Mary Jean Lastimosa and Kaci Fennell of Jamaica.
MANILA – Miss Universe fourth runner-up Kaci Fennell of Jamaica shares the same sentiment as millions of Filipinos who thought that Mary Jean Lastimosa should have been part of the international pageant’s Top 5.
Lastimosa, who was the Philippines’ bet in the prestigious beauty competition, made it only to the Top 10 of Miss Universe, breaking the string of Top 5 finishes for the Philippines since Venus Raj in 2010.
Paulina Vega of Colombia was crowned Miss Universe during the coronation night in Miami, Florida on Sunday (Monday in Manila). The rest of the Top 5 came from the United States, Ukraine, Netherlands and Jamaica.
Speaking on “Umagang Kay Ganda” Tuesday morning, ABS-CBN News entertainment reporter Ginger Conejero shared that she was able to talk to Fennell after the competition and she talked about the pleasing personality of Lastimosa.
“After nung pageant, inabangan namin sila sa labas ng arena. Habang ini-interview namin si MJ, 'yung ibang mga candidates na dumadaan dala-dala 'yung mga maleta at gowns nila, sumisigaw sila na ‘We love you, Philippines!’”
“Si Miss Jamaica, nakausap din namin afterwards. Sabi niya, ‘You know, Miss Philippines should have been right there next to me,’” Conejero reported.
Conejero went on to say that even the other journalists were raving about Lastimosa’s performance during the entire run of the competition.
“Binigay talaga ni MJ lahat and nakita at na-appreciate ng marami sa mga candidates, even other medias na lumalapit, they say na ‘Ang galing galing ng kandidata niyo,’” she said.
According to Conejero, this was also how the judges and hosts of the pageant perceived the Filipina beauty queen.
“Before the coronation night, na-interview namin 'yung mga judges, mga musical performers, hosts ng show. Hindi naman siguro nila tayo binobola kapag marami silang nagsasabi na napansin nila sa MJ. More than that, napapansin nila na yung mga kandidata na pinapadala ng Pilipinas ay palaban and laging may chance to really go for the crown,” she said.
Shortly after the pageant, Lastimosa took to Instagram to thank all of her supporters, adding that she is proud to represent the Philippines in Miss Universe.
It took Lastimosa three attempts before getting the Binibining Pilipinas Universe crown, which enabled her to join the international pageant.