that Lara, together with past beauty queens Denille Valmonte and Karen Agustin, put together in one handbook, “The Secret of Beauty Queens.” Now available to the public, it provides, among others, several tips on how to stand out in a beauty contest, what emergency kit to carry all the time, and how to prepare one’s self spiritually, the segment Lara explores with so much personal insights and experiences.
“You need to have the right reasons why you want to be a beauty queen. After all, everything happens for a reason,” she quips.
With her newfound joy of motherhood, Lara admits it has primed her for more serious character roles on television. She doesn’t mind playing mother roles, too, so long as the challenge for good acting is there. “My dream now is to win an acting award,” Lara intones. “I also want to stay longer in the industry I’ve learned to love – just like my icon, Gloria Romero.”
So how does she keep her beauty queen appeal?
“Honestly, after giving birth to Noah through a Caesarian operation, I underwent the same ordeal of tummy problems just like any other mothers,” Lara confesses. To keep her winning shape, she turns to non-invasive body sculpting treatments such as Radio Frequency Slimming and Lipo-Cavitation.
Radio Frequency Slimming uses low-frequency ultrasound to tighten saggy skin caused by extreme weight loss or pregnancy. The Lipo-Cavitation treatment, on the other hand, is a non-surgical liposuction procedure that is best to reduce fat cells.
To keep face young and smooth all the time, the hyperbaric oxygen facial is the most popular among celebrities here and abroad (Madonna endorses it on her website!). It involves a machine that sprays atomized moisturizer onto the skin using a stream of pressurized oxygen. It hydrates the skin instantly making face appear smoother and plumper, while at the same time diminishes all tiny imperfections visible on high-definition TV.
I just realize that once a beauty queen, always a beauty queen!
They owe it to themselves and to the public to stay that way and keep the magic going.