BEAUTY always finds ways to shine through the darkness, and that’s what the first ever Miss Universe Philippines pageant proved in the time of Covid-19. Last Sunday, the pageant crowned its first winner, 23-year-old Rabiya Mateo.
Mateo is the first Miss Universe Philippines pageant titleholder. The Miss Universe franchise in the Philippines was previously held by Binibining Pilipinas but is now a separate standalone pageant for the selection of Miss Universe Philippines titleholders.
Winning the title of Miss Universe Philippines, Mateo, hailing from Iloilo, will be representing the country for the Miss Universe Pageant (the international competition’s schedule has yet to be announced).
Will Mateo be able to add another win to the Philippines’ four titles? How will she be able to captivate viewers from all over the world? Is social media ready for the new queen from the Philippines? Before even answering these questions, here are five things you should know about Rabiya Mateo, Miss Universe Philippines 2020.
Mateo has an Indian-American father and a Filipina mother
If you check out the beauty queen’s posts on Instagram (@rabiyamateo), you could see a photo of Rabiya as a baby in her father’s arms. Mateo admits to not seeing her father for the longest time, but cherishes earlier moments with him.
She went through financial woes
Mateo revealed in an interview with GMA Network that she and her mother went through tough times financially. Graduating college, according to Mateo, was her ultimate gift to her mom who solely supported the family.
Miss Universe Philippines 2020 is a licensed therapist
She graduated cum laude from IloIlo Doctors’ College in 2018 and taught at review centers in different provinces. During the pandemic, Mateo has been busy helping front-liners through various volunteer work.
Her first pageant was Miss Iloilo, and Miss Universe Philippines was only her second one. Also, Mateo is represented by Aces and Queens, the same team who backed Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Miss Universe 2010 4th runner-up Venus Raj.
Mateo won Best in Swimsuit both times during the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 preliminaries (in a stunning yellow, two-piece) and the finals (wearing a bikini set by Cebuano designer Furne One).