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In Focus: The Squad Who's Got Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina's Back

In Focus: The Squad Who's Got Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina's Back

Preparing for a competition like Miss Universe isn’t easy. And it certainly isn’t something you can do by yourself.

Our very own Maxine Medina will soon hit the stage as one of 86 girls vying for title of Miss Universe 2016. And like her predecessors, she’s had to undergo extensive training to prepare her for this day. 

Get to know the very people who’ve helped her get to where she is—from handling her diet and exercise regimen, to polishing her communication skills, to getting her picture-perfect and everything in between!


Name: Jonas Gaffud (aka The Queen Maker) 


Jonas Gaffud heads Aces & Queens—which is, inarguably, the most successful beauty pageant training camp in the country. Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Miss World 2013 Megan Young are among those who’ve trained under and won thanks to him.

On Maxine’s potential and preparedness for the Miss U competition: “Ready na iyon,” he said. “I mean, kung matapat sa kanya ‘yung tanong na masasagot niya nang maayos, e ‘di okay. Pero kasi, beauty-wise, performance-wise, alam kong pasok na pasok na siya.” 


Name: John Cuay (aka The Body Sculpter)


John Cuay is a US-trained fitness instructor who introduced different classes such as core training, abs training, and zumba at Gold’s Gym. He’s helped past contenders like Venus Raj and Pia Wurtzbach obtain their “toned yet feminine” figures, and is doing the same now for Maxine. Cuay makes it his personal mission to apply the best exercise techniques possible in acheiving fitness goals.

On why he enjoys training beauty queens: “…it's my own way of helping ...I can inspire others to reach their goals through their examples."

[related: Cheat Sheet: Maxine Medina’s Best Tips On Achieving A Miss Universe Body]


Name: Albert Kurniawan (aka The Makeup Master)


Indonesian makeup artist Albert Kurniawan has helped Maxine find her signature look before the competition. Celebs like Kim Chiu, Toni Gonzaga, and Heart Evangelista are also among his clients. Kurniawan recently faced backlash over mentoring not just Maxine, but her fellow competitor Kezia Warouw (who happens to be from Indonesia). 

Medina on how she feels about Kurniawan: “We're sharing make-up artists. There's no problem about it. We're having fun together doing our own makeup here.”

[related: In Focus: Meet The Official Miss Universe 2016 Makeup Team]


Name: Mark Abalos (aka The Language Instructor)


Abolos has worked closely with Medina specifically for communication—a much-needed skill for the question and answer portion of the pageant. He writes on his Linkedin profile that he is a grad student of the University of Colorado Boulder, with experience in both classroom teaching and training for individual as well as corporate clients.

On why her bashers shouldn’t be too hard on her grammar: “Errors are normal. Even first language speakers of English commit mistakes, too.”


ALSO READ: Miss Universe 2016 Watch: The "Miss U: Official App" Will Let You In On All Things Miss Universe


Photographs from,,, and / Artwork by Jana Jimenez




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