MISS Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo has concluded her pageant journey after finishing as a semifinalist at the competition’s Top 21.
Mateo failed to enter the Top 10 of the 69th Miss Universe held on Sunday, May 16, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
In an Instagram live video hosted by Miss Universe Bolivia Lenka Nemer after the coronation, the Filipina candidate declared that all of them are still “queens without that crown.”
“It’s just gonna be one girl who’s gonna be crowned. But I know in my heart, every one of us, we are queens already even without that crown,” said Mateo.
She also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to represent the Philippines in the pageant.
“It’s not every day that we get to represent our countries,” Mateo said.
“So this is really a great opportunity for all of the girls. And we are happy to be here. Thank you so much for the support,” she added.
Mateo was the 15th candidate to be called for the competition’s Top 21.
“I really had my humble beginnings, and education has transformed my life. Now, I am a teacher and I hope that my students will see the value of education the way that I saw it,” she said in her video after the announcement.
Miss Universe Mexico Andrea Meza took home the crown, with candidates from Brazil, Peru, India, and the Dominican Republic rounding out the pageant’s Top 5.
Previous Filipina candidates for Miss Universe showed their love and support for Mateo after she dropped out of the competition early.
According to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, Mateo brought pride to the Philippines.
Woooow this year is intense!! 😲 Sending Rabiya all of our love! She made our country proud! 💛 11 Year consecutive semi-streak Pilipinassss 🇵🇭🇵🇭🇵🇭 #MissUniverse
— Catriona Gray (@catrionaelisa) May 17, 2021
“Woooow this year is intense!! Sending Rabiya all of our love! She made our country proud! 11 Year consecutive semi-streak Pilipinassss,” she said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach thanked Mateo for doing her best in the pageant.
“RABIYA WE LOVE YOU thank you for pouring your heart for the Philippines. We see your heart Queen,” she wrote in a tweet.
Rabiya you made us so proud! We know you put your heart into this and we love you! Mabuhay ang Pinay! 🇵🇭 #MissUniverse
— Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (@PiaWurtzbach) May 17, 2021
In a separate tweet, Wurtzbach said: “Rabiya you made us so proud! We know you put your heart into this and we love you! Mabuhay ang Pinay!”
Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner-up Shamcey Supsup also sent her support to Mateo, saying she is a winner in “the hearts of millions of Filipinos around the world.”
“To @rabiyamateo, you have shown us what it means to be relentless, unyielding and unstoppable in the pursuit of your dreams,” she wrote on Instagram.
“Despite the setbacks, critics and failures, you continued to wear the Philippine sash with pride and love. And for that, you are a winner, not just in my eyes but in the hearts of millions of Filipinos around the world. Padayon!” added Supsup.
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Likewise, several Filipino celebrities cheered for Mateo on social media.
“No matter what happened today, We love you Ms Philippines!!! Congratulations Rabiya!!!!” said actress Kim Chiu on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Andrea Brillantes pointed out that Mateo would’ve won the competition if she made it to the question and answer portion.
“Rabiya could’ve [given] an answer that had [potential] to outshine the other contestants and take home the crown!” she tweeted.
In a separate tweet, she added: “Still congrats Rabiya, you did amazing!”
Singer Regine Velasquez also stressed that Mateo is her Miss Universe.
“Sa totoo lang, para sa’kin, mas nagagandahan ako sa’yo at ikaw ang #MissUniverse ko (Truth is, for me, you are more beautiful and you are my Miss Universe),” she wrote on Instagram.
“Congratulations @rabiyamateo sobra kaming proud sayo (We are so proud of you)!!!!!!” she added.