Sunday, January 15, 2017

91. Beauty Queens as Ad Models: LALAINE BENNETT, Miss Universe 3rd Runner Up

GENERAL TEXTILES INC. was one of the most popular brands of fabrics in the country in the early 1960s. With offices in Libis, Quezon City, GENTEX products were promoted not only through traditional media but also via sponsorships of fashion and beauty shows. One such event that GENTEX sponsored was the 1963 search for Miss Philippines to the Miss Universe, staged by impresario Alfredo Lozano at the Philamlife Auditorium.

Of the 24 candidates , a Gaddang-speaking Filipina-American mestiza from Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya  was crowned Miss Philippines—Lalaine Betia Bennett, a 5’9” stunner who had finished as a runner-up to Cynthia Ugalde in another pageant in 1962. Bennett went on to compete at the Miss Universe Pageant in Miami Beach and copped 4th place from 49 other beauties.

This was the very first placement of the Philippines at the Miss Universe, and so, when Bennett came home, she was welcomed with warm adulation. Offers for her to appear as a celebrity endorser for a number of products poured in, magazines sought her as their cover girl, and even movie producers came-a calling.

GENTEX, having been a sponsor of the local Miss Philippines tilt, was one of the first advertisers to get Lalaine’s services. In fact, a new fabric brand was named after her—LALAINE FABRICS. The line-cotton fabric blend are soft, light and pastel colored. It also possess the GENTEX  crease-free and color-fast quality.

“Fashioned for flattery”—LALAINE FABRICS hit the stores in 1964, and promoted in print ads as “the choice of the nation’s fairest”. Lalaine would go on and also promote other products like Radiowealth and Pepsi, and would even star in her own movie,”Lalaine, Mahal Kita”. As for LALAINE FABRICS, the product was only as good as Lalaine’s popularity, as by 1964, another beauty took over the limelight —Gemma Cruz, who finally won a world crown as Miss International 1964. 

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