The Philippines’ bet Rabiya Mateo placed in the Top 21 in the recently concluded Miss Universe 2020 beauty pageant. Many were disappointed that she did not place higher in the competition but an outpouring of love came her way, especially from former Miss Universe Philippines winners.
People may be wondering how Rabiya was feeling right after the show. Rabiya, wearing her Furne One Sarimanok gown, seemed to be in a sunny disposition when she appeared in Miss Bolivia Lenka Nemer D’rpic’s IG Live right after the peagent. “This is a beautiful start of something new,” Rabiya told the viewers.
“Actually, it’s just going to be one girl who’s going to be crowned but I know in my heart that every one of us, we are queens already even without the crown,” Rabiya told her fellow candidates.
“It’s not every day that we are able to represent our country. This is a great opportunity for all of us and we are happy to be here,” she said.
After the competition, Miss Peru Janick Maceta del Castillo, who won second-runner up, also posted on her Instagram Stories a video clip of her and Rabiya with the caption “I love youuuu @rabiyamateo I’m gonna miss.”
Meanwhile, former Miss Universe Philippines queens were all out to send messages of love and support to Rabiya after she failed to make it to the Top 10.
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, who was actively tweeting during the pageant, was heartbroken when Rabiya wasn’t called in the Top10. “Ok, I’m back. I needed a minute to digest that,” Pia tweeted with three broken hearts emoji.
She followed it up with two more messages that acknowledge Rabiya’s dedication and effort to make the country proud. “Rabiya, you make us so proud! We know you put your heart into this and we love you! Mabuhay ang Pinay!”
In a Facebook post—which includes congratulatory messages for Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa and the reigning Miss Universe Andrea Meza—Pia also wrote, “Our beautiful @rabiyamateo, we’re so proud of you! We know how much heart you put into this. And we love you for it.”
“I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you’ll do when you come back home. Your future’s as bright as the sun. You are our Queen!” Pia concluded.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who has received criticism for not openly supporting Rabiya (Catriona has said that she sent messages of support to Rabiya in private prior to the pre-pageant activities), pointed out in a tweet that the Philippines is on an 11-year streak in making it to the semi-finals. “Wooow this year is intense! Sending Rabiya all of our love! She made our country proud. 11-year consecutive semi-streak Pilipinasss!”
View this post on Instagram
Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up and Miss Universe Philippines national director Shamcey Supsup-Lee penned a heartfelt message on Instagram for Rabiya. “To @rabiyamateo, you have shown us what it means to be relentless, unyielding and unstoppable in the pursuit of your dreams,” Shamcey said.
She added, “Despite the setbacks, critics and failures, you continued to wear the Philippine sash with pride and love. And for that you are a winner, not just in my eyes but in the hearts of millions of Filipinos around the world. Padayon!”
Miss Universe 2013 third runner-up Ariella Arida, Miss Universe 2016 Maxine Medina and Miss Universe Rachel Peters all posted on their Instagram stories, sending out love to Rabiya.
Mahal ka namin Rabiya! Salamat sa pagrepresenta sa ating bansa! You worked so hard and we are proud of you. ????— Janine Mari Tugonon (@janine_tugonon) May 17, 2021
In a tweet, Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon acknowledged Rabiya’s hard work in the competition. “Mahal ka namin Rabiya! Salamat sa pagrepresenta sa ating bansa! You worked so hard and we are proud of you.”
Check out other queens’ messages below:
Rabiya langga love you so much!!!!! ??✨— MJ Lastimosa (@MJ_Lastimosa) May 17, 2021
We are sooooo proud of you Queen Rabiya! You have represented the Philippines with beauty and grace.— Gazini Ganados (@gazzzini) May 17, 2021
We love you.???
Meanwhile, Miss Universe Canada 2016 Siera Bearchell—whose eponymous Youtube channel is followed by many Filipino pageant aficionados—was rooting for Rabiya who was part of her top candidates for this year’s Miss Universe pageant.
Siera was excited for the candidates who made it to the Top 21, especially when Rabiya was called. Siera, who was doing a commentary on each candidate in the swimsuit portion, had all praises for Rabiya. “I’m loving Miss Philippines’ hair right now, loving the confidence. She looks amazing!”
During the announcement of the Top 10 candidates, Siera was waiting for her bets, including South Africa, Canada and the Philippines. But right before the last candidate of the Top 10 was announced, Siera blurted out, “What about the Philippines?” When Miss Brazil was called, Siera said, “Oh my god, the Philippines is going to be crushed…”
Check out her reaction video below: