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LOOK: Reigning Miss Universe PH 2020 beauty queens turn up the heat in neon

By Camille Santiago Published Sep 16, 2021 11:56 am

The future is bright for these beauty queens—literally.

Recently, a series of photos featuring the reigning queens in bright-colored neon swimsuits made the rounds on the Internet.

The models were Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo, 1st runner-up Bella Ysmael, 2nd runner-up Michele Gumabao, 3rd runner-up Pauline Amelinckx, and 4th runner-up Billie Hakenson. 

“Another day to slay as we get closer to meeting the successors of our phenomenal queens,” MUPH wrote in the caption. “Excited? We are, too. But for now, NEON.” 

Rabiya Mateo

But why neon? And why the jeepney signs? The shoot's photographer Seven Barretto shared that he has "always wanted to do a neon inspired shoot."

"So, I thought of what’s very Pinoy that has neon/colorful elements? So naiisip ko yung signs ng jeeps. I asked my set designer/art director @erwinbotin to source the materials in just 3 days," he shared with PhilSTAR L!fe in a quick chat exchange.

Billie Hackenson

When asked about the biggest challenge during the shoot, the photographer admitted that he had a difficulty with the lighting.

"It’s really difficult to light with a blacklight and at the same time light the subjects. I had to use higher ISO just to get a decent amount of light. But the team and the girls were so game so the shoot went smoothly," the photographer shared.

Pauline Amelinckx

This isn't the first time Barretto has worked with the ladies, and he said each time was always "a great time."

"They are always game with the crazy poses that I ask them to do. They always give their 100% in everything that they do, that’s why I respect them. I saw the hardwork and love that these girls put into their journey," Barretto said.

In fact, in one of his shoots with Mateo, he commended the 2020 Miss Universe Philippines for being professional despite having back-to-back full day shoots.

"Hindi biro ang mag-produce ng shoot in just less than 2 weeks prep sa gitna ng pandemya! ?? mostly custom-made pa. ? thank you, for making our vision come to life," he wrote on his caption. "And to our queen, @rabiyamateo thank you for being so game and palaban! kahit sunod-sunod na whole day shoot ka nung week na yun! Iba," he added.

Michele Gumabao

But it doesn't end there. Barretto shared on his Instagram Stories a behind-the-scenes video of the ladies helping clean up by removing the signs off the set design after the shoot. "It only shows how humble these queens are," he told PhilSTAR L!fe.

"I hope these photos illuminate our day despite the dark times that are happening now. So let’s be positive and add color in each other’s lives," Barretto added.

Bella Ysmael

Photos courtesy of Seven Barretto