10 September 2008

First Brazilian Miss Earth, Prsicilla Meirelles, Talks About her Boyfriend

Priscilla Meirelles is the first Brazilian beauty to win the Miss Earth crown in 2004. This is a significant win for Brazil because it made this big South American country in the history of beauty pageants as the only country to win the titles from the four biggest beauty competitions on earth - Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth and Miss International.

Priscilla is not only Miss Earth 2004 but she is also Miss Globe 2003.

Today, she is now based in the Philippines, the country where she won her title. She is currently dating a Filipino actor, John Estrada.

In this interview by Ricky Lo for The Philippine Star, Priscilla and John talk about their relationship and their future plans as couple.

The article was copied directly from The Philippine Star. Let's take a look.

A Simple Love Story
The Philippine Star
Sunday, December 2, 2007

In a late ’60s Philippine Free Press article by Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin), British hippie journalist Caroline Kennedy (who later married and divorced artist Bencab) dismissed Filipino men as “lousy lovers,” pricking the ego of the Pinoy macho. Of course, Kennedy (namesake of JFK’s daughter) was talking about, uh, bedtime ability but she stirred a hornet’s nest just the same, prompting irate Pinoy-male Free Press readers to tell her to, why not, try the type who worked at the North/South Harbors and the National Penitentiary.

In fact, Filipino men are great, romantic lovers whose winning (victorious!) ways extend far beyond the four corners of the bedroom.

Didn’t a Filipino Romeo, the late Virgilio Hilario, marry the first Miss Universe (1952), Armi Kuusela (of Finland)?

Didn’t another Filipino, Jorge Araneta, also marry the first Miss International (1962), Stella Marquez Zawadski (of Colombia)?

And there’s also Jose Faustino who won and brought to the altar Angela Filmer of Malaysia, the first Miss Asia (1965, sponsored by the Philippine Cycling Association and not officially recognized as an edition of the Miss Asia-Pacific Quest which started in 1968).

Now, will Brazil’s Priscilla Meirelles, 2004 Miss Earth (and Miss Globe the previous year), join this distinguished Roll of Honor?

As showbiz-watchers know, Priscilla is John Estrada’s new flame. She stands 5’10” and is very charming, always smiling, an all-natural beauty (not even an inch of her body has been enhanced). Her voice has a musical quality. Her warmth and friendliness put at ease people she’s meeting for the first time, like she did when Conversations sat down with her and John at Cheesecake Etcetera (Greenhills Promenade) one drizzly Wednesday afternoon.

They came in holding hands, making heads turn. I told Priscilla, who is as simpatica as any Latina, that she reminded me of Catherine Zeta-Jones (whom I met face-to-face, with co-star Antonio Banderas, during the Hollywood junket for The Legend of Zorro in 2005), Priscilla showed only a slight sign of flattery, saying, “Is that so?” She speaks very good English. (Her native tongue is Portuguese; John, who hails from Basilan, speaks Chabacano which sounds interestingly like Portuguese and Spanish.)

It wasn’t love at first sight for the sweethearts as you will know by and by. Theirs is, well, a simple love story that knows no cultural barriers.

How did you meet and fall in love?

Priscilla (Addressing John): Would you like to tell him?

John (To Priscilla): No, he wants to hear it from you.

Priscilla: We first met in 2004 when I was Miss Earth, in a restaurant. He was with some people who, I guessed, were celebrities. After several months. We met again after that.”

Of course, at that time, you were both committed to somebody else. (Priscilla to Marc Nelson and John to Vanessa del Bianco).

Priscilla: Then we met again for the third time last January.

At that time, you were both free. Two right people meeting at the right time.

Priscilla: Exactly! He told me, “We’ve met a long time ago. I used to have long hair.” He removed his cap and I said, “Oh, you’re the actor! Yes, I remember you!”

What were your first impressions of John, aside from his being good-looking and attractive?

Priscilla: You know, I don’t really watch TV; I don’t follow TV shows, so I only have a vague idea of who he is. The first time I met him, I liked him because he’s so guapo. But I remember telling him, “You will look nicer if you have short hair.” I don’t like guys with long hair. It looks untidy.

And you, John, what were your first impressions of Priscilla, aside from her being beautiful and sexy?

John: I knew that she was the reigning Miss Earth and I thought, “Wow, she’s gorgeous!” And then things just happened quickly. It was attraction at first sight and, you know, I just wanted to be her friend. There wasn’t any plan; there wasn’t even any courtship. During our third meeting, I asked her, “You are supposed to have a boyfriend, aren’t you?” She shook her head. Then, we started going out.

Priscilla: I used to have a boyfriend (She didn’t identify Marc Nelson. — RFL) From just saying “Hi, hi!” to each other, we began seeing each other more often. He was alone; I was alone, so...

Oh, misery loves company.

Priscilla: I was attracted to him because he happens to be among the few tall guys in town. (She stands 5’10” and John, 6’1”. — RFL)

John: She likes wearing four-inch high-heeled shoes, so when she does she’s an inch taller than me.

Priscilla: I like the way he carries himself, the way he dresses, his style, his whole personality.

Did you know that John is the type of guy who easily attracts women?

Priscilla: Like...all women?

Well, almost — both young and old.

Priscilla: Oh, I didn’t know at that time because, as I’ve said, I don’t watch TV and I seldom read the newspapers. My world is very different. I’m based here now but I travel a lot. When I’m here, I’m busy with work.

How often do you go home to Brazil?

Priscilla: As often as I can. Last year, I was there three times.

John said that there was no courtship at all?

Priscilla: Actually, there was. He told me that he wanted to be my friend. I said, “Okay. Friends are always welcome.” After a while, he started expressing himself more...well, he started saying, “I like you!” And I would say, “Oh, thank you!” He would say, “I really like to spend more time with you” and “Give me a chance?”

No cultural differences between you (just like what happened in the case of Ruffa Gutierrez and Yilmaz Bektas)?

John: None at all. As I said before, she’s more Filipina than other girls from here whom I’ve met.
Priscilla: Filipinos and Brazilians are alike in so many ways — in attitude, in values. Like him, I was raised a Catholic and it’s a plus factor in our relationship. John is very caring and very protective, something that I like a lot. In my previous relationship, I was more like the “mother.” I was the more protective one because my boyfriend was shorter than me.

Are you living together?

Priscilla: Oh, no.

Oh, not yet. But will this romance probably lead to the altar? After all, John is eligible again.

Priscilla (To John): Okay, it’s your turn!

John: Of course, anybody would like a beautiful relationship to last forever. Yes, we have plans...we sometimes talk about it. But it’s too early to tell. Sana nga... matuloy.

Do you see yourself settling down with John?

Priscilla (Looking at John): Why not?

Have you met Priscilla’s family?

John: Not the whole family. I met her brother. They are the only two children in the family.

What about you, Priscilla? Have you met John’s family?

Priscilla: Yes, I have.

By this time, I guess you know the goings-on in showbiz. John is among the most controversial stars in town. Are you not affected by the gossip and intrigue?

Priscilla: Not really. To me, what matters is John and how he is with me. So whatever happened in his past and whatever happens in his professional life is different from what happens when we are together. I admire the way he cares for his children.

Are you close to John’s children (with ex-wife Janice de Belen)?

Priscilla: I think...yes. I think we have a good relationship. They are amazing kids.
Have you met Janice?

Priscilla: No, I haven’t. She must be a very good woman and a very good mother because their kids are great, very well brought up. They are very humble; they don’t pretend to be what they are not.

When you get involved in a controversy (like the “kisscandal” with Gretchen Barretto), does Priscilla ask you about it?

John (Suppressing a smile): You know, I made a promise to her but you know...(Finally breaking into a smile)...Promises are sometimes made to be broken. You know, what I like about Priscilla is that she trusts me. That’s very important for people like us who are working in fields like we do, she in modelling and I in showbiz. I constantly remind her that we need to have mutual trust and respect.

Yeah. Two fields full of temptations.

Priscilla: Much more so in showbiz. John is an actor and he’s in contact with so many other girls. When I met him, it’s already his job, so...

Have you stopped communicating with Vanessa?

John: No more. The last time I talked to her was months ago. Priscilla knows that. I don’t keep things from her. I’ve learned from my past mistakes.

Was there a formal closure between you?

John: Yes, there was. Honestly, we are friends.

Have you exchanged friendship rings to seal your pledge of love to each other?

John: No.

I heard that you cook for John?

Priscilla: It’s funny because I love to cook and I used to cook for friends and for my past boyfriend. But this time, it’s John who does the cooking for me.

Have you developed a taste for Filipino food?

Priscilla: Yes, I have. Before, I couldn’t eat spicy food but now I do. John eats a lot of spicy food.

If and when you get married, how many kids do you want to have?

Priscilla: Two girls. I grew up with only a brother.

And you, John?

John (A naughty glint in his eyes): If she wants only two, then we’ll have only two.