Ariella Arida clinches 3rd runner-up in Miss Universe pageant
Arida finished 3rd runner-up to Miss Ecuador Constanza Baez who placed 2nd runner-up, Miss Spain Patricia Rodriguez who placed 1st runner-up and Miss Venezuela Gabriela Isler who won the 8th Miss Universe title for her country. Miss Brazil Jakylene Oliveira finished 4th runner-up.
Although Arida’s finish did not exactly live up to the high expectations she had to live up with after successive runner-up finishes for the Philippines in the last three years, making it as far as 3rd runner-up is a major achievement for the 24-year old morena charmer from Alaminos, Laguna.
Arida’s Miss Universe journey is not without its own share of adversities—from her controversial interview that cited Latinas as examples of contestants who can’t speak English that was taken out of context by certain quarters to her less than stellar performances in the National Costume and the preliminary evening gown competitions.
Despite those setbacks, Arida remained a strong contender for the title until the very end, figuring prominently not only in fearless forecasts but also in betting odds posted online. Prior to the big night, she won the pre-pageant honors for Ice Princess for a winter-themed glam photo shoot. Her video for the pageant’s official “Truth and Dare” series had the most views on YouTube and was the only one to reach the 300,000 mark out of the 86 contestants.
Her momentum continued to be on the upward swing during the actual pageant. Arida drew some of the loudest cheers in the venue each time she advanced to the next round. She topped the online voting that automatically won her a slot among the 16 semi-finalists but was the last to be announced to the relief of her fans. The other semifinalists were candidates from Costa Rica, Ukraine, China, Ecuador, Great Britain, Indonesia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, USA, Nicaragua, Switzerland, India and Brazil.
Trimmed down to 10, she again made it to the next round along with Ukraine, Ecuador, Great Britain, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Spain, USA, India and Brazil.
Contrary to the fears of many, Arida also did very well during the Question and Answer portion, she drew the name of Russian judge Anne Vyalitsina who asked her, “What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their careers around the world?”
As she promised prior to arriving in Moscow, Arida did not use a translator to deliver her answer: “We should invest in education. That is my primary advocacy. Through it we can land good careers in the future. Education is the ticket to a good future.”
A Chemistry major who graduated with honors from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Arida’s competitive spirit allowed her to represent her country admirably in the prestigious international beauty pageant.