the rest is still unwritten

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

People Watch: Maria Venus Raj

It should come as no surprise that my concept of winners and losers came not from supporting sports teams, but was learned by tuning in to the yearly Miss Universe pageant as a child. Before knowing what second place and bronze medals were, I fully understood what it meant to be a runner up to the newly crowned Miss Universe - almost won, but not quite.

Yesterday, I was among millions glued to the tube, watching with baited breath as this year's 83 glamazons strutted their stuff in Las Vegas for the coveted title of Miss Universe 2010. Despite not winning the crown, I have to hand it to the Philippines' own binibini -


Venus literally glided through the competition proving to be an early favorite among viewers and judges alike. Venus possesses a quiet but undeniable dignity and grace, belying her humble beginnings. According to Venus, one of her greatest accomplishments is graduating from college with honors - despite a very impoverished background. A segment on the news following the pageant showed a clip of the home she grew up in - a hut. Venus is proof that glamazons really could come from the jungle - I mean this in the best way possible. Here is a woman, with the odds stacked against her sharing her beauty, experiences and pride with the universe.

With amazing carriage and presence, Venus stood out from the pack. With only one spot left in the top fifteen, the crowd roared as the Philippines was finally called, making her the only Asian contestant to advance. The 15 semi-finalists were further narrowed down to 10. And from 10, there were the final five. Venus again found herself among the six women who waited for the last name to be called as one of the five finalists. It was Venus. One of the hosts commented that the whole country of the Philippines must have been in the theater as Venus took her place in the final five with an overwhelming applause from the audience.

And then there was the question and answer portion.

Now, some have harshly criticized Venus' performance in this round- that this is where she blew it. Her answer probably did cost her the crown. But people should stop dwelling on the shoulda woulda coulda's. Venus is the first Filipina in over a decade to hold a position in the top five of this pageant. Besting over 70 other beauties from around the world is no small feat. We should celebrate and be inspired by this non-win victory.

In truth, if asked the same question, I would have responded with an answer similar to Venus. The question was what is the one biggest mistake she has made and why. Venus responded that in her 22 years of existence there "was nothing major major problem. That she was confident in the love her family gives her and that she was very happy to be there". So... I guess she didn't really answer the question. But I would feel the same way if asked, only in different words.

Hardships, difficulties and mistakes are all part of life. But we should never regret any problem we face, any mistake, any loss. If one thing in our personal history was altered, then how can you learn from it? And how can you guarantee that the person you are now would be the same person had the mistake not been made? Be thankful that you made your choice, and that you were given a choice to make in the first place. Learn from it and grow.

So, Ms Raj. Do not regret this 'mistake'. You are a winner in my, and many other people's books. From your small-town roots in Camarines Sur to your finishing in the top five, I am sure your future will be very bright. I can already smell the money you will make from a surplus of guest appearances and product endorsements. Advertising gurus should have a field day with your q&a 'blunder'. I mean, you already have a slogan. You will forever be MAJOR MAJOR.

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1 comment:

  1. She is pretty...phenomenal.

    I wonder what is actually next for her.