Miss Universe Philippines and PLDT Ambassador Michelle Marquez Dee has officially started her journey to the ultimate crown as she recently arrived in El Salvador where the Miss Universe coronation takes place.
“We could think of no better women to proudly bear the flag at this year’s Miss Universe pageant than Michelle,” said PLDT Inc. Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan. “She is smart with her confidence and authentic with her advocacies. We at PLDT fully stand beside her. We have no doubt that she will be one of the strongest queens in the field, and that she will go very far.”
The journey to the crown
The 28-year-old shared that one life lesson she always carries with her, even as she represents the country in a prestigious world stage, is “to always walk life full of gratitude, love, and kindness.”
This is reminiscent of what Michelle answered during the pageant about what’s the best the Philippines can offer to the world.
“We are the true heart and soul of the Philippines with the way we are hospitable, with our warm smiles. And we are the reason why the world keeps coming back for more. No matter where the universe takes me, I’ll always be proud to call the Philippines my home. And no matter what happens, I will always be proud to call myself Pinoy,” Dee said.
Michelle celebrates, and at the same time, bears on her shoulders the legacy of her mother Melanie Marquez in the pageant world. Melanie became the youngest Miss International when she won the title at 15 years old in 1979.
“My mom is one of my biggest inspirations. She is responsible for why I am so strong,” Michelle said. “She is somebody that I really look up to. She was nothing but proud. She instilled in my mind that I should shine as my own woman, be confident in what I have and what I have to offer.”
Part of being a beauty queen is using her platform to promote important causes, and for Michelle, her “main goal” is creating a positive change.
“I want to set a great example for people to become empowered and transformational leaders,” she said.
Michelle said that she does everything with a purpose, knowing that part of being a beauty queen is using her platform to spread awareness about important causes, including autism.
“My two siblings on the autism spectrum are my lifelong mission. Being able to give to them what they need and to be a part of the solution is something that I don’t take lightly. I know the kind of life I want them to live, I know what is lacking in the Philippines and the world. It means the world to me to be part of such a positive change for my siblings and for everybody that’s on the autism spectrum as well.”
“At Autism Society Philippines, we see every individual on the spectrum as having their own talent and we want them to live fulfilled and empowered lives. That’s why I really advocate for acceptance, inclusivity, and awareness. My two siblings were also there during the coronation night, cheering for me. I knew that they understood that this competition was for them,” she adds.
Miss Universe 2023 takes place on November 18.