A DAY after the 71st Miss Universe was concluded, tremendous reactions from different points of view from supporters on social media had been going around.
Many were deeply saddened that Philippine representative Celeste Cortesi was not able to make it to the Top 16, ending the 12-year streak of the country being always included among the semifinalists.
However, a Filipino-American was able to take home the crown, that is Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel, giving the Filipinos a sense of pride and relief amidst the loss of the reigning Miss Philippines-Universe.
But there lies some lessons for the future aspirants and supporters.
According to Jess Capuchino, the Sashes and Script owner and resident blogger of Sash Factor, the Miss Universe Organization had been vocal and insisting that it was looking for a transformational leader for the pageant.
“We might not make it to the top 16 this year, it’s a very unpopular opinion to say that,” he said.
When he was watching the Miss Universe earlier yesterday, January 15, Capuchino was looking at the girls who had made it to the top 10. And by the time that the top 10 were revealed, his gut feel even got stronger that the Philippines might not get a spot this year.
In December 2022, during his livestream, he mentioned that Celeste was not part of his top 7 and was actually in the perimeter at around 8th. Because of this, he gained so much flak. But he said he based his list on what he has heard on the profiles of the candidates.
For the pageant expert, the change of ownership of the Miss Universe Organization could be a huge factor why the Philippine candidate did not make it to the Top 16.
Upon his thorough understanding and research of what the new owner was looking for, he saw it coming, that it would be a challenge for the Philippines to own the crown this year.
After the pageant analyst reviewed the preferences of the new management, he told republicasia that “perhaps what the pageant is looking for is not a candidate who is just physically beautiful, but someone who has something to say about her social involvement, community projects, and who has been volunteering in an organization.”
The pageant authority added that he believed that this year would be a “game changer” for the entire Miss Universe competition.
“I already had [in mind that] backgrounds, resumes and personal accomplishments is going to be a huge factor in selecting the Miss universe,” he said
“So perhaps before the pageant, I was already thinking this is going to be a game changer in terms of what Miss Universe is looking for and I was right about that,” he said.
He believed Celeste really did her best. But on the other hand, he also saw the change of criteria of Miss Universe in terms of what the organization was looking for in this season.
“Sad but I think this is a learning opportunity for us to recalibrate. We have learned from what we’ve seen in the top 16 this year, and let’s find ways not to commit the same errors again,” he said.
He said that the pageant supporters should embrace the changes and perhaps learn from what happened.
“It was bittersweet, days before the finals, I was already bracing myself that new ownership means new direction. Let’s expect the unexpected,” he said.
When one digs deeper into the pageant analyst’s social media posts, it can be seen that he has also been vocal that Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel was his personal pick for the Miss Universe 2022 because he believed that she fit what the pageant was all about the most.
“(Miss USA) uses her expertise in teaching women who are domestic violence victims and helps them have their livelihood and has a lot of outreach projects,” he said.
“So on that side, she is very fulfilled and accomplished. On top of that, she is also physically gorgeous,” he said.
The pageant analyst saw the similarities of the custom of the pageant’s new owner to the pageants in early ‘90s standards.
It was like a throwback to the 1990s Miss Universe pageant.
“Yung mga pumapasok noon sa Top 10 in the ‘90s were someone like Wendy Fitzwilliam who won in 1998, was back then a lawyer or a law student. And then we also had several girls like Lola Odusoga from Finland who competed in 1996 who was the first black Miss Finland to compete at Miss Universe,” he said.
Banner courtesy of Instagram: @missuniverse/@sashesandscriptsofficial/@celeste_cortesi