Michelle Dee, a resident of Makati, has been declared the winner of the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 pageant. She will proudly represent her country at the 72nd Miss Universe competition, scheduled to take place later this year in El Salvador. The coronation ceremony, held at the Mall of Asia Arena, was a momentous occasion for Dee, who also received several other accolades, including Miss Aqua Boracay, Pond’s, and Zion Philippines.
Among the notable achievements of Dee during the pageant was her victory in the Best in Evening Gown category. Interestingly, she had previously won the same award last year when she participated as Miss Universe Philippines Tourism 2022, finishing as the runner-up behind the reigning beauty queen, Celeste Cortesi.
During the Question & Answer segment, Dee was posed a thought-provoking question about the prevalent income inequality in the Philippines and the measures that can be taken to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. In her response, she emphasized the significance of recognizing one’s privileges, such as access to food, education, and homes. According to Dee, the key to addressing this issue lies in providing quality education to every Filipino child, as it not only enhances their quality of life but also empowers them.
Another question posed to the Top 5 contestants revolved around the Department of Tourism’s new branding campaign, “We give the world our best.” Dee eloquently shared her interpretation of what the Philippines’ best has to offer the world. She expressed her belief that the greatest natural resource of the Philippines is its people—the warm and hospitable Filipinos who leave a lasting impression on visitors. According to Dee, it is the people who make the country truly exceptional and keep enticing the world to return.
In the presence of reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel and Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 coronation was themed “Inspirational Filipina.” The announcement of the runner-up positions saw Christine Opiaza from Zambales securing the first runner-up title, followed by Angelique Manto from Pampanga as the second runner-up.
Separate events will determine the recipients of the titles Miss Universe Philippines Tourism and Miss Universe Philippines Charity. The contestants in the running for these titles are Pauline Amelinckx from Bohol and Krishnah Gravidez from Baguio.
Michelle Dee comes from an esteemed lineage, as the daughter of former actor Frederick “Derek” Dee and actress-beauty queen Melanie Marquez, who was crowned Miss International in 1979. She holds a Psychology degree from De La Salle University and has also completed a certificate program in Entrepreneurship Essentials from Harvard Business School in 2021. Apart from her recent pageant achievements, Dee has explored modeling and acting, following in the footsteps of her parents.
As the new Miss Universe Philippines, Michelle Dee aims to build upon the legacy of Celeste Cortesi and elevate the Philippines’ standing in the Miss Universe competition. Her ultimate goal is to secure a place in the semifinals and, ideally, bring home the coveted crown, showcasing the nation’s prowess in pageantry. Dee’s unwavering pride in her Filipino heritage and her commitment to representing her home country with dignity and grace make her an exceptional ambassador for the Philippines on the global stage.