Much as I’d like to blog about something new, I can’t afford to let go of my own share of retrospect on last September 6’s Miss Universe 2011 event. Quite understandable, because aside from being a pageant fanatic, a frustrated beauty queen, and a mentor to aspiring beauty queens, I will always be proud of every Filipino, past and present, who has made a mark in any international beauty quest.
Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup may not have come home with the coveted Miss Universe 2011 crown, but she’s brought pride and honor to our country by placing 3rd runner-up. Talks and blogs have it that she should’ve placed higher. As far as I’m concerned, she could have either clinched the crown or gotten the first runner-up position had most of the judges been receptive to and respectful enough of her honest-to-goodness answer to such a make-or-break question asked during the final round. However, I’d like to think that the result was fair, and I highly respect the judges’ decision.
In all fairness to Miss Angola Leila Lopes (the winner), she had the most beautiful face among the 15 semi-finalists. She reminds me of her fellow exotic beauty from her continent, Nigeria’s Agbani Darego, who won the 2001 Miss World crown in South Africa, but had been misplaced at Miss Universe 2001 held in Puerto Rico a few months prior (Denise Quinones of the host country won the night). Anyhow, Miss Ukraine Olesya Stefanko (first runner-up) was also seductive and glamourous.
Shamcey Supsup was exceptional. She’s a dead ringer for Binibining Pilipinas-International 1996 Yedda Marie Mendoza Kittilsvedt and Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2007 Anna Theresa Licaros mixed. She had the best walk and the best style. She displayed the most grace and elegance, and delivered the most substantial answer in terms of honesty and conviction. Moreover, who wouldn’t have been impressed by the fact that, of all the five finalists, she was the only one who needed no interpreter? For that she should’ve been given extra points.
Any true-blue Filipino everywhere would be proud of and happy for Shamcey’s feat at the pageant. But because we can’t please everybody, some may have blamed her for sounding too fanatically religious in her response to the final question:”Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person that you love? Why or why not?”
She replied, “If I had to change my religious beliefs, I would not marry the person that I love, because the first person I love is God, who created me. I have my faith and my principles, and this is what makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God, too.”
I could hardly see anything wrong with that, with being honest and humble in a beauty pageant. It’s just so unbecoming that some title-holders won in their respective competitions owing to their answer that the judges and the audience wanted to hear. Hence, most contestants are pressed to answer against their personal choice and opinion, because they’re afraid to lose their chance of winning.
Please spare Shamcey, for she stood her ground with conviction as a God-centered human being and pride as an exemplary Filipina. Born brainy and bold, she did not come through a traditional method of training wherein beauty-queen wannabes are taught to lie and be politically correct for the sake of winning.
I reviewed the pageant a few days ago. Donald Trump was right about choosing Brazil as this year’s host country, because its culture is so rich as it was evident in the pageant’s stage. It might not be as majestic as that at Miss Universe 2000 in Cyprus (crown won by my all-time favorite beauty queen, India’s Lara Dutta) or as big as that at Miss Universe 2004 in Equador (Australia’s Jennifer Hawkins was crowned), but Brazil’s production was awesome. It was festive that they let each of the candidates introduce herself onstage, rather than having the segment pre-taped from a separate location. It could, however, have also been taped onstage beforehand, but to the televiewers worldwide it looked as if it was done live.
I wish the present organizers could create an opening production number again that’s as visually enthralling as that of Miss Universe 2004, wherein USA’s Shandi Finnessey brought the house down with her hip-swaying. Such dance number may be a good ice-breaker for all those delegates coming from different countries and competing for one coveted crown. Plus, let’s face it: It’s pleasing to see all equally beautiful women dancing together, isn’t it? If I may remember it right, legendary pageant choreographer Scott Grossman did it and made it classy. He’s the hot man onstage, during his terms with the organization, who was tasked to hand bouquets to special award winners, the runners-up and, of course, the Miss Universe.
This year’s production number into each segment (the swimsuit competition as well as the evening gown competition) was eye-popping. What I like about Miss Universe compared to other pageants is that, like science, it undergoes change and development, as the structures of the universe. Gone are the days when girls dilly-dallied in their evening gowns. Such old-school style is common in neighborhood and municipal beauty contests, and even in some national and international pageants except for Miss Universe and Miss World. I found this year’s host Andy Cohen as delicious as his voice and accent. To me he’s the hottest host that Miss Universe pageant has invited.
To Shamcey Supsup, thank you for uplifting the image of our country. The same goes to Maria Venus Raj, for placing fourth runner-up in last year’s edition of Miss Universe pageant: You paved the way for aspiring Filipina beauty queens. On the other hand, it’s quite interesting to note that it was also in (Sao Paulo) Brazil where our very own Chat Almarvez bagged the first runner-up award in the prestigious Ford Supermodel of the World 2010 competition. A big thanks to her as well.
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