Sunday, June 16, 2024

Chelsea Manalo Makes History as First Black Woman Crowned Miss Universe Philippines | WATCH

Chelsea Manalo
Chelsea Manalo / Miss Universe Philippines 2024 – YouTube screenshot

*In a momentous event that has reverberated across social media platforms, Chelsea Manalo made history on Wednesday by becoming the first Black woman to be crowned Miss Universe Philippines.

Born to a Filipino mother and African American father, the 24-year-old’s victory has been celebrated for challenging long-held beauty ideals in the country.

Manalo, representing the province of Bulacan, emerged victorious from a pool of 52 other contestants hailing from across the archipelago and overseas. The grand competition was hosted at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, drawing a large and enthusiastic audience.

As the competition narrowed to the top five finalists, Manalo was asked on stage how she would leverage her beauty and confidence to empower others. Her response was both poignant and inspiring.

“As a woman of color, I have always faced challenges in my life. I was told that beauty has standards, actually,” she shared, adding that she was guided by her mother to “always believe in yourself, uphold the vows that you have.”

Her heartfelt message seemed to resonate deeply with the audience and judges alike. The reaction on social media was immediate and overwhelmingly positive.

“Chelsea’s win challenges our ingrained preference for Eurocentric beauty features and lighter complexions in our nation,” one user commented on an Instagram post by Miss Universe Philippines’ official account, echoing sentiments that were widely shared. Another comment succinctly read, “Filipino beauty standard shattered into pieces.”

Manalo’s journey is part of a broader conversation about diversifying notions of beauty within the Philippines, a nation where Western ideals have historically dominated due to its colonial past. Light-skinned actors and models typically feature in major TV shows, movies, and fashion campaigns, and skin-lightening products remain widely available. Manalo’s win represents a significant step towards redefining these entrenched standards.

In a poignant YouTube video on Empire Philippines, which live-streamed the event, Manalo reflected on her own struggles with self-esteem growing up: “I grew up having insecurities as I was always bullied because of my skin and my hair type,” she revealed, crediting her friends and family for helping her “realize that I am beautiful in my own extraordinary way.”

Looking ahead, Chelsea Manalo will represent the Philippines at the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico this September. She is aiming to bring home the country’s fifth Miss Universe title, joining the ranks of Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margie Moran in 1973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, (after host Steve Harvey initially declared the wrong winner), and Catriona Gray in 2018.

Manalo’s achievement comes at a time when the Miss Universe organization is undergoing significant changes. This year, the competition is removing any upper age limit for contestants, a shift from the previous requirement that participants be between ages 18 and 28. However, the organization has also faced scrutiny following the resignation of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA titleholders amid allegations of mismanagement and a toxic work environment.

Over 100 countries will participate in Miss Universe 2024, making this year’s pageant one of the most diverse in its history. Chelsea Manalo’s victory not only sets a new benchmark for beauty standards in the Philippines but also marks a pivotal moment for the global conversation on inclusivity and representation in pageantry.

OTHER NEWS ON EURWEB.COM: Ex-Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby Avoids Prison Time for Perjury and Mortgage Fraud Convictions | WATCH

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