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Miss U prelims interviews that brought contestants to Top 15

by Izel Abanilla

MISS Universe has uploaded in Facebook the closed-door preliminary interviews of the 2022 contestants who made it to the top 15.

Judging from the answers, it appears that authenticity and honesty is the key.

Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel, who was later crowned Miss Universe, addressed the main controversy hounding her victory as Miss USA.

Miss Spain Alicia Faubel said she has gone through depression in her teenage years, trying to be skinny thin to be able to make earn money as a model. Only to find out later that she could land more gigs in the Philippines with more weight on and wider hips.

Rigged Miss USA?

The 28-year-old beauty queen admitted that allegations that she rigged the Miss USA contest hurt her.

“I question why is this happening to me. I thought like ‘I didn’t deserve it,'” she said.

But then she thought that perhaps she can rise above this challenge by doing more, rather than taking it out on people who question her integrity.

“But I’m a person of faith and maybe God was giving me this challenge to overcome and to show everyone that negative comments and what people say do not define who you are,” she said. 

As Miss USA goes under scrutiny, she had to endure the controversies and show “resiliency” in the face of criticisms. 

“I’m working hard here in Miss Universe to show why I deserve to be here and I just hope time will allow people to see more and more of who I am and I just believe the hardwork will just show for itself,” she said. 

The interview OOTD

During the closed-door interview, contestants may wear something formal, but less flashy. Still wore an elegant blue dress accented with a glittered wrap placed on her left shoulder.

An eco-fashion warrior, Gabriel made it a point to mention she was wearing her own creation and hooked it to the question always asked in pageantry — why Miss Universe is still relevant.

“I actually made this outfit directly to represent that so the story behind that is a thunderstorm and going back to the Miss USA challenges that I’ve had, it was very chaotic,” she said. 

“I mean there were days I felt depressed but I feel like we need to look for the beauty in chaos in thunderstorm and they were all going through a storm or we’re just leaving or headed in one and that’s life and I wanted to represent that here.  

“It’s like dark clouds I would say, I painted them on and I just wanted to share my story and how i love being a designer and someone who’s [been] sewing for 13 years to really just inspire people to really move forward no matter what,” she said. 

Gabriel said the Miss Universe plantform can amplify her voice to shed awareness in improving the welfare of the fashion industry. As a designer, she makes pieces that convey a message to the world. 


“I am actually the first Filipina-American Miss USA and since I won there are little girls that message me saying they see themselves in me and I love that they can see how a woman that looks like me also looks like them,” she said. 

To her, diversity “cultivates an open mindset.” She enjoys seeing how different cultures have their ways of saying “hello” to one another and how difference allows people to learn to cast less judgment. 

Girl, you slayed that part! For people who feel insecurity that they do not belong in neither culture, hers is a story that beauty can never be boxed.

People are diverse in looks, culture, ways and mindset and Gabriel believes that what binds everyone together is mutual respect. 

“I need to believe in themselves and diversity just makes everything feel seen coz we all want to feel seen and heard at the end of the day,” she said. 

She also reiterated the love she has for the support of the entire Filipino nation to her journey as Miss Universe.

Miss Spain: Trying to fit in the world of Size 0

Meanwhile, Spain’s Alicia Faubel too had an equally inspiring story about her own journey enduring rejection because of weight standards in the modeling world.

Her story is yet another interesting tale of finding your place in this vast world and that a thumbs down on place will surely a thumbs up on another.

“One of the stories that I like to tell a lot, what made me realize was that the jobs that I was not booking in Hongkong, because of my hips – when I moved to the Philippines, I was booking a lot of jobs because of my hips,” she said.

“So what was my weakness turned now to be my strength. So we need to stop trying to fit in where we don’t belong, find a place where you belong, and not only like accepted but embraced,” she said.



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