Bb. Pilipinas-Int'l 2010 Krista Mae Kleiner

Fil-Am beauty competes for int'l crown
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

As a GMA Artist Center talent, Filipino-American Krista Mae Kleiner is no stranger to bright lights and admiring crowds. She can project and perform with relative ease in front of the camera and/or live audience. This self-confidence, though, is sometimes mistaken for haughtiness but the 21-year-old looker takes it all in stride. This may even be her edge when she competes as the country's representative to the Miss International beauty pageant this November 7th in Chengdu, mainland China.
“I grew up in a community where people are candid and outspoken. I have to admit that I still find it difficult, at times, to communicate with new Filipino acquaintances. I have to make sure that I don't hurt and offend their feelings. Fortunately, the people I have met so far are really very warm and understanding.”
Krista is grateful that her mother made sure that she and her younger brother did not lose their Filipino heritage despite being away from the Philippines for most of their youth. This circumstance made her realize that she also needs to imbibe different cultures that may be quite different from the environment she grew up in. Perhaps it is also this desire and willingness to learn new things, study various cultures, and meet new people that allowed her to adjust to varying situations.
“Being Filipino is not based on skin color but what's inside. I moved here when I turned 18 for a contract with the GMA Talent Center and fulfill my dream of being in showbusiness. I hope to put out my own album recording in the near future.”
Her experience with Latin crooner Julio Iglesias, with whom she went with on a world tour, has also given her valuable lessons in life. “Sr. Julio taught me to embrace the zest for learning. He told me to learn more about the world and not to wait for things to just happen. It is through constant learning that I can improve myself. In preparation for the pageant, I took a couple of classes in the Chinese language.”
It isn't difficult for someone like Krista to absorb new things easily. She is a smart and well-rounded student with a flair not only for the academics but also for the arts and sports as well. She graduated with honors from the Fullerton Union High School in the US and went on to become a scholar at the University of California San Diego.
Krista is a taekwondo black-belter who also won multiple awards in Latin ballroom, swimming and lawn tennis. She intends to take up a PhD in Psychology if things fall into place after the pageant.
“I'm interested in people and how they think that's why I took up Psychology. I read to kids at ENDAP, a school for street children, as well as teach them some martial arts.”
Her sights, as of the moment, is still focused on the entertainment business. She has done co-hosting in TV shows, acting stints in a couple of boob-tube series, and was a regular singer & dancer on SOP Rules. She was also the voice behind the theme song of GMA's prime-time soap All About Eve. Krista wants to be able to record her own music album, and perhaps make more TV series guesting and then the movies someday.
“Though I'm a GMA talent, I'm not really known as a celebrity in other countries so I guess I'll be competing in equal footing as the other girls; unlike in the national pageant where the expectations were kinda high.”
Krista is clearly a dreamer who's never afraid to share her dreams with anyone who has the same passion for life. It is this character trait that she hopes to bring with her to the Miss International competition; and that she can hopefully take home the title again for every Filipino's pride.
The cheering crowd, the air of competition, and the bright studio lights are some of the things that continually remind her she's living her dream.
Krista composed a song entitled “Beauty Queen,” that she co-wrote with R&B artist JR, that she'll be singing for the pageant's talent night presentation; a new added feature this year. The song is now available for downloading at iTunes.
“The main cause of the Miss International pageant is to build nations together. It gives all national pageant winners the chance to travel to other places. In the past, I've been to Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Canada, around the US, and the Caribbean! I have been blessed with good training and the best support system!”
To date, the Philippines has won the Miss International crown four times since the pageant's inception in 1964. Should Krista win the title this year, she'll join the roster of Filipina titleholders that include Gemma Cruz (1965), Aurora Pijuan (1970), Mimelanie Marquez (1979) and Precious Lara Quigaman (2005).


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