On Maxine Medina

Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina at the pageant's red-carpet event.
Honestly, when Maxine Medina took home the Miss Universe Philippines crown last year, I was so disappointed. She wasn’t my first choice for the role—I was hoping Kylie Verzosa would be chosen to follow in Pia Wurtzbach’s footsteps instead. I thought Kylie had beauty, brains and that elusive it factor, and I was proven right when she was named Miss International 2016. But I digress.

I didn’t support Maxine at the time because I believed that she didn’t have what it takes to secure a back-to-back victory for the Philippines at Miss Universe. An interior designer and a working model who’s a member of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines, Maxine is a stunner. She has a great body and a smile that could launch a thousand toothpaste commercials. But as we’ve seen, if you want to be Miss Universe, you can’t rely on your beauty alone. You also have to be able to express yourself well.

Based on Maxine’s performance at the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas pageant, I did not think she was articulate or witty enough for the world stage. I cringed when she delivered a somewhat incoherent answer to a question from ABS-CBN Chief Operating Officer for Broadcast Cory Vidanes that night. I was very vocal about my disdain for Maxine—which I instantly regretted when I watched the Miss Universe preliminaries. I got a big kick out of seeing Maxine in her evening gown, national costume and swimsuit. I thought she looked sensational and I felt so proud of her that I cried.

I also cried because I realized I should have been more supportive of her in the days leading up to the competition. I realized that whatever failings she may or may not have, she’s still our girl. Our representative. Ergo, Maxine deserved better from me and anyone else who spoke badly of her. I decided to make up for every harsh thing I said about her. I tweeted #MissUniverse #Philippines as often as I could to help her get through to the next round. But as it turned out, Maxine made it into the Top 13 on her own merits, not because of her supporters' efforts. (Miss Universe Thailand 2016 Chalita Suansane, she of the 17 suitcases, turned out to be the beneficiary of the fan vote.) Love her or hate her, you have to admit that’s impressive.

Speaking of which, I want to remind every disappointed Filipino that a Top 6 finish in Miss Universe isn’t bad at all. Besides, only Venezuela has won two consecutive titles in the pageant’s sixty-five year history, when it fielded Dayana Mendoza in 2008 and Stefania Fernandez in 2009. Hindi madali masungkit ang back-to-back. Let’s not beat Maxine up for not being able to do it. She did well in the preliminaries, as well as in the evening gown and swimsuit rounds held during the main event. OK, so she didn’t do as well as we all hoped she would in the question round, but that’s alright. Maxine gave the competition her best, and at the end of the day, that’s all we can reasonably expect from our binibinis. 

I may have started out as one of her most vocal detractors, but because of her determination and resilience (she kept fighting despite the odds and overwhelming negativity), I was won over.

You did good, “Maria Mika Maxine Medina, Philippines.” Congratulations.

Photos courtesy of the official Miss Universe web site.


The old Julian can't come to the phone right now.

1 comment:

  1. My second time reading and leaving a comment on your blog, Sir. I love the honesty and how it reflected what I feel with Vivoree and Maxine but I guess it will not come as smoothly like this. Impeccable!