It's easy to see why Janine Tugonon has a chance at the Miss Universe 2012 crown. She's a fighter, and a very good one at that. After failing to win the Binibining Pilipinas crown in 2011 (she was the first runner-up), she vowed to join the pageant again in 2012—and won it.
Now with the weight of the country on her shoulders, Janine says she's confident about competing in Las Vegas on December 19. To her, this pageant isn't just about showing off. "Pinapakita ng Miss Universe [contest] kung paano dalhin ng babae ang sarili niya, yung character niya, sa harap ng madaming tao," she said proudly.
Cosmo sat down exclusively with the beauty queen as she revealed she's out to win the crown with faith, trust, and a truckload of positivity.
What's your personal style like?
I'm a very simple person. If you see me on an ordinary day, I'll be wearing shorts and a t-shirt—sometimes, even flip flops. I like wearing flats.
Do you have a go-to outfit?
I love jumpsuits and cocktail dresses. Kapag may lakad, jumpsuit kaagad yung first choice ko, kasi maganda talaga at elegant.
Do you follow a beauty regimen?
Hindi effective sa akin kapag masyadong madaming nakalagay na products sa face. I tried doing that once, pero lalong dumami yung pimples ko. After an event, nagtatanggal ako kaagad ng makeup. I also put ice before sleeping.
How do you maintain your physique?
I do a lot of weights and core strengething classes. I practice ballet and badminton, too.
What do you look for in a guy?
Simple lang ako. Basta faithful siya at parehao kami ng paniniwala. Parehas kami dapat na Christian.
We heard you have a boyfriend now. What does he think of you joining Miss Universe?
He's very supportive with what I do. Sabi ko nga sa ibang mga interviews ko, kung wala siya, I would have given up kasi ang bigat ng pressure sa akin. Minsan, maiinis ka talaga. He always tells me, "You don't stop. You finish what you have to do."
In 2011, you lost the Binibining Pilipinas title, but joined again in 2012 where you won. What did you learn from that experience?
There's no such thing as an easy way up. You really have to work hard and give it your best. Kung magre-relax ka lang, you're not going to get anything. You have to give your 100% to achieve what you want.
What's the difference between your beauty queen self and your everyday self?
Sobrang simple talaga ako with the way I move and talk. Hindi talaga pang-Ms. Universe!
What are some of the advocacies you believe in?
Women empowerment. For me, we can do just as well as men. Women should prove to the world that we are strong and independent.
Beauty queens are perceived to be very poised. Could you tell us one un-beauty queen fact about yourself?
I sell fish. Natututwa mga friends ko kapag sinasabi ko yun.
If you weren't a beauty queen, what would you be doing right now?
I really want to go to the States and study Criminology.
What's your advice for fun, fearless Cosmo girls?
Take things lightly. You will face a lot of challenges in life, but you just have to go with it. Everything will be fine.
Don't forget to tune into ABS-CBN on December 20 for the 61st Miss Universe Pageant.