Life after Miss Universe

Pia Ranada
What is life like after one year as a beauty queen?

BRIGHT WOMAN, BRIGHT FUTURE. All Filipinos await the fate of Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon at the Miss Universe 2012 pageant in Las Vegas on December 19 (December 20 in Manila). No matter what happens, we can be sure that Janine will continue to be an inspiration to Filipinos everywhere, especially women. Photo from the Janine Mari Raymundo Tugonon Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – What happens after Miss Universe?

While all spotlights are trained on the 2012 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas on December 19 (December 20 in Manila), perhaps it would be a good idea to reflect on the impact of this pageant on its winners, contestants and the world at large.

What happens after the glitzy spectacle of gowns, swimsuits and question-and-answer portions? 

Merely competing for the Miss Universe crown assures fame and, more often than not, fortune in the form of offered opportunities, endorsements and collaborations. In our country, for example, names of former beauty queens never completely disappear from newspapers, TV shows, commercials and even movies. Some have become household names as famous as politicians, actors and TV personalities. 

Rappler looks into the lives of former Binibing Pilipinas-Universe contestants to see where they are today and how the pageant has changed their lives.

After the crown

Only two Filipinas have managed to bring home the Miss Universe crown.

The first was Gloria Diaz, crowned in 1969, within days of the Apollo 11 moon-landing. In fact, it was her answer to a question related to the landing that won her the crown. 

When asked what she would do to entertain a man from the moon who would land in her hometown, she answered, “Oh, just the same things I do. I think if he has been on the moon for so long, I think when he comes over, he wants [a] change, I guess.”

After her reign as Miss Universe 1969, she became a well-known actress, appearing in several TV shows and movies. She debuted on the silver-screen with her role as Isabel in the 1974 film Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa. Her acting career reached its zenith when she won the Best Supporting Actress award from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) in 2005 for her role in the FAMAS Best Picture Nasaan Ka Man.

Today, the 65-year-old is a proud mother of two: Isabelle Daza — now a model and TV personality — and Ava Daza.

Four years after, another Filipina was crowned Miss Universe: Margie Moran. The strong-jawed beauty with striking Eurasian features impressed judges with her regal bearing and intelligent responses.

Today, Margie Moran’s name is associated with civic work and culture and the arts. She has done everything from helping build 1,000 houses in Baseco, Manila for Habitat for Humanity to serving as a member of the board of trustees of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippines.

In between, she is the executive vice chairperson for the Mindanao Commission on Women, president of the Southern Philippines Foundation for the Arts, Culture and Ecology and president of Ballet Philippines. She has produced films and documentaries, published a coffee-table book and established weaving centers to help women in Davao del Norte.

In short, she is a super woman.

Like Gloria Diaz, the 59-year-old former Miss Universe is a mother of two daughters, Monica and Gabrielle Floirendo.

Fresh from the pageant

Since 1973, no other Filipina has been crowned Miss Universe; but in 1999, a therapist from Metro Manila came pretty close.

Miriam Quiambao bagged 1st runner-up, coming second only to the winner of the pageant, Mpule Kwelagobe of Botswana.

Miriam became memorable when she slipped and fell on stage during a preliminary round of the competition. Afterwards, in another part of the pageant, she reportedly referred back to the incident, dedicating it to “those women who have fallen both on and off the stage” and her hopes of “becoming an example to the rest of the women in the world.”

The path Miriam has taken after the pageant most closely resembles Gloria Diaz’s. Today, the 36-year-old morena beauty is a multi-awarded TV host, having appeared on morning shows and travel shows on TV5, ABS-CBN, GMA Network and QTV.

She has several films under her belt, most recently the comedy Kimmy Dora and the Temple of Kiyeme for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 2010 Gawad Urian Awards.

Watch Miriam answer the 1999 Miss Universe final question in this video:

It has only been two years since 24-year-old Bicolana Venus Raj placed 4th runner-up at the 2010 Miss Universe pageant; and already, she has been hosting shows on ABS-CBN and acting in local fantasy series and drama shows. Having just wrapped up a role in the recently released horror film Pridyider, it seems almost certain that Venus will be following Miriam and Gloria’s career path. 

Because barely a year has passed since Shamcey Supsup’s 3rd runner-up placement in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, she is still heavily involved in Miss Universe affairs. Aside from occasionally hosting for TV shows, Shamcey hosted the pre-pageant special of this year’s Binibing Pilipinas pageant.

Even more recently, she was invited by the Miss Universe Organization to be part of the Miss Universe 2012 team, hosting their behind-the-scenes web coverage, On the Scene.

What lies in store

All wonder what lies in store for Janine Tugonon, our country’s representative to this year’s Miss Universe pageant. 

If she wins, she will reign as Miss Universe for a year, championing HIV/AIDS prevention, the official advocacy of the Miss Universe Organization. 

If she loses the crown but still places, she may choose to follow the path of Miss Universe placers before her, using her influence and fame to open other opportunities.

But the fact that she has made it this far already places her in a position to be a symbol to Filipinos and later on, a symbol to the world.

What that symbol will stand for is up to her. – Rappler.com

 

You may also want to read:

Miss Universe 2012: ‘On the Scene’ with Shamcey Supsup

Margie Moran-Floirendo on Miss Universe and Janine Tugonon

Miss Universe 2012: Janine Tugonon in costume

LIVE BLOG: Miss Universe 2012 National Costume Show

Miss Universe 2012: Janine Tugonon prelims photos

Miss Universe 2012: Janine Tugonon prelims video

LIVE BLOG: Miss Universe 2012 Preliminary Competition

Miss Universe 2012: New video

Miss Universe 2012: Top 16 bets

Miss Universe 2012: Janine Tugonon and Care4Kids

Miss Universe 2012: Miss PH Janine Tugonon’s childhood pics

Miss Universe 2012: Miss PH on Pacman, new vid and pics

Miss Universe 2012: Ms PH visits Pacman

Miss Universe 2012: Janine Tugonon in ballgown

Miss Universe 2012: Janine Tugonon video interview

Miss Universe 2012: Janine Tugonon in swimwear

Miss Universe 2012: Shamcey Supsup is ‘On the Scene’

EXCLUSIVE: Jonas Gaffud — The man behind the beauty queens

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.