FIL-AM Rachel Sweet
Filipina-American Rachel Sweet is shown being crowned shortly after she was announced the winner in a beauty contest held recently in Lawrence Tech University.

A Filipino-American (Fil-Am) student will be competing in the 2012 Miss Michigan beauty contest to be held in June, this year.

Fil-Am Rachel M. Sweet, 18 years old, first-year student at the Lawrence Tech University, qualified to vie for the Miss Michigan 2012 title after she topped the beauty competition held in her school last February.

She joined the beauty contest held in her school on Feb. 4, 2012 upon the encouragement of her sorority sister, Andrea Ehlert. Originally, there were five candidates, but one of them later quit.

Rachel related that the contest started with a 10-minute interview conducted off stage by the nine members of the board of judges, who included Miss Michigan 2011 Elizabeth Wertenberger.[box type=”default” size=”large”] She qualifies to join beauty tilt after topping contest in her school [/box]She said many of the questions asked were tough. The candidates chose a platform on which they discussed certain issues. The issue she tackled was “human trafficking,” she said, recalling that her mother was once a victim of human trafficking.

She did not see her score in the question-and-answer portion, but she believed she had a high score.

In the talent portion, she played the guitar as she belted out a Mick Jagger song.

Standing about five feet and six inches, Rachel is blessed with fair complexion. She looks more of an American than a Filipina. In long gown, she is a stunning beauty.

Rachel’s father, Benjamin Sweet, is an American, who is an engineer and an adjunct professor at Lawrence University. Her mother, Remy, is a Filipina who came to the US in 1982. At present, she works at a jewelry store.

Remy’s father, Salvador Manlangit, lives with the Sweet family in West Bloomfield. He hails from Catanduanes, Bicol, Philippines. Her mother, Macaria, an Ilocana from Pangasinan, lives in Marikina City, Metro Manila together with one of Remy’s sisters.

Rachel, who was born in Michigan, is the youngest of the couple’s four children. She is taking up audio engineering at Lawrence University.

Her mother said that when Rachel was declared the winner, she could not help screaming in joy. She said she never expected her daughter to emerge as the winner.

Rachel noted that some people are perplexed about her looks, and they tell her she projects a personality which is not 100 percent American.

She related that about five years ago, she visited the Philippines together with her mother and two siblings. She said she had enjoyed the visit, recalling that they went to, among others, the Mall of Asia in Pasay City and Palawan. They were also guests at “Eat Bulaga,” the noontime show of GMA 7.

She enjoys eating Filipino dishes such as “adobo,” “pancit,” egg roll and “pinakbet.” Her mother usually cooks Filipino food, and Rachel, her siblings and their father like partaking the food.

She said she looks forward to visiting again the Philippines.

What are her chances of winning the Miss Michigan 2012 title?

Her mother said that it may be a long shot, “but who knows.” Rachel expected a tough competition, noting that so far, 27 girls have already qualified for the contest.

The beauty contest and pageant night will be held at Hampton Inn, Muskegon. It will be a five-day activity, which will start on June 13 and end with the pageant night on June 17.

Rachel said that just thinking about the contest makes her nervous, but it also makes her excited. She said that if she is not going to win, she will still cherish the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Does she have a boyfriend? “No, I don’t have,” she said emphatically. “I plan to focus on my studies. I am not just interested in boys at this time.”