5 Unknown Facts About Michelle Dee’s Miss Universe Journey Revealed in MEGA: The Next Move

5 Unknown Facts About Michelle Dee’s Miss Universe Journey Revealed in MEGA: The Next Move


Michelle Dee reveals all the details of her pageant journey on MEGA: The Next Move, offering insights you might not have heard before

Undoubtedly one of the most celebrated Miss Universe Philippines representatives, admired by Filipinos and global fans, Michelle Dee takes a seat with MEGA Editor-in-Chief Peewee Reyes-Isidro. In this candid conversation, she presents details about her journey through pageantry. Having been in the public eye of pageant enthusiasts since her participation in Miss World Philippines in 2019, where she clinched the coveted title, one might assume that this beauty queen has laid bare all aspects of her pageant life. However, in a delightful twist, the latest episode of MEGA: The Next Move becomes a platform for the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 to share lesser-known facts about herself. From her most revered beauty queens to the specific pageant she never envisioned joining, delve into the depths of Dee’s pageant career.

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1. Binibining Pilipinas was her first choice when she wanted to enter pageantry in 2019

The beauty queen admits that she had to strategically choose which pageant to join in

In a confession that exposes the beauty queen’s strategic thinking, she openly admits that Catriona Gray’s triumph in Miss Universe 2018 significantly influenced her decision to enter the pageant industry. With a genuine grin, Dee shares, “Okay, let’s not join Binibini. Let’s join Miss World.” Although she holds no reservations against the Binibining Pilipinas organization, she candidly acknowledges the challenge of following in Gray’s footsteps. “The chances of a back-to-back win are very slim,” she asserts, citing the rarity of such achievements in Miss Universe, with Venezuela being the sole exception. While expressing gratitude for the experience and platform provided by Miss World, the 28-year-old’s eyes tell a story—the call of the Universe has echoed in her heart since then.

2. Before she started competing internationally, she had only watched two Miss Universe pageants

Admitting in the episode that the dream to represent the Philippines at Miss Universe has always intrigued her, Dee openly shares that before getting immersed in her own pageant journey, she only had the chance to catch a Miss Universe show in 2015 and 2018—the very years when the Philippines bagged the crown, courtesy of Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray. Remarkably, she adds that these were not deliberate plans to block off her day for the show; rather, it just so happened that it was playing on the TV wherever she found herself on those particular days.

Michelle Dee opens up about her friendship with Pia Wurtzbach
Dee shares the she has a genunine friendship with Pia Wurtzbach

Within the ongoing conversation, Dee shares a genuine sentiment, stating, “I do really admire Pia.” Illustrating the authenticity of their friendship, she reminisces that on the night preceding the Miss Universe 2023 finals, they were casually chatting on FaceTime. She also doesn’t forget to convey her admiration for Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, articulating how she inspired her given their shared journey of first being Miss World Philippines before taking the Miss Universe stage.

3. She never considered joining Miss International

She reveals the reason why she never thought about joining Miss International
The beauty queen admits that her mother’s legacy in Miss International would be hard to surpass

When asked if she ever considered joining Miss International, the beauty queen gives a straightforward and honest response, saying, “No, I have not.” She goes on to explain that this has been a recurring question for her, especially being the daughter of Melanie Marquez who won the said international title in 1979. Dee admits that had her mom not won Miss International, she might have entertained the idea. However, facing the reality of the situation, she acknowledges that her mom’s pageant legacy is one that is simply hard to follow.

4. Her name was almost taken out of the running for Miss Universe Philippines 2023

Some might argue that the second time around for her could have been easier, given her first runner-up position the previous year. However, not everyone witnessed the challenges Dee faced while competing. Juggling commitments as an actress at GMA with an ongoing show, she had to balance pre-pageant activities for Miss Universe Philippines. “I would end taping at around 4:00 or 5:00 AM. My glam team for Miss Universe Philippines would arrive at 6:00 AM. I would then get ready and then compete. That was my whole routine. Day in and day out,” she recalls.

The then-Makati representative was asked to step back for health reasons during the Miss Universe competition, but she triumphed against all odds

Just a week and a half before the coronation night, a crucial moment unfolded: Dee was rushed to the hospital, coincidentally on her birthday. Despite her belief in masking her strength, her body spoke for her this time. Bleeding profusely on her way to a sponsor shoot for Jewelmer, she estimates losing almost 4 liters of blood. In a testament to Dee’s fearless and undeterred personality, when advised to withdraw from the competition due to her health, she disagreed, even requiring her to sign a waiver to push through.

“When you have moments of struggle, you have to divert back to why you are doing what you are doing.”

Michelle Dee reflects on the moment she was asked to withdraw from the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 pageant

5. When Mark Bumgarner said ‘no’ to pageant patty gowns, she said ‘yes’ to him as her evening gown designer

Michelle Dee shares why she chose Mark Bumgarner as her evening gown designer

Bringing this lineup to a close is what Dee affectionately calls a “MEGA Exclusive.” Despite her long standing friendship with Filipino designer Mark Bumgarner, the beauty queen confesses that their collaboration in the pageant scene didn’t start automatically. In a detail she has yet to share with Bumgarner, she discloses that when the Filipino designer mentioned that he doesn’t create usual and conventional pageant gowns that was the moment Dee realized he was the perfect collaborator. Describing herself as a “non-pageant patty queen,” she felt an instant connection with Bumgarner’s statement, confidently believing that he could bring her vision to life, breaking boundaries and established norms in the most stylish way possible.

If there’s one thing to glean from Michelle Dee’s journey, it’s the understanding that sometimes what we perceive as a conclusion is merely the commencement of a beautiful new chapter. While the crown may not adorn her head, the undeniable truth is that the overwhelming outpouring of love she’s received surpasses the feeling of victory. Dee shares that this is an immensely thrilling period for her, teeming with projects both locally and internationally. She also expresses her commitment to continue working with Autism Society Philippines and her foundation, Global Spectrum Initiative, as it’s a passion that genuinely brings her joy—a message that leaves us anticipating her next move.

To watch the whole podcast episode, visit MEGA’s official YouTube channel here.

You can also listen to the episode on MEGA’s official Spotify here.


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