Raj wins 4th runner-up in 2010 Miss Universe
The Philippines, still licking its wounds from a recent hostage tragedy, sought healing from the 2010 Miss Universe candidate Maria Venus Raj. From the top 15 to top 10, and then down to the top 5 finalists, the entire nation held its breath and felt a glimmer of hope. In the end, Venus came out waving kisses at the audience after being called the 4th runner-up of the 2010 Miss Universe beauty pageant.
Rounding up the top finalists are Miss Ukraine Anna Poslavska (3rd runner-up), Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell (2nd runner-up), and Miss Jamaica Yendi Phillipps (1st runner-up). Miss Mexico Jimena Navarrete is this year’s Miss Universe. The pageant was broadcast live from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada to over 180 countries around the world.
It was a bitter-sweet run for Venus after five grueling months of training and overcoming citizenship issues. The 22-year old beauty and brains from Bicol was consistently a favorite among all the 83 Miss Universe candidates from the pre-pageant up to the coronation night. She received a thunderous applause at the live venue not only from the supportive Filipino crowd but from appreciative foreign audience as well.
Prior to the coronation night, Venus made quite an impression with her black and white national costume made for her by a Columbian designer. She was also noticed during the "Welcome to Las Vegas" photo-op where she and the rest of the candidates paraded in their bikinis.
Venus made a special dedication of her Miss Universe journey to her close friend, 2009 Binibining Pilipinas International Melody Gersbach, who died in a vehicular accident days before the Miss Universe coronation. The two ladies, along with other Binibining Pilipinas titlists, were able to spend memorable moments together in the course of their duties as ambassadors of beauty.