Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados hopes her countrymen are still proud of her after her top 20 finish in the international pageant on Monday (Manila time).
Ganados had been hoping to clinch a back-to-back win for the Philippines, after the 2018 reign of her compatriot, Catriona Gray.
Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa succeeded Gray at the conclusion of the three-hour coronation night in Atlanta, Georgia.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News’ Dyan Castillejo after the competition, Ganados assessed her performance and thanked those who have supported her leading up to the pageant.
Gazini Ganados is interviewed by Steve Harvey after the announcement of her inclusion in the top 20 of Miss Universe 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Paras Griffin, Getty Images/AFP
“I was very proud, kasi nakapasok tayo sa top 20. I just did all my best. I couldn’t have had it any other way. I couldn’t do anything anymore because what’s done is done. The only thing to do now is to celebrate. We got into the top 20. That’s a hard thing to do, over 90 gorgeous, unique girls out there,” she said.
Ganados’ placing in the 2019 pageant broke the 9-year streak of the Philippines as a consistent top 10 candidate, including 2015 winner Pia Wurtzbach and 2018 queen Gray.
“To all the Filipinos out there, maraming, maraming salamat po, and I hope that I made you proud as I did my best in the international arena. It was nerve-wracking but it was fulfilling at the same time,” she said.
Tunzi, Gray’s successor, was actually among Ganados’ personal top 5 before the pageant started. Referring to Tunzi as humble and kind, Ganados recalled their “bonding” moments during their stay in Atlanta, including one interaction over breakfast.
“She let me fix her face, her eyelashes, and we just had some bonding throughout the journey, even if it was such a short amount of time. I know that she will do great as Miss Universe. Bait siya! Bait ‘yun,” she said.
Ganados described the 10-day Miss Universe competition as “fun,” pointing out she has gained new friends in her fellow candidates.
“What I learned from this batch is that no matter what happens, if you win or not, you still have a sister in everyone. That’s what I really loved about everyone’s personality. Everyone’s unique,” she said.
Ganados will be staying in the United States to spend the holidays, as well as her birthday on December 26, with her family and relatives who are based there, she shared.