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Michelle Dee pitches advocacy on autism awareness, inclusivity

MANILA, Philippines, October 20 ------ Reigning Miss Universe Philippines Michelle Marquez Dee, a staunch supporter of autism awareness for years now, has made another concrete move in pushing her advocacy even further when she met job applicants who are in the autism spectrum.

The model-actress on Tuesday went to the headquarters of an equipment company in Ortigas Center in Pasig City which has a partnership with Autism Society Philippines (ASP) where Dee has been a long-time ambassador. During her talk, she witnessed the signing of an employment agreement between the two parties, as she shared tips with the jobseekers to help them ace their interviews, and gain employment. Under the agreement, the nonprofit organization’s ASP Autism Works program selected job applicants for the company’s groundbreaking employment scheme where the applicants are immersed in the work environment for them and the employer to determine whether the job is a perfect fit. “It is absolutely amazing. If every corporation could adopt a more inclusive workplace, then we would be living in a more inclusive world altogether. So, I’d really like to commend the [company] for really setting the tone, and also setting a great example for companies around the world,” Dee told in an interview.

She spoke to a dozen jobseekers deployed by ASP, to impart tips and tricks she had developed in her years as a model, actress, and beauty queen. The pieces of advice revolved around building confidence, engaging with people in different settings, handling pressure, and even dealing with rejection. The applicants also had the opportunity to ask Dee about concerns related to their own personal experiences as jobseekers before. Some fresh graduates have also consulted with the beauty queen on the thoughts they have about having no job experience. “Every individual has the right to express their own capacity and capabilities. And when you want to promote an inclusive workplace that involves even neurodiverse individuals. And I believe that we should really be opening these opportunities, because they also have the right to live a fulfilled life,” said Dee, who has two brothers in the autism spectrum. “A lot of the individuals on the spectrum are not not given that opportunity, because the common perception is that they can’t do it. Some of the smartest people I know are on the autism spectrum. So, it’s just about opening those doors and creating those opportunities because, again, you know, this isn’t one of the more popular advocacies to bring on,” she continued.

Dee said she did not choose the advocacy. “It was chosen for me because of my siblings on the autism spectrum. It’s really through their experiences and what I’ve seen firsthand from day-to-day life, the struggles that they’ve had, from bullying, to, you know, just discrimination altogether. And it’s about time that we actually celebrate these individuals. Because as you see, they’re all very special in a unique way. And again, it’s not just in the Philippines, but it’s about time that we celebrate every individual around the world,” she explained. “I’m so happy that Miss Universe has taken such importance for advocacies. Miss Universe is one of the most sought-after platforms. Let’s say I am privileged enough to win, then imagine how much global audiences can start asking the right questions. This is one of my major campaigns that I am bringing, which is inclusive workspaces. And if I have a partner such as Miss Universe advocating for it as well, it would be such an amazing step forward,” continued Dee.



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