Just weeks after winning the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 title, Michelle Dee has come out as a bisexual, saying that she wants to take control of her own narrative.
Dee made the revelation in an exclusive interview with Mega magazine published on Monday, May 29, where she pointed out that she’s “much more” than her own gender.
“I definitely identify myself as bisexual. I’ve identified with that for as long as I can remember. I’m attracted to all forms of beauty, all shapes and sizes,” she declared.
During the interview, the beauty queen revealed that she was advised to speak about her gender when she competed for the Miss Universe Philippines (MUPh) crown, but she maintained that she doesn’t want her journey to be focused around her gender orientation.
“I’m so much more than how I identify myself. I have so much more to offer the world and the universe than how I identify myself. This is also the reason why I chose not to come out despite the pressure to come out during the competition,” she was quoted as saying.
“I joined the pageant because this is much greater than myself. This is not about me. This is about the cause I’m fighting, advocating for: autism awareness. That’s my main goal. My identity is not what I want to be remembered for,” she continued. “I felt like coming out during the competition would shock everyone, and cloud everyone’s judgment. I also wanted to do that within my own timeline, and it wasn’t the right time.”
Shortly after her coronation, photos of Dee attending an all-girls school in Makati City resurfaced on social media, where she was spotted with a short haircut and rugged appearance.
She admitted in the report that those photos were meant to be archived as it’s not “my aesthetic or branding now,” but she pointed out that it is more of a “confirmation rather than a revelation.”
“This is a phase in my life that I’ve worked to keep in the past just because I feel that it doesn’t represent who I am now — the short hair, the sense of style, nene look, all of that. When I decided to rebrand myself entering college, I had already archived all of that,” she added.
The beauty queen also stressed that she wants to come out on her own terms, hoping that she would inspire her supporters to not let “our past define us.”
“I want to come out with this story because I know that those photos were spread with malicious intent — to kind of distract me, make me feel I’m not worthy of the crown. I acknowledge that it was so malicious that I felt — and this applies to everyone — when somebody takes away your story, then you should take control of that narrative. Turn it around and make it an empowering story,” she said.
“I feel that it’s so important when somebody tries to knock you down and use your past against you. We all have to realize that we’ve come such a long way to just let our past define us. Again, how old was I? That was 2014, and it’s 2023,” she further added.
‘Own who you really are’
The MUPh titleholder expressed her gratitude to her mother, Miss International 1979 Melanie Martinez, during the interview, saying that she “never had to identify myself” with her while growing up.
“I was getting positive feedback by just being myself. I never had to identify myself. I never had to quote, unquote come out. I was never really confronted about it by my parents or people who matter,” she said. “When I get into a relationship, the first thing I will tell that person is ‘Okay, let’s get this out of the way.’ And then you can decide if you want to date me.’”
During the interview, Dee, who started liking girls when she was in “Grade 5 or 6,” advised her fans to “not let other people control your life and narrative.”
“Own who you really are and have that self-worth and confidence to control your life. If you try to take that away, I’ll take it back. It boils down to respecting people and spreading love and spreading light. There’s too much hate in the world. Let’s make a conscious effort to make this a better world,” she said.
The reigning queen will represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant in El Salvador, although the date is yet to be announced, as of this writing.
Aside from Dee, Beatrice Luigi Gomez from Cebu was the first openly bisexual woman to have joined and won the Miss Universe Philippines title, and even finished in the Top 5 of the Miss Universe pageant in 2021. EDV