Bb. Pilipinas candidate ‘Hipon Girl’ asks people to give her a chance

Nicole Budol gamely takes questions from media scribes in an ambush interview; Budol already envisions herself wearing a Bb. Pilipinas crown as she stands next to her manager Wilbert Tolentino (right panel, L) and mentor Rodgil Flores. Image: Philippine Daily Inquirer/Armin P. Adina

MANILA, Philippines — Social media went abuzz when Herlene “Hipon Girl” Budol made it as one of the official candidates of the 2022 Binibining Pilipinas pageant, with the TV jester eliciting excitement from her followers, while also drawing quizzical thoughts from non-fans familiar with her body of work in the local entertainment industry.

But the comedian appealed to those who may have misgivings about her inclusion in the roster of aspirants for a Bb. Pilipinas crown: “Please give me a chance. There’s no harm in trying.”

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The candidate from Angono, Rizal faced a select group of local scribes at Corte Ibiza in Quezon City on July 3 to discuss her participation in the premiere beauty pageant in the country, and indulged them to a few questions sent in advance.

When the Inquirer asked what message her participation in the pageant sends to society, with her being different from the conventional beauties we usually see parading on stage, the comic responded in Filipino, “that is what I always hear, that I am not the typical, that I am not meant to be a beauty queen. Why, don’t I have enough right to be crowned?”

She made another plea, for people to watch her first: “All of us have the chance to change, to increase their knowledge, and perhaps I am one of them.”

It was her manager, entrepreneur and former Mister Gay World Philippines Wilbert Tolentino, who convinced her to give Bb. Pilipinas a shot, she said. And she promised to reveal in a vlog on their YouTube channels soon what finally made her say yes to pageantry.

“Sir Wilbert Tolentino is my mentor, my sponsor. He gives his all, supports me all the way,” Budol shared.

But for her first foray on the national pageant scene, Tolentino has tapped the expertise of renowned beauty queen-maker Rodgil Flores of the “Kagandahang Flores” beauty camp, to hone her and make her pageant-ready.

Budol is among a field of 40 aspirants vying for four crowns — Bb. Pilipinas International, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental, Bb. Pilipinas Globe, and Bb. Pilipinas Grand International.