“Persistent, hard-working, and fearless”—that's how Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo described herself to the Philippine STAR columnist Ricky Lo.
Winning a title or competition typically garners respect or congratulations, but for Mateo, that wasn't the case. When the results were announced to the public, criticisms and accusations were thrown here and there surrounding her victory. A co-contestant accused her of bringing her own glam team to the pageant and that she had prior knowledge of the final round question. Even her seeming resemblance to Miss Universe Philippines National Director Shamcey Supsup-Lee caused a stir! “It’s funny but that has also become an issue,” she revealed.
“You know, I didn’t experience the kind of excitement that you feel after winning, while everybody is congratulating you and wishing you well. As I’ve said, my mind was blank. Kasi right after, I was being bashed already,” she told Lo when asked how she relished the first few hours as Miss Universe Philippines.
I’m a very determined person and I don’t say 'no' to any challenges.
But instead of dwelling on her haters and bashers, Mateo knows that deep inside, her heart and intentions are pure, and what's more important is to focus on yourself. “That’s what I am trying to do. But like I just said, I’m a very determined person and I don’t say no to any challenges. I’m a risk-taker. I’m like my favorite animal, the Tiger, hahaha!!!” she told Lo.
As they say, "You can't please everyone"—and that's okay.
Banner image from Rabiya Mateo's Instagram (@rabiyamateo)