Miss Universe pageant is not just a beauty competition, it’s also a fashion event, which is why queries about the dress Marian Rivera is going to wear on finals night also get so much attention.
The 37-year-old actress, known for portraying memorable characters on TV and the big screen, has been handpicked by the Miss Universe Organization to sit on the judging panel for this year’s edition of the pageant. She will be joined by Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere, Coco Rocha, Tali Eshkoli, Lyrica Okano, Daniel Rubino, and Filipino-American makeup vlogger Patrick Starrr.
Prior to her flight to Israel, where the annual beauty contest is currently happening, Rivera met with the local press in a virtual junket to share the good news.
“I’m going to wear Francis Libiran on the finals night,” the actress proudly beamed after sharing that she and her team are trying to fit all her cocktail dresses in nine luggage bags.
“I’m going to have a very busy schedule according to Miss Universe Organization. From meeting the candidates to pre-pageant events, I would have to dress up that’s why I’m bringing a glam team with me,” she added.
Rivera knew she would be filling in a most daunting role, but she felt “honored” and “grateful” to be given the prestigious opportunity.
“When Marian said yes, she was vetted by the Miss Universe Organization. They saw her massive social media presence and everything. They were the ones who approached us and asked how they could reach Miss Marian,” Rivera’s management said during the virtual press conference.
Even before the seven-member judging committee of the 70th Miss Universe was officially revealed, rabid pageant fans and critics were already questioning Rivera’s credentials as a judge.
“I will admit that English is not my first language but Filipino, and yet they still chose me, maybe not just because of that, but also because of my body of work as a Filipina. I can just say I’m not a pretentious person. I’ll express myself based on how I feel on that day,” she told the press in vernacular.
She also said that being part of the Miss Universe selection committee is a good opportunity she would not want to miss.
“This is a great honor. If you ask me if it would be difficult for me to leave my kids behind, of course, it would be hard but I believe, someday, they would understand this sacrifice I’m doing,” she said.
“We don’t often get the chance to be a part of a special occasion where the whole world will be present, and you get to represent the Philippines. It’s a big honor for me, and that’s why I wholeheartedly accepted the offer,” she carried on.
Rivera is not the first Filipino to take on the role of Miss Universe judge. In 2017, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach was chosen as a judge while Broadway star Lea Salonga was part of the panel of judges in Miss Universe 2011.
The 70th Miss Universe pageant will be held in Israel on Dec. 12. The Philippines’ delegate to the pageant, Beatrice Luigi Gomez, vies for the fifth Miss Universe crown of the country.