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How Beauty Pageants Inspire Us to Handle Defeat Graciously

Defeat is a learning opportunity and a chance to do better.

On Sunday, October 25, the new Miss Universe Philippines who will represent the country at the Miss Universe 2020 pageant was crowned at the Baguio Country Club.

The new queen, who succeeds 2019 Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados, is 23-year-old Iloilo City representative Rabiya Mateo. Many celebrated the win, especially Mateo’s fellow Ilonggos and Ilonggas, and applauded her for her answer in the Q&A portion of the pageant. (Read: 5 Pinay Beauty Queens Who Are Leading the Fight Against COVID-19)

When asked whose image she will put on paper currency if she’s given the chance to create a new one, Mateo answered that she will use that of late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a fellow Ilongga. “What I admire about her is that she used her knowledge, her voice to serve the country, and I want to be somebody like her, somebody who puts her heart, her passion into action, and after all, she is the best president that we never had,” Mateo explained.

Her answer earned her praises and many said she deserved the title; however, not everyone was on the same page.

Cryptic Posts

Shortly after the airing of the coronation of the new Miss Universe Philippines, Miss Taguig Sandra Lemonon started posting cryptic messages on her Instagram stories. One story read, “Get ready loves, tomorrow I will be announcing big news, it’s time to be honest and speak facts,” while another said, “Only people without a clear conscience should be afraid of the truth.” (Read: 3 Ways to Be a Comfort to Lolos and Lolas Amid the Pandemic)

Many speculated that the posts were directed at the winners of the Miss Universe Philippines 2020, as she later posted another story saying, “So here’s the truth… May gumamit po ng Packaging Tape sa Swimsuit Competition.”

Photos from Sandra Lemonon Instagram stories

Miss Universe Philippines national director and former Miss Universe Philippines Shamcey Supsup-Lee released a statement that seemed like an answer to the candidate’s Instagram stories. “To bear defeat with dignity, to accept criticism with poise, to receive honors with humility—these are the marks of a true queen,” the beauty queen said.

Fellow Miss Universe Philippines winner MJ Lastimosa also said that the candidates should accept defeat.

Accepting Defeat

It’s important to accept defeat because for one, it humbles us, and it also encourages us to do better the next time.

Take for example Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach—it took her three tries before she got the coveted Miss Universe Philippines title! But look at her now, a Miss Universe winner, endorser, and actress, because she accepted defeat in her first two tries and didn’t give up. (Read: 5 Unique Japanese Principles That Everyone Should Follow)

But how do you actually accept being defeated for something you worked months or years on end for? Here are three inspirational tips we can learn from Pia’s Miss Universe journey!

Tip #1: See it as a glass half full.

 (Photo from Pia Wurtzbach Instagram)

People always have an option whether to see a glass as half empty or half full. This determines where they stand—whether they are optimistic for what’s ahead or are discouraged from what has happened. And the best option is to see it as a glass half full. (Read: 3 Celebrities Who Worked as Service Crew Before Entering Showbiz)

Emulate Pia Wurtzbach’s Miss Universe Philippines run, and never stop trying and reaching for your goals. Become optimistic for what is to come and think of all the opportunities it can open for you. And of course, there are always next times and second chances at doing something!

Tip #2: Don’t let it affect your self-esteem.

Photo from Pia Wurtzbach Instagram

More often than not, people think unfavorably of themselves when they lose. Self-doubt is a normal reaction to defeat, but it shouldn’t have to always be that way. Losing just means other people are deserving of that certain position or prize. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy—you are just a better fit for a different title or award. (Read: 5 Pinay Beauty Queens Who Are Leading the Fight Against COVID-19)

There is no need to tell yourself that you aren’t good enough that’s why you lost. It’s about time you tell yourself that you are meant for something else!

Tip #3: Learn from the defeat.

MJ Lastimosa eclipses Pia Wurtzbach as she moves forward to be crowned Miss Philippines Universe 2014. (Photo from Ron B. Titular / Adventures of a Beauty Queen)

Defeat can affect a person’s trust in oneself, especially in their skills and talents, greatly. But losing should be seen as a learning opportunity rather than a reason to put yourself down and doubt yourself. (Read: 5 Gratitude Prayers for Everyday Blessings) It’s a chance to see what you could have done better, what you can do next time—and use it as a time to practice or train even harder for the next competition.

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