‘Age is just a number’ for Shamcey Supsup-Lee, Miss Universe PH national director
MANILA, Philippines — The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) has just announced that it had lifted its maximum age cap, and will accept applicants no matter how old they are. And Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) National Director Shamcey Supsup-Lee appeared to have presented a case on how sensible the international pageant’s recent directive is.
“Age is just a number,” the 37-year-old mother of two wrote in a post on social media showing photos of her strikingly youthful appearance, wearing a white draped gown with a corseted bodice and exaggerated ruffle sleeves in champagne designed by King George Bueno. Her chin-length locks were styled by Dianne Joie Alcantara to have a hint of a wave to frame her gorgeous face painted by Michael Patacsil.
Lee told INQUIRER.net that the photos were taken at the Baguio Country Club, where she attended the 2023 Mister and Miss HRAB pageant recently. She was one of the judges in the competition, along with her MUPH queens Beatrice Luigi Gomez from 2021 and Rabiya Mateo from 2020, and reigning Miss Charm Philippines Krishnah Gravidez, who hails from Baguio City.
The national director and 2011 Miss Universe third runner-up earned praises for her looks that seem to defy time. A certain Rogin Quiño even commented, “Pwedi paman gyud ni ilaban sa Miss Universe oi [red heart emoji] (She can still compete in Miss Universe).”
In 2022, MUO announced that it would start accepting mothers and married women starting in 2023. And with the recent directive instructing affiliate pageants to admit adult applicants of all ages, the Miss Universe pageant has become the most inclusive global competition. It had earlier allowed the participation of transgender women when trans model Jenna Talackova took part in the Miss Universe Canada contest in 2012.
Lee told INQUIRER.net during an earlier media event that she had expected MUO’s recent announcement. “I believe it was eventually going to change because, first of all, [Miss Universe] R’Bonney [Gabriel] has been very vocal about the age limit. She’s, I think, one of the oldest reigning Miss Universe. She’s 29 years old, and the limit was up to 28 only,” she said.
Gabriel said during the pageant’s question-and-answer round that she hoped to see an increase in the allowable age, and said, “I believe age does not define us. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday, but it’s now. The time is now that you can go after what you want.”
Lee allayed fears that the recent development will see senior citizens parading in high heels and bikinis. “It’s not like there’s no rules anymore. But it just says that we don’t discriminate,” she explained.
“Some people’s reactions have been exaggerated. It doesn’t follow that because 50-year-olds are allowed that all our candidates will be 50-year-olds. When we accepted mothers, we only had three candidates, not all of our candidates were mothers or married,” she added.
“I think we should look at it on a positive note. I don’t think it will dilute the competition. I think it will make the competition tougher, and when it’s tougher, then the most deserving will win. Because they will really pass through the needle’s eye,” Lee continued.
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant, scheduled in El Salvador in November, will have two mothers in the competition, Michelle Cohn from Guatemala and Camila Avella from Colombia. They will compete with about 90 international delegates including transgender model Rikkie Valerie Kolle, who will represent the Netherlands.
The Philippines will be represented by model, actress and pageant veteran Michelle Dee, Top 12 finalist in the 2019 Miss World pageant, daughter of 1979 Miss International Melanie Marquez, and cousin of 2017 Reina Hispanoamericana Teresita Ssen “Winwyn” Marquez. /ra