Michelle Dee aware of developments in Miss Universe pageant, says MUPH’s Shamcey Supsup-Lee
MANILA, Philippines—Michelle Dee, the country’s representative to the 72nd Miss Universe pageant, is very much aware of the recent developments in the international pageant, including its latest announcement scrapping the maximum age cap for participants, Miss Universe Philippines National Director Shamcey Supsup-Lee said.
“She knows everything that’s happening. I think she’s all for diversity and inclusivity,” Lee said in an intimate gathering with select members of the media at La Creperie in Quezon City. The Miss Universe has now become the most inclusive international pageant with the recent directive. In 2012, it opened its doors to transgender women, then started accepting mothers and married women for this year’s edition.
“[Dee] doesn’t want to be defined by the gender or marital status. You’re just a person, it doesn’t matter if you’re married or you have kids or whatever your sexual orientation is. As long as you can be a good brand ambassador for Miss Universe, then you can be Miss Universe,” she said of the reigning national queen, who also came out as bisexual after bagging the Miss Universe Philippines title in May.
The national director also lauded the titleholder for her determination and hard work. “Even when she was still a candidate, she had a game plan on what she’s going to do once she wins the Miss Universe Philippines crown. And when I talked to her, she really wanted to focus on her cause, like what she stands for,” Lee shared.
Dee’s preparations extend outside the glamorous side of pageantry. “Her focus is, how can she be a voice for the things that she believes in,” said Lee, herself a beauty queen who finished fourth in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant held in Brazil.
She also said Dee is one of the most hard-working queens she has ever encountered. “With everything that she’s juggling, I never received any complaints. She will never show you that she is tired, and she always gives her best,” Lee said.
The national director credits Dee’s work ethic developed before engaging in pageantry. “She has been in the industry for so many years. Her professionalism stuck with her, that even if she only has, like, three hours of sleep, you will not be able to tell. During the time she has to work, she still has full of energy,” Lee continued.
That is why she has advised Dee to take care of her health. “That would be her only downfall. She’s been working every day. And looking at her schedule, I have been cautioning her, slow down. She’s very goal-oriented eh, and focused,” Lee added.
The national director is confident that Dee will deliver, having already experienced how it is like to compete in an international pageant. “She has an idea on how to prepare herself,” Lee said. Dee competed in the 2019 Miss World pageant and finished in the Top 12.
Dee will try to score the Philippines’ fifth Miss Universe victory, after Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), Pia Wurtzbach (2015), and Catriona Gray (2018). The 2023 pageant’s coronation show will be held in El Salvador on Nov. 18 (Nov. 19 in Manila), where Filipino-American R’Bonney Gabriel will relinquish her title to her successor. /ra