“Paano ko ba ito masusuklian? Sino ba naman ako?”
These were the questions of Philippine candidate Rabiya Mateo as she is overwhelmed by the love and support she has been receiving, especially from Filipino fans in the United States.
In a virtual interview with former Miss Universe Philippines MJ Lastimosa, Mateo said she did not expect the magnitude of support she would be receiving as the representative of the country in Miss Universe.
“It's overwhelming. When I came here, I didn't expect this kind of support from everyone,” said Mateo. “Everything was so easy for me. I didn’t even experience being homesick.”
She cited one instance where she needed clothes, and the Filipino community in the US voluntarily helped her to find a way so she could have what she needs.
“Sabi ko, guys you don’t have to do this. Alam nila na first time ko nga outside of the country,” the Iloilo native added. “Dahil dito, gagalingan ko talaga.”
The Pinay candidate also revealed how hectic her schedule is at the Miss Universe pageant, where she appeared to be one of the in demand contestants for different photo shoots and events.
Mateo said there was even a day when she had three scheduled sponsor shoots and had limited time to fix her hair and make up differently.
“I was panicking kasi di ko alam gagawin ko sa hair ko kasi wala na akong time,” she said.
She went on to reveal that she even washed her hair in a bathroom so she could fix it by herself.
This was also the same day when she accidentally fell into the pool while doing one of her photo shoots. According to Mateo, the first thing that came into her mind was saving her makeup.
“Di ko nakita 'yung stairs. So tuloy-tuloy ako sa baba. Pero mabuti na lang mababaw siya, pero di ko narealize na mababaw siya. 'Yung instinct ko was to save my makeup so [tumingala] ako,” she said, laughing.
Mateo is gearing up for the May 16 finals night (morning of May 17 in Manila), as she eyes the fifth Miss Universe crown for the country.
She is the first representative under Miss Universe Philippines, which is headed by Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Supsup and beauty queen maker Jonas Gaffud.
The 69th Miss Universe competition will be aired live on A2Z channel.