A remarkable turn of events, 22-year-old Filipino-American Alexie Mae Brooks, who once helped her grandmother sell vegetables in the local market, has emerged as the crowned Miss Iloilo 2024.
The coronation, held at the West Visayas State University Cultural Center on January 13, showcased not only her stunning beauty but also a captivating backstory that has resonated with the public and garnered widespread media attention.
Brooks, expressing gratitude on Instagram, acknowledged the support of her team, mentors, sponsors, and the love from her hometown of Leon, Iloilo. Breaking barriers, she proudly declared, “As the first black, androgynous Ilonggo woman to represent Iloilo, I turn childhood dreams into reality.”
This triumph marks Brooks’ debut in the pageantry world, and she didn’t just win the crown but also clinched titles such as Best in Swimsuit, Best in Designers’ Fashion Show, and Best in Cultural Costume during the Miss Iloilo pageant.
Born in 2001 to an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Brooks was raised by her grandmother, Lola Basing, in Leon, Iloilo. Known for her athletic prowess, she is a member of the National University athletics team and a Southeast Asian Games heptathlon veteran. Despite facing adversity and bullying for her looks, Brooks excelled academically, earning scholarships at the University of Southern California and the University of Texas after graduating from Iloilo National High School.
Even as a child, Brooks harbored dreams of becoming a beauty queen, a dream that seemed distant during her challenging upbringing. Constantly bullied for her appearance, she shared her difficult experiences with ABS-CBN News, revealing instances when she went without lunch due to financial constraints.
However, Brooks persevered, joining her grandmother at the marketplace every Friday after school to sell vegetables. This sacrifice by Lola Basing allowed Brooks to pursue her larger dreams, and she credits her grandmother as the driving force behind her success. “My grandma is my life; she’s the drive. Without her, I don’t think I would be the same Alexie that I am right now. Without her, I don’t think I have this dream… Everything I do right now and everything I have done is for her.”
Now crowned Miss Iloilo 2024, Alexie Brooks is set to represent Iloilo City at the prestigious Miss Universe Philippines 2024.