Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart is not discounting the possibility of a back-to-back win for the Philippines, pointing out that the feat has once happened in the pageant’s 68-year history.
Gazini Ganados, the Philippines’ representative to the 2019 competition, is hoping to succeed her compatriot Catriona Gray as the new Miss Universe in Atlanta, Georgia.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Dyan Castillejo at the pageant venue Wednesday, Shugart brought up the 2009 coronation when asked whether there is a chance a country can clinch two consecutive crowns.
“All you have to do is talk to Stefania Fernandez. People didn’t think Venezuela could win two years in a row, and she did. It’s always about the individual, so, absolutely,” she said.
Shugart was referring to the 2009 winner of Miss Universe, who was crowned by fellow Venezuelan, Dayana Mendoza.
To date, Venezuela has the most Miss Universe crowns at 7, starting in 1979. Its most recent triumph was in 2013.
With 4 crowns, including Gray’s, the Philippines trails Puerto Rico, which has 5, as the most victorious country in Miss Universe.
This year’s pageant, Shugart said, will continue to give candidates more opportunities to speak — a change seen in the 2018 edition that drew praise.
She pointed out that, in total, a finalist would have four chances to speak, including her closing statement.
“We’ll really get a chance to see how she thinks on her feet, and how she expresses herself and her opinions. That’s going to be great, because we’ll have that chance to really get to see the whole person,” she said.
The Miss Universe coronation is scheduled on December 8 in Atlanta, Georgia, or December 9, 8 a.m. Manila time, with a live broadcast on ABS-CBN.