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Janine was right on why she lost

2012 Miss Universe First Runner-up Janine Tugonon (Ibarra Siapno, NPPA Images)

With Janine Tugonon’s first runner-up win at the Miss Universe pageant, we should all be happy.

In fact, even if Janine failed to bring home the title, she proved that with her intelligence and grace, she was more than a winner—she is a true embodiment of what Filipinos aspire for and what they want to achieve.

What should make us admire her even more was Janine’s humility amid all the praise she got, including comments that she and not Miss USA Olivia Culpo should have won the Miss Universe crown.

Reasons Miss USA won

Janine bared a “list” of reasons why Miss USA won. Culpo was winsome and “nice” and familiar with the Miss Universe organization, to which she was involved in so many of its activities, among others.

Janine even revealed that during those final moments before the first runner-up was announced, she thought, “Hindi rin puwede talaga.”

Above all, Janine mentioned the most controversial—Culpo’s answer in the Q&A portion. When Miss USA was asked to name the one thing she would never do again, she replied:  “Picking on my siblings when I was growing up.”

Q&A: straightforward or ‘profound’?

It seemed she gave an easy answer to what was viewed as a very simple question, compared to what judge Nigel Barker had asked Janine.

Responding to the question of whether Miss Universe should be required to speak English, Janine said the position transcends language but involves inspiring and being an influence to others as well as having the heart and mind to serve.

While many would consider this response as much more profound and clever, Janine said Miss USA’s response was “not bad and also spontaneous.”

But despite her humble “explanation” of why Culpo took home the title, observers felt the decision as unbelievable, even to the point of calling it fraudulent.

Why??

Screams of “Why??” and “Luto!” inundated social sites and echoed throughout Filipino households watching the event live, including those “viewing parties” where reactions of the attendees were posted on YouTube.

But then again, just like any beauty or talent competition, decisions will always be subjective. As Janine said, “However great your answer may be, the judges may like another response more.”

Surprisingly, some judges seemed to appreciate an unadorned and straightforward answer rather than one with insight. Even though how thought-provoking an answer could be,  some judges either didn’t want to think, or may have had enough of motherhood, a.k.a. “world peace”  statements.

Maybe this should be considered in the orientation and training of future candidates.

Next, we bag the crown!

But this doesn’t mean Janine did wrong. She was her true self and answered the question the best she can—and she did give an exceptional answer.

But in winning the crown, all of us should consider—apart from great teeth, marvelous hair, amazing confidence and cultivated smarts—the ever-shifting realities of beauty contests.  That is, if we really want to win the title.

And, yes, we are getting there.
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