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The Top 7 Winners Of Miss Universe Philippines 2021's Interview Challenge And Their Answers In The Q&A

Get to know these seven delegates better through Miss Universe Philippines 2021's Interview Challenge

Miss Universe Philippines 2021 announced the Top 7 delegates who impressed the panelists in the Interview Challenge, which tested the aspiring beauty queens' communication skills and ability to maintain grace under pressure.


On August 28, the Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) organization released the two-parter Interview Challenge videos via Empire Philippines' YouTube channel. Host and MUPH Director of Communications Voltaire Tayag was joined by a group of panelists which included: MUPH National Director and entrepreneur Shamcey Supsup-Lee; MUPH Style Council Head and fashion designer Albert Andrada; TV anchor and Resorts World Manila Corporate Communications Director Joee Guilas; events and fashion show director Jackie Aquino; fashion show director and founder of SAGA Events, director Robby Carmona; legal counsel of MUPH, Empire PH, and 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, Atty. PY Caunan.


Also joining the Q&A premiere were MUPH Creative Director Jonas Gaffud, MUPH Business Development and Marketing Head Mario Garcia, MUPH Head of Legal Affairs Atty. Nad Bronce, MUPH Head of Women Empowerment & Charity Lia Ramos, and Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo.  


Each delegate had 45 seconds to introduce themselves. They were then asked two questions that are relevant to the society today, and were given 30 seconds to answer each. After which, they had 30 seconds more to share their thoughts about this one timely question: "How has the pandemic challenged you?"  



In the end, the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 delegates who stood out for their eloquence and poise were: Cavite's Victoria Velasquez Vincent, Parañaque's Maria Ingrid Teresita P. Santamaria, San Juan City's Rousanne Marie Bernos, Makati's Isabelle delos Santos, Bukidnon's Megan Julia Roa Digal, Cebu City's Beatrice Luigi Gomez, and Marinduque's Simone Nadine Bornilla


In Photos: The Top 50 Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Delegates

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In Photos: The Top 50 Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Delegates


Read how these Top 7 delegates introduced themselves and answered the questions:


Victoria Velasquez Vincent from Cavite

"Hi, I'm Victoria Velasquez Vincent, representing my beloved Cavite. I am an architect and a heritage conservationist. And aside from being a lover of all things visually creative, I’m also a lover of poetry and anything underrated. So, whether it be the food that people don’t typically like or the places less traveled, you will always find me going against the grain. I am a Virgo and the epitome of a Virgo at that, which means I’m obsessed with being organized and solving problems and nurturing the growth of those around me. Fun fact: you will never find anyone with a better memory than me, whether it's your birthday, your phone number, or what I had for Christmas lunch in 2012, you best believe that I will never forget it."


Would you rather be an Olympic gold medalist or Miss Universe?

"That’s a hard question because either way, you are bringing so much pride to your country. But for me, I would have to say I would rather be Miss Universe because the prestige that lasts with Miss Universe is so much stronger than what lasts with an Olympic athlete, in my opinion. And with Miss Universe, you only have to do it once and you bring so much pride to your country whereas being an Olympic medalist, you have to keep improving every year, you have to do better and better. So for me, yeah, I think I’d go with Miss Universe but also because…" 


Global warming has caused dramatic climate changes worldwide. As a beauty queen, how will you help in protecting our environment?

"It starts with the changes that you make in your own personal life and then extending that and using the platform that we have in Miss Universe Philippines to encourage other people to do the same thing. So, for example, for me, I have actually converted to being 90% vegan because I know that animal agriculture contributes to so much of these issues that climate change causes. And so, even that minor change, I know I’m contributing to such a large issue and I know that I can use my platform to encourage other people to do the same. "  


How has the pandemic challenged you?

"Above all else, the pandemic has challenged me in a way that has made me both stronger and more independent. I spent the first year of the pandemic in New Zealand and had the privilege of having that safety and security. But I still chose to sacrifice all of those things and relocate to the Philippines in January. And if there’s anything that that journey taught me, it’s that you might need to make some sacrifices along the way and you might need to give up on so many things and let go of so many things in your life. But you shouldn’t let anything, not even a worldwide pandemic, get in the way of your dreams." 


Victoria Velasquez Vincent from Cavite


Maria Ingrid Teresita P. Santamaria from Parañaque

"My name is Ingrid Santamaria, but I also go by Sam. I’m a 25-year-old corporate professional, and I graduated cum laude with a degree in Communications at De La Salle University. I come from a big family so I was always raised to be sociable at a young age, and I think that’s where my love for community started. I also love to travel and explore new cultures. I love the sun and the sea, and the beach is my happy place. I’ve played many roles in my life. I’ve been a leader, an athlete, and a writer. I’ve worked in marketing, PR, and e-commerce, and now, I find myself in the world of pageantry. I’m somebody who faces challenges head-on and this journey marks the beginning of my transformation into a phenomenal woman."


If you were asked to give a speech to a group of graduating students who missed physical school and events like the prom and graduation, what is your message to them? 

"These are times that are very unpredictable. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future but I’m glad that you pushed past boundaries. Learning online is very difficult, and as long as you keep working hard and keep continuing to do your passions, then your dreams will become a reality. So I’m proud of everything that you’ve gone through and more power to all of you.


Social media networks are intended to bring people closer together. But in many dining situations, people are more busy on their phones. How do you resolve these conflicting realities?

"Well, social media is like a double-edged sword. I find that although it does allow you to have communication, especially with people far away from you, sometimes it hinders us from being present in the moment. In my opinion, it is just better to put your phone down when you’re enjoying a nice meal with your friends and just be there in the moment. There’s nothing wrong with being online but being present is something that, it’s like a gift that you can offer."


How has the pandemic challenged you?

"Well, being stuck alone in this pandemic, I really had to learn to look inward. I had to learn to, learn to love myself and fully take care of myself, and it’s allowed me to become in tune with my passions and hobbies and I’ve even written down some goals and plans for the future. And these things were just things that I enjoyed from the day-to-day but now, I’m a woman who doesn’t second-guess…"


Maria Ingrid Teresita P. Santamaria from Parañaque


Rousanne Marie Bernos from San Juan City

"Hi everyone, my name is Rousanne Marie Bernos, and I’m the first daughter, first granddaughter, and first niece in both sides of my family. So no pressure. But growing up, I had to do a lot of trial and error trying to figure out what I wanted to be. So in the last 10 years, I have been an Interior Design major, English major, working student, writer, freelancer, content creator, entrepreneur, English teacher in Spain, and now, also a beauty queen. So, I like to think that I’m more than just the ‘jack of all trades, master of none.’ I’m also a very determined person with a lot of good stories to tell. It’s nice to meet you."


Digital addiction can refer to phone, internet, or social media addiction. How would you intervene if you feel one of your friends has a digital addiction? 

"I would probably become an accountability partner for her. Perhaps maybe I could check in at night, maybe at 10pm I’ll say, ‘Hey, it’s time to stop. Let’s go to bed, girl. And let’s just go have some peace of mind.’"


Is it important to do the right thing or avoid doing the wrong thing?

"I think it’s important, it’s more important to do the right thing because there is such an importance in being proactive about how we go about life. So, it’s all about doing, being mindful of what impact we have on other people."  


How has the pandemic challenged you?

"The pandemic has made me realize how fast and short life is, and how helpless we can be if the basics are taken away from us. And so I really learned to value the people in my life, care for them better and connect with them better for sure."


Rousanne Marie Bernos from San Juan City


Isabelle delos Santos from Makati City

"Hi! I’m Isabelle delos Santos. Most people call me Isa, so I’ll be using my nickname to introduce myself today. So 'I' for interested. I’m always interested to try new things and experiences which is why I joined Miss Universe Philippines 2021. This is actually my first pageant in my whole entire life. 'S' for saranghae. I love Korean drama. I started watching last year actually, and it has been a blackhole since then. And because of my love for them, I learned basic one Korean. 'A' for authentic. So what you see is the real me, and I hope to enjoy this Miss Universe journey being my true authentic self. So that’s me, and I’m Isa." 


After having no internet for one week, you discovered you had 1,000 unread emails and can only answer 100 of these. How will you choose which ones to answer?

"So definitely I will use the flagged important emails. So there is an Outlook option, I believe, that we can check and filter in a way that we can choose the urgent ones or the important ones. So I will definitely do that feature for reading my emails."


If you could change something about yourself, what would it be and why?

"If I could change myself, well, in terms of physicality, I know there are a lot of things to improve on, but I wouldn’t wanna change anything. You know, because I want young girls to feel beautiful in their own skin, no matter what they are given. Yeah, I just want young girls to feel inspired and empowered in their own skin. So I don’t want to change anything about myself."


How has the pandemic challenged you?

"Okay, so, the pandemic has challenged me to become a better and more strategic person especially in the workplace. So, as HR, I’m used to face-to-face assessments, interviews, and engagements. And, of course, we had to adapt and learn new ways of working, so I had to shift and pivot my work into the virtual format. So because of that, I became more resourceful and adaptable to the current situation. But yes, definitely, everyone can relate that it has been…"


Isabelle delos Santos from Makati City


Megan Julia Roa Digal from Bukidnon

"Hi! I am Megan Julia Roa Digal, 25 years old, from the province of Bukidnon. I have been working as an OFW for three years in Phuket, Thailand as a marketing and communications coordinator at a hotel. So when I’m not working, I love to surf and surf skating, also eating. And a few lessons I have learned living the island life include being grateful, living in the moment, and making the most of the situation that life gives you. Just like right now, I am in quarantine, but I am making the most out of the very limited resources that I have. Also, aside from being very spontaneous, it has taught me to be very determined and persistent."


What event in the past would you have loved to experience yourself?

"One event in history that I would have loved to experience is the battle in Mactan in Cebu. Because a lot of people have different versions of it, and for me to be able to see that historic moment is probably one for the books." 


How would you encourage someone, who doesn’t care about pageants, to help with your cause?

"To encourage someone who doesn’t care about pageants to support me in my cause is to tell them that being in a beauty pageant gives you a great platform to voice out all the things that you’re passionate about. In my case, it’s diversity and inclusion when it comes to beauty, for us to be able to acknowledge and to be more accepting to the different beauties of the Filipina, so that is one way that I would…"


How has the pandemic challenged you?

"This pandemic has indeed brought a lot of challenges and hurdles to me. However, it has made me stronger, more resilient and more persistent and it made me be a beacon of hope to the people around me, especially now in this situation, I was able to get out of Thailand and find a way to make it here to the Philippines despite all the protocols and changes in rules and the cancelled flights. It has been like a story of hope for everybody out there."


Megan Julia Roa Digal from Bukidnon


Beatrice Luigi Gomez from Cebu City

"Hello everyone, good afternoon! I’m Beatrice Luigi Gomez, 26 years old, and I’m from Cebu City. I love sports and my favorite game is volleyball, and when I have free time, I go to the beach and I do scuba diving. And when I want to spice up my workouts, I do a few rounds of boxing, and I do most of these things with my girlfriend Kate. We’ve been together for six years, going seven in a few months. And in the height of the pandemic last year, we adopted a pusang Pinoy and we named him after a chocolate bar; his name is Twix and I’m very obsessed with my cat."


If you had the opportunity to live for 200 years, would you do it?

"If I had the opportunity to live for 200 years, I would definitely do it. In just a few years’ time, we try to crunch everything that we can to be able to do a lot of things. And imagine the things that we can do if we live for 200 years, so I definitely will."


Do you think that being a role model gives the people the right to know everything about your personal life?

"I believe they only need to see the goodness in me, and not literally everything, especially not my personal life. But they just have to filter out the things that they can learn from." 


How has the pandemic challenged you?

"The pandemic really did challenge, especially my mental health, in the past year and this year. I struggled a lot and I wanted to overcome all of those weaknesses, especially my social anxiety. I had overcome it in Binibining Cebu and when we were in a lockdown, I was forced to retract from the society again and now I am glad to be able to be in front of everyone again through Miss Universe Philippines." 


Beatrice Luigi Gomez from Cebu City


Simone Nadine Bornilla from Marinduque

"Hello everyone! So, a few things about me that aren’t typically on paper is that I’ve actually done ballet, musical theater, and choral competitions when I was younger. I’m also raised by two gay men, so you can just imagine how ecstatic they are, knowing that their only daughter is very much interested in pageantry. And I also have a pageant sister actually, in India, and she’s also vying for her country’s crown, so we’re really, really hoping to see each other again on the international stage."


Do you think that today’s youth are facing greater pressure than previous generations? If so, in what way?

"I think that today’s youth is definitely experiencing much more pressure compared to other generations, especially with the advancement of social media, of technology overall. Because, you know, we’re more exposed to the ideal standards that society put up as to how a person should be. And that’s why I think, you know, it’s more difficult right now for us." 


Who do you think is the most influential Filipino today?

"I think that the most influential Filipino today is, I still think it’s Miss Pia Wurtzbach. Of course, I remember how she competed and she was very much persevering through it all. And I think that that’s something that I really admire. It’s something that every young girl admires from her. She taught me lessons that I could apply in my everyday life, and that’s to never give up on something that you really want." 


How has the pandemic challenged you?

"I think that the pandemic has definitely challenged everyone because it changed the way that we live our everyday lives. And so, although it may have been challenging, I think it’s also refreshing because it gave us a new perspective as to how we can go about doing things."


Simone Nadine Bornilla from Marinduque


Watch Miss Universe Philippines 2021's Interview Challenge videos below:



Fan favorites and previous winners from the Headshot, Video Introduction, Runway, and Casting Video challenges一like Pangasinan's Maureen Christa Wroblewitz, Masbate's Kirsten Danielle Delavin, Cebu Province's Steffi Rose Aberasturi, Laguna's Leren Mae M. Bautista, and Taguig's Katrina Dimaranan一didn't make it to the top this time. 


The Top 50 Miss Universe Philippines 2021 delegates were announced last August 22. The next phase in the competition is the Top 30, and the organization announced that fans can help three of their favorite delegates make it to the Top 30 by voting for them through the MUPH app. Read about the details of the selection of Top 30 below:




Last July 19, Miss Universe Philippines introduced the 100 official delegates this year, who participated in the Headshot and Video Introduction Challenges. Including votes from those two challenges and the MUPH Organization, the Top 75 delegates were selected and announced via a swimsuit pictorial released last August 8. After which, they participated in a Runway Challenge, followed by the Casting Video Challenge that brought each of these aspiring beauty queens closer to the Top 50.


The Miss Universe Philippines 2021 coronation night will be held on September 25. 


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Photos from @themissuniverseph