Nag-e-enjoy si Miss USA Deshauna Barber sa paglilibot sa iba’t ibang lugar sa Pilipinas bilang bahagi ng activities ng mga kandidata sa Miss Universe 2016.
Pero ang pinakaborito raw niyang lugar na nabisita ay ang Siargao sa Surigao del Norte.
“I went there last month when we went to Cloud 9 beach, and it was just wonderful.
“I’ve never been to such a beautiful beach in my life.
“Definitely, one of my favorites—Siargao,” sabi ni Deshauna, ang kauna-unahang US Army Reserve (lieutenant) na nanalo ng Miss USA title.
Pero ang hindi raw makakalimutan ni Deshauna sa kanyang pagpunta sa Pilipinas ay ang magandang ugali at kalooban ng mga Pilipino.
Dagdag niya, “I’ve learned that everyone here has a lot of hospitality.
“Everyone is so kind, sweet, and caring.
“And really you just wanna have a good time.
“I wish we had that type of personality, everyone in the U.S.
“We can learn a lot from the people of the Philippines.
“I really do mean that, because I’ve never been around such caring and sweet, and truly genuine people, like everyone, so it’s really wonderful.”
Nakausap ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Deshauna sa lunch with the media people at presscon ng ilang Miss Universe 2016 candidates, na hosted ng PLDT at Smart Communications.
Ginanap ang event sa SMX Convention Center noong January 21. Bukod kay Miss USA, kasama ring dumalo si Miss Philippines Maxine Medina at ang representatives ng mga bansang Aruba, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Colombia, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, at Vietnam.
Ang PLDT at Smart ay kabilang sa major presentors at sponsors ng Miss Universe 2016.
Kamakailan ay nakipag-partner ang Miss Universe Organization at Solar Entertainment sa PLDT, Smart at TV5 para sa paghahatid ng best viewing experience ng naturang global beauty pageant.
ADMIRING PIA. Puno ng papuri at pagmamahal si Deshauna sa mga Pilipino dahil, kahit daw sa Amerika pa, maganda na ang impression at experience niya sa isang Filipina, na nakasama niyang tumira sa apartment sa New York na provided ng Miss Universe Organization.
Ito ay walang iba kundi si Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
Kuwento niya, “I used to live with Pia.
“She’s such a genuine person.
“I’ve never met someone that makes you feel like there’s no hierarchy in our positions.
“Obviously, being the Miss Universe, she’s on a higher level than I am.
“I’m trying to be at her level.
“She doesn’t treat me like she’s better than me.
“She has always treated me with respect since the day I was crowned.
“She’s always so incredibly sweet.”
Nalulungkot lang si Deshauna na hindi na sila magkakasama sa bahay ni Pia pagkatapos nitong ipasa ang korona sa susunod na Miss Universe.
Pag-amin niya, “I’m so heartbroken that we’re not gonna be roommates anymore.
“But I do wish her luck on everything that she’s going to be doing in the future.
“The world should be incredibly thankful and honored to have her as Miss Universe because when I see how she is on stage, how gracious she is, the way she handles herself—she does that behind closed doors, not just a front.
“She really is an incredibly, genuine person.
“And you know, I see her and I know she’s done an amazing job.
“She puts all her heart into it.
“I really pray and hope that whoever wins Miss Universe is going to do the same thing.
“Because I think that the world deserves a really humble, dedicated Miss Universe.
“I think that’s the most important, and I really hope for the judges to make that important decision.”
Naging mabuting magkaibigan daw sila ni Pia. Naging emosyunal pa raw siya nang magpaalam kay Pia sa Amerika.
Patuloy niyang kuwento, “I’m telling you, I rode in her car before I left [for the Philippines].
“You know, I’m not an emotional person.
“My crowning moment was quite emotional, but I’m not an emotional person.
“I think the military in me, you know, that straight-head, fish-eyed, my eyes are always on the goal.
“So, I’m not an emotional person at all.
“But I got slightly emotional when I was writing her my goodbye card because I was telling her how much I really love her.
“I don’t think she realizes how wonderful she is.
“I don’t think she understands the impact that she made on so many people around the world.
“I don’t think she really gets it, and I hope that she listens to this.
“I wrote her in the card that she’s an incredible person, and we’re really honored, not only as an organization, but as a sister queen, as a friend—we’re really honored to be in her presence.”
Hiningan din ng PEP ng komento si Deshauna tungkol sa active love life ngayon ni Pia, matapos nitong aminin na sila na nga ng international car racer na si Marlon Stockinger.
“Love life?” sabay tawa ni Deshauna.
“I don’t know if I wanna talk about her love life. I think that’s her business.
“But any guy would be lucky to have her, I would say that. I truly do mean that, she’s truly incredible. But I’ll let her speak on her own love life.”
MISS PHILIPPINES AND OTHER CANDIDATES CLOSE TO HER. Masayang inihayag ni Deshauna na close rin siya sa pambato ng Pilipinas ngayong taon sa Miss Universe na si Maxine Medina.
Para nga raw nakikita ni Deshauna si Pia kay Maxine.
Lahad ni Deshauna, “You know, Maxine reminds me so much of Pia.
"And I told Pia this when I was here last month.
“I said, ‘Maxine reminds me so much of you. Your mannerisms are the same.’
“You know, they’re very happy and funny.
"I don’t know if it’s just a Filipino thing, I don’t know.
“But they’re almost the same to me because Maxine has been so incredibly humble and sweet and dedicated to the Philippines.
“I personally think that she’s a wonderful representation of the Philippines.
“And since I got to know her, she’s so goofy, she’s amazing, so humble, she’s always laughing.
“And no matter how tired she is… because there was a night that we only had two or three hours of sleep, but when I walked down the hall she’s still that happy at two o’clock in the morning.
“She’s always so happy no matter how exhausted she is.
“And I think that’s a characteristic that she needs in Miss Universe.
“You need someone who can handle that kind of pressure.
“And I think Maxine is a wonderful representation of what a Miss Universe should be as well, from what I see in her.”
Who are her closets friends among the Miss Universe candidates?
Saad niya, “My roommate, Miss Curacao [Chanelle de Lau] is closest to me.
“And then Miss Philippines and Miss Malaysia [Kiran Jassal] are both roommates, so they come to our room a lot.
“So, we call ourselves the Spice Girls because we’re always together.
“So, it’s always me, Miss Malaysia, Miss Philippines, Miss Curacao.
“And I’m also very close with Miss Thailand [Chalita Suansane], Miss Vietnam [Le Hang], and I’m close to a lot of candidates, they’re all so sweet.”
HANDLING THE PRESSURE. Kabilang si Miss USA sa early favorites sa mga kandidata sa iba’t ibang poll at surveys. How does she handle the pressure?
Pag-aanalisa niya, “The thing about pageantry, and I think this is true for a lot of the girls, you know, we have our own lives outside of pageantry.
“We don’t place our entire lives to the crown.
“I think what’s important when you’re in a competition, setting enough place in your life to the success of this event, is to know that this experience is more important than the crown.
“So, I’m here to truly enjoy myself.
“Whether I win or I lose, I’m gonna go back to just being happy and thankful for this opportunity.
“And I hope that the girls will it see the same way.
“I noticed that a lot of the girls are genuinely having a wonderful time and I think that’s the most important.
“I think that’s the way to handle the pressure.
“Because that’s what I did to get to Miss USA, the same thing as Miss Columbia. I didn’t focus on the crown, I focused on enjoying myself, and that’s why onstage interview, swimsuit, evening gown, all those things to me are fun.
“I’m really there to have a good time.
“So, like I said, if I win the Miss Universe or if I don’t, it doesn’t matter to me… it kind of matters, it matters.
“But the main thing is that I’m just excited to be here.
“I’m blessed and honored to represent the United States of America, and I just want to do my best.”