63rd Miss Universe: MJ would have floored the competition

One by one, some disappointed fans walked out of the viewing party room when they didn’t hear “Ms. Philippines” being called to be in the pageant’s top 5.

“The Q&A portion could have been her crowning glory,” said Oca Casaysay, former mentor of Mary Jean “MJ” Lastimosa, the country’s beauty queen for the 63rd Miss Universe.

The high energy contained in the ballroom of the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City waned as the live telecast of the beauty pageant continued without the 27-year-old gal from Tulunan, North Cotabato on the spotlight. Just some minutes ago, the viewing party’s ambience was very different; the crowd went wild when MJ was called to be in the top 15; fans cheered and screamed when she was called to join top 10.

Her fans and friends, mostly gay men whom she worked with during her early days as a beauty queen in Davao, came in droves wearing Pinoy pride and waving small flags of the country.

“I feel bad that she didn’t make it to the top five,” continued Casaysay. “She’s perfect in so many ways. MJ is a good person, a fighter—she’s someone who always sees the goodness in everyone.”

“MJ was at her best,” said Deo Antojado, MJ’s friend and then mentor and image stylist. “She deserved a higher rank in the competition.” Antojado said that MJ’s strength that the other girls didn’t have was her determination. “She never changed since we started working together in 2006; she was still 17 then. I’m the saddest person in this room right now.”

MJ showed grace and good form in the competition; this was evident in the way she wore the controversial floral Terno national costume (reportedly created by Colombian designer Alfredo Barraza), to her sexy catwalk in a Yamamay swimsuit, and up until the elegant evening gown.

And even with Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as one of the judges, MJ failed to make it to the top 5.

“The final decision of the judges is just beyond our control,” Casaysay said. Nevertheless, he is happy with how the viewing party turned out despite the pageant results.

Close to a hundred fans of MJ gathered in the Royal Mandaya Hotel for a viewing party of the 63rd Miss Universe pageant.

Leonila Rosal, a mother and an accountant at Pearl Farm Beach Resort, was one of the die-hard fans of the pageant. She attended the viewing party with her daughter—both wearing tiaras.

She echoed the sentiments of MJ’s mentors and said that she would have given a really good answer if she made it to the top five.

Rosal, 43, confessed that she’s been a huge fan of the Miss Universe since she was in high school. This year, she brought her daughter Rainne with her so that both of them could see how festive it is to watch Miss Universe with fellow fans.

Ms. Colombia was crowned as the 63rd Miss Universe; Ms. USA, who was given a question by Pacquiao, won as first runner up. All of the top five contestants were also asked a question from Facebook: what’s your country’s biggest contribution to the world? (Jesse Pizarro Boga/MindaNews)