A gradual rise?
Last year, Venus Raj was the fourth runner-up in Miss Universe 2010. This year, Shamcey Supsup became the third runner-up in Miss Universe 2011. Dare we hope for a slow but steady rise to the crown in the next few years?
Shamcey placing fourth overall was both a thrill and a disappointment to many. Obviously, it was awesome to have clinched that spot out of a total of 89 candidates. But of course, it was disappointing since she was just a few steps away from having bagged the title of Miss Universe–and we know how seriously beauty pageants are taken here.
Shamcey was undeniably gorgeous on coronation night–my gods, did you see her incredible hair? She pulled through okay in the swimsuit and evening gown competitions, same as Venus Raj did a year before. I just can’t figure out why we can’t seem to really nail it in the interview portion. The question directed to Shamcey concerned the issue of having to change her religion for the person she loved, and to that Shamcey said, uh-uh, no way, if he loves me, he’s got to respect my faith. On one hand, yay, how nice, your devotion to your religion is to be commended. On the other hand, it was a teensy bit intolerant, expecting her hypothetical spouse-to-be to accept her God* while she would not even consider respecting her hypothetical spouse-to-be’s. As an ardent fan of beauty pageants and someone who once wished for a beauty pageant for short women, I reckon it would have been a lot more impressive if she instead said that religion is a controversial issue, but that respect would be the real key there: Do not impose your religion on me and I will not do the same to you, and then we’ll see how things roll from there. Tolerance and acceptance is important, rather than digging in our respective heels.**
I imagine her response thrilled the hearts of many hardcore Catholics in the country, but apparently not those of the judges. The result of the pageant resulted in numerous angry, frothing mouths here in the country, with some people saying her answer was perfect, she was the only one to have really, properly spoken in English, and that the response of the other candidates only sounded good because they had interpreters. A rumor even began circulating that Oprah Winfrey said that Shamcey deserved to win; at present, the rumor remains unsubstantiated, and the best evidence people could present is that it came from an NBC news sound bite from Oprah, without a single link anywhere. Talk about being sore losers and being unable to accept defeat gracefully. To my mind, her response was that of a naive young girl–or maybe a smart woman who knows she’ll be crucified here by the rabid religious if she says she’ll tolerate another religion or even convert, and wanted to avoid that shitstorm.***
I will continue to look forward to Binibining Pilipinas, nevertheless, and hope we finally churn out candidates who not only have the looks department down pat, but who also have a more cosmopolitan outlook and have eliminated the tendency to gush brightly at the end of their responses.****
Update: The OWNModerator over at Oprah.com must be getting pissed off replying to excited Filipinos and telling them that it’s not true that Oprah made any statement in support of Shamcey. GIVE IT UP, MY FELLOWMEN.
* Though clearly, it’s not a question about faith, but about religion, but hey, to many people, it is one and the same.
** And world peace. Thank you. *blows kiss, waves, sashays back to my place in the top five*
*** Of course, even if her answer caused a shitstorm, if it won her the crown, people would overlook it because, hey, Miss Universe!
**** Remember Venus Raj’s “I’m just so happy to be here!” last year? This year, Shamcey ended her answer by joyfully thanking Brazil.
On a different note, holy crap, Miss Venezuela didn’t even make it to the top 10. I hope she won’t go home and be greeted by tut-tuts of disappointment–I hear Venezuelans are even more hardcore about beauty pageants than we are.