Philippine bet Rabiya Mateo did not disappoint her throng of followers as she wowed the public in the swimsuit round of the Miss Universe preliminary competition in Hollywood, Florida, Saturday (Manila time).
Donning a yellow two-piece along with a beach cover up, the Iloilo native strutted downthe runway as a regal queen, showcasing her impressive pasarela walk which complemented her body curves.
Hosted by Miss Universe winners from South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters and Zozibini Tunzi, Mateo was introduced as an ambassador of the Philippines' education department.
Deemed as one of the frontrunners of the pageant, Mateo sent netizens abuzz, claiming the top trending topics on Twitter, which includes #PrelimPina5 and #AribaRabiya.
The swimsuit round unusually started with Miss Israel, Tehila Levi, before proceeding with the alphabetical order.
Just before the preliminary competition, Mateo marked a milestone on social media with the release of photos that gave a glimpse of what to expect from her swimsuit round performance.
Mateo reached 1 million followers on Instagram on Friday afternoon, hours after she and 73 other international candidates participated in the national costume show in Hollywood, Florida.
To celebrate crossing the million mark, Mateo’s team released photos from a pictorial where she is seen posing in bejeweled lingerie, looking every bit a queen.
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.