Ex-Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach defends Vickie Rushton: Nerves can happen

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 10) — To those criticizing Binibining Pilipinas candidate Vickie Rushton, listen to former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach: The pressure of the Q&A portion can overwhelm even the most prepared candidate.

Her defense came after Rushton — seen as one of the pageant front runners — failed to bag one of the major titles on the coronation night on Sunday despite winning several special awards. 

Rushton made it to the question and answer portion for the Top 15 candidates. She was asked by judge Daniel Padilla: "Why is mental health as important as physical health?"

To which the Negros Occidental native answered, "Mental health is as important as physical health, because of our inner being. Having self-love is important. And as a woman, I can inspire and empower the people to take care of themselves, to take care of their mind as well as their health. Because they will be as effective," then she trailed off until her 30 seconds was up.

Wurtzbach, who brought home the Miss Universe crown after a 42-year drought, encouraged Rushton to never give up on her pageant dreams.

"My heart also breaks for Vickie. I hope she can try again. I believe this girl is smart. Nerves can happen to even the best of us. It's not easy to compete. Keep your chin up, Vickie," she wrote on her Instagram story on Monday.

In her post, she also lamented about her "mini me," Hannah Arnold, who was also one of the early fan favorites but failed to win a title.

"Please try again! You were stunning tonight. Consider this as practice nalang for something bigger!" Wurtzbach wrote.

Wurtzbach's success story could serve as an inspiration to those who have aspired but failed. She joined Binibining Pilipinas thrice before she brought home the title in 2015.

The beauty queen also congratulated the winners. She also shared her excitement that her bet Gazini Ganados is representing the Philippines in the 68th Miss Universe pageant.