Michelle Dee in the heat of preparations more than three months ahead of Miss Universe competition
MANILA, Philippines—It has been more than two months since model-actress Michelle Dee captured the Miss Universe Philippines title last May 13, without knowing when the global competition would be held. But this did not prevent her from focusing on the international crown, as she buckled down to work in hopes of capturing the country’s fifth victory in the 72-year-old pageant.
And with the Miss Universe Organization’s (MUO) announcement on social media last night, July 27, that the next competition will be held on Nov. 18 in El Salvador, the multi-hyphenate Filipino representative is further intensifying her preparations for the international pageant.
“We haven’t received any official directives regarding the upcoming Miss Universe pageant. However, we’ve been continually preparing for Michelle’s competition,” Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) Director of Communications Voltaire Tayag told the Inquirer in an online interview.
“Michelle’s physical fitness training has intensified because when she knows she’s at her best physically, the mindset is also at its best,” he added, also saying the organization is preparing the beauty queen for the question-and-answer portion.
“But most of all, Michelle is far more focused in her reason, her life purpose, her driving force for good. For her, what she’s been advocating for pre-dates her pageantry career. So you know it is something that she has always believed in,” Tayag said, referring to Dee’s work with the Autism Society of the Philippines for many years now. The titleholder has two brothers diagnosed with autism.
Dee’s predecessors flew to their respective competition venues way ahead of their fellow delegates, spending weeks for additional trainings and preparations outside the country. Tayag said MUPH has not decided yet whether she will also leave the country way before the start of the official Miss Universe activities.
“Nothing is final at the moment. But we always give importance to our delegate’s overall well-being in preparing for Miss Universe. We’ve been talking to Michelle about it. Traveling and time changes are taxing. It would be good to give her a bit of time to adjust to the time zone prior to the pageant. We want her to feel and be at her best the moment she sets foot in El Salvador,” Tayag shared.
Dee is not only aiming to inherit the title currently held by Filipino-American designer R’Bonney Gabriel from the United States, but will also try to bring the Philippines’ Miss Universe glory back, after Celeste Cortesi broke the country’s 12-year placement streak when she missed the first cut in the 71st Miss Universe pageant held in January.
Four Filipino women have captured the title in the past—Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margie Moran in 1973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, and Catriona Gray in 2018. /ra