Filipino-American pageant queen Katie Wadman is looking forward to visiting Palawan, the land that many of her forefathers call home and where many of her relatives still reside up to this day.
21-year-old Wadman was recently crowned Miss Iowa USA 2021 in Des Moines and received acclaim both in the USA and in the Philippines, especially in Palawan, her mother’s hometown.
Palawan News reached out to Wadman through her managing agency, Future Productions, via e-mail. According to her representative, Wadman will be competing for Miss USA in Tulsa, Oklahoma on November 29. Wadman wrote back to talk about her beginnings as a competitive dancer from the age of six to her journey as a beauty queen.
Like nearly every Filipino, Wadman loves a good roll of lumpia and a steaming bowl of ginataang bilo-bilo. Despite never having been to Palawan, she remembers fondly how her grandparents would prepare her favorite dishes.
“Someday, hopefully soon, I would like to go to the Philippines and Palawan. My parents always tell me Palawan is voted the best island in the world and my dream is to someday go to my great-grandfather’s coconut farm and sip a coconut along the beach,” she wrote.
Wadman stated that she is a descendant of prominent Palawenyo names such as the Setias and Ponce de Leon clans. She added that she comes from a family of educators, public servants, and politicians. Her great-grandmother, Milagros Ponce de Leon, was also a beauty queen and was one of the first Miss Palawan candidates. Her mother, Dr. Josie, Guzman-Wadman, is originally from Barangay Saraza, Brooke’s Point.
Despite competing in a pageant across the globe, supporters from the Philippines, a country that loves all things pageants and beauty queens, were quick to shower her with love and kind words.
“I have received so much support from the Philippines, it is unbelievable! I am so humbled by the outpouring of support from not only family but also from strangers. Everyone has been so kind and I have felt the love from the Filipino community, even on the other side of the world- which makes it even more special,” she added.
When asked how she prepared for the Miss Iowa competition, she attributed her success to her training as a competitive dancer from childhood at the University of Iowa.
“When you are trained as a college athlete to have discipline, determination as well as mental and physical stamina, that carries with you to other aspects in life. I believe that also helped prepare me for the pageant, and life in general,” she explained.
Wadman explained that she wishes to use her platform to support causes such as public health initiatives, free speech in journalism, and support and promotion for the arts. She also wants to bring awareness to serious issues that primarily affect women.
“Both these issues primarily affect women, with human trafficking affecting mostly young women. Since Iowa and the neighboring state of Nebraska are known hubs for human trafficking, it is something I would like to continue to draw attention to and help find solutions to prevent,” she said.
“I believe women should support other women. I believe everyone comes into a pageant and does their best to showcase the very best of themselves at that moment in time. And then, it is in the judges’ hands to determine the ‘winner.’ Pageants- like dance competitions are very subjective and all the contestants can do is to be the best version of themselves. After that, it is up to the judges, and maybe a little destiny,” she added.