Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup took third runner-up in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil – a decision that has spurred debate whether Supsup’s “Love my God” answer during the Q&A portion of the contest cost her the crown.
Judge Vivica A. Fox asked Supsup during the Q&A if she would change her religion to marry the person she loved. Supsup answered:
"If I had to change my religious beliefs, I would not marry the person that I love because the first person that I love is God who created me and I have my faith and my principles and this is what makes me who I am."
She added, “And if that person loves me, he should love my God too."
Supsup has been a pageant favorite, ranking second in the swimsuit and evening gown votes from fans.
Her fourth place finish has many asking whether her religious beliefs played a hand in the judges’ decision.
Some commenters to an article by GMA News Online, a news website for the Philippines television network GMA-7, on Supsup's third runner-up placement suggested that her answer may have cost her the crown.
Kaine Cordova said, “She gave a wonderful answer being true to both her culture and herself. People don't understand because they don't get the cultural background from which Filipinos come from. It's such a controversial question in the Philippines and I feel that she gave a stand point and if it's worth 'the' or 'only the' 4th place then what the heck :)”
“But isn't her answer full of irony and a double-edged meaning?” Octavius Ceasar asked. “Its (sic) full of ignorance of God…poor woman, should have gotten a different question, I would have been impressed… BUT, she did marvelously, so yeah, she still should have won.”
However, not everyone agreed Supsup’s firm Christian stance was something good.
Another commenter, Johnpaulreyes, said, “Funny how accepted it is to be prideful of ones (sic) religion…how it separates us to one another.”
However, most fans would agree with the statement attributed to media icon Oprah Winfrey which claimed that Supsup “deserved to win” and was at a disadvantage because the other contestants had interpreters and Supsup, who answered in English, had no time to properly compose her responses.
"I have reservations with the results. If the only basis is the Q and A portion, after having been trimmed down to 5, Ms. Philippines deserved to win. What made her different from the rest is that she had no seconds to rethink of her answer, as she had no interpreter to break the ice. The rest had their interpreters and having breaks on seconds to think about their answers. Hands down, Ms. Philippines answered straight to the point,” the statement read, via NBC News.
Supsup has spoken out about the pageant results telling ABS-CBN News:
“We are not the judges there, and I accepted the fact I’m third runner-up and I’m already happy. I think we should be happy also for Ms. Angola that she won, and I think that she also deserves the crown.”
She added, “In a competition there’s [always] a winner. Someone will lose, someone will win. You should accept things for what they are. I think that’s what makes a winner, not just the crown."