Reigning Ms. World Guam Chanel Cruz Jarrett lets her hair down, giving us a more intimate look at how she ticks. From her overwhelming love for animals and her Sailor Saturn fascination to a quirky impulse that some may thumb their nose at, these things have made her the complete package that helped her become our beauty queen.
Images by Johann Bona Words by Alex A. Gatpandan Hair by Borge Aloba Makeup by Xeng Zulueta Styling by Loris Pena Retouching by Chonny Chan of Silve@Shutterspace Studios
Shot at Manila Jockey Club, San Lorenzo Leisure Park, Carmona, Cavite, Philippines
ONE OF THE PERKS of working for Uno is you get to meet the most beautiful girls on island, spend some time with them, and even stare at their pretty faces for as long as you want without being in danger of getting smacked. Of course, you’ll have to remember: ask all your interview questions and stay professional, because that’s what got you the privilege in the first place. But that is a tall order, as you’ll need every ounce of willpower not to melt in the presence of such gloriousness.
These things were running through my mind as I sat next to reigning Miss World Guam Chanel Cruz Jarrett on our way to the photoshoot. With the shoot location an hour away, I decided to go on with the interview instead of merely sitting close to her, saying nothing, and feeling all gummy inside. Taking out my trusty iPhone and setting it on voice recorder mode, I started stammering, um, I mean, talking in that high, squeaky voice that I have perfected whenever I get nervous.
“Chanel…would you mind if I, uhh, interview you now? I would hate to do it while you’re being made up…the makeup artist might think of me as pesky,” I said, while nearly shoving my cell phone to her face. What? There was a bump in the road.
Miss Beauty Queen turned her full attention on me, smiled oh so sweetly, and said, “Why, yes.” That did it. I regained my full composure, and for the next hour or so, we were like two long-lost friends finding each other again and trying to catch up. Chanel certainly had that charm to win people over.
That quality of hers was on full display at the Miss World Guam pageant, enough to win her the crown. To think that she was only looking for some unforgettable experience before she leaves the island.
“I only had one year left on Guam, so I wanted to do something out of the ordinary, and I decided to join the pageant,” she said, an impish smile on her lips. What made her like the Miss World competition was its “beauty with a purpose” concept that struck a chord in her person. “I did my best and I won,” she said with obvious relish.
It wasn’t a smooth and paved road to the crown though. Chanel went through the wringer, and at one point, even felt that she wouldn’t win. “That was when they were handing out awards like Miss Photogenic, Best in Swimsuit…all those minor awards. I didn’t win any of those except the Top Model. I started to feel lower and lower and lower,” Chanel revealed. She even went as far as thinking that the other contestant would win, and that she wouldn’t feel bad if that came true. Fortunately, she still got game when it came to the question-and-answer portion of the competition. “I thought to myself that I did my best, and then I just went there and answered the final question as best as I could.”
So imagine her surprise when the emcee announced the winner. “That was like, the happiest moment,” she blurted out. “When they said my name, I freaked out. I was overwhelmed with excitement and happiness. It was really the best feeling.”
Looking back, Chanel thought what made the difference was her experience. “I joined the Miss Universe pageant (Guam edition) in 2012, and I landed as Miss International. Because of that I was sent off-island to compete with the rest of the world, and that gave me the experience and knowledge that I was able to use in Miss World Guam,” she narrated. “That helped me a lot, and of course, I am now older, so...more experienced compared to the other contestants.”
Her win came in the heels of Camarin Mendiola’s triumph in the same pageant in 2014, a fellow resident of her village, Agana Heights. The most important lesson she learned from the competition? “Always be yourself, and give it all you’ve got ‘cause even if you don’t win you are already a winner,” was Chanel’s reply.
Interestingly, before she joined her first pageant, she had stage fright. “I’m actually terrified to be on stage. I’m a very shy person,” she said. “But during the pageant, when I finally got on stage, I learned to love it. So now, I love being out there. I love the feeling.”
Before she became 2014’s Miss World Guam, Chanel was a traffic manager on island. Now, before any of you imagine her in the middle of the road directing vehicles when to stop or to proceed, I’d let her clear that up. “I work in an advertising agency, and, as a traffic manager, any job order that comes in and out of the company goes through me. It’s really hard to explain. Everytime I explain it they just got more confused, so I just say like, I work on a computer…all geeky stuff, but it’s really fun,” she said.
For all her typical island charm, Chanel was actually born in San Diego, California. She was just five years old when her family moved to Guam, and had no recollection of her first impression of her new surroundings. “I think I was just
sucking my thumb, watching movies,” she mused. Even though, now that she has had all the time in her life to experience life here, she could easily point out the biggest reason for anyone to visit or stay on Guam. “The hospitality of the island, and its warm waters. I came to appreciate our warm waters ‘cause I went to the States recently, and the beach was horrible, so cold. I missed Guam and the beach here, and the island life, like you’re always on vacation,” she said. For a taste of authentic island food, Chanel would offer visitors “red rice, barbecue, and then of course our kelaguen and potato salad.”
As a self-proclaimed shy person, Chanel doesn’t go out that much, with her favorite hangout being her house. “Sometimes I go to the beach or watch a movie or just go and eat at restaurants,” she said. Opportunities though, will make her leave the island. “We only have one life, and I want to experience as much as I can…” Incidentally, her dad and other members of her family are off-island, so they’re another reason for Chanel to fly the coop. “I want to connect with them more,” she stressed.
But she will always come back. “My animals are here, also my closest family,” she said. By animals, she meant five cats and seven dogs. “I always have the heart for animals. Always. I got my first dog when I was in second grade, and then ever since I’ve been adding and adding until now.”
Does she have a favorite?
“All of them. I love all of them equally,” she replied.
But when pressed to pick who’ll she take along if she’s allowed to bring only one of them when she leaves the island, Chanel said it would be her shih tzu. “He’s the most loyal to me. All my other dogs, I feel, they’re stuck on Guam, like they wouldn’t be able to move off island because they’re more attached to the environment. But Lucas, my shih tzu, is more attached to me. Anywhere I go he goes; I mean, I don’t even need to put him on a leash, unlike my other dogs that go everywhere on an adventure that I can’t bring them outside because they won’t come back to me.”
I felt I had to test her when it came to her devotion to her pets. So I asked her to name all of them. And she did it without a pause. “I have Kiwi, Kona, Jamie, Lucas, Mini, Charming, and Sammie—those are my dogs. My cats are Apple, Pear, Robin, Lyla, and Chaser. Apple and Pear are like best friends, so I named them after the fruits.” Yeah, why wouldn’t she?
Chanel is currently majoring in theater and arts, but for now, everything’s on hold while she reigns as Miss World Guam. Once her rule is over, she will resume her studies, and eventually go into film and fashion design. “They’re interesting to me, and I want to try them out,” she said. “I wanna learn, find out if I have the skill to do it. If not, then I always have animal-centric jobs like being a veterinarian or an animal officer. Anything dealing with animals is what I have always wanted.”
For all her charm and femininity, this beauty queen admitted that she likes contact sport, where she can go one-on-one with an opponent. “When I was in middle school I learned jiu-jitsu, although it was on and off. But in my senior year in high school, there was a wrestling team, and I tried out for membership. It was really fun and I loved it. It just sucked because it was my last year in school, and I only had a short time to enjoy it,” Chanel explained. “I don’t do the sport now, sadly. I wish.”
Earlier, before we started on our trip to the photoshoot, I noticed Chanel had her earphones on, obviously listening to music from her smartphone. I remembered a short feature I read about her online that she was into alternative rock music, saying it helps her to just be herself and “go crazy.” Well, as hard as I looked at her, I couldn’t imagine her going crazy. She was simply prim and proper. But who could be her favorite artist?
“I love Paramore, but back in the old days when their music was still hard rock. Now it’s more pop rock. I still like them, but I really prefer their older music,” she clarified. Her favorite Paramore song? “My Heart.”
So I had to ask her if she could give us a sample.
“No. I do not sing,” she said, a faint smile on her lips.
Not even in the shower?
“I do, but I will not sing here.”
Perhaps, if we poured some water on her head…never mind. I wouldn’t sing in front of other people either, so I know where she’s coming from. But I had to know what’s on her playlist. “There’s Paramore songs, pop songs. There’s one song I like at the moment, it’s called ‘The Weekend’ by Eden XO. It’s kind of my jam right now,” she revealed.
Aside from having the same bathroom habits, Chanel and I were also into manga. “I love manga! I love Sailor Moon. I like to fantasize when I read the book, to be in the moment, and I just love it,” she blurted out.
That doesn’t mean she’ll be attending any cosplay event dressed as the title character, though. “Actually, my favorite is Sailor Saturn. If I want to dress up I’d be her. What I’ll do is create her costume and wear it and be her,” she divulged.
Why Sailor Saturn?
“I like her character. She’s dark, she’s quiet…her atmosphere is dark.”
Uhh…can you expand on that point further, Chanel?
“I mean, she has a dark side and a good side. She’s quiet, and I tend to be quiet too until I become comfortable, and then I open up.”
Good to hear that. I didn’t think we would get a more intimate look at her if she were not comfortable with us. And speaking of looks, her photos would not lie, but sitting there shoulder to shoulder with her, I had a clearer view of how slim she was. I needed to know her secret so I could maybe lose some of these love handles that were most likely the product of too much food and too little exercise (ok, there’s none).
“I don’t work out or eat less,” Chanel said, crushing what little hope I have left of getting back to my college-era figure. “I think it’s just my metabolism, but I am getting older so I’d have to think about it. I’m not getting any younger.” Ah, so we may yet be gym buddies.
At that point, one of our companions, TPI’s Brand Manager Danny Daniel, interjected, “What’s something interesting about you, Chanel, that only Uno readers will know after reading this article? Something you don’t usually share.”
Chanel’s forehead creased a little while she pondered the question. Then she smiled sheepishly. “Please don’t judge me, but I love to smell things,” she said. “Like, I have a problem with smell; everything I touch I need to smell. And I kind of like smelling stinky stuff, like my feet. I know it’s weird. I’m sorry. I even smell the ketchup before I eat it. I don’t know. It’s just a habit.” Well, she really didn’t need to apologize. Everyone has his own quirky little secrets. Chanel just revealed hers to the world, and we loved her more for that.
The conversation quickly turned to something more personal, and Chanel was game enough to answer our questions, like what she finds attractive in a man. “My man? Everything about him is attractive,” she said, which makes sense, because you simply won’t fall in love with someone if you’re not willing to accept everything about the person.
So what turns her off? “All the things that are gross, like fart, and morning breath.” Ahh, next question.
Chanel’s idea of a perfect romantic date is for her and her man to just be together, “spending time at the house watching Netflix or getting takeout, eating at home…anything home-related, just cuddling.” She claimed to be not the possessive or jealous type, and is always ready to apologize for any argument that arises. “And that’s even when I’m not at fault. I just want to keep the relationship as long as I can,” she added.
What will make her fall out of love though, is if she thinks they are not connecting any more. “Like, we’re slowly falling off of each other, not totally being honest with each other.”
Pretty soon, our van was easing into the entrance to the San Lorenzo Leisure Park, which happened to house the Manila Jockey Club where the Philippines’ premiere horse-racing events were regularly held. Before we got off the van, Chanel had this for Uno readers:
“I hope you enjoy my cover and photos. Hopefully there’s more to come in the future. Thank you for following. Peace out!”
SHORT AND SWEET
We ask, Chanel answers.
If you’re an animal, what would you be?
Formal or casual?
High-heels or sneakers?
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Snooze my button.
The last thing you do at night?
Close my eyes.
What are you five years from now?
27 years old. Doing my dream job. Having a successful career. Travelling. Tending many more animals. Saving more animals.
What is love, in three words?
Forever being happy.
If it is not love or money, what makes the world go round?
The one thing you can’t leave home without.
I don’t want to say it, but, my phone.