2005 Miss U's 'craziest' adventure

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - October 22, 2008 - 12:00am

What got into 2005 Miss Universe Natalie Glebova, 26, that she dared join The Amazing Race Asia Season 3, with 2006 Miss Thailand Pailin Rungratanasunthorn, 25, as partner — only to be booted out?

“For experience,” said Natalie in an interview by phone.

She was calling from Bangkok, her home after she married Paradorn Srichaphan, Thailand’s highest-ranked tennis player, whom she met during the 2005 Miss Universe pageant held in that country.

The second beauty from Canada to bag the Miss U crown, Natalie is half-Russian and half-Canadian who was originally from Tuapse, Russia. Rungratanasunthorn, who was first runner-up in the 2006 Miss Thailand-Universe and who represented Thailand in the 2006 Miss Earth pageant held in the Philippines, was one of Natalie’s bridesmaids when she married Srichaphan in Nov. 2007.

“We love to try new things,” said Natalie as soon as she joined the Race. “Give us bungee jumping, parachuting, paragliding and parasailing any day. We are competitive, we are in shape and we are going to kick ass.”

She and her partner did kick ass but it turned out to be just not enough.

Please describe briefly your experience in Amazing Race.

“Well, it’s definitely hard to describe in just a few words. It was the hardest and craziest thing that I’ve ever done in my whole life. It was unexpected, something I didn’t prepare for — mentally and physically.”

Would you have fared better had you prepared for it?

“Well, you can never really prepare for it because you will never know what is going to happen. We even watched the first two seasons so we could prepare for the tasks but the tasks assigned to us were completely different.”

What was the most difficult task you were made to do?

“I think the hardest was the physical labor because it took so long and it was really hard work.”

Which was harder, competing in the Miss Universe pageant or joining the Amazing Race?

“Definitely, Amazing Race was harder. The only thing a bit hard during the Miss Universe pageant was the lack of sleep and your constantly being on display. Amazing Race was harder because the camera is focused on you all the time and you really have to watch out what you say and what you do. At the same time, there was no sleep, no water, no food, no proper shower. It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done.”

Did you lose weight during the “ordeal”?

“Yes, I did. I lost a lot. Luckily, I regained them as soon as I got out of the race.”

What did your husband say about your joining the race? Did he give you the go-signal right away or was he reluctant?

“Hmmmm. At first, he didn’t want me to join the race and he was wondering why I did. Maybe he had an idea how hard it would be.”

Were you disappointed when you and your partner were booted out?

“Not at all. I was relieved that I didn’t have to suffer anymore. I was very happy when we were eliminated.”

How long were you away from home?

“About a month.”

Come to think of it, how do you maintain your Miss Universe figure?

“It’s hard work, believe me! It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I’m not one of those people who were born with a great body, you know. I do work out, I watch what I eat. I jog or walk two kilometers every day. I don’t just sit on my butt.”

Have you gotten used to Thai food (spicy and hot)?

“Oh yeah, I have gotten used to Thai food. Very delicious! It’s something that I can’t live without because now that I live in Thailand I have become like every other Thai. I’ve adjusted to the climate and the Thai way of life.”

No cultural differences since, you know, you grew up in Canada and you have been transplanted to an Asian country?

“A little bit at first because those are two different cultures. But I’m quite an adjustable person. Once you live in a place for a while, eventually you will get adjusted to it.”

What was the best lesson that you learned from joining Amazing Race?

“I learned to appreciate the good things in life. The experience reminds me of how lucky I am and how wonderful my life is. I try not to focus on the negative; I only focus on the positive. I’m grateful and give thanks for all the blessings in my life, no matter how small.”

Given another chance, would you join Amazing Race again?

“Knowing how hard it is, I probably wouldn’t.”

What (pieces of) advice would you give those who want to join the race?

“Be yourself. Don’t be too open with your feelings because they could be blown out of proportion. When I had complaints, I should have kept my mouth shut instead of speaking up, you know.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph or at entphilstar@yahoo.com)

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