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The Silver Linings Academy: Not your usual classroom


Unconventional learning, dynamic instructors, and multi-faceted approaches. These are the three things one could expect when signing up for The Silver Linings Academy. Throwing handouts right out of the window, the classes are filled with exercises that would perfect one’s skills for day-to-day application.

The courses are designed based on the foundation that each individual has their own unique identity and skill set, deviating from conventional strategies to fit students in a template. The syllabus covers the following: Performance Skills Enhancement, Culture and Art Appreciation, Runway, Personal Branding, Impromptu Speech, Debate and Public Speaking.

Get to know the instructors

Carlos Buendia Jr. and Nicole Cordoves are the ‘dynamic duo’ that Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray personally refers to as her dream team.


Working in a multinational architectural firm in the day, Buendia, often called ‘Kuya Caloy’, is the mind behind the now-iconic and internationally-recognized ‘Lava Walk’ and slow-mo turn that caught the attention of supermodel and TV host Tyra Banks.

With his wide knowledge in Philippine history and the arts, he served as President/ Artistic Director of Teatro Tomasino (university-wide theater guild of UST), President of UST Arki Dance Troupe and formerly training with the Philippines’ Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company. Buendia has given substantial inputs on how to tell a story through the details of the national costume as well as the symbolic dances that come with it.

Cordoves was crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Grand International back in 2016. Since then, she continues to fulfill her position at The Manila Bulletin as a Digital Strategist and writer. She has also furthered her career on television as a judge on the noontime show ‘It’s Showtime’ for the Miss Q&A segment which has already made a two-year run. With her critical and constructive comments to the candidates, netizens have named her ‘Miss On-Point’.

Not a lot of people are aware but Cordoves used to write the speeches of the country’s former Finance Secretary, which gave her an edge in besting candidates from all over the world. Her speech at the Miss Grand International pageant has close to a million views today. She played a major role in helping the current Miss Universe prepare for the question and answer portion as well as training on how to prepare for speeches.

How the academy was brought to life

After Gray’s win, people flocked to urge Buendia and Cordoves to train more girls by setting up a camp. With Gray herself giving him the extra push to train more people, Buendia teamed up with Cordoves to plan a workshop that goes beyond pageantry. Seeing how pageant training could boost self-confidence and greatly improve interpersonal skills, the workshop is set to accommodate anyone, whether one is an aspiring performer, a corporate individual who wants to improve their presence and presentation skills, or an aspiring beauty queen.

As with everything else, the perfect partnership was found with Cornerstone Entertainment, where all workshops will be held from April 22-30, May 2, 6, 7, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Students are encouraged to attend all sessions.

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