Miss Universe

Rabiya Mateo is a showstopper in Miss Universe 2020 national costume, preliminary competition

Rabiya Mateo is a showstopper in Miss Universe 2020 national costume, preliminary competition

STUNNING. Rabiya Mateo in her evening gown for the Miss Universe 2020 preliminary competition.

Photo from Miss Universe Philippines' Instagram

Here's a recap of Rabiya's performance for the national costume, swimsuit, and evening gown competitions

“I may or may not win the crown. But one thing is for sure: I’m gonna make [Filipinos] proud.” 

This has been the goal of Miss Philippines Rabiya Mateo since the start of her Miss Universe 2020 journey and it’s pretty evident in her preliminary competition performance. 

In a video uploaded by Miss Universe Organization on Thursday, May 13, Rabiya opened up about the struggles she faced on the way to representing the Philippines in the 69th Miss Universe pageant. “Nobody noticed me… When I won, I received different comments. There were people who did not expect me to do well, who thought I cheated…. That’s why I needed to do well in Miss Universe, I needed to do well in this competition,” she said. 

On Friday, May 14 (Philippine time), Rabiya wowed the crowd with her Philippine flag-inspired ensemble for the national costume competition. “I feel like I’m a Victoria’s Angel right now,” the 24-year-old candidate said backstage.

However, Rabiya’s national costume drew mixed reactions from pageant fans. Some were questioning why she didn’t wear the headpiece designed by Bulacan-based jeweler Manny Halasan.

Miss Universe Philippines National Director Shamcey Supsup told ABS-CBN News that the headpiece kept falling off whenever Rabiya tried to wear it. “We’re so sad na hindi nasuot (that she wasn’t able to wear it) but still Rabiya was able to give us a powerful performance,” she explained. 

Rabiya also addressed her supporters after the national costume competition.“I’m so sorry kung na-disappoint man kayo sa akin (if you were disappointed in me), but I know I did my best. In myself kanina (earlier), I felt really great. Feeling ko noong naglalakad ako, I was so beautiful. Nakita ko ‘yung cheer ng judges, nakita ko ‘yung sigawan ng mga Pilipino. Kaya nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa suporta.”

(I felt I was so beautiful when I was walking. I saw the judges cheer. I saw the cheers from the Filipinos. So I’m really thankful for the support).

“Our goal really is to make our country proud, kaya sana maging proud din kayo sa akin (I hope you are proud of me). It’s never easy pero kinakaya ko para sa inyong lahat (but I’m endure it for all of you),” she said.

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray was quick to defend Rabiya from these disappointed fans. “@rabiyamateo does not need to apologize. She worked that stage and PER-FORMED! National costume is a segment to celebrate culture and a country’s identity, but it isn’t a part of the scoring towards the crown. Kaya laban lang (Just keep fighting), Queen,” she wrote in a post on the Catriona Universe Instagram page. 

Screenshot from @catrionauniverse on Instagram

Rabiya also added that what really mattered was that she had fun with her performance. 

Other Filipina beauty queens also showed their support for Rabiya in the comments section. Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach wrote: “Rabiya, malayo man kami pero sana nararamdaman mo support at pagmamahal naming lahat; ng buong Pilipinas. Next time, tears of joy na tayong lahat.”

(Rabiya, even though we’re far apart, I hope you can still feel the support and love from the Philippines. Next time, we would all be in tears of joy.) 

Screenshot from Rabiya Mateo’s Instagram

Miss Grand International 2020 1st runner-up Samantha Bernardo advised Rabiya to just forge ahead. “You made us all proud! Congratulations, Queen! Konti na lang @rabiyamteo! Hingang malalim at laban ulit (You’re almost there, Rabiya! Take a deep breath and fight again),” she said.

Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa wrote: “You did so well, and we are so proud of you, baby girl! Bring home the crown!”

In a series of tweets, Miss Universe Philippines 2014 MJ Lastimosa also defended Rabiya from some netizens’ criticism.  “Beat her, hate her, but you can never break a determined woman with a pure heart,” she wrote in one of her posts. 

Hours after the national costume competition, Rabiya hit one million followers on Instagram. 

“Woke up with one million followers! You guys are the best. Sending love to the rest of the universe. Today is a big day. Please pray for us,” she captioned a photoset of her in Bohol. 

To mark the milestone, Rabiya’s team also released photos from a pictorial where she is seen posing in bejeweled lingerie.

“That face, that body. Put together her mind and her heart – very Universe-ready! @rabiyamateo is showing it to the universe how it is  done,” stylist Mikee Andrei wrote alongside a video of Rabiya from the shoot. 

Fashion designer Christopher Munar called his creation “fantasy lingerie.” “I’m so happy and proud to present the costume I made for @rabiyamateo‘s VS inspired shoot,” he wrote. 

On Saturday, May 15 (Philippine time), Rabiya was all-smiles in her bright yellow two-piece swimsuit and a flowy, long, sheer robe. During the preliminary competition, he also debuted her one-shoulder tulle gown encrusted with Swarovski crystals, designed by Furne Amato.

Filipino pageant fans showed their support for Rabiya with the hashtag #AribaRabiya. Catriona joined others in commending Rabiya’s evening gown.

#PrelimPina5 and #MissUniverse2020 were some of the Miss Universe-related top trending hashtags on Saturday morning. 

Screenshot from Twitter

Rabiya will be competing for the Miss Universe 2020 crown during the finals night on May 16 (May 17, 8 am, Manila time). Philippine viewers can watch the preliminary competition live on the Lazada app. The finals night will be aired live on the A2Z Channel and also streamed on Lazada. – Rappler.com