Prior to the competition, much was said about Rabiya Mateo’s national costume for the 69th Miss Universe competition. Miss Universe Philippines (MUP) asked designer Rocky Gathercole to create Rabiya’s outfit. Unfortunately, he passed away before completing it.
This prompted Albert Andrada, MUP’s design council head, to finish the costume. They also tapped designer Manny Halasan to create a headpiece for it. Locals touted it as the "missing piece" that would complete Rabiya's national costume look.
But when Rabiya went on the stage for the national costume competiton of the 69th Miss Universe on Thursday, May 14 (Friday morning, Philippine time), fans noticed that the 24-year-old beauty queen was not wearing the headpiece that was suppose to “elevate” her costume.
So what happened?
The short answer: Rabiya and the Miss Universe Philippines team decided not to use it.
In an interview with MJ Felipe of ABS-CBN News, MUP national director Shamcey Supsup said the headpiece was falliing off Rabiya’s head, hence making it hard for the Philippine delegate to incorporate it in her Victoria’s Secret-inspired costume.
“I’m pretty sure alam n’yo naman na that I brought the headdress, the headpiece for Rabiya. But unfortunately, it was… nahuhulog, it was hard for her to wear it. So we decided na kung saan siya mas komportable, because mabigat na rin yung wings niya in the first place.
“We’re so sad na hindi niya nasuot. But still, Rabiya was stll able to give us a powerful performance.”
WATCH: Miss Universe Philippines National Director Shamcey Supsup responded to the question of Pinoy fans - what happened to Rabiya's headpiece? pic.twitter.com/NOVuIveiOp #MissUniverse#MissUniverse2020#AribaRabiya | via @mjfelipe— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) May 14, 2021
Rabiya also took to social media after the national costume competition to address the concern of the fans about the headdress.
In an Instagram Live, an emotional Rabiya apologized to fans disappointed by her performance.
“I'm so sorry kung na disappoint man kayo sa akin,” Rabiya said. “But I know I did my best.”
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She added, “I even cut my finger earlier. Yung stocking ko puno na rin siya ng dugo. But I kept fighting. Kahit wala nang oras, I didn’t have time to retouch my hair, retouch my makeup. I was running for pins, I was running for scissors just to execute the costume really well.”
Rabiya also thanked those who supported her, and asked for their continuted support as she competes in the pageant’s preliminary competition tomorrow.
“In myself, I felt really great. Feeling ko noong naglalakad ako, I was so beautiful. Nakita ko yung mga cheer ng mga judges. Nakita ko yung sigawan ng mga Filipino. Kaya nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa suporta.”
“Ipagdasal n’yo sana kaming lahat na mga girls to execute yung pinaka best performance na kaya namin because our goal is to make our country proud.”
“Kaya sana, maging proud din kayo sa akin kasi it’s never easy pero kinakaya ko para sa inyong lahat,” she ended.