The PLDT Home Ambassador recalls her journey to empowerment
“It felt like forever.”
This is how Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Marquez Dee described the moment when she was announced as the winner last May.
“All you can hope for is that destiny is on your side — and it was on that night of May 13. When they finally called my name, honestly, I just felt like all the hard work paid off. When you’ve dedicated your whole life and everything for that moment to happen, mapapabagsak ka. I actually bent over because of relief, happiness, and gratitude.”
28-year-old Michelle will represent the Philippines at Miss Universe in El Salvador in November.
She is the finest fit, even PLDT Inc. Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan himself said upon meeting her, along with the other Miss Universe Philippines queens at a PLDT and Smart exclusive meet-and-greet with executives and employees at Ramon Cojuangco Building in Makati City recently.
“We could think of no better woman to proudly bear the flag at this year’s Miss Universe pageant than Michelle,” Pangilinan said. “She is smart with her confidence and authentic with her advocacies. We at PLDT fully stand beside her. We have no doubt that she will be one of the strongest queens in the field, and that she will go very far.”
Deepening her connections
Michelle celebrates, and at the same time, bears on her shoulders the legacy of her mother Melanie Marquez in the pageant world. Melanie is the youngest Miss International, winning the title when she was only 15 years old in 1979. Later on, she became a successful actress, starring in comedy films and TV sitcoms.
An actress, model, and PLDT Home ambassador, Michelle enjoys a close relationship with her parents and siblings, with whom she always stays connected through video calls.
“My mom is one of my biggest inspirations. She is responsible for why I am so strong,” she says. “She is somebody that I really look up to. She was nothing but proud. She instilled in my mind that I should shine as my own woman, be confident in what I have and what I have to offer.”
On the night Michelle won, pageant fans went wild when…