MANILA -- Rabiya Mateo was recently asked to share how she would have answered the final question during the 71st Miss Universe pageant.
In an online interview with PLDT Home published in late January, the beauty queen-turned-actress shared her take on take on the question: "If you win Miss Universe, how would you demonstrate this as an empowering and progressive organization?"
Mateo focused on the idea of sharing her story to the world, particularly how she was able to make her way to the top despite coming from a poor community.
She said her goal would be to inspire kids all over the world to be determined to go for "a future that they deserve."
"If I were to win Miss Universe, I would bank on the power of storytelling. To share my struggles out there of having my setbacks, of coming from nothing, coming from a poor community, and [how] I was able to climb my way up," she said.
"I want to inspire a lot of kids, and I also want to work not just in the Philippines, not just where the Miss Universe is located. I want to travel all over the world to empower kids to change their mindset to have a future that they deserve. And that for me, my story being told out there, that would be the greatest legacy that I'm going to leave this world as Miss Universe," she added.
Mateo, who finished in the Top 21 of the 69th Miss Universe, went on to share her thoughts about the country's last delegate and her good friend, Celeste Cortesi.
She said she was surprised that Cortesi did not make the cut, but is nevertheless proud of the way she represented the country.
"To be honest, I thought she's gonna make it all the way up to the Top 3. That's my honest observation because she gave everything. Malinis 'yung pasarela niya, malinis 'yung execution ng gown niya. Parang wala tayong masasabing masama. Kahit hati 'yung opinyon ng tao, ako as a viewer and as someone na nag-compete back then, it (Cortesi's performance) was so solid," Mateo said.
"Overall, the whole country is happy with Celeste. We're so proud of her. I am proud of her. Solid talaga 'yung performance. Walang masasabi," she added.