MANILA - Venus Raj never thought that the meals she enjoyed growing up in the province would pave the way for a figure that was perfect for pageants in the Philippines and abroad.
"Ang ganda pala ng diet namin sa probinsiya... Ngayon, upon realizing, ang healthy pala ng kinakain namin," Raj said in an interview on radio DZMM on Friday.
Raj represented the Philippines in Miss Universe 2010 and finished fourth runner-up.
She recalled that she and her family would mainly eat vegetables when they could not buy meat and fish in Camarines Sur.
"Kapag walang masarap na ulam, [kakainin namin] ginataang gulay, kamote o saba," she said.
But of course, achieving a pageant-ready body also required a lot of hard work and "good genes," admitted Raj.
The 5'8" Bicolana beauty only had a 22-inch waistline when she joined Miss Universe in 2010.
"Bone structure talaga," she said.
Aside from physical beauty, other factors that are important in a beauty pageant include attitude, confidence and presence of mind.
Raj said she was able to improve on all those through training and by joining beauty contests since she was in elementary school.
"Kapag hindi mo kilala ang sarili mo, hindi mo alam kung saan ka tatayo," she said.