Venus Raj believes fame and modesty can go together.
Although a beauty queen, she is a far cry from being overindulgent with glitz and glamour, ditching an extravagant lifestyle in favor of something low key.
In a recent chat with Bulletin Entertainment, Venus admitted she has never felt like a celebrity. She could have small talk with, say, a janitor or a helper as she sees everyone equally.
“Nagkataon lang na ito (being a celebrity) ang binigay na trabaho sa akin. Pero whether you sweep or you clean the house, hindi ka iba sa akin. Hindi ako mas mataas sayo,” she said.
The Miss Universe 2010 fourth runner-up understands the importance of punctuality. Venus always wants to be on time, maintaining people don’t have to wait for her just because she is a celebrity.
“Okay lang na ako na ’yung mag-intay pero ako, I make sure na on time ako because conscious din ako sa time ng iba tao.”
Being a celebrity is not all about fame and fortune. For Venus, it is a platform to influence other people.
“I realize money is not everything. When you reach that point na, okay may pera ka, successful ka, sikat but after that, ano na?” she explained. “When you are maturing, iisipin mo kasi ano ba talaga ang mga mas importante sa buhay mo. Hindi ko iniisip na kilala ako. Binigyan ako ni Lord ng platform to influence other people and to use it for His glory.”
She shares God’s word to every people she encounters.
“One day, when this life ends, I hope I made a difference pero not necessarily na pinuri ako ng tao or naging pina-kamaganda ako. Gusto ko na when I face my creator, He will tell me ‘Good job,’” she said.
Venus has already worn many sashes and held various titles but that doesn’t stop her from pursuing more goals in life.
Early this year, the beauty queen donned another sash on her shoulder: The iconic University of the Philippines’ sablay along with a Master in Community Development degree.
“If you’ve reached one of your dreams, make another one and then reach it again,” was how she put it.
Among her future objectives is to be able to train and guide beauty queens through her own journey in pageantry.
“I want to help them by influencing their minds, by just being there when they need an Ate,” she explained. “By sharing the things I’ve learned in the past but at the same time, instilling in their minds na yang ganda natin, mawawala ’yan eh.”
“Babagsak talaga ’yung kailangan bumagsak. But if your heart is in accordance with the Lord’s will, ’yun ang importante,” Venus added.
Talking about the recent accomplishments of Binibining Pilipinas titleholders in their respective international pageants, Venue gushed, “Na-amazed ako sa kanila.”
Venus humbly related that if she competed this year, she probably wouldn’t win.
“Ang gagaling nila eh. Tyaka hindi na lang about beauty, may intellectual area talaga. How they carry themselves as a whole,” she enthused.
If there’s one advice she could give Rachel Peters, the country’s representative to the upcoming Miss Universe pageant, it is for her to stay humble.
“Ang ganda na niya, matalino siya and she speaks very well. Kumbaga wala ka ng iisipin na ‘Ano ba ikakatalo nito?’ Pero I think humility is very important, I’ve seen some of her interviews, she’s very thankful especially to those people who really trained her,” she shared.
“And also knowing who she is really because at the end of the day, people will tell her dapat ganito gawin niya, dapat ganito itsura niya pero dapat kilala pa rin niya ang sarili niya.”
Venus will turn 30 next year and she laughs at the idea of her not having a suitor until now.
Standing 5 feet and 9 inches, we told her the guys are probably intimidated by her, to which she responded, “Problema na nila ’yun!”
The beauty queen’s last relationship was with TV host Andrei Felix in 2013.
Despite being “loveless” for years now, Venus said she is actually happy and thankful, believing it is God’s way of protecting her.
“Marami din naman akong weaknesses and I feel na baka ’pag may nanligaw sa akin, sagutin ko kaagad. Kaya si God, pino-protektahan niya ako dahil ayaw niyang magkamali ulit ako,” she maintained.
About her ideal man, Venus wishes he would genuinely love the Lord.
“Dati ang idea ko, dapat ang maging boyfriend ko, mala-Thor or surfer body. But now that I’m getting matured, I realized na these things are fleeting kasi lahat naman tayo tatanda,” she said. “But the character of the person, the heart of the person is very important. So number one talaga para sa akin, ’yung lalaking may totoong Panginoon sa buhay.”
She also wants someone who could lead the relationship spiritually and emotionally. If anything, she prays that her next boyfriend will eventually become her husband.
“Ang daming nagsasabi na, ‘Ang tangkad ni Venus, baka hindi mag-submit sa partner niya.’ So I want someone na, he could provide for the family and I believe naman na the guy is really the head of the family.”
Travel in style
We caught up with Venus at the recent press conference of her travel show with businesswoman Cristina Decena.
Titled “Business Flight,” the weekly program takes viewers to amazing journeys in the Philippines and abroad.
The show is now on its third season and Venus promised exciting episodes in the coming weeks. “Business Flight” airs every Saturday, 11:30 a.m on GMA News TV.
“Marami kaming pupuntahan na magandang lugar like in the first episode, we visit Balesin. Hindi lang namin siya pinuntahan for the sake na ma-experience namin,” Venus explained. “Pero it is for the audience na, hindi man namin kayo madala dito lahat at least kahit sa TV show namin, makita niyo kung gaano kaganda ’yung lugar. Hindi naman kami naghahangad na maging kakaiba na travel show. We just want genuine relationship with our audience.”
Venus doesn’t see hosting the show as a job.
“Nag-e-enjoy kasi ako eh, plus the fact na, I get to travel for free,” she enthused. “I really love talking to people, sharing whatever I had to people so nagagawa ko siya dito (sa show).”
Asked to give top three destinations in the country she would recommend to foreigners, Venus named Palawan, Vigas and Bicol, her hometown.
“Super daming magagandang makikita sa Palawan lalo na kapag you are a nature and ocean lover, so ’yan talaga ang number one. If you want naman mga heritage, Vigan talaga. Of course, sa Bicol you could see a lot of beautiful people.”