Katarina Sonja Rodriguez was “Asia’s Next Top Model” Season 2 third placer and Miss Intercontinental 2017 first runner-up and is now on her way to winning Miss World 2018. With all these achievements, what makes this Filipino model-beauty queen smile?
“There’s a lot of things that make me smile,” Rodriguez told me during a one-on-one interview in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines during her send-off party at the Patricia Hall of Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on November 8, 2018. “My grandparents, sunflowers, certain people make me smile. Wood makes me smile, the beach, the list goes on.”
“There’s so many reasons to smile,”Rodriguez added. “You make me smile. I love the questions you asked me earlier.”
Before asking Rodriguez about the things that make her smile, I asked her how she handles political questions. She hails from Davao City, Davao del Sur, Philippines, which is also home to President Rodrigo Duterte.
I pointed out that as a beauty queen, there is a risk when answering political questions. When she chooses one side, she may lose the other side automatically.
But Rodriguez does not see it that way. For her, as a beauty queen, it is her responsibility to promote unity so instead of simply choosing one side, she believes that answering political questions is an opportunity to give a message about unity.
Rodriguez was born in Orlando, Florida, United States on August 1, 1992. After finishing high school in Orlando, she moved to the Philippines and studied Business Management and Philosophy at the De La Salle University in Manila.
In 2014, Rodriguez was one of the two Filipinos who competed in “Asia’s Next Top Model” Season 2, which was filmed in Malaysia and aired on Star World. The other one, Jodilly Pendre, finished second.
On January 24, 2018, Rodriguez became runner-up to Miss Intercontinental 2017 Veronica Salas Vallejo of Mexico. The coronation night took place at the SUNRISE Garden Beach Resort in Hurghada, Egypt.
Currently, Rodriguez is in China to represent the Philippines on the global stage yet again. She is one of the 118 women vying for the Miss World 2018 crown.
On December 8, 2018, Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar of India will crown her successor and Rodriguez is looking forward to becoming the second Filipino to win the pageant. Watch my short interview with the Filipino beauty queen here: