MANILA, Philippines – After almost a year of preparations, Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina is ready to face the international community as she welcomes the candidates for the Miss Universe pageant to be held on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
At the press conference and send-off party held at Novotel on Tuesday, January 10, Maxine was asked whether she would have preferred to compete for the title abroad.
For the 26-year-old interior designer and model, it would be an honor to win the title in her own country. (READ: 9 fun facts: Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina)
“Honestly, I just realized na (that) it would be fulfilling for me to have it here in the Philippines. Kasi (Because) everyone knows that I’m fond of going outdoors. And it was so surprising na bigla na lang dito sa (that it was going to be held here in the) Philippines and we’re going around the Philippines. And it’s my goal na (that) before I go around the world, I’ll be going around the Philippines first,” she said.
Maxine added that she’s very excited to share with the candidates the warm hospitality and resilience of Filipinos, as well as cultural practices like the boodle fight, or eating using just bare hands.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to watch the coronation night. Asked if she were nervous, Maxine replied: “Oh, no. I’m very honored that our President will be there and since he will be witnessing a back-to-back [win].” (READ: Miss Universe PH 2016 Maxine Medina on the challenge of a back-to-back win)
Rhett Eala and family support
Maxine also confirmed that designer Rhett Eala will be making her national costume and evening gown.
On the evening gown, Maxine said it’s very important to choose the right outfit for the pageant.
“Well, it’s crucial because it’s really hard to choose a gown for the finals and even look better onstage. I would like to thank Mrs Stella Araneta for helping me with all of this and for helping me choose my designer,” she said.
Last year, Pia Wurtzbach wore a dress by Oliver Tolentino to the preliminary competition and a blue gown by Albert Andrada on coronation night.
In 2014, fans hit Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Incorporated (BPCI) and chairperson Stella Araneta for the controversial national costume of Mary Jean Lastimosa, as well as the evening gown she wore. (WATCH: MJ Lastimosa on Stella Araneta, national costume controversy)
Looking back on the time she won Miss Universe Philippines 2016, Maxine said she never thought she would be the person that she is today. (READ: How Maxine Medina is preparing for Miss Universe in PH)
“Honestly, after I won I’ve been texting everyone [that] this is new to me. The world of pageantry is really a big thing. Not just for myself but for the whole country. I really have to work hard for it. I’m going to devote myself to learning things. Now I’m getting better and getting confident. Because I’ve seen the candidates and I’m sure we will have a back-to-back [win].”
Maxine’s family, friends, and boyfriend Marx Topacio were also present at the send-off.
Speaking to the media, Maxine’s mom Maria Fe and sister Ferica said they talk to Maxine as much as they can to assure her of their support.
“The only thing we can give her is prayers talaga (really) and full support. Every time she calls us up, we’re there for her, anything that she needs,” Maria Fe said.
She also reminds Maxine to be who she is and to stay humble. The experience has changed Maxine for the better, she added.
Ferica, meanwhile, said she supports Maxine through prayers. She also posts on social media using the hashtag “#4M4MU,” which stands for “Maria Mika Maxine Medina for Miss Universe.”
“Sinisimulan na po namin siya para maipakita talaga ‘yung suporta ng lahat ng Pilipino,” Ferica said.
(We already started [using the hashtag] so we can show the support of all Filipinos.)
Marx, like Maxine’s family, also backs his girlfriend in her quest to give the Philippines another crown. In fact, he said Maxine has improved since winning Miss Universe Philippines.
“She’s really confident now. Kahit talaga sino kaya niya harapin. Kahit sino kaya na niya kausapin. I mean kasi siya, very sweet iyan. So ngayon laki ng pagbabago niya talaga sobra. As in sobrang confident na siya,” he said.
(She’s really confident now. She can face anyone. She can talk to anyone. I mean, she is really a sweet person. So now, she has changed so much. She’s really very confident now.)
As to whether he will watch her live, Marx said he will bring his friends along with him.
“Ready kami ng mga friends ko. Nagusap-usap na kami na saan tayo, dito tayo. Kailangan kumpleto tayo, on time, para ready kami sumigaw at mapaos,” he said.
(My friends and I are ready. We’ve spoken about where to sit and position ourselves. We need to be complete, on time, so that we’re ready to shout and cheer on Maxine until we’re hoarse.) – Rappler.com
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