Last year, I wondered if we should dare hope that the Philippines will win its third Miss Universe crown very soon, given that we had Venus Raj as the fourth runner-up in 2010 and Shamcey Supsup in 2011. I’m probably right to think that, because this year, Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon is the first runner-up in the pageant. Yay!
A few days ago, I was cringing at a report of what she said during one of those pre-pageant interviews–nothing silly, just ungrammatical. On the night of the pageant itself, I couldn’t help feeling proud of her response when she was asked if the ability to speak English is a prerequisite for Miss Universe as an international ambassador. Her response was
For me, being Miss Universe is not just about knowing how to speak a specific language. It’s about being able to influence and inspire other people. If you have a heart to serve and a strong mind to show people, then you can be Miss Universe.
Solid! For one thing, it wasn’t stupid, and it’s the sort of answer that makes you think, “Hmm, yes, come to think of it, that’s right.” For another thing, she didn’t end it with a gleeful, “Good evening/thank you, Las Vegas!” I was really rooting for her then and was nervous out of my mind when she landed in the top five, which was then trimmed down until Janine was left standing with Miss USA Olivia Culpo. Yes, I was actually jumping up and down and screaming, “Oh my God oh my God this is it it’s happeniiiiiing!”
And then Olivia was declared Miss Universe and all that bubbliness went poof.
I’m much calmer about the loss now (thankfully, there’s Twitter and Facebook to let me spew all I want to spew about what Filipinos view as a TOTAL OUTRAGE), and while first runner-up isn’t a win, it’s the closest we’ve come to winning in a long time. Therefore, congratulations, Janine! You did a wonderful job, much better than I dared hope.
My crafty evil twin and I have this glorious tradition of critiquing beauty pageants and contestants; we’re like the Statler and Waldorf of beauty pageants. I didn’t keep the transcript of our chat this morning, but holy hells, we were full of zingers, we were on a roll. One of these days, we’re really going to start liveblogging pageants or posting our chats and comments.