TikTok star Ayn Bernos said she was competing for the Miss Universe Philippines crown to inspire girls like her who don't fit the beauty-queen stereotype. This was in response to a comment on social media saying that she must have a "mental health problem" for going up against "taller, smarter and more beautiful women."
"I didn't join Miss Universe Philippines because I believed I was the beauty standard. I joined because I know I'm not, and it's about time girls like me are allowed to try, too," the 26-year-old Bernos said.
Idk about you, but I’m more afraid of never having tried. ?????? La vida es corta así q c4g4la - ?Yani Hagreeves?
She has survived two cuts as of writing, making it to the Top 100 and the Top 75. It was at the runway challenge that she received the hate comment. In a TikTok posted on August 16, Monday, she wrote "[I don't know] about you, but I'm more afraid of never having tried."
Standing 5'3" and with one million TikTok followers, Bernos has formidable competition—former Asia's Next Top Model winner Maureen Wroblewitz, Miss Supranational 2018 first runner-up Katrina Dimaranan, and ex-Miss Cebu Steffi Aberasturi, who made waves online for turning the construction site of what would be the Philippines' largest bridge into her runway.
Bernos said she filed her application as soon as the call for contestants mentioned no height requirement. "Those were magic words for me," she said.
She said she had dreamed of being a beauty queen since she was a kid. "I always wanted to be like them but at the same time I knew as a pageant fan I wasn't qualified. But because I am a fighter and I am a dreamer, I promised myself that the moment I could apply, I would," she said in a TikTok post announcing her Miss Universe Philippines campaign. That post earned words of encouragement from fellow TikTokers Inka Magnaye, Nina Elaine, and Sassa Gurl.
Promise fulfilled. We have a long way to go. ????????? original sound - Ayn Bernos / IG: @aynbernos
Bernos uses her TikTok account to post affirmations. Addressing her height in one video, she quoted Olympic skateboarder Margielyn Didal: "Kung gusto nyong makipag-usap, walang height-height. Ano ba ginagamit pag nag-uusap? Height?"