With members of the Fil-community in USA showing up at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood on Saturday, for the preliminary judging of the 69th Miss Universe, Philippine bet Rabiya Mateo did not disappoint, taking her fight in both the swimsuit and evening gown rounds, with aplomb before wildly shrieking Filipino fans.
A day after her Philippine flag-inspired national costume performance, which hit one million followers on Instagram, albeit a problem cropped up with the missing sun headpiece, Mateo this time around was nearly flawless. In the swimsuit round, the 24-year-old, Ilonga, owned the stage in a yellow two-piece swimsuit designed by official sponsor Ema Savahl with loose beach cover-up sashaying in her ‘hala-bira’ walk which complemented her killer body.
Later, she returned on stage with aplomb wearing a royal one-sided neckline, tulle gown encrusted with citrine Swarovski crystals during the evening gown competition. The Furne One of Amato Couture-designed yellow gown was inspired by the radiance of the Philippine sun, featured a detailed cape paired with sun-inspired earrings, a creation which represents happiness, strength and vitality.
Meanwhile, Mateo’ preliminary performances got total encouragement from her fellow beauty queens. Including Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
“Malayo man kami, pero sana nararamdaman mo support at pagmamahal naming lahat, ng buong Pilipinas (even if we’re miles away, hope that you’re feeling our love and support and the whole Philippines). Next time, tears of joy na tayong lahat (for all of us),” Wurtzbach posted.
“Rabiya does not need to apologize. She worked that stage and performed. National costume is a segment to celebrate culture and a country’s identity, but it isn’t a part of the scoring towards the crown. Kaya laban lang (Just keep fighting), Queen,” Gray said on Instagram. National Director Shamcey Supsup, Creative Director Jonas Gaffud and Team MUPh were all there to support.
“I may or may not win the crown. But one thing is for sure, I’m gonna make Filipinos (my countrymen) proud,” Mateo assured all Filipinos. Watch her compete at the 69th Miss Universe, live telecasts over A2Z Channel and FoxLife on Monday morning, May 17.