MANILA – Ariella Arida admitted she felt sad after Rabiya Mateo had an early exit at the 69th Miss Universe on Monday (Manila time).
Mateo finished as part of the top 21, with Mexico’s Andrea Meza being hailed as the new Miss Universe winner.
“Sobrang nanghihinayang ako,” she told ABS-CBN's Dyan Castillejo from Thailand. “Nasasayangan talaga ako sa mukha ni Rabiya. Parang for a representative sa Miss Universe, gandang ganda kasi talaga ako sa kanya.”
Analyzing what could have possibly gone wrong, the Miss Universe 2013 third runner-up said Mateo’s nerves perhaps overwhelmed her.
“Kita ko naman 'yung hard work niya kung paano niya nilaban 'yung competition. Siguro I would comment lang, kung ako 'yung judge, medyo napansin ko na kung hindi ko siya kilala, parang kinakabahan ng kaunti,” she said.
“Hinihintay ko kasi siya mag-smile talaga kasi doon siya nag-glo-glow, even the eyes. Serious look [siya the whole swimsuit round]. Pero sobrang ganda niya, ang ganda ng makeup, perfect look. So baka kinabahan siya during that time,” she added.
Arida, however, emphasized that Mateo’s performance is still something to be proud of because making it to top 21 is already a feat.
“I don’t know kung ano 'yung nasa isip niya kasi mahirap din talaga. It’s a battle of mindset rin talaga when you’re there. But overall, top 21 finish, sobrang hirap na makapasok doon. To think na ang daming candidates na akala natin strong contender pero hindi napasok sa Top 21. For her to be able to be part of Top 21, it’s something to be proud of,” she said.
Mateo was 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.
In previous years, the country's Miss Universe delegates were sent by Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc., which holds the annual Bb. Pilipinas pageant that was won by the likes of Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray.
Aside from Wurtzbach (2015) and Gray (2018), other Miss Universe winners from the Philippines include Margie Moran (1973) and Gloria Diaz (1969).