Miss Universe Canada Nova Stevens took to social media anew to respond to the unfolding "war" between her team MGmode Communications and Filipino designer Michael Cinco.
The 26-year-old Canadian beauty queen also took issue to the threats she has been receiving because of the controversy.
To recall, Cinco slammed Stevens' team in a Facebook post over the weekend for allegedly insinuating that he tried to sabotage the Canadian's run at the 69th Miss Universe pageant earlier this month. Cinco made Stevens' evening gown for the pageant. But her team said in a now-deleted Instagram post that the gown did not fit her well and did not arrive on time.
The Dubai-based designer said he felt scammed and used by Stevens' team, adding he was not paid "any cents" for his services.
Miguel Martinez of MGmode Communications said they did not blame Cinco for Stevens' Miss Universe loss, but added the gown the designer sent them really arrived late and did not fit the Canadian Miss Universe contestant properly. He also explained that borrowing gowns from designers for the Miss Universe pageant is a common practice.
In her Instagram post on Tuesday, May 27, Stevens reiterated Martinez's statement, explaining that they didn't pay for the Michael Cinco gowns because they had a deal with the designer.
She said that designers enter into partnerships with beauty pageant contestants regularly.
Sponsorship, not charity
"Just as they do at award shows or any other public event, it's not 'free.' It involves an immense amount of effort plus negotiation on both sides," she said.
Stevens added that her team "worked hard" to get a deal for Cinco to do her gown for the 69th Miss Universe pageant because they do not have a "big budget" since Canada "is not a major pageant country and we don't have the type of support some countries do."
She explained, "Michael and my team had an agreement to sponsor the main contest gowns. SPONSORSHIP IS NOT CHARITY; it is an agreement to lend a gown to a public figure in return for PR, publicity, and safe return of the gown."
The beauty queen also responded to Cinco's complaint that Stevens has not thanked him for his services. Stevens said she has "10 posts" thanking Cinco for their partnership and interviews where she "always made sure to mention him." She also said she sent Cinco many personal videos thanking him "from the bottom of my heart."
"As you all know, even in the best intentioned deals, things can and did go wrong," Stevens said.
She said that the preliminary gown Cinco made for her "did not end up fitting perfectly" so they made the decision to wear a different gown.
"Unfortunately my team who had worked so hard was upset that Michael did not deliver his end and they did make a comment. This was WRONG on my team’s part. As part of my team, I fully apologize," Stevens added.
"I appreciate all his efforts and that perfect final gown. This is a disagreement that should have been handled in private and with maturity."
'We don’t accept this war'
Stevens called out the negative, racist, and abusive comments she has received over the issue. "I have been getting death threats, racist trolls are hurling despicable insults at me, and people are dragging my character with lies," she said.
She added, "Michael said he’d give us a war, but we are a peace loving nation and we don’t accept this war. We don’t accept racism. We don’t accept bullying."
"I personally love all my fellow contestants, I love every single one of my sponsors including Michael and I love my team. I don’t agree with the ego battle on either side and I’m sorry for any missteps on our part. I wish that people would find more love and understanding in their hearts."
She ended her post by saying, "Now, I am going to go back to processing my wins and losses at Miss Universe. I will enjoy my birthday tomorrow and heal. I hope you can all take a break from the hate for a few days."
Her post included screenshots of the negatives comments and death threats she has received, as well as what appears to be screenshots of her private message and video of thanks to Cinco.
Banner photo from Nova Stevens' Instagram account