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Monday, May 27, 2024

Black Filipino Woman Makes History, Crowned Miss Universe Philippines For First Time Ever

Chelsea Manalo, Black woman who won Miss Universe Philippines

Nationwide — Chelsea Manalo, whose father is African American and mother is Filipina, has made history as the first Black woman ever to win the Miss Universe Philippines title. Her victory was widely celebrated on social media for breaking traditional beauty norms in the country.

Chelsea, who is 24 years old, represented her homeland Bulacan, a province near Manila. She triumphed over 52 other contestants from various parts of the Philippines and abroad. The competition took place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay earlier this week, according to CNN.

Despite not being a top contender or a fan favorite initially, Manalo’s strong performance has put her as one of the frontrunners. During the finals, Manalo further impressed the crowd with her response to a question about using her beauty and confidence to empower others.

“As a woman of color, I have always faced challenges in my life. I was told that beauty has standards, actually. But for me, I have listened to always believe in my mother, to always believe in yourself. Uphold the vows that you have in yourself,” she said.

“Because of these, I am already influencing a lot of women who are facing me right now. As a transformational woman, I have here 52 other delegates with me who helped me become the woman I am,” she continued as a round of applause erupted from the crowd.

Chelsea’s win sparked discussions on redefining beauty standards in the Philippines, where Western ideals have long dominated due to its colonial history. The entertainment industry often favors lighter-skinned personalities, and skin-lightening treatments remain prevalent.

Chelsea, who started her modeling career at the age of 14, opened up about her insecurities growing up, revealing how she was bullied for her skin tone and hair type. However, with the support of her loved ones, she started to “realize that I am beautiful in my own extraordinary way,” she said in a YouTube video.

Prior to winning the Miss Universe crown, she had participated in several pageants since high school. Her notable achievements include finishing in the Top 15 at Miss World Philippines 2017.

She is now gearing up to represent the Philippines at the upcoming Miss Universe pageant in Mexico this September.

Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram