MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – This year’s Miss Universe 4th placer Venus Raj of the Philippines admitted that she got nervous during the beauty pageant's question-and-answer portion.
"Alam mo kasi pag nasa stage ka, may ganoon akong, ewan ko ba, may ganoon akong sakit sa katawan ko na pag nasa stage na ako hindi ko alam ang sinasabi ko,” she laughingly said.
She shared that she was so happy when she made it in the top 5. She said she is excited to go back to the Philippines to see her family.
The Filipino-Indian beauty queen was also grateful to all Filipinos who supported her.
Raj was asked by American actor William Baldwin the one biggest mistake that she made in her life and what she did to make it right.
She replied: "You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence I can say that there's nothing major, major problem that I've done in my life because I'm very confident with my family, with the love that they are giving to me. So thank you so much that I'm here. Thank you, thank you so much!" she said.
The last time the Philippines placed in the pageant was in 1999, with Miriam Quiambao bagging first runner up. The Philippines has two title holders --- Gloria Diaz, who won in 1969, and Margarita Moran, who won in 1973.
Jimena Navarrete from Mexico was proclaimed Miss Universe 2010.
A total of 83 contestants joined this year's Miss Universe pageant. The coronation night was held at Mandalay Bay Monday (US time).
Even though she failed to bring home the crown, Filipino celebrities were all praises for Raj.
Television host and newspaper columnist Tim Yap applauded Raj for making the country proud.
"Miss Phils Venus Raj's journey from the rice fields of Camarines Sur to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is a feat in itself. She made us proud!:-)," Yap tweeted.
Celebrity stylist Liz Uy and singer-actress Zsa Zsa Padilla extended their congratulations to the 22-year-old beauty queen.
For beauty queens Miriam Quiambao, Ruffa Gutierrez and Charlene Gonzales, Raj did a great job.
"Congrats Venus! We're still proud of u!" Quiambao tweeted.
"Just woke up...watching MISS UNIVERSE. Cannot believe I totally forgot to set my alarm! :( But super proud that PHILIPPINES in the Top 5! :)," Gutierrez posted in her Twitter account.
Gonzales echoed: "For me!!! Venus is still a winner.. She made us proud, the fact she made it tht far!!! Wow!! Were proud of u!!!! Good job Venus!"
“Showtime” host Anne Curtis also congratulated Raj. She's also happy that Miss Australia was able to join the top 5. Curtis is half Filipino, half Australian.
"Round of applause for Venus Raj! Stand tall when you come home to the Philippines! Merely making it to the top 5 and winning 4th runner up is a major accomplishment! You make us proud! Congratulations also to Miss Australia! Aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi! I'm proud to be from both countries!" Curtis tweeted.
DJ KC Montero admitted that Raj made a mistake during the question-and-answer portion, but he still congratulated her.
"Venus' major mistake was the answer to that question, but she still did awesome so congrats," Montero tweeted.
Singer Sitti Navarro echoed: "Miss Mexico's so pretty! Medyo kamukha niya si Vanessa Hudgens. Sayang Venus! Pero at least nag-top 5 :)."
Still the winner
Raj’s answer also caused a flood of online reactions from Filipinos.
Most of the Twitter and Facebook users made fun of Raj’s answer. Someone said she had just made her “major, major” mistake by answering that way. Another user tweeted “I'm so major major proud of venus! hihiheee!”
Many thought that Raj blew her chance when she answered the question that way.
Prior to the competition, Raj had already faced a lot of controversies including her temporary dethronement due to citizenship issue. Many felt that mentioning what she had to go through to reclaim her title would boost her chances of winning.
Even Diaz and Moran were saddened that the young Filipina was not able to bag the title. Despite her failure to bring home the crown, Diaz and Moran insisted that it may not have been the best answer, but they still consider her the winner.
Moran said it was already a big achievement for Raj to make it in the top 5. She said there's a good reason to celebrate since Raj placed 4th out of the more than 80 beauties who competed for the crown. –With reports from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News, and ANC
Watch the 65th Miss Universe coronation live on ABS-CBN Channel 2 on January 30, 2017 Monday 8 a.m. (Manila time)
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