Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo flew to the United States to compete at the pandemic-postponed 69th Miss Universe pageant, exuding confidence wearing a pearl-barong outfit made by designer Chino Christopherson, on Friday morning.
As soon as she arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport, the eloquent Ilongga model and physical therapist updated her fans waiting for her arrival in the host country.
“I’m here now in USA. Please pray and support me and I will do my best to bring the crown back to the Philippines,” Rabiya, who was wearing a black suit upon her arrival at the airport, said.
The 24-year-old beauty queen is of Filipino-Indian descent. She is from Balasan, Iloilo, and won the inaugural Miss Universe Philippines pageant under a new franchise headed by National Director Shamcey Supsup and Creative Director Jonas Gaffud.
Rabiya began working as a physical therapy lecturer after she graduated cum laude in physical therapy at Iloilo Doctor’s College in 2018. She was appointed ambassador of education of the Philippines and helps in projects conducted by the Department of Education
She started her charity project, a feeding program and reading session, for the poor children residing near a dumpsite in Iloilo City. She helped the BULIG of the Jazmin Foundation to raise fund to buy personal protective equipment (PPEs) for frontliners and provide support for pedicab drivers who lost their jobs during the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. She also used her own money to prepare meals for the frontliners at the Iloilo Doctors Hospital.
Rabiya grew up poor with her brother, raised by a single mother, after they were abandoned by her Indian-American father when she was five years old. Her name means princess or queen in Muslim.
Rabiya, the second Fil-Indian beauty to represent the country in Miss Universe pageant after Venus Raj in 2010, has undergone training skills in runway, interview, make-up, fitness and mental health to prepare her for the tough Miss Universe competition. Her Philippine-support team, led by Gaffud, arrived early in Florida to meet the health restrictions and protocols by the MUO.
More than 80 candidates are vying for the Miss Universe 2020 title currently held by Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa. The pageant night will be held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on May 16 (May 17 in Manila).
Fans can help Rabiya secure a spot in the Top 21 by voting via the Lazada exclusive e-commerce platform. The candidate who garnered the highest number of votes will automatically be included in the semifinals.
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