Leading up to the Miss Universe coronation night, the representatives of neighboring Philippines and Thailand picked each other as the one who they would want to hold hands with as the final two standing.
While neither Rabiya Mateo nor Amanda Obdam made it to the top five, they still managed to accomplish holding hands on stage, at the conclusion of the finals on Monday morning (Manila time).
Moments after Mexico’s Andrea Meza was crowned, Mateo and Obdam were captured hand in hand as they walked off stage at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, as seen in photos and videos circulating on Twitter.
Mateo finished in the top 21, while Obdam placed in the top 10. Both had been popular picks among pageant experts as a possible winner this year, as reflected in published surveys.
Months before the international pageant, Mateo and Obdam were asked a similar question in separate interviews: Which candidate would you want to be holding hands with?
Traditionally, the top two candidates hold hands while facing each other, just before the announcement of the winner.
“I would choose Thailand,” Mateo answered at the time. “It’s a fact that Philippines and Thailand are two powerhouses in Asia, and I want to raise the banner of being Asian in an international stage.”
“I’ve talked to Amanda,” Mateo added. “She’s really nice, and I want to share that moment with her, if given the chance.”
Mateo was crowned Miss Universe Philippines two weeks after Obdam won her country’s national pageant. When Obdam was asked the same question, Mateo wasn’t yet the Philippines’ titlist.
“Many countries are still selecting their delegates. I don’t know who their representatives will be, but maybe the candidate from the Philippines,” Obdam answered.
Thailand has so far produced two Miss Universe winners (1965 and 1988) and has had a six-year streak of having its delegates place as a top 10 finalist.
The Philippines has four Miss Universe winners — Gloria Diaz, Margarita Moran, Pia Wurtzbach, and Catriona Gray — and with Mateo’s performance, continued its 11-year streak of top 21 finishes in the pageant.