Twenty four-year old Ariella Hernandez Arida of San Pablo City, Laguna is a GIRL SCOUT! A BS Chemistry graduate of the University of the Philippines – Los Banos (UPLB), this 5’7” stunner is the Philippines representative to Miss Universe 2013 Beauty Pageant come November 2013 in Moscow, Russia. She is on indefinite leave of absence from her work in Mc Ritz International Corporation as she is presently tied up with Bb. Pilipinas Charities Foundation fulfilling her commitments as the reigning beauty titlist.

A mix of beauty, brains, and brawn, Ariella is a consistent honor student. She garnered the First Honor award from Kindergarten to Grade VI (Elementary) and graduated in high school in the honor roll. With her well-rounded personality, she is also into reading, volleyball, swimming, running, and modeling.

“I was a Twinkler Scout, Star Scout, Junior Scout and Senior Girl Scout during my pre-school, elementary and high school days. I don’t have any affiliation with GSP during college and at present but in my heart and in my mind I love scouting pure and true,” Ariela said.

As to the memorable experiences she had as a young Girl Scout, Ariella excitedly narrated this story: “I used to tag along with my mother (who is a Teacher/Troop Leader) whenever she’s sending delegates to the Provincial Star Holiday/Junior Encampment at Camp Maria Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna, so at a young age of three, I was used to a Girl Scouting life already. So when it’s my turn to be a “real Girl Scout,” I was always an active participant in the Star Holidays/Junior Encampments. Girl Scouting is fun and you meet a lot of friends, you learn to live in the out-of-doors, you hike out in the forest and you experience going to a lot of places outside your classroom like Enchanted Kingdom, SM South Mall, Star City etc. I really loved being a Girl Scout.

Ariella has always been exposed to many beauty and personality contests even at such a tender age. During her kinder days in Alaminos Central, she was Ms. United Kingdom and was named Ms. United Nations, her first time to walk on the ramp donning her cute gowns with matching hats and sash with her title. During high school in Laguna College, she represented the sophomore class as Ms. Lakambini during the Buwan ng Wika Celebration. And in her last year in college, she joined the Bb. Laguna 2010 pageant and landed on the Top 6, followed by winning as one of the top 12 in the Ms. Earth 2011.

With her string of achievements, we can’t help but wonder if she thinks Girl Scouting has helped mold her into what she is now – character-wise and personality-wise. Without batting an eyelash, Ariella quipped, “I learned to mingle with others, gained friends and established rapport even if they have different personalities. Girl Scouting made me strong and confident. I was shy before but I learned to overcome that trait through scouting. It helped me a lot and contributed much to what I am now.”

Her mother, Estela Arida is a Girl Scout of the Philippines (GSP) Troop Leader for forty years, a GSP District Field Adviser for thirty four years and a credentialed GSP Trainer for twenty years. True to her Girl Scouting form, Mrs. Arida has done a great job to our Girl Scouts especially to her very own daughter Girl Scout. She believes that she has been an integral part of their transformation – from young girls to young women who are dynamic, pro-active, energetic and responsible citizens of their community. “I feel so proud of my daughter but afraid at the same time because of the great responsibility on her shoulder. She must work hard because the pressure is there already. I hope and pray that eventually she could win the title,” Mrs. Arida said. “From our simple life then, now, it’s entirely different. We have to grant interviews and photo shoots, meet new faces, read good (or bad) articles about my daughter’s journey – as if we are really in showbiz. It’s really new to us and we have to accept that. It’s part of her winning the title. I pray to God to give me the strength to endure all the sacrifices we have to make, all the challenges we have to meet and be firm from all the glitz and glamour that these bring,” she added.

Much as we are all excited to see her bring home the crown, we asked her about her immediate plans after the pageant. “As of now, there’s no immediate plan yet. I’ll finish first the journey to Ms. Universe 2013 come November and after that I’m still tied up to Bb. Pilipinas until my reign ends in April 2014. I will grasp the opportunities that will come my way after this pageant journey.’

With such a positive spirit and engaging attitude, we all can’t help but take pride in having her as one of us. Ariella lovingly ended the interview with this special message for her fellow Girl Scouts.

“Aim high and hit the mark. If you want to achieve your goal, then work hard for it. Try to focus, be determined and be patient because if it’s God’s will, then it’s yours. Pray to God and stay humble.”

The words of the beauty queen – and these words, we all believe, will take her to the greater heights of her dream and passion. Your Girl Scout family will always be behind you as you do your duty representing our country in Russia!

(Note: Special thanks to Ms. Reby Basanes, Regional Executive Director of Southern Luzon Region, for helping GSP Communications Division in personally facilitating this interview with the concerned.)

The Arida Family now - Daddy Ariel, Ariella, Mommy Estela, big sister Arriza.