MANILA – The country’s representative to the Miss Universe pageant this year Mary Jean Lastimosa said that she is ready “to conquer the universe” and to bring home the crown that is “long overdue.”
Lastimosa left last Saturday to compete in the pageant which will be held at the US Century Bank Arena at Florida International University in Doral, Miami, Florida, on January 25. She will represent the country in the most prestigious beauty show in the world with high hopes given that the Philippines has been in the Top 5 for five consecutive years.
The last crown was brought home by Margie Moran some 42 years ago. It was the second title of the Philippines after Gloria Diaz won the first in 1969.
Since 2010 with Venus Raj, the country has not failed to make it to the Top 5 of the competition. The other beauty queens who represented the Philippines after Raj include: Shamcey Supsup, third-runner up in 2011; Janine Tugonon, first-runner up in 2012; and Ariella Arida, third-runner up in 2013.
“We deserve it. I simply can’t believe how passionate the Filipinos are when it comes to pageants. Ask them about the history of every contest and they know it,’’ said Lastimosa. “We’re always giving the best shot and hopefully, God will hear our prayers. And I will do my best and I will enjoy it as much as I could.’’
Some candidates already arrived in the US. According to the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), which is owned by Donald Trump, most representatives are expected to arrive on January 6. However, Lastimosa and four other girls were asked to arrive earlier to promote the contest.
Based on rumors, Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao will be one of the judges alongside supermodel Tyra Banks.
Lastimosa is under the mentorship of Rodgil Flores of Kagandahang Flores beauty camp, the same team that handled 2013 Miss International Bea Rose Santiago, 2005 Miss International Precious Lara Quigman, and current Miss Earth Jamie Herrell.
When asked about her thoughts of the other 87 girls who are all vying for the crown, Lastimosa believes that they are all doing their best.
“I’ve been off the Internet for quite awhile. Just like any other girls, I know they are doing their best and I’m doing my best also. It’s Miss Universe and everyone is preparing so hard to be unique. But I want to show them that I’m only human and I’m flawed,’’ she said.
She also added that she is dedicating this pageant to her uncle who recently passed away.
“I’ve been fighting for this dream for the longest time and it is more significant now that I have the responsibility to bring happiness to my family. We’ve been losing a lot of members of our family for this year alone (her grandmother and grandfather also passed away in 2014). So I felt that if I will succeed in this competition, I will solve the emptiness of their feeling and I can provide more for my family,’’ Lastimosa shared.