Juliana Parizcova Segovia wore her endearing toothless smile as she ran down what's left of the time given to her for her final speech. The timer signaled that she had a couple of seconds still — seconds she used to soak in the applause that rained down from the hundreds in front of her, the judges and the hosts.
Segovia had just spoken of her love for her mother, dramatically proclaiming that she'd be lost without her. "Kapag siya ay nawala, hindi ko alam kung paano pa ako lalaban," she said.
It was deeply personal, movingly delivered, and no doubt an answer well worth the "Miss Q&A" title and the P1-million prize.
As judge Boy Abunda, the "King of Talk" himself who has heard it all, pointed out: the best answers come from the heart, perhaps giving Segovia's the slightest edge over rivals Matrica Mae Matmat Centino and Lars Pacheco for the crown.
It was a wild, wonderful and highly competitive grand finals held at Resorts World Manila in Pasay Saturday, coincidentally the final day of this year's Pride Month in the Philippines.
It featured a fitting opener, an emotional, empowering cover of "This Is Me," the anthemic tune from "The Greatest Showman," from host Vice Ganda, himself an LGBT icon.
He was followed by the finalists, who came out in their colorful outfits to celebrate LGBT pride, with some of them thanking the beloved "It's Showtime" segment for lending their voice in support of the marginalized and the bullied.
This theme of acceptance would carry though the final round, with both Centino and Pacheco giving Segovia a run for her money with their speeches about overcoming hate and learning self-worth.
Though perhaps the greatest challenge Segovia faced during her journey to the title was in the round before that, when she was pitted against clear crowd-favorite Elsa Droga Mendoza.
The two of them engaged in a silly, but no less passionate debate that centered on yawning and sneezing. The question was: "Ano ang mas bad trip ma-udlot? Hatsing o hikab?"
Mendoza's name rang around the venue following their face-off, which had Vice Ganda in tears, but it was Segovia who moved on.
She had argued about the importance of rest during that round, saying that yawning equals hard work. Now that the contest is over, no doubt that Segovia will be resting with her toothless grin, knowing that her own determination paid off.