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Singapore's Miss Universe bet was born and raised in the Philippines

By CHUCK SMITH Published May 03, 2021 12:53 pm

Filipinos are already more than ready to support Philippine representative Rabiya Mateo in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant. But there may be one more candidate Filipino pageant fans may rally behind once the pageant activities begins later this month.

In her Miss Universe introduction video posted on the pageant’s official social media platforms last week, Bernadette Belle Ong, Singapore’s representative to the Miss Universe 2020 pageant, shared that she actually has Filipino roots!

The 26-year-old Bernadette said she was born and raised in the Philippines until she was 11 years old.

"I actually came from the Philippines. I was born there up until the time I was 11 years old. In between that, I was also living in Hong Kong for a year or two,” she said.

Bernadette, who works as a model and events host, said that coming from different places allowed her to “really appreciate different roots of me being Filipino-Chinese, but also being immigrated into a very modernized yet traditional-centric community, which is what Singapore really is.”

A report last year said Bernadette will take lessons from Jonas Gaffud, the pageant mentor who co-founded beauty camp Aces & Queen and is currently the creative director of Miss Universe Philippines. Gaffud served as Miss Universe Singapore creative director in 2019.

“I can’t wait to be going back in the Philippines,” Bernadette said in an interview last year.

She added, “The training in the Philippines is testament to the fact that I’m 100 percent game for it and I’m just willing to learn as much as possible.”

Banner photo from Miss Universe Facebook page