Home health and hospice CEO aims to turn Fil-Am pageant into a ‘global platform’
LOS ANGELES —Taking the helm at an up-and-coming beauty pageant franchise in America is perhaps the boldest move yet of Geoffrey Jimenez, CEO of more than 30 hospices and home health agencies across California and the Midwest.
As the chairman of Worldwide Media Entertainment, now the owner of Miss Filipina International (MFI), he is on a mission to nurture “transformational leaders.”
“My dream is to make MFI the home of our future transformational leaders of the world,” Jimenez told INQUIRER.net. “Beauty pageants are evolving, becoming the platform for articulate women with relevant advocacies. We are enthusiastic to be part of this change.”
The transformation begins at the pageant itself. Unlike its previous editions, this year’s MFI competition is open to Filipinas from anywhere in the world, who are at least a quarter of Filipino descent. The age range of qualified candidates is from 15 to 27, to accommodate contenders for what used to be MFI’s Miss Teen category.
The organization is combining two competitions into one event, aiming to deliver a “super exciting competition” with the biggest cash prizes in the history of Fil-Am pageantry. Community beauty pageants traditionally offer cash prizes ranging from US$1,000 to 3,000, but MFI ups the ante with an offer of $10,000 for the top winner, $5,000 for the first runner-up and $2,500 each for the second, third, and fourth runners-up. These winners will also receive gift certificates from iSkin Beverly Hills.
The glitz and glamor of a historical venue is also thrown into the mix. To mark MFI’s 10th anniversary, the 2023 pageant will take place at The Beverly Hilton.
“When I attended the Golden Globe Awards last January in the famous International Ballroom of this hotel, I had this vision of holding it in that ballroom so we can have a beauty pageant that is glamorous and extra prestigious, especially since we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of MFI this year,” Jimenez said. “So, for the first time ever, a Filipina beauty pageant will be held in the International Ballroom, home of the most distinguished awards shows and events in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Los Angeles.”
Set for August 5, the 2023 MFI pageant gathers contestants from across the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the Philippines. Its staging at the Beverly Hills Hilton places Fil-Am pageantry within the horizon of top awards shows like the Golden Globe Awards, the Oscar Nominees Luncheon, the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, the pre-Grammys, among some 150 red-carpet events hosted at the iconic venue. MFI winners are eligible to compete in the Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant and thus gain entry to mainstream pageantry.
“To Filipinos, this is like their Super Bowl,” Jimenez said. “Filipinos appreciate beauty and intelligence and are proud of their heritage. They love to see one of their own win and shine brightly on the global stage, especially when it comes not only to beauty, poise, intelligence and confidence but also when it comes to presenting their own advocacies.”
Immigrant success story
An immigrant success story, Jimenez rose on his own merit in the nursing profession. His humble beginnings in Nueva Ecija as one of eight siblings did not deter him from pursuing his dreams. Armed with a nursing degree obtained in the Philippines, he worked tirelessly in the U.S. and devoted himself to the professional care of patients.
Whether performing duties in critical care or supervising, his strong work ethic, dedication and diligence shone through. This was inspired by his mother, Aurea, whose lasting influence upon him were compassion, kindness and generosity – values that served him well as a nurse practitioner and later, a nursing entrepreneur.
Today, Jimenez is a recognized community leader and philanthropist, a strong advocate of Philippine arts, fashion and culture and a supporter of Filipino talents, from artists to performers in all fields.
“What interested me in branching out to pageantry is the opportunity to give Filipinas a platform to discuss and share their advocacies as well as have their own space to improve themselves, an opportunity for self-growth and development, to be able to explore their full leadership potentials,” he says.
He describes the Filipina as “beautiful and feminine on the outside, but tough and strong on the inside” and deserving of a platform because “she is the child of strong women from our history, who is never afraid to face challenges and fight for her rights.” The Filipina’s pride in her roots, heritage and culture is likewise notable.
“Three years from now, I would like these Filipinas from all over the world to proudly say and claim that they are part of the MFI family that honed and developed them into who they are – beautiful, confident and seriously committed to their advocacies,” Jimenez said.
“I hope all our winners and candidates, and the future ones, will cherish their MFI experience. I also hope to see that MFI will have a bigger and very prestigious role and status in the world of pageantry.”