In the category of strong, confident, and beautiful, may I point you to Rabiya Mateo?
Since the start of her Miss Universe Philippines reign, she has witnessed the harsh realities of pageantry. And she has faced them all head-on in the most uncomplicated way—by living her truth.
In a bare-faced Instagram post, the beauty queen opened up about what it’s like to live in a “cruel industry,” as she put it. “I’m always compared to different girls. People have always something to say like, ‘You’re not beautiful enough. You’re so thin. I don’t like what you wear.’”
Life is not all about that, said Rabiya. “It’s not always what’s attractive to our eyes but it’s the love we choose to build, the connection we make to people, and how we want to celebrate ourselves!”
“This is the real me. No makeup. No heavy hair extensions. Nothing fancy to wear. Just me,” she continued. “Even in my simplest form, I know in my heart I am nothing less than phenomenal.”
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Last year, some netizens took a swipe at Rabiya’s physical appearance when a photo of her younger self went viral online. “This is me 11 years ago. I still didn’t have my braces. I don’t know how to put on makeup. I’m not aware of what angle flatters me most but that is still me,” she wrote on her Instagram story.
“If there would be one thing that I want other people to know about me is that I’m beautiful then and now. The only difference is now, I know better,” she added.
Rabiya is currently in Miami, Florida for the upcoming Miss Universe tilt, which will be held on May 16 (May 17 in the Philippines).
Article thumbnails from Rabiya Mateo's Instagram page