Miss Venezuela Gabriela Isler was crowned Miss Universe 2013 last Saturday night in Moscow, Russia. She is the seventh Venezuelan Miss Universe. Declared first runner-up was Miss Spain Patricia Rodriguez; second runner-up was Miss Ecuador Constanza Baez; third runner-up was Miss Philippines Ariella Arida; and fourth runner-up was Miss Brazil Jakelyne Oliveira.
Of the many predictions to make it to the Top 5, three made it–Miss Philippines, Miss Spain and Miss Venezuela. International Business Times missed on Miss Australia and Miss Russia to enter Top 16. Miss USA made the cut until Top 10. Very few placed their bet on Miss Ecuador to barge into the finals. Three of the touted Trump Card six candidates did not advance to the semi-finals–Miss Russia (as host country), Miss Italy (by virtue of swimsuit sponsor Yamamay being an Italian brand) and Miss Turkey (by virtue of hair sponsor CHI).
The 86 candidates were judged during the preliminary competition on November 5 in three areas–swimsuit, evening gown and interview. Fifteen were chosen: Costa Rica, Ukraine, China, Ecuador, Great Britain, Indonesia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, USA, Nicaragua, Switzerland, India and Brazil. The 16th candidate was for winning the most Fan Votes online and it was Philippines.
The 16 candidates then strutted in their swimsuit and 10 were chosen: Spain, Philippines, Great Britain, India, Brazil, USA, Ukraine, Ecuador, Venezuela and Dominican Republic. Five–Ecuador, Brazil, Spain, Philippines and Venezuela–advanced to the final question-and-answer portion, where only Miss Philippines did not engage the services of an interpreter to answer Tara Lipinski‘s question.
“What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their careers around the world?” the Olympian and NBC host asked Ariella.
“For the people who have lack of jobs, I do believe that we people should invest in education and that is my primary advocacy, because we all know that if everyone of us is educated and well aware of what we are doing, we could land into jobs and we could land a good career in the future. Education is the primary source and ticket to a better future,” she said.
As the last finalist to be asked, Gabriela got Steven Tyler‘s question, “What is your biggest fear and what is your plan to overcome it?”
Through an interpreter, the beauteous Miss Venezuela answered: “I believe that one may have a lot of fears, but nonetheless, this is nothing negative. I believe that we should all overcome our fears, and this in turn, would make us much stronger. And thus(ly), we can become stronger persons. As soon as we overcome our fears and we’re sure of ourselves, we can face any challenge.”
To some, the answer was not really an answer to the question, and many were surprised that after Miss Brazil was called as fourth runner-up, Miss Philippines was immediately called as third runner-up. Many believed that the crown was a toss between Miss Spain (who answered her question better) and Miss Philippines. But then, as the Miss Universe Organization is a business under the Trump conglomerate, along with Telemundo (what NBC is in Latin America), Mr. Trump preferred a Latin beauty to win and not an Asian or European (who already competed in the rival Miss World).
Ariella’s third runner-up finish continues the Top 5 streak of the Philippines in the Miss Universe the past four years–Venus Raj (4th runner-up) in 2010, Shamcey Supsup (3rd runner-up) in 2011 and Janine Tugonon (1st runner-up to USA’s Olivia Culpo) in 2012.
Janine, by the way, was online host for this year. Her “On The Scene With Janine” had her interviewing, annotating and following the contestants in the red carpet, during the evening gown competition and chatting with performers Panic! At The Disco. She did this year what Shamcey did last year.
For Filipinos and her fans and supporters all over the globe, third runner-up finish is not at all bad and they are proud of Ariella’s achievement in this year’s ultimate pageant of goddesses in the Universe.
She has this posted in the Miss Philippines Universe Facebook page:
“I may not have brought home the crown, but I hope I have given my best to exceed my people’s expectations. The winning streak continued –2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.
And that makes us a powerhouse of beauty and intelligence in the entire universe. And you, my dear kababayans, are the true heroes of this pageant. Thank you for the love and support up to the last hurdle of my intense battle. It was a competition with discriminating judges with all their personal choices and that we have to accept. I have accepted my fate, I have given my best, and that makes me a beauty queen till the last day of my life.
Mabuhay ang lahing magaganda.
Mabuhay ang bansang PILIPINAS!”
–Ariella Arida, Miss Universe 2013 3rd Runner-Up
Photos from http://www.missuniverse.com