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MANILA, Philippines – Michelle Dee might have fallen short in bringing home the fifth Miss Universe crown to the Philippines but her fellow Filipino beauty queens are still proud of her hard work.
On Sunday, November 19, the 28-year-old beauty queen ended her Miss Universe 2023 journey with a Top 10 finish. Her placement put the Philippines back in the semifinal round after last year’s pageant marked the country’s first early exit since 2010.
Dee was also one of the Gold winners for the pageant’s “Voice for Change” category, along with candidates from Angola and Puerto Rico. The actress’ entry focuses on autism acceptance, inclusivity, and empowerment.
As several Filipino pageant fans rallied that she deserved a higher placement, Dee reminded her supporters to choose “love and kindness over everything.”
“Thank you so much for raising our flag with me,” she said.
Hours after the pageant, Dee also took to Instagram to express her gratitude to her supporters, saying that while she’s trying to process the results, she said that she knows that she’s “truly indebted” to her fans.
“We showed the whole universe what our bayanihan spirit can do,” she said.
Dee also chose to be optimistic about the results, saying: “We did what we could but destiny has greater things for us.”
Fellow Filipino beauty queens left a comment in Dee’s post to share how proud they are of the Philippine bet’s performance.
“You are such a force! From your thoughts and ideas to your willpower and dedication for the Philippines,” Miss Supranational 2023 1st runner-up Pauline Amelinckx wrote.
Meanwhile, Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa commented: “You did so well.”
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who also served as a backstage commentator for the pageant night, reposted on her Instagram story the video of Dee’s evening gown that paid tribute to tattoo artist Whang-od.
“An iconic moment on the [Miss Universe] stage for me. Thank you for carrying the Philippines with you. We’re so proud of you,” she wrote.
MJ Lastimosa and Celeste Cortesi, who represented the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageants in 2014 and 2022, respectively, commended Dee’s performance.
“Top 10 is Top 10,” Lastimosa said. “What a rollercoaster of excitement and all the emotions in between! You made us proud.”
Cortesi, meanwhile, said: “Top 10 is no joke. Michelle gave more than a good fight. Super proud of you.”
Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 Winwyn Marquez also penned a lengthy social media post to congratulate her cousin for an “incredible achievement.”
“You have made us all tremendously proud with your poise, grace, and confidence on that stage. Your preparation and hard work showed in your every move, and you truly shone like the queen you are,” she said.
Marquez also praised Dee for her continuous advocacy for autism awareness and inclusivity.
“You are not just a beauty queen but a voice for those who need it. Your advocacy is what makes you stand out,” she said.
Miss Universe Philippines 2011 and MUPH National Director Shamcey Supsup-Lee highlighted Dee’s “relentless drive to elevate [her] cause on the Universe stage.
“Securing a place in the top 10 is a remarkable achievement in itself. You have put the Philippines back on the map as a pageant powerhouse, and for that, we are immensely grateful,” she said.
The Philippines has four Miss Universe crowns: Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), Pia Wurtzbach (2015), and Catriona Gray (2018).
Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua was crowned Miss Universe 2023. – Rappler.com