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Cochrane grad scouted for Miss Filipina International pageant

Jassi Trimming will take to the international stage in eight-inch heels next month, representing Alberta and her home province of Southern Leyte in the Philippines.

COCHRANE, Alta. — Jassi Trimming will take to the international stage in eight-inch heels next month, representing Alberta and her home province of Southern Leyte in the Philippines.

The 18-year-old Filipina-Canadian, who has been living in Cochrane for the past four years, was hesitant at first when a Miss Filipina International pageant scouting agent approached her on Instagram about becoming a contestant for their 2022 competition.

“After a while, I thought to myself, you know what … this is an experience I want to try,” said Trimming, adding that this will be her first pageant. “I’m proud of how beautiful my culture is, how beautiful the people are, how they’re very welcoming, very kind and very sweet.”

The pageant seeks to highlight the beauty, grace and intelligence of women in Filipino communities across the globe. It also promotes Philippines tourism, and the winner of the competition will have the opportunity to go on a month-long trip to destinations around the country.

The last time Trimming was in her home country was four years ago. Having just lost her father, who was a champion for children’s education in the region she grew up in, she and her mother went around to disadvantaged schools to donate books, food and money.

“It’s a third-world country,” said the 18-year-old. “So there are schools there that have a lot less than others and just $20 can go a long way.

“My dad was a big supporter of education where I’m from and put a few kids in college and high school out of his own pocket and just for his love of children. I wanted to be able to take on this role as well and try to pick up where he left off.”

Although she admits she often gets homesick, Trimming said she loves her life in Cochrane and the representation of the Filipino community in the town. She recently attended the Filipino Canadian Association of Cochrane Alberta’s flag-raising celebration at the RancheHouse on Philippines Independence Day June 21.

“The songs, the dances, the food – it was just beautiful,” said Trimming. “It brought me back home.

“The Filipino community here is very proud of our culture and aims to make everyone feel welcome to join in. When you get a chance to meet the people in our community, they’re always wonderful to talk to.”

The recent grad says the support from both Cochrane and Southern Leyte, over 11,000 kilometres away, has been incredible.

She plans to make a homecoming trip overseas to see her friends and family, regardless of whether she wins or loses the upcoming pageant.

“Apparently they have banners all over the town right now,” Trimming said. “They’ve been helping so much with voting and supporting me.”

The pageant, which includes a preliminary competition July 29 and a coronation night July 30, is set in Los Angeles, California at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Centre. Twenty-five contestants will compete for the title of Miss Filipina International 2022 through evening gown, bikini and traditional costume events.

Trimming said her traditional wear is a heavy ensemble made exclusively of products from the Philippines – including coconuts.

Part of her preparation for the event includes practicing her walk, which she plans to do in seven-to-eight-inch heels to add height to her 5’5” frame. She will wear a heel about half that size for the costume event to reduce any risk of injury.

Leading up to their time on the stage, Trimming and her fellow contestants are competing in two separate social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.

Trimming has an impressive social media presence already, with over 450,000 followers on TikTok and 3,000 followers on Instagram. She says she found her stride on the video-sharing app TikTok at the onset of the pandemic, suddenly having more time on her hands to create content.

“I like to make content about the Philippines and funny, relatable stuff,” she said. “I’m very outgoing on my social media and I think that’s helped me with my following.”

The Facebook vote has already begun and will end on July 17. A vote for the Cochrane-based Filipina can be made by first liking the Miss Filipina International Facebook page, then liking Trimming’s photo in the official candidates’ photo album. She is contestant number 19.

Sharing her candidate photo counts as an additional vote.

The winner of the Instagram voting campaign, beginning July 2, will be crowned with the Miss People’s Choice Award. Their performances in each competition will count toward their final score in the pageant. That campaign ends July 24.

The two-day event will be broadcast to the pageant organization’s Facebook page and YouTube.

Trimming said she is looking forward to the experience in Los Angeles and meeting the other contestants, many of whom she’s already become friends with despite geographic challenges.

“I went out of my way to find some of them before the competition got started and we’ve made a group chat where we can ask each other questions and things like that,” she said. “They are the sweetest girls ever and that, to me, says a lot about who we are as Filipinas.”