Annabelle McDonnell is back in the Philippines after her stint in Miss Charm 2023.
The beauty queen recently had a homecoming event in Iligan City, where she claimed that her gown was sabotaged during the pageant's preliminary competition.
A video from her speech, which has been uploaded by local pageant pages, showed McDonnell sharing her side of the story.
"It was one of the worst days of my life," she recalled. "Nothing went well. Nothing went my way, and that's just the preliminary competition of Miss Charm International," she said.
"The minute I put on my evening gown, I knew something was wrong," she continued. "We had put so much time and effort in making it, in seeing to it that it was good. It was a perfect fit."
"But what can you say? If someone wants to sabotage your gown, then you can't do anything about it. It's already beyond your control."
McDonnell said she was asked by her team if she wanted to release a statement about the gown sabotage, but she opted to power through despite her setback.
She stressed that she would rather focus on believing in herself instead of being affected by what others would say.
"After the preliminary competition, me and my team Aces and Queens, we were talking amongst ourselves, 'Should we issue a statement? Should we inform people that my gown was sabotaged?' And I said no, you know what, it's fine. At this point, I'd rather protect the organization that I would want to work with for the entirety of the year if I do become one of the winners," she said.
"It's okay if people don't believe in me. I believe in myself and that is enough. And I think that's what power is," she added.
McDonnell finished as first runner-up in Miss Charm 2023 in Vietnam last February, with Luma Russo of Brazil winning the title.
She has been fulfilling her duties as one of the winners of the pageant, along with Russo and second runner-up Olivia Tan of Indonesia.