Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell. Miss Universe
Beauty queen earlier addressed speculation
MANILA - (UPDATED) Miss Universe fourth runner-up Kaci Fennell of Jamaica has Filipino roots, according to entertainment columnist Ricky Lo.
Citing an online report, Lo said in his Philippine Star column published Tuesday that Fennell, who was a fan favorite in the recently concluded pageant, "has Jamaican, African and Filipino roots."
The 22-year-old professional model, who reportedly won "Jamaica's Next Top Model," was quoted to have credited her Filipino mother for helping her bring home the title.
She supposedly said in an interview: "I still can't believe, I have finally won. I am really thankful to my mother. She had always supported me and guided me through out the contest, she was herself a beauty pageant contestant in her home country the Philippines. She had instilled her Filipino values in me and told me to always be humble, I guess that's what helped me win."
Referring to the Philippines' Mary Jean Lastimosa only finishing in the top ten of Miss Universe, Lo said in his column that the country was still "a virtual winner, thanks to Miss Jamaica."
However, in an August 2014 post on Instagram, Fennell had already denied having Filipino roots after being asked by a follower on information shown on her Wikipedia entry.
The comment read: "Hi @kacifenfen in wikipedia, it says that you have Jamaican, African and Filipino roots. Is it true that your mom is Filipino? Can you please confirm? Coz sometimes, Wiki is a bit too unreliable. Thank you!"
Fennell answered: "Thanks for bringing that to my attention. But I am a born and bred Jamaican with French, Indian, English and black roots. both my parents are Jamaican as well. @chrisgasmic"
Contrary to the circulating report online, Fennell's mother did not have pageant stints in the Philippines. In Fennell's official Miss Universe profile, her mother is described as a baker from whom she got her "culinary talents."
In another Instagram post, Fennell named her maternal grandparents as Rubina Melvina and Phillip DeMontagnac.
Fennell became a top trending topic on Twitter in the Philippines and worldwide on Monday, after netizens protested the results of the Miss Universe coronation night held in Miami, Florida.
Paulina Vega of Colombia was crowned Miss Universe 2014, but many believed that Fennell deserved to win the crown for Jamaica in what would have been a first in the country's history.