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By KAREN VALEZABb. Pilipinas-Universe Maxine Medina is more excited to represent the country now that it’s been selected to host the 2016 Miss Universe pageant.
According to Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, the pageant will be held here on January 30, 2017.
“It’s an advantage for us,” Maxine said. “With that happening, everyone will be cheering for the Philippines. ’Yung feelings ko, nabu-boost. I know Filipinos will be praying for me.”
Organizers are reportedly eyeing Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, and Vigan as “possible venues” for segments of the international contest.
The other times the Miss Universe was held in the Philippines were in 1974 and 1994.
In succeeding 2015 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Pia Wurtzbach, who bagged the 2015 Miss Universe title, Maxine is taking the whole journey positively. She knows she carries a big responsibility and people expect a lot from her.
“I’m using it as motivation and that’s the best thing I can do for now. This is my very first pageant so, I’m actually just trying to enjoy everything,” she said.
Maxine admits there’s pressure before “pero ngayon nai-excite na ako.”
Comparisons are inevitable but Maxine takes it all in stride.
“Right now, nababawasan na ’yung mga bashers, I mean, naniniwala na sila about what I can do, so I’m really excited,” she said.
Some people criticize her communication skills but she is working on it. Asked if she hopes to disprove her critics, she said, “Well, you can see it naman eh. Bahala na sila whatever they will call me. At the end of the day, I would still be the representative of the Philippines.”
For those who say she’s not as articulate as Pia, she said, “You should love me for who I am.”
“Pia is different, Maxine is different. I think we have different paths na pwedeng maipakita. I can’t wait na mailabas ko lahat ng surprising things about myself. Character naman ang pinaka-importante sa pageant, how you engage with the people, how you speak with them, with a heart, of course,” she added.
Maxine hopes the Philippines will be able to bag the Miss Universe crown again. Other Filipino candidates who won the prestigious title are Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran.
“I’m so excited to be the next and I’m praying for that,” she said.
Maxine has also been doing a lot of training and research. She updates herself on current events and reads news articles every day.
“I make sure na I write something in my diary. May journal ako, andoon lahat ng opinions ko about these issues. Siguro ayun na din ang practice ko to answer right away especially in the Q & A.”
The interior designer-beauty queen exchanges opinions on certain issues with her fellow candidates and family.
“I keep on asking them about their opinion, especially my family, and what I can say in front of the camera. I don’t want to hurt anybody with whatever I say. I’ve been doing a lot of training. I’m still in the process,” she said.
Maxine keeps in touch with Pia.
“Sabi niya, ‘Be strong and be yourself. That’s the most important thing.’ And sabi niya sa akin it’s a very big responsibility. Of course, it is. Right now napi-feel ko na ’yung responsibility kasi the crown is very heavy. Iyon ’yung pinaka-mabigat na responsibility. For me, I will just do my best,” she said.