Pinoy pride showed up at Miss Universe 2023 in more ways than one.
After a years-long pageant journey, all roads finally led to Michelle Dee competing in Miss Universe 2023 last Sunday morning. And it’s clear that her training prepared her for the moment as she walked, stomped, and devoured her way to a Top 10 finish. While she didn’t take home the crown, MMD did make her country proud and proved once again that the Philippines is and will continue to be a force in Miss Universe.
But even if Michelle wasn’t able to take home the crown, the coronation night, which was held in El Salvador, still had its moments that had Filipino netizens talking on social media. Pinoy energy was very much present at Miss Universe 2023. Scroll down to see a few of them.
MARIS RACAL AND MISS NICARAGUA’S TWINNING MOMENT
If there was a strong theme that ran throughout the coronation night, it was seeing double. Aside from the fact that netizens pointed out how Miss Universe India, Shweta Sharda, looked like Pia Wurtzbach, many also said how Miss Universe Nicaragua and newly-crowned Miss Universe 2023 Sheynnis Palacio’s evening gown looked very similar to the Marc Rancy gown Maris Racal wore to the ABS-CBN Ball earlier this year. The detailing and blue sleeves and train gave us deja vu, a fact Maris herself recognized.
R’BONNEY GABRIEL’S FINAL GOWN
R’Bonney Gabriel has never been shy about wearing Filipino designers as her homage to her Pinoy roots from her father’s side. So, it only felt right that she wore a Filipino designer for her final walk as Miss Universe. She tapped Rian Fernandez, who also designed R’Bonney’s gown for the preliminary competition, to make her final walk gown.
The result was a stunning bold creation with an enchanting silhouette that was adorned with red crystals. The look was topped with a headpiece that completed the grand aura of her final time as Miss Universe. A Fil-Am winner wearing a Filipino gown for their final walk? We know that’s right. And let’s also not forget how every queen wore heels from Filipino brand Jojo Bragais, the official footwear of Miss Universe.
MICHELLE DEE’S EVENING GOWN
Michelle took no prisoners with her run at Miss Universe. Aside from making it to the Top 10, being one of the Voice for Change gold winners, and taking home the Spirit of Carnival award, she also gave us a jaw-dropping black Mark Bumgarner creation. Aside from the fact that it was the only black gown in the Top 10, the dress paid homage to cultural icon Apo Whang-Od with its detailing mimicking the tattoo design from Kalinga. Michelle more than just stood out from the competition, she gave her flowers to a legend and the long cultural significance of tattoos in the Philippines.
CATRIONA GRAY BEING A MOOD
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray was once again back as a backstage host for Miss Universe, where she added her commentary to a competition she is a champion at. Her presence gave us a Pinoy POV for the coronation night. And throughout the evening, she gifted the internet with many moments that had us cheering and going, same. For starters, she voiced the VO for Michelle during the swimsuit portion of the night. Then, she channeled the shock of netizens with her reaction to seeing MMD not make it to the Top 5. At this point, she needs to be a main host next year.
A FILIPINO ON THE SELECTION COMMITTEE
Another year, another Filipino judge. It wasn’t just Pinoys as contestants and hosts, there was also one on the judges panel. Included in this year’s selection committee was Dr. Connie Mariano, a physician born in the Philippines but moved to the United States with a glistening resume that includes being a White House physician under multiple US presidents.