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SHAMCEY SUPSUP: Beauty, Brains and Beyond'

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A BEAUTY-AND-BRAINS combo can be quite challenging to find among pageant contestants. More often if a candidate is too pretty, her I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) is hardly high enough to finish the sentence and bring to the table. There may be others who are blessed with a little bit of everything — lovely face, smooth skin, curvy figure, height of five-feet-seven or better, or just enough guts to say something during question-and-answer.

But if you’re judging a beauty contest, and there’s one girl onstage standing before you, alongside her equally gorgeous fellow contestants, and you knew that she graduated with Latin honors and she was a board topnotcher, why would you have to look around and find someone else?

This year, our country has chosen its national queen whose charm is as unquestionable as her wit. Recently crowned Binibining Pilipinas - Universe 2011, Shamcey Supsup has proven a woman's worth by defining beauty at par with brains.

She's not the first title-holder who has graduated Magna Cum Laude (from the University of the Philippines-Diliman), but her placing first in the 2010 Architecture Licensure Examination is what makes most of us hold her in higher esteem — than winning that coveted crown of the night. In a country where kids are told to study hard as soon as they start going to school, Supsup will serve as a role model for young girls out there who want to make a stride into the world of pageantry.

While most national beauty contests require girls to be at least high school graduates who are between 18 years old and 25, a completed undergraduate educational attainment will still be the best preparation, let alone weapon.

Not only will it have molded their minds, thus making them more confident throughout the competition, from pre-pageant interviews to the final question-and-answer in the coronation night, it will be easy for the winner to fulfill her duties and responsibilities during her reign. And then, she can pursue her long-term dream, be it in show business, or in the corporate world, or in the medical profession. It depends, though, on the girl's physical potentiality, experience, exposure and mental preparedness. Mutya Ng Pilipinas 1993 Michelle Aldana was still studying Speech and Drama at the University of the Philippines-Diliman when she joined the pageant. Her stunning stature, smart spontaneity and fresh Filipina beauty won for our country the last Miss Asia-Pacific title.

Supsup will be competing in the Miss Universe pageant come September, to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There's no question to the way former Miss Universes have been selected, but almost always the Miss Universe Organization is hounded by controversies about their basis for selection of the semi-finalists. Many pageant experts and analysts have wondered how come that lousy lady from Europe made it to the semi finals, while this elegant lass from Asia barely did.

It goes without saying that results are always unpredictable and that we can only expect the unexpected. However, as soon as the semi-finalists start strutting their stuff and pivoting their way onstage, we cannot help but notice one or two finalists looking so out of place in swimsuit and in evening gown. Our country has sent sexier and prettier delegates to all international beauty pageants out there, but to no avail. We might as well support someone like Shamcey Supsup whose resume is as eloquent as her personality, a representative who can interact well with her co-candidates, the press, the sponsors, the organizers, the bigwigs as well as the locals of the host country.

Never mind the Final Question segment, for we cannot blame delegates who answer in their mother tongue. Intelligence is not measured by someone's command of English, in a country where they're using their native language as medium of instruction. But if we talk about a non-English speaking finalist's gist in her answer, only the interpreter can admit to either translating her thoughts as is, or glossing over its content to make it sound more sensible.

And if, God willing, Shamcey Supsup brings home the crown this year, then she will be the next brainy Miss Universe since India's Lara Dutta clinched the title in 2000. Otherwise, she will always be a full-fledged, one-of-a-kind icon of beauty and brains, born to be our country's cream of the crop, donning the sash as the Philippines' most beautiful woman, wearing the medal for being the most intelligent architect around.

By Ariel Allera




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