Miss Universe 2010 4th runnerup Maria Venus Raj answers rumors about her alleged involvement in the sabotage of the national costume of Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell, who placed 2nd runnerup in the same pageant.
Venus gave interviews at the Manila launch of Fashion One, a 24/7 international entertainment channel, on September 11 at Republiq, Resorts World, Pasay City.
Ms. Australia cried sabotage during the pageant last August 24, claiming her national costume was lined with pins. Her outfit, an Aboriginal-art-styled one-piece swimsuit and rainbow flamenco dress, was paired with high-heeled Ugg boots.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, Miss Australia said contestants from the Philippines, Mexico, as well as Central and South American countries were "extremely competitive."
When she learned that Miss Australia had singled her out as a possible culprit, Venus said: "Hindi ako actually naniwala na sinabi niya 'yun.
"Kasi we're very close, may best friend siya na Filipino, roommates kami sa L.A. Pag nag-uusap kami ng best friend niya, trina-translate sa kanya. Parang hindi ko alam na sasabihin niya yung mga ganoon."
She added that Miss Australia even sent her a tweet denying the rumor. "In fact, nag-message siya sa Twitter.
"Sabi niya hindi daw totoo 'yung mga lumalabas sa news. Parang may nangyaring ganoon pero hindi daw siya nag-drop ng name."
Venus said she couldn't even remember what the gown looked like.
"Hindi ko matandaan kung ano yung national costume niya. Definitely, hindi ko gagawin 'yon, and I know hindi niya sinabi 'yon talaga, I swear. "
The Bicolana stunner was treating the whole incident lightly and said: "Sa Las Vegas, hindi ko nga alam kung anong room number niya, kaya hindi ko magagawa iyon, definitely. "
COPING WITH FAME. Her achievement as 4th runnerup in the Miss Universe pageant was only the beginning. Venus said she was still adjusting to her new life as a celebrity.
She related an incident when she dropped by her hometown after winning the pageant: "Pumunta ako sa mall, yung dati ko nang pinupuntahan, kasi bibili ako ng top para sa party ng friend ko.
"Tapos, hindi ako makabili kasi ang dami-daming tao talaga... pinipigilan na ng mga gwardiya, pinipigilan na ng store manager na pumasok sa loob."
The 22-year-old beauty queen realized she was not an ordinary girl anymore.
"I had to remind myself, 'Oo nga pala, nanalo ako. Ang dami na palang nakakakilala sa akin.'
"Kailangan ko na rin piliin yung mga pupuntahan ko at yung mga hindi ko pupuntahan."
Nevertheless, she felt good about herself. "Although it is overwhelming, ang sarap ng pakiramdam na kilala ka nila."
CERTIFIED URAGON. This true-blue Filipina who was raised in Bicol said she enjoys eating, especially Bicol delicacies.
"...Laing, masarap yun. Favorite ko talaga yung pinaputok na tilapia. Magaling ako gumawa noon, sobra," Venus said.
She confessed that she eats a lot. "Kasi feeling ko, 'eto na 'yung talagang structure ng katawan ko. Payat ako ever since, pero kumakain ako nang marami."
However, she stressed the importance of exercise. "Kailangan ko mag-gym para kahit ano yung kinakain ko, mare-reduce din kahit papaano."