MANILA, Philippines - For Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon, the hardest part of the pageant is the swimsuit competition.
In a phone interview on the ABS-CBN morning show "Umagang Kay Ganda" on Friday, Tugonon said she had a hard time during the swimsuit portion of the Miss Universe pageant because of shoe problems.
|Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon
"Doon sa swimsuit [kinakabahan ako]. Kasi 'yung sapatos medyo nagwi-wiggle na 'yung heel, hindi tulad noong prelim, 'yung shoes na 'yon ay okay pa. Since palagi kong ginagamit parang nag-loosen up na siya," she explained.
"Actually may time doon sa swimsuit na parang mawawalan na ako ng balance eh. Pero 'yung sa gown hindi, kasi 'yung shoes doon very comfortable so hindi ako kinabahan. Pero doon sa swimsuit medyo hirap ako, hirap ako doon dahil sa may shawl pang hawak. So doon, kinabahan sa swimsuit talaga," she added.
But instead of worrying too much, Tugonon opted to just focus on her walk and smile at the audience.
"Sabi ko smile-smile na lang, parang bago ako lumabas eh kinampante ko muna ang utak ko. Ang hirap kasi sa swimsuit, habang naglalakad, kailangan mong i-kontrol ang stomach mo kasi kita ang katawan. So parang smile na lang at project-project na lang," she said.
Her efforts certainly paid off, as Tugonon made it to the Top 10 and Top 5 of this year's Miss Universe pageant. She eventually finished first runner-up to Olivia Culpo of the United States.
Ready for Q&A
In the phone interview, Tugonon also explained how she was able to perform well during the Miss Universe question and answer portion.
"Hindi ako nagulat sa tanong. Usually kasi kapag ganyan, nagre-ready na ako ng pupwedeng isagot. Like a day before, nagre-ready na ako ng pwedeng isagot for this category, 'yung ganoon. Buti na lang 'yung ganoong klaseng tanong niya ay nakasama sa ni-ready ko, 'yung about sa Miss Universe, kaya kahit paano ay nasagot ko siya nang mabilis," she said.
Tugonon was given a Twitter question from fashion photographer Nigel Barker, one of the judges in this year's pageant: "As an international ambassador, do you believe that speaking English should be a prerequisite to being Miss Universe? Why or why not?"
She answered: "For me, being Miss Universe is not just about knowing how to speak a specific language. It's being able to influence and inspire other people. As long as your heart wants to serve and you have a strong mind to show people, then you can be Miss Universe."
Despite her preparations, Tugonon maintained that in the end, there is no winning formula for the Miss Universe crown.
Instead of attributing her success to her physical appearance and her own efforts, the Filipina beauty stressed that her first runner-up finish is all part of God's plan.
"I don't think may formula. Wala talaga. Kasi tama 'yung sinasabi nila na it's more of destiny. Kasi kapag nandito ka ang daming magaganda sobra, sobrang ang daming sexy, magaganda at iba-iba ang personality," she said.
But Tugonon gave this advice to pageant hopefuls: "Feeling ko dapat ay totoo ka lang na tao at mabait ka, huwag kang pasaway. Parang kapag may call time, gising ka sa tamang call time. Parang ipakita mo na willing ka to work for them, willing kang gawin 'yung responsibility mo."
"'Yung kailangan ang itsura at lakad, wala 'yon. Ang kailangan ay totoo ka lang," she ended.
For more stories on 65th Miss Universe Pageant click here.