Missosology has conducted a thorough analysis on the chances of Mary Jean Lastimosa at the Miss Universe 2014 contest. The approach of the analysis is to figure out what are the impediments that can prevent the victory of the Philippines. Call it as the reverse osmosis process of pageantry, but this will give us a clearer picture of what can really happen.
IMPEDIMENT No. 1 – Physical impediments :: Mary Jean Lastimosa is relatively short and looks like she gained some weight.
Since Olivia Culpo took the Miss Universe crown in 2012, it shattered the belief that somehow you have to be really tall to clinch the victory. Mary Jean Lastimosa could simply breeze to the Top 5 even with her perceived height handicap. Her physique can be dramatically improved and Mary Jean has one of the shapeliest bodies around. Her curvaceous figure would simply stand-out and no one in the list of Miss Universe 2014 contestants – as of the press time – can match the alluring body of Mary Jean.
The key focus of Miss Universe is the overall package. When a contestant walks on the stage, the judges would not be so keen to look at the face or the legs or the arms of the contestant. Rather, the overall physique will matter the most and this is where Mary Jean has a huge advantage.
Bb. Pilipinas has mastered the art of proper projection onstage. During the grueling training of Ariella last year, an army of analysts and physical trainers has worked round the clock to shape her up. They have also studied what kind of poses and angles that Ariella should exploit.
The training process of Bb. Pilipinas has evolved. Perhaps, the best evidence that the organization has mastered the art of producing great beauty queens can be best appreciated when we compare the latest Bb. Pilipinas winners with the ones crowned years ago. For example, in 2005, Gionna Cabrera walked with her hips rather than with her legs. In 2008, Jennifer Barrientos doesn’t even know how to navigate the steps elegantly. In 2009, Bianca Manalo’s physical regimen still left her with a body without a definition.
By 2010, everyone is already naming the walks of Bb. Pilipinas-Universe. Janine in 2012 was physically perfected and in 2011, Shamcey’s crude walk was refined and she came out with finesse in her famed tsunami walk.
The bottom line is – Bb. Pilipinas can now be trusted to produce a Miss Universe and Mary Jean has a lot of potentials than can be further refined and glossed to perfection.
IMPEDEMENT No. 2 – Geo-political impediments :: Philippines as a sash is still weak. Politics may halt the country’s advance. Other delegates are far more stunning.
There is no doubt that Miss Universe as a pageant has a proclivity of awarding the top plum to the Latinas. It is not a coincidence for example that last year’s Top 5 were mostly women from this demographic. The overall trend can be summed up by the fact that since 2008, the first names of Miss Universe winners end with letter ‘a’ – a letter that when used at the end of the nouns, pronouns and even adjectives on Romance languages would denote femininity.
It is a common knowledge that Latinas rule at the pageant. From the back-to-back win of Venezuela, to the victory of a Rhode Islander of Italian descent, to the ascent of a Portuguese speaking Angolan, the trend at Miss Universe so bewildered the Europeans, they began asking if the pageant is perhaps Europhobic.
But despite this trend, the Philippines is enjoying a good run. How the Philippines managed to be in the Top 5 of Miss Universe since 2010 is a miracle and some people believe it is all politics. The truth is, the favorable winds are helping the country. There is a keen interest now on the Filipina beauty more so that the two of the Big4 reigning winners are from the Philippines.
As the world’s attention is focused on the Philippines, its sash weight becomes valuable. Because it has a string of victories in other pageants and the series of Top 5 finish at Miss Universe, the judges and the organization would give Filipinas a better look. They, even before the curtains are raised, will have a preconceived notion that the representative of the Philippines would be an awesome candidate.
What will sustain Mary Jean Lastimosa in terms of geo-politics is similar to the very same factor that has sustained the Indian beauties in early 2000s and the Venezuelan beauties till this day. The golden age of the Philippines is here and it is even amazing that it had a four year unbroken streak at Top 5 and yet still without a crown. There is a strong sense of inevitability for the Philippine victory based on the trends alone.
IMPEDIMENT No. 3 Personal history impediments :: Mary Jean participated twice before winning and she was even a clapper at a Miss ASEAN contest. She’s overexposed and the public simply acquiesced to her crowning just to give her a chance and to satisfy her rabid supporters.
Whatever failing Mary Jean had in the past is something that was not shown in the finals of Bb. Pilipinas 2014. Her aura was brimming with confidence and her countenance betrayed whatever regrets she may have in her pageantry CV. No wonder she was the obvious choice.
The Mary Jean that we saw in 2011 and in 2012 is a far different Mary Jean that we have just seen in 2014. She did not let her past burdens get into her way towards the well-deserved victory. She’s a fighter. She refused to see the glass as half-empty. These qualities are badly needed for whoever will represent the Philippines at Miss Universe 2014.
IMPEDIMENT No. 4 The Fanatic impediment :: The Filipinos fans may be the best in the world but they are loud, rude and annoying. The Philippines will simply self-destruct. Besides, the Top 5 finish are just meant for the fans to salivate driving up ratings and filling up the cash register
This is of course seeing the glass half-empty. On the other side of the argument, MUO has seen the power of the fans and it is not just the Filipinos who are loud, rude and annoying. Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, Indonesians and even Thai fans can fit into these descriptions. But Miss Universe is a competition and there is a lot of fun in what the fans are doing (so long done constructively).
Miss Universe of course realized that for the pageant to remain commercially viable it must harness the power of the fans. The pageant remains the most popular pageant in the Philippines even at the time when the country won its first Miss World crown. As in any organization, it would definitely take a closer look at the market where it has a lot of potentials and can maximize it by awarding the crown.
The Philippines, as one of the TIMP (a group of emerging economies that includes Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines), is a market ripe for any businesses to exploit. With such a raucous Miss Universe fan base, the Philippines therefore will have it as a boon rather than as a bane.
IMPEDIMENT No. 5 The Barazza impediment :: The Achilles heel of the Philippines is the gown that it provides to its Miss Universe contestants. The country may be in the Top 5 always but it will never win thanks to the ill-advised policy of Bb. Pilipinas to continually use the gowns designed by Barazza.
Alfredo Barraza could be the least popular Colombian in the Philippines, ever. With his unconventional fashion style which pursues more his ambition to be unique rather than to be compliant with the norm, his gown designs are always thrashed by the pageant fans.
But it would be wrong to point out Barraza as the main culprit as to why the Philippines is yet to win its 3rd Miss Universe. While there is no doubt that Barraza’s creation is simply inferior when compared to Sherri Hill or Gionni Straccia, Miss Universe is not a fashion competition but a beauty pageant.
In 2010, Venus Raj famously said that even if she will be given trash as her own gown, she can still walk away with it with her killer catwalk skills. And walk away she did. After all, it’s more about the girl and not about the gown.
It’s still a long way to go for the Miss Universe pageant. Countless of contestants are yet to be chosen including the one coming from the superpower nation of USA. A lot of transformations are yet to happen. While this analysis is not a conclusion of the competition that is yet to happen, it is trying to grasp the reality at hand. The reality clearly shows that the mechanisms and processes are in place for Mary Jean to win the crown. Now, whether they will all work as expected is another story.