MANILA, Philippines - Venus Raj, the country's representative to the Miss Universe pageant, shares her experience during the preliminary competitions.
After walking the ramp in swimwear and evening gowns, Raj had 3-minute interviews with each of the pageant's 7 preliminary judges, which were not open to the media.
Raj, as well as most candidates, shared that they were nervous at first but eventually enjoyed the experience.
Among the questions asked during the preliminaries are about her hometown, her college course, and as to why she wanted to win the Miss Universe crown.
"(May tanong) kung kamusta naman ang lugar namin. May tanong din tungkol sa course ko noong college, (kung) bakit daw journalism, and then bakit gusto kong maging Miss Universe," Raj told ABS-CBN News.
She added, "'Yung mga tanong very light, parang nag-uusap lang kayo ng friend mo (The questions were very light, it's as if you're just talking to your friend)."
Raj continues to lead in the online popularity survey in the Miss Universe website with a rating of 3.57 out of 5. Following her are contestants from Bolivia, Venezuela, Jamaica, Thailand, Peru, Indonesia, Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia.
Organizers earlier said, however, that the online poll will have no bearing on the preliminaries and the finals.
The Miss Universe pageant is set to be held in Las Vegas on August 23 (August 24 in Manila) at 9 p.m.It will be aired live via satellite on ABS-CBN on August 24 at 9:30 a.m. with a primetime telecast on the same day on Studio 23 at 7:10 p.m. and Velvet (SkyCable channel 53) at 6:30 p.m.