Pageant-obsessed Pinoys are counting down the days to the 69th Miss Universe, which airs locally on Monday, May 17 at 8 am from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, USA.
This early, the country’s official candidate, Rabiya Mateo, has been representing well. Fans recall how she came to Miss Canada Nova Stevens’ defense and apologized after Filipino bashers posted racist texts. And let’s not forget how she accidentally fell into the swimming pool during a shoot yet took it all in stride!
Here are five things we can’t wait to see when she does the country proud this May 17:
#1: Rabiya Mateo’s Walk
In the tradition of Miss Universe 2011 Shamcey Supsup’s tsunami walk, Miss Universe 2012 Janine Tugonon’s cobra walk, Miss Universe 2015 winner Pia Wurtzbach’s tanim bala walk, Miss Universe 2018 winner Catriona Gray’s lava walk, and all signature walks before and after them, Rabiya will unveil her hala bira walk— a style that required two coaches to perfect!
#2: Rabiya Mateo’s National Costume
Rabiya’s show-stopping outfit is likely to be one of the last creations of celebrity designer Rocky Gathercole, who passed away last March. Noted fashion, crown, and jewelry designer Manny Halasan collaborated with Rocky on the highly anticipated attire, and even made a “missing piece,” which Shamcey (now Miss Universe Philippines national director) personally brought to Miami.
Await the big reveal on May 17! (Read: How Beauty Pageants Inspire Us to Handle Defeat Graciously)
#3: Rabiya Mateo’s Evening Gowns
Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One has the honor of coming up Rabiya’s evening wear for the preliminary and final shows. The Dubai-based Furne described his creations as “all hand made. We spent about 10,000 hours for four gowns.” (Read: 5 Pinay Beauty Queens Who Are Leading the Fight Against COVID-19)
Of how they look, all he will say is, “it’s different. Albert (Andrada, who made Pia’s iconic blue gown) and Jonas (Gaffud, co-founder of beauty queen boot camp Aces and Queens) contacted me to do this even though I’m more on avant-garde designs than pageant designs. They want me to do a different take on pageantry.”
#4: Rabiya Mateo’s Q&A
The nerve-wracking, make-or-break portion of the Miss Universe pageant will test Rabiya’s ability to stay cool and focused under pressure. This she proved when she answered not one but two questions in the 2020 Miss Universe Philippines pageant with grace and confidence.
#5: Rabiya Mateo’s Winning the crown
Did you know that the names of the four Filipinas who bagged the Miss Universe title all end with the letter “a”? If that’s any indication of what’s to happen, looks like we have a fighting chance!