Miss Universe Philippines

Who is Chelsea Manalo, Miss Universe Philippines 2024? 

Ysa Abad

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Who is Chelsea Manalo, Miss Universe Philippines 2024? 

Miss Universe Philippines' Facebook

The 24-year-old stunner from Bulacan will vie for the Philippines' fifth Miss Universe crown

MANILA, Philippines – Chelsea Manalo took home the title of Miss Universe Philippines 2024 during the pageant finals held on Wednesday, May 22, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. 

The 24-year-old stunner from Bulacan bested 52 other candidates to succeed Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee.

Who is Chelsea Manalo, Miss Universe Philippines 2024? 
Personal life

Growing up, Chelsea recalled being insecure and having poor self-confidence as she experienced bullying because of her skin color and hair. 

In her HerStory video, she said that it was through her family and friends — whom she calls her “backbone” — that made her realize that she’s “beautiful in [her] own extraordinary way.”

Who is Chelsea Manalo, Miss Universe Philippines 2024? 

“[Through them] I had a good understanding of accepting my individuality,” she said.

During her preliminary interviews, Chelsea also talked fondly about her mom. “[She] inspired me to believe in myself, that no one will know who you are if you yourself don’t know what you want and aspire to be,” she said. 

Because of her strong support system, she was able to start joining pageants in high school and modeling at the age of 15. 

Since then, Chelsea has become a print, ramp, and commercial model, even working with publishing companies and renowned fashion designers. 

Her first foray into the national pageant scene was in 2017 when she joined the Miss World Philippines competition, where she finished as part of the Top 15. 

“They have supported me in everything I want. They never told me not to chase my dreams,” she said, adding that her parents were “the most supportive” of her when she expressed her desire to join the Miss Universe Philippines 2024 pageant. “They are still with me ever since the beginning.” 

Outside of pageantry, the Filipino-American beauty queen shared that she wanted to be known as an outgoing person. “I think many tend to see me as an introverted person because of how I look physically,” she said. 

She likes going to the beach — describing herself as an “island girl” — and hopes to be able to scuba dive someday. She has “deep passion” for music and dancing and she would love to just “have fun and dance around.” She’s a fur parent to several dogs. 

Who is Chelsea Manalo, Miss Universe Philippines 2024? 
Pageant journey, advocacy

While the 2024 edition has a loaded lineup of strong contenders, Chelsea managed to be an early standout. 

During the national costume competition, Chelsea wowed pageant fans with her “Mandaragit” ensemble that drew inspiration from endemic flowering trees and exquisite birds found in the country. 

Her pageant stint wasn’t smooth sailing though as she drew backlash with her tourism video for the competition. In it, Chelsea was seen filming at the development site of the controversial Manila International Airport. 

“Soon, Bulacan will not just be a gateway to the North but the strong catch basin of the Philippine economy, the catalyst of business and commerce, trade and industry, especially tourism,” she said. 

Who is Chelsea Manalo, Miss Universe Philippines 2024? 

Netizens online criticized her for promoting the project as it already drew flak for the environmental harm it poses and displacing hundreds of families and fisherfolk living nearby the area. 

In the same clip, Chelsea also filmed with the Dumagats of the Sierra Madre Mountains as she advocates for education for the indigenous youth. In a separate Instagram video, Chelsea also put a spotlight on the rights of overseas Filipino migrant workers as well as the families they left behind. 

During the preliminaries, Chelsea answered that she deserved to be the next Miss Universe Philippines queen because she has the “heart” for it. 

“I have the relatability to be influential to a lot of people with the voice and with the action that I am most passionate about,” she said. “It will open so many opportunities for me so that I can be a change for our nation.” 

While she wasn’t able to top in any of the online challenges and only took home one special award in the preliminaries, Chelsea was able to peak during the coronation night. 

In the question and answer portion, she was asked how she’ll empower others. 

Her winning answer was: “As a woman of color, I’ve always faced challenges in my life. I was told that beauty has standards, but for me, I have listened and always believed in my mother.”

“To always believe in yourself. Uphold the vows that you have in yourself. Because of these, I am already influencing a lot of women who are facing me right now. As a transformational woman, I have 52 other delegates here with me who helped me become the woman I am,” she said. 

Chelsea will represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant to be held in Mexico later this year. A final date has yet to be announced.

She is vying to become the fifth Filipina to win the Miss Universe title following Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), Pia Wurtzbach (2015), and Catriona Gray (2018). – Rappler.com

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