To the Philippines, a Filipina winning a major international beauty pageant like Miss Universe is not an impossible dream. After all, Gloria Diaz did so in 1969, followed by Margie Moran four years later in 1973. But the following decades, filled with either swift eliminations or runner-up placements, made the public think for a time that the Miss Universe spark had come and gone, even as other beauties triumphed in other pageants. Then Pia Wurtzbach broke the MU drought in 2015, with Catriona Gray following in 2018. Suddenly pageant fans are hopeful for repeat Miss Universe victories for the Philippines again; but not for 2021.
According to The Philippine Star, Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice Luigi Gomez only got so far and no further in the recently-concluded 70th Miss Universe pageant. The event, which took place Sunday evening December 12 at the Universe Dome in Eliat, Israel saw 2020 titleholder Miss Mexico Andrea Meza pass the crown onto Miss India 2021 Hamaaz Sandhu. She is the third beauty from India to win Miss Universe. As for Gomez, despite a strong showing she ultimately ended her race in the Top 5, short of a Runner-Up placement.
While unfortunate, it is not all that bad. Beatrice continues the Philippines’ firm grip on the Miss Universe pageant’s positioning, always placing among the Top contestants at the barest minimum for the past 12 years (2009 was the last MU so far where Miss Philippines went unplaced). She is also a significant icon of Philippine representation, being the first openly LGBTQ representative of the country in this competition. On her journey to MU, Gomez has impressed with her background, from her university varsity career while finishing a Mass Communication degree, modeling and community work, and even being a Navy Reservist.
Already Beatrice Gomez has been lauded by Malacañang Palace for her latest achievement. She is not the only Filipina earning high praise locally and internationally at the 2021 Miss Universe pageant. Actress Marian Rivera also got attention and positive reaction as a selection committee member (judge), with some Filipinos nodding with pageant host Steve Harvey mentioning her (minor) recording career. Social media even has footage of Rivera teaching the “Sabay Sabay Tayo” dance routine to fellow judge and Bollywood actress Urvashi Rautela between pageant segments.
Rounding out the Top 5 contestants alongside Miss Universe 2021 Hamaaz Sandhu and Gomez, are 1st Runner-Up Nadia Ferreira (Paraguay), Lalela Mswane (South Africa) and Valeria Ayos (Colombia) who stood beside Beatrice at the end.
Image from The Manila Times