MANILA, Philippines - “I can handle it. I’m prepared,” said Miss Universe Philippines 2013 Ariella Arida about the pressure that comes with her new crown.
She spoke these confident words at a press conference last April 14 in Araneta Coliseum, Cubao minutes after she was crowned.
The 4 lovely ladies shed their Binibini numbers as they posed for the media with their crowns and sashes.
Ariella Arida emerges from the stage victorious
"I'm really overwhelmed," a teary-eyed Ariella admitted to the press. "It hasn't sunk in that I've won the crown."
The 24-year-old Laguna native said that winning the crown heralds “a different style of life.”
“It’s really very different from going to a laboratory in your rubber shoes, lab gown and now here I am, with the crown,” added the new beauty queen with a Chemistry degree from the University of the Philippines.
The other winners of the night also shared their initial reactions to the pageant results.
Still with tears in her eyes, Pia said, "I'm really happy to be here. This is my first pageant ever. I'm really happy to get this far."
Cindy, the newly-crowned Miss Tourism, admitted that though she was also overwhelmed with happiness, "I was losing hope just before the announcement."
Joanna Cindy Miranda said she can't wait to help promote the country's beautiful spots as Miss Tourism 2013
Ever since the start of the pageant, Mutya Datul was a top pick based on the crowd's loud support for her
Mutya, wearing her new Miss Supranational crown with regal cheerfulness, enthused, "Sobrang Masaya ako na nakakuha ako ng crown. Nasagot ang prayers ko. Parang panaginip lang lahat (I'm really happy that I got a crown. My prayers were answered. It's all like a dream)."
"I didn't expect to be called," admitted Binibining Pilipinas-International 2013 Bea Santiago.
"But you know that feeling that you're going to win? When I woke up this morning, I felt it," she added.
The road to Miss Universe
With 3 consecutive runner-up placements from Venus Raj (Miss Universe 2010 4th runner-up), Shamcey Supsup (Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner-up) and Janine Tugonon (Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up), Ariella has very large high-heels to fill.
Ariella Arida must face the pressure of matching Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon's performance
But she assured everyone that her win has made her even more determined to succeed in the international pageant.
“I’ve never been this hardworking in my entire life because I used to be a just an average person. I don’t usually work hard because I feel more depressed if I know that I pay more attention to it and then I fail. But now, with this pageant, this is really the time when I really worked hard physically, emotionally.”
Ariella’s journey to the Miss Universe stage has just begun. After coronation night, she will undergo even more rigorous training to shape her body and personality into a Miss Universe candidate with solid-gold chances of winning the crown.
What points of improvement does she plan to work on in the months leading to the pageant?
“I have to improve more on communicating to people because I am here to be a spokesperson to everyone. I want everyone to get what I want to say more easily. And also, I can’t forget the walk and the personality because I think that’s also important.”
Pageant followers will be keeping a close eye on Ariella and the other new queens. She carries not only a crown on her head, but also the hopes of many who desire nothing more than to see a Filipina crowned as Miss Universe 2013. - Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.