Consider Mary Jean Lastimosa third time lucky.
In 2011, the 26-year-old Lastimosa joined the Binibining Pilipinas pageant for the first time, and she finished as a runner-up. She competed again in 2012, and while she was considered as one of the heavy favorites, she did not make it to the Top 5.
Undaunted, the Tulunan, North Cotabato, native rejoined the competition this year. And this time, her perseverance paid off.
Last Sunday night, Lastimosa was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2014.
Her confidence, drawn perhaps from her previous stints on the Bb. Pilipinas stage, shone during the decisive question-and-answer portion of the competition.
Reigning Miss Universe Gabriela Isler—who had arrived in Manila to judge the pageant—asked Lastimosa: “What is the greatest advantage of being a woman?”
Lastimosa’s response: “The greatest advantage of being a woman is being able to compose herself. Just like here, we’re standing in front of thousands of people, not knowing if you’re going to cheer for us or boo us. But we try to compose ourselves. We keep the emotions and show the beauty that is in us and tonight, thousands of people are standing here, celebrating the beauty of women.”
Lastimosa also showed up the field in the swimsuit competition, where she emerged the winner.
Her profile at the Bb. Pilipinas website describes Lastimosa as an entrepreneur who opened a fitness center in Davao.
Sharing the limelight with her during the coronation rites at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum were other Bb. Pilipinas winners Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti, Yvethe Marie Santiago, Kris Tiffany Janson and Parul Shah.
Guidotti, a graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, was named Bb. Pilipinas International, while Santiago, a certified public accountant from Albay was crowned Bb. Pilipinas Supranational.
Janson, who works as a finance analyst at a packaging company in Manila, was named the first-ever Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental.
Shah won the Bb. Pilipinas Tourism 2014 title. The half-Filipina, half-Indian Shah is a nurse from Pangasinan.
Taking runner-up honors were Laura Victoria Lehmann and Hannah Ruth Sison.
ABS-CBN stars Xian Lim and Anne Curtis hosted the pageant, while former pageant winners Shamcey Supsup, Venus Raj and Janine Tugonon provided the sidelights and backstage reports.