Filipino beauty queens Teresita Marquez and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach know how it feels like to fail to win a national beauty pageant crown. They also know how it feels like to bounce back and win an international title.
Marquez was 25 when she joined Miss World Philippines 2017. She got the second highest score making her the official representative of the Philippines to Reina Hispanoamericana 2017.
On Nov. 4, Marquez won the Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 crown making her the first Asian candidate to join and win the beauty pageant. But her triumph as a beauty queen was not an overnight success.
When Marquez was 22, she joined Binibining Pilipinas, the national beauty pageant in the Philippines that chooses the official candidate of the country to Miss Universe. She won three special awards and reached Top 15 but did not advance further while Wurtzbach won the top crown and eventually became Miss Universe 2015.
During the victory party for the reigning Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 on Nov. 13, Monday, at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City, Metro Manila, I asked five of the most controversial Miss Universe questions. Here are her answers:
Miss Universe 1994 final 3 question: What, for you, is the essence of being a woman?
Miss India 1994 Sushmita Sen (Miss Universe 1994): I think being a woman by itself, the very fact that you’re a woman is a gift of God, which all of us must appreciate. The origin of a child is a mother and is a woman, and a woman is the one who shares love and who shares and shows a man what love, caring, sharing is all about. That is the essence of a woman.
Teresita Marquez: For me, the essence of being a woman is enduring pain, and even if she feels pain, she still can love one person. And for a woman to do that, she’s not just a survivor. She is a strong person.
Miss Universe 1996 final 3 question: What do you think men can learn from women?
Miss Venezuela 1996 Alicia Machado (Miss Universe 1996): I believe they can learn very much because thanks to us women, the men are here in this beautiful theater, seeing this beautiful contest, and applauding me because I am a beautiful woman. (translated from Spanish)
TM: Being sensitive. Women are very sensitive. They know how to deal with different things. And I think men can actually learn that from women and you just see things in different perspectives.
Miss Universe 1997 final 3 question: If there were no rules in your life for one day, and you could be outrageous, what would you do?
Miss USA 1997 Brook Mahealani Lee (Miss Universe 1997): I would eat everything in the world. You do not understand. I would eat everything twice.
TM: It might sound cliché but I would eat anything that would be served to me, whatever it is, exotic food, whatever food I will eat. No diets. No workouts. Just eat.
Miss Universe 2002 final 5 final question: What makes you blush?
Miss Russia 2002 Oxana Federova (resigned Miss Universe 2002): When I say the wrong things. (translated from Russian)
TM: What makes me blush, I think when I get embarrassed, when I did something that I didn’t mean to do, that makes me blush.
Miss Universe 2010 final 5 question: What is one big mistake you’ve made in your life and what did you do to make it right?
Miss Philippines 2010 Venus Raj (Miss Universe 2010 fourth runner-up): In my 22 years of existence, I can say there is nothing major, major, I mean problem, that I have done in my life, because I am very confident with my family, with the love they are giving to me, so thank you so much that I am here. Thank you. Thank you so much.
TM: I don’t consider anything in my life as a mistake because everything that I have done made who I am today and I learned from it. So, all the “mistakes” I had, I don’t consider them as mistakes, I consider them as lessons.
Watch the Q&A session with Marquez here: