by Gary Lee & Andrea Atherton
Photography by RENIEL TORRES
Exciting times are brewing in camp Philippines in Melbourne. Representing Chile in this Pageant, Andrea Atherton is looking to follow the footsteps of the current Miss Latina Australia, Eva Giollo’s footsteps who took out the crown last year from a illustrious group of finalists and went on to represent Australia in Mexico to compete for the title of Miss America Latina del Mundo.
The ModaVida team took Andrea away from her hectic schedule to find out more about her Filipino heritage, her dreams, background and how she is enjoying her Miss Latina Australia 2016 journey thus far.
Where is your mother from in the Philippines?
My Mother is from Iloilo City, Philippines.
Tell us a bit about your Filipino heritage?
My mother was born into a devout Catholic family in Iloilo City in the Philippines. Her father Gregorio Toos is known to the family as a hardworking workoholic. He finished both primary and secondary school with valedictory honours and was one of the first Filipino Navy man to pass the USA Navy examinations. He worked as an Engineer in the Navy Barge and travelled to different parts of the world such as Saudi Arabia. My lolo (grandfather) was always interested in different things and loved to learn and that is why he completed a Masters degree in his 50’s. My lola (grandmother) Consolacion Toos was a Primary school teacher in Iloilo City and came from a big family of nine siblings and also had eight children of her own.
Even though we are living in Australia, my Filipino culture is always with me. My mother has never forgotten her identity as a Filipina and continues to contribute to the Philippines community through helping local orphanages.
Do you speak Tagalog?
I can understand a few words of Tagalog, but my mother’s dialect is Ilongo.
What are you currently studying/working?
I am a part time waitress and study full time at Victoria University doing my Bachelor’s in Psychological Studies.
How has the Miss Latina Australia journey been like for you so far?
Being a Miss Latina Australia contestant has been such an amazing experience. I have met such beautiful and smart young ladies which I am really acquainted to. We are so bonded that sometimes it doesn’t feel competitive at all.We are all really supportive of each other and help one another in our walks, our public speaking and poses.
What do you wish to walk away with from this Pageant, besides the crown?
One of the reasons I applied for Miss Latina Australia was because I wanted to gain more confidence and improve up my self-esteem. I think being in this Pageant has already contributed a lot in my public speaking, the way I carry myself and my confidence.
Who is your idol and why?
My parents are my inspirations. They have been such an encouragement in my life and have supported me through each step and each decision I continue to pursue. My father has inspired me to become more independent, humble and to have a positive mind set when facing difficult situations. My father (Chilean) has brought me up to constantly learn and improve my knowledge whilst my mother has taught me to be faithful, grateful and strong. She has demonstrated strong acts of compassion and kindness which has inspired me to continue to achieve my goal profession as a psychologist and help different organisations and communities through volunteer work.
To find out more about the Miss Latina Australia 2016 event or to buy tickets to the Coronation & Crowing Ceremony on Saturday 9 July, visit: www.facebook.com/misslatinaaustralia or contact Estela Tapia on 0430 067 299