Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee revealed she cried when she didn’t manage to secure a spot in the Miss Universe 2023 Top 5, admitting that “it was very painful” for her.
“Admittedly, medyo naiyak pa 'ko sa banyo trying to compose my thoughts, my feelings,” she shared during her guest appearance on Fast Talk with Boy Abunda on Monday, Nov. 27.
She also recalled seeing the viral Top 5 graphics error made by Miss Universe El Salvador on Instagram.
“Obviously, it kind of messes with your head na parang ‘What happened?’” she said.
The 28-year-old beauty queen then reiterated what she told her fans on her broadcast channel on IG: “I wish we lived in a perfect world, but we don’t, and as much as there shouldn’t be room for error there was, and ultimately, we just have to leave it to destiny,” she said, adding that she accepts that it was not a “Steve Harvey moment.”
After Michelle wasn’t called to the next round of the pageant, many pageant fans, including Pulitzer Prize winner Ronan Farrow, expressed their dismay, claiming that she was “robbed” of the final opportunity to vie for the highly coveted Miss Universe crown.
The “King of Talk” asked the beauty queen if she agreed with the statement, to which she said it's not for her to decide.
“I would rather choose to say, I believe I was prepared for the Top 5. I don’t know what I could've changed, I gave a hundred percent of myself,” she mused. “Again, as much as I wanna say that I deserve to be there, it wasn’t my destiny.”
“It was very painful,” Michelle confessed. “My loss in 2022 really reinforced the feeling that you should never celebrate until the crown is on your head, that’s why I never manifested that I am who is going home with the crown.” She said that her only aim was to showcase what the Philippines had to offer to the whole world.
The local star was then asked to answer the final question to the Top 5 candidates at the 2023 pageant: “If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose and why?" Michelle said it would be Apo Whang-Od, who also inspired her final evening gown at the tilt.
"If I could choose to live in any woman's shoes, it would be Apo Whang-Od. She's an amazing symbol of cultural preservation. She's an amazing symbol of ageism,” she began.
“She has been defying boundaries, stereotypes, and that is something that I have tried to inspire everybody around me as well, which is to own your unique story, own your traditions, love where you came from, love who you're with, who you're surrounded with,” she added.
"And truly, with that unique story, you can make your country proud. You can show the universe what your country has to offer. In my case, my love for my country can shake the whole universe as well," she concluded.
In an interview on GMA's Unang Hirit, Michelle revealed that the iconic mambabatok is also aware of the evening gown concept.
"Alam niya that my gown was inspired by her," she said, adding that they are planning to meet soon. They were supposed to do so in October but it didn’t push through due to schedule conflicts.
Michelle returned to the country on Saturday, Nov. 26—a week after the Miss Universe 2023 competition that took place on Nov. 19 (Philippine time) in El Salvador. She finished her journey to the crown in the Top 10 and bagged special recognitions, including "Voice for Change," Carnival Cruise Award, and Best in National Costume.
Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua won the highly coveted title and succeeded Fil-Am R’Bonney Gabriel, who represented the USA in the previous edition of the pageant. She was followed by Anntonia Porsild of Thailand and Moraya Wilson of Australia, who placed first and second runner-up, respectively.