Margie Moran lauds new pageant hopefuls

By Jude Cartalaba

Posted at Apr 14 2013 12:37 PM | Updated as of Apr 15 2013 05:52 AM

Miss Universe 1973 Margarita Moran-Floirendo today. Photo courtesy of Ballet Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 1973 Margarita Moran-Floirendo lauded the current crop of beauty pageant candidates, saying today’s contestants are better educated than those during her time.

Binibining Pilipinas, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will crown this year’s Miss Universe Philippines, Binibining Pilipinas International and Binibining Pilipinas Tourism on Sunday night.

“If I compare the candidates now to our time, we have a bunch of better contestants,” Moran-Floirendo said in a recent interview. “As opposed to my time, there were high school students-contestants. But today, the women are more educated, very competitive in their 20s.”

Moran-Floirendo was only 19 when she was selected to be the country’s representative to the Miss Universe pageant, which was held in Athens, Greece that year.

But despite her young age, the country’s second Miss Universe winner after Gloria Diaz was well prepared for the competition. At the time, she was a model, a performer and a dancer, which she said bolstered her confidence and helped her capture both the audience and the judges.

She shared that she made a great impression when she talked to the famous Spanish bullfighter El Cordobés, who was among the judges at that time, in Spanish.

But despite her victory, Moran-Floirendo believes there is no guaranteed formula for winning.

“Candidates have to work at it. It is not something that would come automatically. One has to earn her credibility,” she said.

She added that pageant participants must remember that destiny and luck also play a role, as well as the personal tastes of the different judges. Morán-Floirendo considers herself fortunate when she competed, saying she was at the right time and at the right place.

Equally as important is what happens after the pageant. Forty years since her coronation, Moran-Floirendo is as busy as ever as a member of the National Board of Trustees, Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Inc.., executive vice-chairperson for Mindanao Commission on Women, president for Southern Philippines Foundation for the Arts, Culture, and Ecology and president of Ballet Philippines.