Michelle Marquez Dee joins the roster of queens who made a mark through her Miss Universe journey of passion and purpose, guaranteed to inspire the next breed of contenders from the country
The unexpected finish of Michelle Marquez Dee at the 72nd Miss Universe truly became a big shock to a great number of the audience, especially to her supporters. Perhaps it was because, even before she flew to El Savador, the Philippines’ own needed no crown to declare herself a true winner for her intention on shedding light to her advocacies, as well as representing our country with pride.
Throughout pageant industry, MMD will be known as one of the Philippine delegates who made sure she carried not just herself, but also her nation, with consistency, grit, and grace to all the roads that would lead to the win. With that, here are a few lessons from her Miss Universe chapter that will surely inspire not just aspiring contenders, but also fellow Filipinos.
Know who you are
Knowing yourself and what you stand for is a good start when you want to represent more than a hundred million Filipinos. When your identity, values, and principles are all intact, you will know which opinions you will take as constructive criticism or as mere distraction from your true purpose.
In her exclusive interview with MEGA where she came out as bisexual, the beauty queen knew that her victory last May was more about herself. Firm on her decision to come out on her own terms, Michelle knew what her fight was all for. Spoken with certainty, she said, “This is not about me. This is about the cause I’m fighting, advocating for: autism awareness. That’s my main goal. My identity is not what I want to be remembered for.”
Begin your dream with a vision
The W in wanting to join pageants stands for a one-word question—why? Of course, part of the growth that one gets from joining pageants is to develop courage and confidence within yourself. But that “why” must be bigger than your dreams for yourself. How do you see the world that you are living in now? What can you do to enforce action in changing society?
Throughout her story, she has shared how her brothers have become her source of inspiration to continuously advocate for autism acceptance, inclusivity, and empowerment. Although this was a part of her own life story, she shares her cause to everyone in the hopes of seeking more opportunities for individuals in the spectrum.
Open yourself up to the universe
One of Michelle’s achievements in the Miss Universe competition was the “Spirit of Carnival” award. This was an accolade presented to the candidate who embodied the Carnival Cruise Line’s values of fun, friendship, diversity, and inclusion.
There is no denying that the multi-hyphenate took her pageant experience seriously, but she also made the most out of it to build friendships with her fellow representatives. Case in point, her cute moments with Miss Universe 1st Runner Up Anntonia Porsild from Thailand.
Honor your country and people
Aside from autism awareness, Michelle also advocates for mental health management, economic growth, LGBTQIA+ inclusion and acceptance, and quality education. In the country, these issues are prevalent in a number of households, affecting all members of the community. From one interview to another, the beauty queen uses her own voice to speak out on these, and she actively participates in organizations such as the Autism Society of the Philippines.
As a creative herself, she also highlighted the craftsmanship of Filipino designers, such as Vin Orias and Kristine Ordinario, in her outfits in El Salvador through the help of her styling team led by Ryuji Shiomitsu. Meanwhile, in the final evening gown segment, she took representation further by donning a Mark Bumgarner creation inspired by Apo Wang-Od and the heritage of the indigenous people of Philippines.
Train with all your might
Truth be told, the pageant bloodline runs deep for Michelle. With her beauty and stature, she could even be a beauty queen since birth. But even with her family of famed contenders, she has her own tenacity and grit to give credit to.
Complacency and comfort were not words that could be used to describe her preparation. In an exclusive with her pasarela coach, Ian Mendajar, he shared that Michelle would really make time to practice her walk over and over again. Apart from that, she really devoted much of her energy into honing her communication skills through formal Q&A training, as well as engaging with other celebrities and reporters through vlogs and interviews.
Video: IAN MENDAJAR (via Instagram)
Looking back on her journey, this is only another beginning for one Michelle Marquez Dee. As she opens another chapter in her life, may her Miss Universe experience serve as a reminder that representing a country takes a mind with clarity of vision, and more so a heart of purer intentions. With such huge shoes to fill, may the next Miss Universe Philippines lead by example, and claim the crown.
Photos: MICHELLE DEE (via Instagram)