Michelle Dee’s flamboyant performance during the Miss Universe Philippines’ evening gown competition was inspired by her mother, Melanie Marquez, whose signature “S” walk clinched her Miss International crown in 1979.
During the pageant, Dee sashayed in her elegant asymmetrical black dress by Mark Bumgarner, going from one side of the stage to the other before stopping in the middle and doing a quick turn, all while serving a fierce look to her audience. Her performance earned her the Best in Evening Gown award, and she eventually emerged as Miss Universe Philippines 2023 last Saturday, May 13.
A pageant walk, or parasela, is considered a critical element in beauty pageants as contestants are evaluated based on their poise while walking in high heels. Beauty queens often cultivate their own distinct style of walking in the bid to make a lasting impression on the judges.
The beauty queen’s evening gown performance was an intentional move on her part, according to pageant coach Ian Mendajar on his Instagram account on Sunday, May 14, saying it was a tribute to her mother during her “modeling days.”
“Michelle’s gown routine is inspired by our Miss International 1979, Michelle’s mom, Melanie Marquez. The ‘S’ walk after her 2nd establishment is one of Melanie’s signature walks during her modeling days while her final pose is inspired by her Mom’s supermodel poses,” he said.
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The coach also shared that Dee’s performance was also a love letter from her previous roles Serpenta in “Agimat ng Agila” and Freya in “Mga Lihim ni Urduja,” as a way of making the latter’s personality “shine.”
“We also married a touch of her recent roles ‘Serpenta’ and ‘Freya’ as we needed Michelle’s personality and presence to shine — ensuring that her performance was nothing short of who she really is,” he added.
‘#DeePaTapos ang laban’
Days after her coronation, Dee couldn’t help but get sentimental as she looked back on her Miss Universe Philippines journey on Instagram, saying it “validates” her “hard work, perseverance, and passion.”
“It’s not done until it’s won,” she began. “That has been my mindset not just for this year but for all the times I joined Miss Universe Philippines. No matter how it looks, it [never was] and it never got easier to prepare for each time I would compete.”
“Each year was full of hard work, sacrifices and risks that I hope pay off at the end. Winning this year validates not just to me but to every Filipino that with hard work, perseverance and passion, you can achieve anything,” she further added.
The actress-beauty queen also expressed her gratitude to her team, management, sponsors, family, friends, supporters, and the Miss Universe Philippines organization in her post.
“The next chapter of my pageant journey is no longer my own. It’s for each Filipino that I will be representing in El Salvador. Knowing this doesn’t just inspire me. It pushes me to work even harder and to dream bigger. It pushes me to do whatever it takes to bring home the Miss Universe crown to the Philippines,” she said.
Dee will represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador, although details of the competition are yet to be disclosed, as of this writing.
She will vie for the country’s fifth Miss Universe crown after Gloria Diaz (1969), Margarita Moran (1973), Pia Wurtzbach (2015), and Catriona Gray (2018). EDV