Of sashes and tiaras: Binibining Pilipinas 2014 winners

During the question and answer portion of Binibining Pilipinas 2014, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler asked candidate #25 Mary Jean “MJ” Lastimosa: For you, what is the greatest advantage of being a woman?
Answering Isler’s question with confidence, Lastimosa said: “The greatest advantage of being a woman is being able to compose ourselves. Just like here, we’re standing in front of thousands of people not knowing if you’re going to cheer for us or boo us. But we try to compose ourselves. We keep the emotions and show the beauty that is in us. And tonight, thousands of people are here, celebrating the beauty of women.”
Last Sunday, March 30, Lastimosa bested 39 other beauties and was crowned this year’s Miss Universe-Philippines during the coronation night of the recent Binibining Pilipinas pageant held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Having crowned second runner up during the 2011 Bb. Pilipinas and was one of the Top 12 in 2012, Lastimosa definitely has good background in the pageant. She has training from two of the country’s well-known pageant camps: Jonas Gaffud’s Aces and Queens, and her current camp, Kagandahang Flores. However, joining the 2014 pageant was a last minute decision for the 26-year old beauty. She was hesitant to join and admitted thinking if the pageant was still for her. But then through her determination and prayers, third time is definitely a charm for Lastimosa who will be the country’s representative to the 63rd Miss Universe pageant later this year.
In addition to being a beauty queen, the North Cotabato native is also model, a computer engineer and an entrepreneur. Lastimosa, who owns a slimming center in Mindanao, also took home the Best in Swimsuit title in the said pageant.
Lastimosa belongs to a successful batch including her best friend, Shamcey Supsup (2011 Miss Universe third runner-up and 2011 Miss Universe-Philippines), and Janine Tugonon (2011 Miss Universe-Philippines first runner-up, 2012 Miss Universe first runner-up and 2012 Miss Universe-Philippines).
Other newly-proclaimed beauties were Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental #13 Kris Tiffany Janson, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational #35 Yvethe Marie Santiago, Bb. Pilipinas Tourism # 4 Parul Shah, Bb. Pilipinas International #22 Mary Anne Bianca Guiddoti, Bb. Pilipinas first runner-up #11 Laura Victoria Lehmann and second runner-up #27 Hannah Ruth Sison.
One will feel the competitive spirit through her answer. She was graceful, relaxed, and enjoyed every moment of her third and what could have possibly been her last try at the pageant. But all she had to do was to be herself and put her heart into it. Will Mary Jean Lastimosa be the one to finally take home the coveted Miss Universe crown? Sure there’s pressure, expectations and she has bigger shoes to fill in, but she is also a modern woman who exudes boldness, beauty and brilliance, and perhaps, MJ Lastimosa could be the queen just waiting to be crowned.

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