Janine Tugonon names 'threat' in Miss Universe

By Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Dec 13 2012 11:46 PM | Updated as of Dec 15 2012 01:25 AM

Shamcey advises successor: Pick your battles

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine delegate to this year's Miss Universe sees her counterpart from Venezuela as among the strongest contenders in the 61st edition of the annual pageant.

The Philippines' representative to the 2012 Miss Universe pageant Janine Tugonon (left)
and her counterpart from Venezuela, Irene Esser Quintero. Photos courtesy of the
Miss Universe official website

Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Janine Tugonon, 23, feels that South American beauty Irene Esser Quintero has a good chance of winning the 2012 Miss Universe title, according to the Filipina candidate's predecessor Shamcey Supsup.

Supsup, who won Binibining Pilipinas last year and subsequently finished third runner-up in Miss Universe, agrees that Quintero may be a frontrunner based on photos of her alone, but the Pinay architect noted that early favorites in the competition do not necessarily earn a spot in the pageant finals.

"Sabi sa 'kin ni Janine, feeling niya contender, and based on the pictures, si Ms. Venezuela," Supsup, 26, told ABS-CBN News' Ginger Conejero in a recent interview.

Over the years since it first won the Miss Universe title in 1979, Venezuela has produced five more titlists. Notably, the country scored back-to-back Miss Universe crowns in 2008 and 2009.

The country's representatives have also become forecast favorites over the years, as Venezuelan beauties more often than not land a spot in the semi-finals. At the time Supsup competed in the pageant, Vanessa Goncalves of Venezuela placed in the Top 16.

"Nung nandoon ako, lahat din naman ng girls, parang Barbie dolls, so it's really hard to say who will get it. Kasi may time na favorite at the start, pero she doesn't really make it to the finals night," Supsup said.

"'Yung iba naman na hindi napapansin, suddenly... Like si Ms. Angola (Leila Lopes), before, she was never really... We never thought of her as a threat talaga. But during the final night, she wowed the audience and she won," Supsup added, referring to the winning candidate in the 2011 Miss Universe.

Coming off her runner-up finish last year, Supsup is returning to the Donald Trump-owned pageant, this time as the host of its web coverage.

Advice for Janine

According to Supsup, the online programming of Miss Universe will have her part of "the girls' journey." Through the uploaded episodes on the pageant's official website and YouTube page, the beauty queen said viewers can "find out more" about the candidates, and can catch a glimpse of their various activities before the coronation night.

The Filipina architect, who has taken part in grooming and training Tugonon for the pageant, said she also intends to spend time with her successor to throw support behind her.

"Aside from hosting and being part of the show again, I have access to the girls, kasi it's very strict. And since I'm part na of the show, may time akong puntahan siya, pwede ko siyang kausapin, and I'll be able to observe the other girls," Supsup said.

"Pero ngayon kasi, alam ko marami nang nagbibigay ng advice kay Janine," Supsup added, "So I don't want to add up to whatever she's thinking. Ang gusto ko lang, she just enjoys, malapit na 'yung pageant, malapit na 'yung finals night."

While Miss Universe is essentially a competitive gathering of international beauties, Supsup advises Tugonon to build relationships with her fellow candidates.

"Ang gusto ko lang, i-cherish niya 'yung time na she's going to be there, and spend more time with the girls, and hindi masyado maging competitive," said Supsup, who left for Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon for her part in the pageant.

"I hope she just enjoys it nalang," Supsup added. "Huwag siya masyadong mag-isip, ma-pressure. Dapat alam niya when to be in the fight, when to be in the battle."

The coronation night of the 2012 Miss Universe will be aired live on ABS-CBN on December 20.

The Philippines is still hoping to produce its third Miss Universe winner after Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran.