Michelle Dee captivates at open dress rehearsal before Miss Universe coronation night
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Hours before the start of the coronation event, Philippine bet Michelle Marquez Dee stood out at the open rehearsal of the Miss Universe 2023 pageant, hosted exclusively for the media on Saturday morning, November 18, at the Gimnasio José Adolfo Pineda Arena, in San Salvador.
Dee dazzled in her blue-gray sequined dress from Clarisse Designs, the official pageant wear sponsor for this year’s edition, when she walked to the stage, along with 83 other contestants. She received one of the loudest applause from global media representatives, with Philippine flags waving in the background.
“Miss Philippines is one of our favorites. She is beautiful,” said a group of credentialed journalists from Venezuela.
“She was glowing. She was giving the audience a different aura today,” said another journalist from Costa Rica.
Dee’s mother, actress Melanie Marquez, was also in attendance. “I feel so great. I know my daughter will make it,” the 1979 Miss International titleholder told this reporter in an ambush interview.
The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) has enforced tight rules on the distribution of photographs and videos of the candidates.
“If we see you going live during rehearsal, or see any of your rehearsal footage online before the Finale show ends, we will take your press badge for the day. Still photography is allowed,” said MUO organizers in a press statement.
For Filipino Miss Universe fanatics who made it to El Salvador, the last six days have been filled with emotions, rollercoasting from excitement about Dee’s journey, to uncertainty on whether she could beat the so-called Latina powerhouse and actually get back the country’s decade-long semi-final streak in the pageant since it got broken last year.
Some have still been mustering up a feeling of regret or contentment, trying to convince themselves that spending on travels, accommodation and Miss Universe show tickets for more than $1,500 is worth it.
“I spent thousands of dollars just to get here, but it is totally worth it,” said Roel Pagulong, a Miss Universe fan since he was seven years old, watching the beauty contest from their neighbor’s television. “I traveled all the way from Florida to be in this momentous event!”
Other Filipino fans share the same sentiment. Across San Salvador, there’s a sense of excitement and cautious optimism.
“Some Filipinos would say, ‘this is mababaw (shallow), but there’s no price tag to the enjoyment and celebration that I get every time I am watching Miss Universe competition in person. I am rooting for Michelle Dee. Sana (hopefully) she wins, I’d be part of Philippine history,” said one enthusiast.
The 72nd Miss Universe pageant will be held tonight, Saturday, November 18, at 7:00 pm CST (Sunday, Nov. 19, 9:00 am Philippine time), in San Salvador, El Salvador. The coronation event will stream live on the Roku Channel and will also air on Telemundo.
The winner will be crowned by R’Bonney Gabriel, the first Filipino American woman to win Miss Universe.