MJ Ordillano was pursuing an acting career while managing a bar in Hong Kong before the pandemic hit. Instead of allowing it to derail his dreams, he kept an open mind and a positive attitude. When the opportunity to compete in Mister International Philippines presented itself, he saw it as a great way to meet people. “I truly enjoyed getting to know the other candidates and hearing their stories,” Ordillano says as he reflects on that experience. “We really built up a camaraderie during the time we spent together.”
Ordillano represented Parañaque City, eventually being crowned Mister International Philippines on June 27th. “It’s an incredible honor,” he tells Timid. “I want to make sure my reign isn’t just an ordinary one; I want to use my time to change perspectives about pageants, especially male pageants. And most importantly, I want to inspire everyone to accept themselves and know that so much is possible by simply being their best and authentic selves.”
The winner of Mister International Philippines went on to compete against other countries in Mister International, an annual international male beauty pageant established in 2006. This year, the pageant took place in October, with the winner crowned on October 30th. Ordillano was the fourth runner up.
Both national and international pageants were filled with activities, and Ordillano said that it was a struggle to make sure he was getting adequate rest. “I was doing my best making sure that I was excelling in every aspect of my campaign, from social media to staying in shape to making sure I was mentally prepared throughout the whole pageant,” he says. Ordillano says there isn’t anything he would have changed about either of his performances. “I try my best to put one hundred percent of my energy into the things I do, so I’m happy to say that I have no regrets.” Then he pauses with a chuckle. “Maybe I would have tried to get a bit more sleep,” he admits.
This year, Mister International was hosted by the Philippines, which made the experience doubly special for Ordillano. “It was an amazing feeling having everyone come to my own country to compete! Having that responsibility of making sure they are enjoying the time here whilst competing alongside them was such a humbling experience. I am truly grateful.” He adds, “A lot of people might think it was an advantage for it to take place in my home country, but I felt like there was an added pressure to exceed expectations. But at the end of the day, I knew that the most important thing was to do my best.”
On representing the Philippines, Ordillano says, “It’s both a responsibility and a privilege, once you carry your country’s flag behind your back, to make sure you represent your country well and show its pride. I hope I’ve set the bar high, and that others in the future will continue to do so and even do better.”
Looking to the future, Ordillano still hopes to build a career as an actor. As he continues through his journey, he says he will continue to keep an open mind and an open heart.