Former Filpino Miss Universe winners are often rumored to feel threatened or have rivalries with succeeding Pinoy delegates to the pageant.
For instance, netizens alleged that Miss Universe 2015 winner Pia Wurtzbach was unfair in judging Philippine delegate Rachel Peters during the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, where the former was one of the judges. Pia also acknowledged that there was talk that she felt threatened by Catriona Gray, who eventually won the 2018 Miss Universe crown. Pia denied both rumors.
Now, it’s Catriona’s turn to address talks that she is not supporting Rabiya Mateo, the Philippine representative to the 69th Miss Universe pageant, which will be held on May 16 (May 17, Philippine time).
In an Instagram post on Friday, May 7, Catriona posted photos of her arrival looks at the 2018 Miss Universe in Thailand. She also expressed her admiration to the Miss Universe contestants who arrived in Florida from all over the world to participate in the pageant despite “the challenges that I'm sure they and their team faced!”
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“So shoutout to all the contestants, their teams and families who have helped in allowing each woman to strive for her (Miss Universe) dreams despite the current climate!”
Catriona added: “Seeing all the arrival looks so I'm reminiscing my own arrival look in Thailand. (Definitely one of my favorites!) Who are you all cheering for?”
While most of the comments to her posts are positive, a number of her followers asked why she has not publicly expressed her support for Rabiya, who has also arrived in the US for the Miss Universe pageant.
“I haven’t heard any support coming from you for our Rabiya,” one netizen commented.
“Si (Pia Wurtzbach) best in support kay (Rabiya Mateo). Pero ikaw dedma lang,” another one wrote. “Tapos na eksena mo, siya naman ok.”
Another follower wrote: “Should’ve at least mention/support our Ms. Universe Philippines candidate.”
Catriona did not reply to most of the comments, but responded to one netizen who said: “Really??? You’re a Filipina, instead of cheering for (Rabiya Mateo), you ask people who they are cheering for???”
The 27-year-old beauty queen replied: “I’m a Filipina AND a Miss Universe. It’s a celebration of women from all over the world.”
To another follower who insisted she should show support for Rabiya, Catriona said: “I’ve reached out to (Rabiya Mateo) throughout her journey privately.”
“Not everything is on display on social media,” she added.
In a previous interview, Rabiya said that the Philippines’ Miss Universe titleholders—namely Pia, Catriona, and even 1969 Miss Universe Gloria Diaz—have expressed their support for her Miss Universe journey.
“Thankful ako na ang babait ng mga (Miss Universe) queens natin, kaya sila nanalo,” she said.
Rabiya has also posted photos and videos on her social media accounts as the preliminary activities for the Miss Universe pageant begin.
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Banner photo from ©IMG Universe LLC, Instagram/Catriona Gray