Pacman-Autographed GLOVES: Venus Raj’s Gift to Miss U Charity!

Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2010, Maria Venus Raj

Dear Definitely Filipino friends:

Currently, Venus is ranked number 1 in the online ranking system. Please help her STAY at the top by participating in this fast-track event. Click here to rank our bet to Miss Universe 2010!!!

Love, Joyce

Talking to Maria Venus Raj on the phone is such a delight – she is simpatica, forthright about things and speaks with a super-malambing voice. I called her up to apologize for not being able to make it to her send-off party and to ask her a few questions before she departs for the biggest challenge of her life: The Miss Universe 2010 Beauty Pageant

LOOKING BACK ON THE DETHRONEMENT CONTROVERSY…

After all of the painful things Venus Raj has been through – her dethronement and her battle to get her crown back (she was eventually reinstated), Venus can only smile and say IT IS indeed true – things (even bad things) happen for a reason! The whole brouhaha only endeared her further to pageant fans. Thanks to extensive media coverage of her plight, most Filipinos know who she is. A rabid online community grew as her supporters found a cause by helping her fight for reinstatement. In the end, the issue made our Venus Raj an idol for the masses – if you check the Wikipedia entries of all the Miss Universe 2010 candidates, Maria Venus Raj has one of the longest entries.

Venus Raj reinstated!

VENUS AND BPCI – FRIENDS AGAIN?

My biggest question when Venus Raj and Bb Pilipinas patched up was this: Is there was true healing between both parties?

Venus strongly feels that the wounds have closed up with no scars to tell of the past. They treat her very well and she says she is getting amazing support from BPCI.

Like her training, for instance. The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of classes under Berlitz Language Center, the Dale Carnegie people, modeling trainers, make-up artists and hair stylists.

The easiest part of training, Venus Raj says is watching and analyzing past Miss Universe beauty contests. Together with beauty pageant trainers, Venus dissects the performances of past candidates and winners. The toughest part she says is training for the DREADED Q&A portion.

TIPS FROM PAST QUEENS!!!

Former Bb. Pilipinas Universe winners, from Gloria Diaz (1969) all the way to Bianca Manalo (2009), gave her a lot of solid advice.

Gloria Diaz told Venus that the best thing she could do was to act natural and be friendly to EVERYONE. And to enjoy every moment she has in Las Vegas because it is a once in a lifetime experience.

Bianca Manalo warned her about the killer schedule – candidates need to wake up at the crack of dawn and participate in the events of the day until late into the evening. Bianca said that Venus must learn how to survive on catnaps to make up for lost sleep and must never ever look puyat or haggard; she has to be glamorous ALL THE TIME!

One piece of advice that stuck in Venus Raj’s head was from Bb. Pilipinas 2008 Jennifer Barrientos. Jennifer said that beauty queens tend to group themselves according to region – the Latinas stick together, the Asians keep to themselves and the Europeans have their own cliques. But Jennifer says Venus has to be brave and go out of her way to make friends with all groups. The more friends Venus makes, the more relaxed she will be.

THE PACMAN AND THE BEAUTY QUEEN…

Even Manny Pacquiao couldn’t help but give Venus tips!

They met recently so he could sign a pair of boxing gloves for her. Venus Raj will be taking the gloves as a country gift to Miss Universe for the charity auction. It’s a brilliant idea because the Miss Universe will be held in Mandalay Bay – the very same place where Manny whipped Latino ass. Wouldn’t it be cool if our very own Maria Venus Raj whips some Latina ass???

Now Manny may not be a beauty queen (jajajaja!) but he certainly knows a thing or two about fighting for a crown. Or belt, I should say! The Pacman told her that during the competition she has to imagine that she is in the Philippines surrounded by people who love her. I reckon it won’t be hard to do that since we’ve got a big Pinoy population in Vegas.

In fact, Venus was telling me about all the Filipinos who are waiting for her arrival in Vegas; they’re ready to help her out in any way they can. She will certainly need their support since Venus Raj is flying on her own without family members tagging along. It will be a lonely journey for her at least until she lands on US soil.

FIRST STOP: LOS ANGELES!

Venus Raj leaves Manila on Wednesday, August 4, 2010. When she gets to Los Angeles, she will join Misses Haiti, Columbia, Israel and two other beauty queens to do a Media Tour for Miss Universe for a couple days. Then on August 7, they all fly together to Las Vegas.

This means that unlike Pamela Bianca Manalo, who spent several days last year in Colombia for wardrobe fitting and training etc., before her Miss U competition, Venus will be going straight to her duties as a Miss Universe 2010 candidate. Of course this elicits the question…

WHO IS DESIGNING VENUS’ WARDROBE?

Alas and alack, I was not able to get any information out of Venus Raj regarding this very controversial topic (dang!). I tried asking but she simply said,

Hindi ko pa alam kung ano ang wardrobe ko. It’s all up to BPCI…

Neither does she know anything about her national costume. Perhaps, Venus is just avoiding controversy since she has had so much of it!

Bianca Manalo’s National Costume in Miss Universe 2009. You decide for yourself…

Last year, many pageant fans complained bitterly about the gown worn by Pamela Bianca Manalo; a gown designed by a Columbian. The howl of protest was heard loudest on the internet on beauty pageant forums like Voy and Team Venus on Facebook.

I can understand how they feel – IMHO, we need to be clothing our candidates in designs made by Filipinos because our candidate is after all representing our nation.

Would it sit right with us if our Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao fought his next opponent wearing shorts that said, “Made in Colombia”? Que HORROR!!! Hindi acceptable yan diba?

Neverthless, I forcefully believe that it is the woman who carries the gown and not the other way around. While it IS of crucial importance to have the best wardrobe possible, it is NOT impossible for Venus to win even if she traipses around on stage in a ‘fugly’ creation by a non-Filipino. Pero sana next year, Filipino na ang designer natin!

THE COMPETITORS…

I asked Venus: who is the girl to beat? Miss USA Rimah Fakih? Miss Venezuela Marelisa Gibson? Who??

Venus admits she hasn’t been seriously checking out the competition online. She  doesn’t think its a good idea to gauge their beauty and capabilities against her own this early in the game. It might just distract her and then there goes all the confidence she has built. There will be enough time for that when she gets to America, Venus says. So for now, she’s just making friends with some of them through Facebook.

VENUS’ MESSAGE TO SUPPORTERS

Our bet to this year’s Miss Universe has one very simple thing to say to all her fans and friends:

Thank you SO much! Sobrang thank you sa lahat ng Pilipinong sumoporta sa akin, here and abroad. I have no reason to give up because of you all. You made me Number 1 on the Miss Universe website, please keep voting because the online competition is not yet over. You believe in me so much so I will fight. Masarap ang pakiramdam ng maraming nagmamahal sa akin. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!

Maria Venus Raj, we love you!!!