MANILA, Philippines – Despite Philippine tourism secretary Wanda Teo's assertion of a "90% chance" that the country would host Miss Universe this year, the organization's president remained coy on the issue.
At the press conference of the Grit & Glam event on Monday, May 7, Miss Universe president Paula Shugart said that they are still in talks with different people on the matter. "We're evaluating the opportunities and possibilities of Miss Universe this year. So all I can say on that is stay tuned," she said.
In an interview after the press conference, Shugart said that after the trip, the organization will have "closer to an answer" if the pageant indeed will be held in Manila.
During an interview with the Philippine Star at the World's Strongest Man competition on Sunday, Teo said they are still looking for more sponsors. "We will be looking for more sponsors and we are already talking to someone,” she said.
Teo had said that President Rodrigo Duterte was opened to the possibility of having the pageant in the country, once Boracay opens again. The island is currently closed for rehabilitation. (READ: After Boracay rehab, another Miss Universe hosting stint?)
Shugart, together with Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere and Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters also had dinner with former Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, who brought the pageant to Manila in January 2017.
In an interview with ABS-CBN, both Nel-Peters and Mittenaere said that they would love it if the pageant will be held in Manila.
Grit and Glam
For the first time ever, the Miss Universe queens will join the winners of the World's Strongest Man in a event dubbed as Grit & Glam, a fashion show which will be held at the Cove on May 8. The event is a project of the Miss Universe Organization, Frontrow, and IMG.
"This [are] two endevour properties – the Miss Universe organization and the World's Strongest Man and this is the first time that we've ever combined something and obviously tomorrow is our Grit & Glam fashion show. And I think it will be a fun evening," Shugart said.
Nel-Peters and Mittenaere will be joined by Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach in the event. The World's Strongest Man meanwhile will be led by big winner Hafthor Bjornsson, known as the Mountain from Game of Thrones.
Wurtzbach said that it was great to be reunited with her Miss Universe family and seeing the girls. "It's great. I'm very happy to be reunited with the Miss Universe family and I'm glad you guys are here," she said to members of the organization present.