Photo by Raymond Saldaña
Simone Nadine Bornilla, an 18-year-old lass from Marinduque, is one of the Top 50 candidates in the Miss Universe-Philippines 2021. Apart from her beauty queen looks, which others say bear a striking resemblance to Binibining Pilipinas-International 2019, Atty. Bea Patricia 'Patch' de Guzman Magtanong, Nadine, as she is fondly called by her two proud gay fathers, is described as unique, beautiful, and someone who can effect change in the world.
She dreams of becoming a surgeon someday, following the footsteps of her doctor dad.
Her Growing Up Years.
Though other people may perceive that she has a unique family setup, she never saw it differently. She thought that she had more advantages as a daughter to two gay men.
"I grew up somewhat similar to the experiences of my peers.
Young Nadine with her two loving dads, Manix (Manuel) on the left and Jumel on the right
Her story is worth telling. She is someone who competes in beauty pageants because of one purpose: She wants to be a voice for the LGBTQIA+ community. Her biological father Jumel Valecuatro Bornilla, a medical physician together with her stepfather Manuel Lara Genabe III, an entrepreneur and the chief executive officer (CEO) of their family business; raised her to be someone who is an independent, outspoken, and purpose-driven individual. According to her, growing up with the two men in her life is like a 'barkada' as she bonds with them through shopping and dining out.
Dr. Bornilla describes his daughter as a typical teenager, stubborn but always obedient.
"She speaks for the truth, is independent, and firm with her decisions in life.”
Mr. Genabe III has always been fond of Nadine while she was growing up. She grew up with him because his partner Doc Jumel was busy at the time because of his medical residency.
"She's a quiet child. You leave her in a corner--she would stay there. She would not loiter.”
He adds that Nadine, when growing up, witnessed their life back then.
"She's not the type who demands to 'buy me this and that.' She's content with what she has."
An Advocate and an Ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.
At first, she is thankful that the people around her parents and her were very much accepting. There was no issue with how unconventional their family setup was. It only became apparent when she applied for an international Catholic school and her family setup got questioned.
"I got rejected because of that specific reason."
At that moment, she realized it was something she should raise her voice for as an advocate to the community.
"I was lucky enough to have a good support system. Even though my parents were very much affected by that event, they helped me cope with what happened.
“I want to become a voice and an ally to the LGBTQIAP+ Community."
When her story became viral, she encouraged many people who have the same story as hers to come forward and speak up against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"I want to tell them that I am not just here for the glitz and the glam. I am not just here to represent the Philippines on an international stage.
"I am here because I stand for something. I'm here because I want to effect change."
What does She want to carry with her on her MU journey? The biggest lesson she wants to carry with her in her Miss Universe-Philippines journey is the lesson that her parents have taught her, that hard work always pays off. Nadine admits that at first, her family didn't have a comfortable life. They had to move around, but still, she finds her parents admirable. "They tried to do computer shop, cafeteria, they didn't mind the judgment of other people. According to her, with hard work, her two fathers can take care of two families. Her parents have something to share with Nadine--their realization as years go by.. "We needed to let go of her. She's 18, and we see her as an independent woman," says Dr. Bornilla. As parents, they can't help but see their daughter as a child. The MU journey is also a learning curve for them. During their daughter's debut, he reminded her to think that it's not fame, it's not power, and it's not money that matters. It's how people would think of the legacy she leaves behind that does. For Mr. Genabe III, he tells his daughter, "Pray always. Everything else will follow." He wants her to be a woman of compassion and to always be kind. It will make her daughter go places. Nadine once joined beauty pageants and earned the following titles: Miss Philippine Youth 2018, Miss Teen International Philippines 2018, and Miss Teen International Asia-Oceania 2018. As a young lass who grew up with her two fathers, she was never a spoiled brat. Her two gay fathers were very hands-on in rearing her. Even with the pageants she previously joined. It is their dream to see her compete in the Miss Universe 2021 pageant in Israel in December. In return, Nadine wants to continue making her fathers happy. Admittedly, she finds it [always] entertaining to watch them screaming, jumping up and down, and cheering on for her.
Article written by: Jude Cartalaba
Photos courtesy of Simone Nadine Bornilla
You may follow her Miss Universe Philippines journey through
her Instagram account @SimoneBornilla