Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo reiterated her advocacy for education in an introduction video as the voting for the top 21 Miss Universe candidates commenced.
The hashtag #HalaBiRabiya immediately trended on Twitter Philippines as her fans expressed their support for the Philippines bet and encouraged others to vote as well.
In an introduction video released on Miss Universe’s social media on April 27, Mateo shared how education transformed her life and expressed hope it can transform others’ lives as well.
“Education had transformed my life. Now, I am a teacher and I hope that my students will see education the way that I saw it,” she said.
Up close with Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo, education ambassador.
Download the Miss Universe Official app to vote your favorite delegate into the Top 21.
Voting from the Philippines? Download the Lazada PH app!
First vote FREE! pic.twitter.com/nrSzrjUTOt
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) April 26, 2021
She further described education as a “social equalizer” for poor families in the country.
“Education is our social equalizer that regardless of what background you have, what status of your family, if you educate yourself, you will be able to land a great job,” Mateo said.
In the same video, she added how “phenomenal women” can help the country in these trying times.
“We need nowadays is not just a beauty queen with a pretty face. But we need phenomenal women who are not afraid to speak and to stand for the things they believed in,” Mateo said.
In its post, the Miss Universe Organization shared that Mateo’s fans can vote for her via the Miss Universe Official app or Lazada Philippines.
Following the release of this clip, her fans shared tweets that express their support for her and hype her up on the micro-blogging platform.
— Universe Miss Philippines (@universe_missph) April 27, 2021
Some Twitter users even shared photos of previous Miss Universe winners in hopes that Mateo would be the next one to bring home the crown.
— Erich Panganiban (@erikuchang) April 27, 2021
As of writing, the hashtag #HalaBiRabiya reached more than 18,000 tweets on Twitter Philippines.
Seventy-four beauty candidates will compete at the much-anticipated coronation night to be aired on May 17 (Philippine time) at 8 a.m. on the A2Z Channel network.
‘I live in a cruel industry’
In a previous TikTok video she posted on her Instagram account, Mateo bared her sentiments about being compared to other girls as she shrugged of negative comments with a no make-up look.
“I live in a cruel industry. I’m always compared to different girls. People have always something to say like, ‘You’re not beautiful enough. You’re so thin. I don’t like what you wear’,” Mateo said.
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“This is the real me. No makeup. No heavy hair extensions. Nothing fancy to wear. Just me. Even in my simplest form, I know in my heart I am nothing less than phenomenal,” she said.
Since last February, Mateo has been making local headlines because of her vocal criticisms against the policies of the current administration, particularly the government’s response to the pandemic.
Her win also became controversial as she was accused of bringing her own glam team to the coronation night amid the restrictions on social gathering.
Mateo moved on from these controversies and said she would focus on the Miss Universe pageant instead.