A Filipino Beauty's Miss Universe Answer

For the second year in a row, a Filipina beauty has been edged out as Miss Universe, allegedly because she gave the wrong answer to the all-important interview question from the judges. This time, it was the euphonically named Shamcey Supsup, a 5-ft 7-in brunette from General Santos City on the island of Mindanao. The puzzle is what was wrong with her answer.

The 25-year-old Supsup made it as far as the finals, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before she fell afoul of the question segment. A licensed architect who finished at the top of her class at the Diliman branch of the University of the Philippines, she was said to be a heavy favorite in the Telemundo online fan voting, only to flame out, according to news stories, because of her answer to the usual silly questions that judges pose to beauty queens.

She was asked if she would change her religion in order to keep the man she loves. The answer can be found here on Youtube.

No, she was reported as saying, “If the person loves me, he’ll love my God too.”

Asking someone to change his or her religion in the first place is an idiotic question. All over the world, people are dying or being beaten and tortured for standing up for their faith. Quite recently a howling mob of more than 1,000 people set upon members of the Ahmadiyah sect in Indonesia and beat several of them to death. A Christian cabinet minister in Pakistan was shot dead by Islamic militants for espousing religious tolerance. It does not seem a beauty contest kind of question.

What Supsup should have said was: ‘That is a stupid @#$%&ing question. Find another one. I am a licensed architect who finished among the top 10 in my country in the licensure exam. You could ask me what, for instance, I think of the bizarre plan to put Donald Trump’s name on a 250-meter residential skyscraper in the middle of Makati. The thought of bringing together the American king of bad taste with the country that spawned Imelda Marcos is almost unimaginable to me.”

Miss Angola, a 25-year-old from Angola, won the pageant over Supsup and three other finalists by telling what, if any physical trait she would change if she could. None.

“Thank God I’m very satisfied with the way God created me, and I wouldn’t change a thing,” said the woman, Leila Lopes. “I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family, and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life.”

Lopes’ answer bears a strong resemblance to the answer that lost another Filipina the crown a year ago. That was the magnificently endowed Venus Raj, who was downgraded to fourth runner-up for answering the question whether she had ever done anything wrong in her life. “You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence,” she said, “I can say that there's nothing major, major, I mean, problem that I've done in my life because I'm very confident with my family, with the love that they are giving to me. So, thank you so much that I'm here. Thank you, thank you so much!"

Venus Raj was born out of wedlock as a result of a Middle East union between her Filipina mother and an Indian father. She spent her girlhood the middle of a rice paddy in the Bicol region of the Philippines. She got herself through college, graduated with a journalism degree, bought her mother rice land on her beauty contest winnings and made it all the way to the world stage. It would seem that in her 22 years of existence, it would seem that she had done pretty well.

It is difficult to see just what either Supsup or Raj got wrong in their answers. There must be a special contest-speak that the judges know and listen for. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with real life.

What does have to do with real life are some spectacularly strange answers issued by the television commentators in the skyboxes as the contestants patrolled the catwalk in swimsuits. When Miss USA appeared, one of them chirped: “She’s a stunning redhead, but in real life she’s a blonde.” Miss Australia, another said, “holds a special interest in holistic health. In fact, health is the first section she reads in the newspaper. First of all, the fact that she’s even picking up a newspaper? Smart and beautiful.” Miss Netherlands, it was said, ‘wants to be a child psychologist. But right now, she’s a male psychologist.” That was met with the answer: “I know a lot of men that would want to lay on her couch.”

For the top ten awkward answers by television commentators during the swimsuit competition, you can click here. Then explain them to Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup.