A Filipino-American physician is among the selection committee members of the 72nd Miss Universe competition.
Connie Mariano, who was a doctor of former United States presidents, is among the personalities who will determine the fate of the 80 candidates vying for the elusive crown in the prestigious pageant.
The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) unveiled the names of the members of the committee on social media on November 14.
“We are excited to announce our phenomenal selection committee for the 72nd MISS UNIVERSE competition,” MUO said.
Mariano, meanwhile, is the first Filipino-American to become a Navy Rear Admiral and the first woman in the US military to be appointed as the White House Physician. Her career in medicine included serving three US presidents:
- Bill Clinton
- George H.W. Bush
- Barack Obama
In 2001, Mariano completed her colorful 24-year career as Rear Admiral. She retired to join the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The distinguished doctor is also an author. She published her memoir titled “The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents, A Memoir” in 2010. She also leads two podcasts, namely, “House Calls with Dr. Connie” and “The Widow’s Talk.”
In 2020, Mariano was a recipient of the Global Beauty Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. This award highlights and honors the excellence of the international beauty pageant community.
Several Filipinos expressed Pinoy pride after finding out about her inclusion in Miss Universe judges.
“Mabuhay, Dra. Connie!” a Filipino commented on Facebook.
“Proud to be Filipino,” another Facebook user said.
“Huge RESPECT to Dra. Connie Mariano,” a Facebook user expressed.
Mariano now joins other distinguished Filipinos who became part of the MUO selection committee. They included:
- Diplomat Carlos P. Romulo in 1974
- Philanthropist businessman Don Emilio Yap in 1994
- Multi-awarded star Lea Salonga in 2011
- Marian Rivera in 2021
The rest of the selection committee members of this year’s competition are:
- Halima Aden – Kenyan supermodel
- Mario Bautista – Mexican singer-songwriter
- Giselle Blondet – Puerto Rican television personality
- Janelle Commissiong – Miss Universe 1977 and also the first woman of color to win the crown
- Avani Gregg – TikTok star
- Carson Kressley – Emmy-Award-winning television personality and a mainstay judge of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
- Iris Mittenaere – Miss Universe 2016 and also a television host in France
- Sweta Patel – the vice president of growth marketing and merchandising of Roku Channel
- Denise White – Miss Oregon USA in 1994, and the sports crisis strategist and founder of EAG Sports Management
Several Filipinos have also expressed that they are looking forward to Kressley, Mittenaere and Bautista for their comments to the delegates on the coronation night.
The Philippines’ delegate for this year’s Miss Universe is Michelle Dee, a Makati City beauty.
The coronation night will be held in El Salvador on November 19.