On January 30, Iris Mittenaere of France was named the new Miss Universe.
While our girl, Maxine Medina, made it to the Top 6.
Since winning Binibining Pilipinas last April, many have been critical of how she would fare in Miss Universe—especially during the question and answer portion.
[related: In Focus: She Ain't Perfect, But We've Got Every Reason To Be Rooting For Our Girl Maxine]
Many netizens urged the 26-year-old to use an interpreter on the day of the competition, as English isn’t her strong suit.
True enough, Maxine did have someone to help translate her question in English. But instead of answering in Filipino, she used English.
Question: “What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?”
Answer: “In the last 10 years of being here in the world, I saw all the people bringing in one event like this in Miss Universe. It’s something big to us that we are one. As one nation, we are all together. Thank you. Maraming salamat po.”
On a January 30 interview with Bandila, moments after Miss Universe 2016 was crowned, Anne Curtis told reporters what she thought about Maxine’s choice of language.
"I think that's a personal decision. Parang, at that very moment she felt that maybe she was just more comfortable speaking in English," she said.
In that same interview Vice Ganda added, "Hindi naman yan sa kakayahan mong mag-Ingles o kakayan mang mag-Tagalog, kakayahan mo yang makapagisip ng mabilis at makabuo ng sasabihin agad."
A number of netizens argued that the content of her answer is more important than the delivery.
Others were quick to compare the Q&A to reciting in class.
Her mentor, Jonas Gaffud, and Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz, also came to her defense.
"Siguro hindi niya masyadong na-internalize 'yung tanong but at least hindi mali 'yung kanyang sagot." -Jonas Gaffud
"The question was very difficult. I thought to myself, what would I have said? Until now I cannot think [of an answer]." -Gloria Diaz
[related: In Focus: The Squad Who's Got Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina's Back]
The pressure is INSANE in a show like Miss Universe. Imagine having to not only speak in front 20,000 people, but also knowing that millions around the world are listening, too. The most anyone can do in a situation that tense and intimidating is to try, which, she did.
Getting to the Top 6 is a huge deal. To get that far means she pretty much passed the other rounds with flying colors. We’re talking going up against 85 girls, and besting 80 of them in the evening gown and swimsuit portions. It says a lot about her great stage presence. Arl Pontillas shared this sentiment as well, after sharing the now-viral artwork of Neal Alday.
Maxine is not Shamcey Supsup, Janine Tugonon, or Venus Raj. She is also not Pia Wurtzbach, Margie Moran, or even Gloria Diaz. But she is who is she is. And there’s no doubt that she gave her all in preparing for Miss Universe.
That should be enough to make anyone in the country proud.
ALSO READ: Miss Universe 2016 Watch: 10 Memorable Moments From The Whole 65th Miss U Pageant Journey
Photographs from Instagram.com/maxine_medina and news.abs-cbn.com / Artwork by Jana Jimenez