Miss Universe 2012… Well, Almost! (A Tribute to Janine Tugonon)



I have always been a fan of the girls who were not popular when competition started, but emerged out as winners over the course of the pageant due to their sincerity and confidence.  One such lady who surprised me a lot was Janine Tugonon from Philippines who finished second in the Miss Universe pageant of the year 2012.

Hopes were high from Janine since the previous two representatives of her countries were among the runner-ups in the recent years.  In the year 2010, Venus Raj was a hot-favorite for the crown and ended up finishing fifth after a weak answer in the final round.  The very next year, beautiful Shamcey Supsup finished fourth.  Hence the pressures were very high.


Although not a looker, Janine was known even during her national pageant days as someone who is very sincere and an achiever. She was the first runner-up in 2011 and came back next year with more determination, eventually winning the main title.  She put her heart and soul in her preparation for the Miss Universe pageant.

Few days before Christmas, the Miss Universe pageant was held in Las Vegas.  Miss Venezuela Irene Esser was the big favorite to win the pageant with her stunning beauty and outgoing personality.  During the preliminaries, Janine had impressed many by her excellent walk on the stage.  Her presence in the Top 16 was unquestionable and she received many cheers from her fans when her name was called.  In the swimsuit round, she kept her hair open and looked very cute and fit.  She was the not the best in the bunch, but she was among the girls who did very good and just could not be ignored.


Her presence in the Top 10 was again not a surprise.  She wore a light blue gown with pleated skirt and made the cut to the Top 5.  I personally would have preferred Miss South Africa Melinda Bam instead of her.  Still, this was not the case where you are 100 % sure of injustice.  It is quite possible that in person the judges observed that Janine looked better and hence deserved the placement in Top 5.

One thing that separated Janine from the other girls was her “Cobra Walk”.  You see her do it and you know how polished and prepared this girl is!  It was this walk which helped her immensely in reaching the Top 5.


Along with Janine & Olivia Culpo, Irene was also in the Top 5.  Everyone thought the crown was in her bag.  But the final question like most years changed all the equations.  Janine was asked if knowledge of English should be made compulsory for winning Miss Universe title.  She answered, “For me, being Miss Universe is not just about knowing about how to speak a specific language. It’s being able to influence and inspire other people. So what…(Audience applauds) So whatever language you have, as long as your heart is to serve and you have a strong mind to… to show to people, then you can be Miss Universe. Thank you.” Janine’s answer was very confident and was perfectly worded.  In any other year, this answer could have got her the crown.  But in 2012, the highly personable Olivia Culpo was won the battle with ease.  Last she came in the final round and was asked to mention the thing that she had done in past which she would never do again.  She mentioned about her fights with her siblings during childhood.  More than the content, her delivery and personality was what won the judges over.


It was still between USA and Philippines.  Although USA delivered the answer better, Janine’s answer was highly intellectual and was the kind of answer which could get the girl a crown.  Finally after Venezuela was declared as second runner-up,  Janine and Olivia stood on the stage holding hands.  Finally USA was chosen as the winner and Janine had to suffice with the first runner-up title.


She was seen again in Miss Universe 2013 as the Web correspondent and she looked lot better than she did in Miss Universe 2012.

She may not have won the Miss Universe title, but will always be known as the sincere, determined girl of the pageant-crazy nation who went on to be among the two most beautiful women of the Universe.  Respect for Janine!  🙂

Author: Poholic Sarkar