(STAR) FUNFARE UPDATE By Ricardo F. Lo - Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up (fourth placer) Shamcey Supsup shows her winning form at yesterday’s pre-presscon one-on-one with Funfare Update and her winning smile. Photos By Ver Paulino

Barely 24 hours after Shamcey Supsup finished third runner-up (fourth place) in the 60th Miss Universe Pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, last Sept. 12, her boyfriend, identified as Lloyd Lee, surfaced in the media.

So when Funfare Update did an exclusive one-on-one with Shamcey yesterday afternoon at the VIP Room of the Araneta Coliseum, an hour before she rushed to the nearby Gateway for her welcome presscon, first thing I asked her was about her boyfriend.

Shamcey simply smiled. No comment.

So I drastically changed the subject, only to bring it up in the course of the interview done only eight hours after Shamcey flew in via PAL PR103 from L.A. where she unwound for two days. It was her first visit to the US and among the places she visited was Universal Studios.

She showed no signs of jetlag, looking as refreshingly stunning as she did on the Miss U stage as she answered (no interpreter, please, unlike the four other finalists) what was considered as the most difficult question for a finalist, asked by judge Vivica Fox — that is, if she would change her religious beliefs to marry the man she loves. Of course, the whole universe now knows how Shamcey answered, so there’s no need to repeat it here.

Asked if she’s happy with her fourth-place finish, Shamcey said, “I’m more than happy.”

Lea Salonga, the fifth Filipino to sit as Miss U judge, was roundly criticized by certain quarters for ranking Shamcey only No. 2 to Leila Lopes, the winner from Angola, and for asking Miss Angola an “easier” question. (Questions were prepared by the Miss Universe Organization and the judge picked by a finalist from a big bowl only read the question .)

“Lea went up to me after the pageant and congratulated me,” said Shamcey. “Siempre I was honored kasi Lea Salonga ‘yan, eh. I was happy to meet her. I told her that I was happy that there’s a Filipino judge. I was surprised by the reaction of the other candidates because they knew Lea.”

About that controversial “easier” question…

“It didn’t come from Lea; it came from the Miss Universe Organization. From the stage where we five finalists were standing, I saw a member of the Miss Universe Organization hand out cards (containing the questions) to the judges. We finalists didn’t leave the stage during the commercial break so I saw it.”

If she were asked that question (to Miss Angola) — about changing any of her physical traits, etc. — how would Shamcey answer it?

“I would say that I wouldn’t change anything. We were created by God in His own image and everybody was created as beautifully as I was.”

Some Filipinos protested that Shamcey should have placed second runner-up (third) instead of Miss Brazil, accusing the pageant of a “hometown decision.” Any comment?

“Maybe we should ask the judges,” said Shamcey, laughing.

So who was her bet?

“My bet and that of most of the girls was Miss Venezuela,” who wasn’t even included in the 16 semi-finalists (winnowed down to 10 and then to the Top 5). “Even during breakfast and the rehearsals, her hair was beautifully curled, her make-up was nicely done, parang she was so perfect even in how she talked and how she walked.”

What about her roommate?

“She’s Miss Korea,” who also didn’t make it even to the semis.

What were her impressions of Miss Angola?

“There were 89 girls in the pageant and it was impossible to observe each one of them closely. I did talk to Miss Angola a few times. She was really nice, down-to-earth, charming. I could feel that she’s genuine. During the pageant, I was telling some of the candidates that whoever won, I hope that she was someone whose intention was to really work hard and to contribute what she could to the advocacy of the Miss Universe. And I believe that Miss Angola deserved the crown.”

Shamcey said that after the final Q&A, all she felt was relief. “Nawala na ang kaba ko because I was anxious about the Q&A. Hindi ko na inisip kung sino sa amin ang mananalo. I was just happy to be among the Top 5.”

The interview veered back to her boyfriend (Lloyd Lee and Shamcey’s mom accompanied Shamcey to the interview but Lloyd stayed away from the media).

Shamcey said in a previous STAR interview that she’s a Born-again Christian.

Again, she was mum and only smiled when asked what the religion of Lloyd’s is, answering instead, “Religion kasi is not about religiosity. It’s more of having a personal relationship with God. Ang dami ng ngayong religion, ang dami ng sects. Sa akin, it doesn’t matter if you go to Mass every Sunday or if you light a candle every day. Sa akin, what’s important is kung isinasabuhay mo ba talaga ‘yung teachings ng God. The name of the religion is not important, that’s why I don’t say that I’m like this or I’m like that.”

Is her boyfriend also a Born-again Christian?

Silence. No comment. Only a smile.

Change topic.

Any plans of going into showbiz (hosting, maybe?) like her predecessors (Venus Raj, the immediate one who placed fourth runner-up in last year’s Miss U, now co-hosts ABS-CBN’s early-morning show Umagang Kay Ganda and writes the Sunday column Major, Major for The STAR)?

“Hmmmmm, mas excited ako sa mga charity projects ng Binibining Pilipinas (Charities, Inc., headed by Madame Stella Marquez-Araneta). I’m under contract with BPCI for 18 months.”

So for 18 months, she’s not supposed to get married, etc.?

“Yes, that’s right.”

What if her boyfriend is in a hurry to marry her?

(PHOTO 0 Asked if she’s happy with her fourth-place finish, Shamcey says, ‘Yes, I’m more than happy!’)

“Ahhh, sabi ko nga, there’s a time for everything and he should have to wait for the right time.”

The topic kept cropping up, you know: Her boyfriend’s surname is Lee. Is he Chinese?

Silence. No comment. Only a smile.

So I didn’t ask Shamcey any more how she and Lloyd Lee met, how long they’ve been going steady and what they have in common. Her smile spoke volumes.

Reminded that she’s the newest addition to the roster of celebrities from GenSan, including Manny Pacquiao, Shamcey said, “There’s also Melai (Cantiveros, the Pinoy Big Brother winner) and Gerald Anderson.) Now they call GenSan the Land of Champions.”

A magna cum laude Architecture graduate from UP and topnotcher in the Architectural Licensure Exams, Shamcey revealed that she’s now designing her dream house (actually, she’s doing renovations on an old building).

“In the future,” said Shamcey, “I want to design my own house which I envision to be minimalist, simple ands tropical.”

Is she planning that house with her boyfriend?

Again, no comment. Silence. Only a smile, like the winning one which she flashed with casual confidence on that stage in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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