Former Miss Universe winners offer advice: Have fun, feel free to answer in Filipino

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The country's former Miss Universe winners offer some advice to this year's bet Maxine Medina: Don't take the pageant too seriously, and don't be afraid to answer in Filipino.

Gloria Diaz, who won the crown in 1969, and Margie Moran, Miss Universe 1973, gave their inputs during an event on Thursday.

Read: Miss Universe tickets almost sold out; organizers to sell tickets to national costume show

Diaz said, "You just have to enjoy (and) you must not be pressured by anybody that you have to win because I find that contestants nowadays are very, very pressured. It's more than a sport, it's like you're in a...patayan na [life or death situation]. Diba?"

She said she always advocated for contestants to answer in their native language.

"Ang problema natin...diba [our problem somtimes is] sometimes English is not their (the contenstant's) first language. Ako, I've always fought that our Binibining Pilipinas should be able to...answer in Filipino and ask for a translator.'

Moran, meanwhile, said contestants could breeze through the question and answer portion with proper preparation.

"Continue to educate yourself. I would read current events so when there's a question that's being asked of you, you're able to answer – if you're a good reader if you know what's happening in the world.'

Celebrity encounters

Moran recalls her time as Miss Universe with fondness, remembering famous people she met during her reign.

She said she met the famous artist Salvador Dali when she was 19. Dali wanted to do her portrait, but Moran said she found Dali "weird" and turned down the offer.

She also recalled watching Tony Bennett when he was just the lounge singer at the St. Regis Hotel in New York.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said Diaz and Moran do not have official roles in the up and coming Miss Universe pageant, but they are invited to attend all pageant events.

Read: Miss Universe contestants to arrive next week