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New Miss Universe Philippines Chelsea Manalo on her pageant inspirations

MANILA, Philippines, May 25 ------ Chelsea Manalo of Bulacan made history as the first woman of color to be win the coveted title of Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH). 


The Filipino-American bested 52 other hopefuls, some of whom were pageant veterans, to become Michelle Dee's successor and will represent the country at the 77th Miss Universe pageant in Mexico later this year. There she will hope to bring home the fifth Miss Universe crown for the Philippines, succeeding reigning Miss Universe Sheynnis Palacios. 


Following her coronation during the early hours of May 23, Chelsea spoke with several members of the media to discuss her inspirations for entering pageantry. Chelsea first mentioned that her perseverance, values, and sticking to her core were key to her triumphant performance. "Just really embrace yourself, know who you are, because you can really go far when it comes to beauty pageants," Chelsea said. 


She noted the MUPH 2024 run was a tough battle that lasted over four months but after stepping on the coronation night stage, Chelsea looked to her younger self and how much of a dream come true it was just being there. At first she wanted to join MUPH because she wanted to look her best however empowerment became a huge factor that grew over time. With that, Chelsea is more engaged to work with organizations geared towards youth empowerment and education for Indigenous people. 


The new Miss Universe Philippines also explained her family background, her parents being a Filipina and an African-American. "I did see [my dad] when I was in the States before. My mom remarried — they were divorced — and I grew up with my stepdad who provided and treated me as his own," Chelsea said. Her biological dad passed away a few years ago so she hopes to return soon to the United States and visit his remains. 


Chelsea finished by sharing with her belief that there weren't any underdogs in this MUPH batch. "Everyone is saying this was a tough battle and performed their best," she ended. "My secret to was to just give it my all, perform well, and stick to my core." 




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