Nakapanayam ni Charlene Gonzalez-Muhlach para sa The Buzz ang isa sa naging judge sa Miss Universe 2011 na si Lea Salonga, ang ating sariling international theater sensation.
Ipinalabas ang naturang taped interview noong Linggo, October 2.
Marami ang nagtatanong kung paano napiling judge si Lea sa Miss Universe, na ginanap sa Sao Paulo, Brazil. Ito na rin ang unang itinanong ni Charlene.
"One of the casting directors of the Miss Universe [pageant] sent a note to my manager in the States," banggit ni Lea.
Ayon pa sa Broadway at West End award-winning actress, hindi siya nag-prepara at hindi rin niya pinag-aralan muna ang mga kandidata sa Miss Universe.
"The only time I saw any of the pictures," kuwento ni Lea, "parang, even playing field kumbaga, they had a souvenir program in my hotel room.
"When I got in, I picked it up, and I went through all.
"That was the only time I looked at everybody."
So, wala siyang naging interaction kahit konti sa mga kandidato bago ng gabi ng pageant?
"No. We were sequestered. We were completely kept away.
"We were in a separate hotel from the candidates. They were at the Hilton, we were at the Hyatt.
"All the communication with any of the candidates, barred.
"It was very strict, and even before we could enter the venue, tinitingnan muna nila kung may bumababang kandidato sa hagdanan.
"Like in dress rehearsal, ’Wait, the candidate is going down.’ So, once they passed, then we could get in.
"We can’t look at everybody."
Paano naman ang briefing nila noong final night?
Ayon kay Lea, "We were certainly told to look for that special something that is beyond their looks.
"That when you look into their eyes, and you see that there’s something real and sincere and strong.
"It has to be something that represents a global community, and it has to be somebody who’s physically strong enough to handle the demands of one year.
"So, we’re looking at everyone—if they are physically healthy, if they are physically strong, if they are vibrant.
"That when they smile, it’s not empty and there’s something real."
Q&A. Pagdating naman sa famous question-and-answer portion ng pageant, ano ang komento ni Lea sa representative ng Pilipinas na si Shamcey Supsup, na nagtapos bilang 3rd runner-up?
"I think she did really well," sambit ni Lea.
"She came across as very honest and sincere. But how she came across to me could be very different from how she came across to other judges sitting at the table.
"At the end of the day, she did the best that she could. Given the thirty seconds to answer her question.
"Religious belief is a very sensitive topic."
Ang naging katanungan kay Shamcey: "Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love?"
At ang naging sagot ni Shamcey: "If I had to change my religious beliefs, I will not marry the person that I love. Because the first person that I love is GOD who created me. And I have my faith and my principles. And these are what make me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God too. Thank you."
RANKING. Charlene also asked Lea kung ano ang naging pag-rank niya sa Top 5 ng Miss Universe.
"My ranking for 5 and 1 was correct.
"My No. 2 is Shamcey, No. 3 is Brazil, 4 was Ukraine, and 5 was China."
Bakit No. 1 si Miss Angola at No. 2 si Shamcey?
"I have to also consider this: This woman [Miss Angola] has an interpreter that kept on interrupting her.
"The fact that she answers, she answers quickly—very, very quickly.
"But the interpreter butted in, and she maintained her poise, she maintained her posture.
"And she came across so regal and gorgeous. We couldn’t take our eyes off her!
"The moment she came with her evening gown, we were all, ’Oh, my God!’"
Ganito naman ang naging resulta ng pageant: Miss Universe—Miss Angola; 1st runner-up—Miss Ukraine; 2nd runner-up—Miss Brazil; 3rd runner-up—Miss Philippines; and 4th runner-up—Miss China.
May nagsasabi na kaya raw nanalo si Miss Angola ay dahil ang question na itinanong ni Lea rito ay madali lamang.
Sa Miss Universe pageant ay ito ang naging tanong ni Lea kay Leila Lopes: "If you could change one of your personal characteristics, which one would it be and why?"
Ito naman ang naging sagot ni Leila: "Thank God, I’m very well satisfied with the way God created me and I would not change a thing. I consider myself a woman with inner beauty. I have my principles. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I plan to follow this through the rest of my life."
Sagot naman ni Lea sa isyung ito: "It’s not my fault. The question came from the Miss Universe Organization. I did not write that question.
"It could very well have been Shamcey if she got that question. If she picked my name from the bowl, she could have gotten that question.
"Nagkataon lang na si Miss Angola picked me to ask her that question."
DISNEY LEGEND AWARD. Bukod sa pagiging judge sa Miss Universe 2011, isa pang pagkilala ang natanggap ni Lea kamakailan, ang Disney Legend Award.
Ito ay dahil sa kanyang kakaiba at pambihirang kontribusyon sa Walt Disney movies, tulad ng Aladdin at Mulan, kung saan siya ang naging singing voice nina Princess Jasmine at Mulan. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
Gaano ba kahalaga sa kanya ang ganitong pagkilala?
"Mahalaga, kasi galing mismo sa Walt Disney company, and it’s given to people who made a significant contribution.
"Just singing for them, it’s more than enough.
"Kasi, parang nakarating ka na rin sa lugar na maraming henerasyon ng kabataan ang makikinig at makakapanood ng mga pelikulang yun.
"It is valuable," pahayag niya.
SEPARATION RUMOR. Sa kabila ng mga naturang pagkilala ay ang intrigang lumabas na diumano’y hiwalay na sila ng asawa niyang si Rob Chien.
Paglilinaw ni Lea, "Oh, we’re fine.
"And the one thing I can say about my husband is how incredibly supportive he is... Patient. Very, very patient, because I have my moments.
"But he’s incredibly supportive of my work. He understands why I go away.
"He doesn’t always like what happens because, minsan, kahit nandito nga ako sa Pilipinas, hindi rin kami palaging nagkikita kasi marami rin akong trabahong natatanggap.
"Pero blessing din yun kaya naiintindihan din niya."