"I have never said anything that is not true.”
This is what Miguel Martinez of public relations firm MGmode Communications said in response to Filipino designer Michael Cinco's tirade about his working experience with the group and Miss Universe Canada 2020 Nova Stevens.
In a Facebook post over the weekend, Cinco said Stevens' team insinuated that he was “trying to sabotage her win" at the 69th Miss Universe pageant. Cinco created gowns for the 26-year-old beauty queen for the pageant, which was held last week.
“You have been spreading fake news about me and my team being unprofessional days before the pageant," Cinco said, adding he felt "used and scammed" by the team.
However, in an interview with ABS-CBN TV reporter MJ Felipe, streamed live on his YouTube page on Monday, May 25, Martinez denied Cinco's claims.“This is completely unknown to us, this is not the type of attention we want. Things happened, it’s only fair that everybody gets to tell their side. He’s hurt, we’re hurt,” he said.
Martinez added, “Things may have been said but shouldn’t have been said. And having said that, I’ve never said anything that is not true.”
Not Michael Cinco's fault
Martinez clarifies that MGmode is separate from the Miss Universe Organization, which means they work with Miss Universe contestants from other countries as well.
Martinez also confirmed that he made the now-Instagram comment that started the controversy between their team, Stevens, and Cinco.
But he clarified that he never blamed Cinco for Stevens' loss at the 69th Miss Universe pageant. "I have never said, never said that it was Michael Cinco’s fault. I would never say that. I’m a professional, I know what I’m doing. And I know that it’s not anybody’s fault," Martinez said.
He added that his team is fully aware that the Miss Universe pageant is like a job interview for any who wants the job of the titleholder. And while Stevens is a good beauty queen, it was the Miss Universe Organization that didn't deem her worthy for the title.
"That’s clearly the organisation who did not want her for the job.. Because if they would have think that they wanted her, she would have at least reached the Top 21," he added.
Martinez also said he did not use the word "ill-fitting," a term Cinco used to pertain to what MGmode allegedly said about his gown. But Martinez said they did not fit properly. He also said that the gown arrived late; it arrived, Martinez said, on May 11, just a few days before the May 16 pageant.
“I didn’t say ill-fitting. If you notice that, that’s a word that has been taken out of Michael’s statement. I never said ‘ill-fitting’. I would never say that. Even if it was true, I would never say that,” he explained.
For the gown, Martinez said Cinco was supposed to make a "transformer gown" for Stevens. They even went to Dubai twice for fittings. But the planned gown "didn't happen"“ even though Cinco was able to make dresses for other Miss Universe candidates.
“It confused me… Why do you have time for other people’s gowns when you have this huge commitment?”
"It was heartbreaking," Martinez said of Cinco's Facebook post.
On not being paid
As for Cinco's statement that he was not paid "any cents" for the gowns he has made for MGmode, Martinez said that it is an industry practice for designers to lend Miss Universe gowns for the pageant.
"In the industry, it’s a privilege for any designer to throw any gown to any contestant from any country. And not just Filipinos. Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Asia, anywhere. The only place that don't lend you gowns is the US, Canada, and Europe. Everywhere else, they lend you gowns. It’s publicity in exchange," he said.
Martinez added, "And for him to say that… I found it hurtful on purpose because he is saying it to a crowd that may not understand. People in their industry… they know that you don’t necessarily pay (for gowns) when you are an international titleholder."
He also shared that he has received death threats online since the controversy started.
Martinez said the errors they encountered may not have been done by Cinco himself, but by someone in his team.
"I know that he must be really upset. We're all upset. I still love him. I know he's doing that because of his respect for his team," Martinez also said, adding that he has been trying to reach out to Cinco, but the designer has yet to reply.