2023 Miss Universe Philippines Michelle Dee and Winwyn Marquez had an interesting interaction following the latest qualification update for Miss Universe candidates.
On September 13, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) announced that it scrapped its age restriction for all MUO pageants, thus making all adult women eligible to join.
Prior to this, Miss Universe had only allowed women aged between 18 to 28 years old to join the competition.
2022 Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel announced the big change at a fashion show for the 2024 New York Fashion Week.
In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, she lauded how the organization progressed to become more inclusive than before.
“What I love about Miss Universe is that they are always out first in line, looking for ways they can be more inclusive and better live up to the platform that they’ve designed for us,” she was quoted in a report as saying.
“It’s a bold group of women in charge over here, and you know what, a lot of people tend to follow what we do—it’s nice to be a standard-bearer, and I’m proud that we get to do this,” R’Bonney added.
R’Bonney is the oldest Miss Universe titleholder at 29 years old. She won the crown when she was 28.
Michelle Dee to Winwyn Marquez
Pageant pages were quick to spread this development on social media.
Michelle, who is bidding to succeed R’Bonney in this year’s edition of the pageant, saw a post from the page Road to Miss USA.
She shared it on her Instagram Stories and tagged the official Instagram account of Winwyn.
Winwyn was crowned as Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas in 2017.
“You know what to do,” Michelle said jokingly to her cousin.
Winwyn later saw Michelle’s shout-out to her. She shared this post on her Instagram Stories with different emojis.
Winwyn is currently 31 years old.
She is balancing her work under GMA Entertainment and being a mom to Luna Teresita Rayn.
Winwyn and her non-showbiz partner welcomed Baby Luna in April 2022.
How impactful is the policy change
In a statement, Amy Emmerich, CEO of MUO recalled an interview with R’Bonney where the latter asked about possibly extending the age restriction in the prestigious pageant.
Amy then described this policy change of the MUO as something that has been a “long time coming.”
“She was our muse in making this decision, but it’s been a long time coming. As women, we all understand that youth is not and has never been a requirement for beauty, and there’s no reason why it should be a requirement for Miss Universe,” she said.
Paula Shugart, MUO President, also said that fans and partners have been telling the organization that “restrictions” are not “inclusive.”
“For years, we’ve had requests from fans and partners all over the world, reminding us that there is no place for this restriction in an inclusive organization like ours. We agree and look forward to this next chapter of the Miss Universe legacy,” she said.
MUO announced last year that married women, divorced women, pregnant women, and mothers are now allowed to join the pageant.
The change will apply across the Miss Universe and its associate national pageants in 2024.