Michelle Dee may not have won the Miss Universe 2023 crown, but she reigned supreme in the pageant's national costume competition.
The Miss Universe organization announced that Michelle was recognized as the winner of the Best National Costume award at the 72nd Miss Universe after she garnered the most votes on the Choicely app.
The costume—which has a hand-painted sculpture, adorned with Cordilleran loom fabrics, hydraulic mechanisms, and LED lights—was created by Michael Barassi, who also designed some of her pre-pageant looks in El Salvador. It was inspired by Michelle’s role as a military reservist in the Philippine Air Force and the beautiful sights of the country.
"With each thread woven into the 'solihiya' pattern, an iconic design used in the tropics of the Philippines, it embraces her body flawlessly—unfolding the story of the islands’ unity and artistry," Michelle Dee wrote in the caption of the close-up look of the ensemble.
"Rising from her back, wings bear the colors of the Philippine flag and a mural of it’s most breathtaking sights while parading the country’s official tourism slogan: #LoveThePhilippines. Crowned with a captain’s hat, this is a salute to her role as an Air Force reservist and to our boundless adventures awaiting in the skies!" she added.
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Aside from this, the beauty queen also championed the Voice for Change compeition and won the Carnival Cruise Award at the recently concluded pageant.
Michelle finished her stint in the top 10 category. Miss Universe 2023 ended with Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua taking over the reign of R’Bonney Gabriel of the USA.