Fans send Michelle Dee off to 2023 Miss Universe pageant
MANILA, Philippines—Dozens of supporters trooped to Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on Tuesday, Oct. 31, to show their love for actress-model-host Michelle Marquez Dee as she flies to El Salvador for the 2023 Miss Universe pageant this month.
Carrying letters of the alphabet that spell out “P-H-I-L-I-P-P-I-N-E-S” and waving the country’s flag, the fans patiently and enthusiastically waited for the queen’s arrival outside the terminal’s departure area. Onlookers also stood by for a chance to get a glimpse of the queen.
Dee’s supporters started chanting “MMD!” (her initials) when she arrived in a midnight-blue, mid-length dress with a mock neck collar, low-V neckline and cap sleeves. Her chin-length hair, parted on the side, was sleekly tucked behind her ears, while a wispy band of bangs caressed the left side of her face.
The reigning Miss Universe Philippines titleholder repaid her supporters’ efforts with hugs, kisses, photo opportunities, and words of gratitude. Members of the local media were there to witness the moment, which was much more festive than the departure of the country’s previous Miss Universe delegates.
Dee, daughter of 1979 Miss International Melanie Marquez and cousin of 2017 Reina Hispanoamericana Teresita Ssen “Winwyn” Marquez, is on a quest to score the Philippines’ fifth victory in the Miss Universe pageant. She also aims to regain the country’s reputation as a powerhouse in the global tilt after her predecessor Celeste Cortesi broke the 12-year placement streak recorded by Filipino delegates since 2010.
She brings with her a wealth of experience from her work in the fashion and entertainment industries, and especially from national and international pageantry. She was crowned Miss World Philippines in 2019 and competed in the 2019 Miss World pageant in London where she finished in the Top 12.
Dee joined the Miss Universe Philippines pageant for two consecutive years. She was hailed as Miss Universe Philippines-Tourism on her first attempt in 2022, then bagged the top title when she returned the succeeding year.
She declared that she will use the platform provided by the Miss Universe pageant to advance her cause of promoting awareness on autism, and providing assistance to those who belong to the spectrum like two of her brothers.
The 72nd Miss Universe pageant will conclude in a coronation show on Nov. 18 (Nov. 19 in Manila) in El Salvador, where reigning queen R’Bonney Gabriel, a Filipino-American sustainable fashion designer and advocate from Texas, will crown her successor.
The Philippines has four Miss Universe titleholders to date—Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), Pia Wurtzbach (2015), and Catriona Gray (2018).