Miss Universe Philippines 2020 2nd Runner-up, Michele Gumabao, finally speaks up on the recent issues involving her name.
In a 24-minute vlog posted on her YouTube channel, Gumabao shares her side, for what she said would be the last time, about the many controversies that have haunted her since the event. In the video titled ‘This is my statement, this is my story!’ the beauty queen reveals the things she experienced as she competed in the pageant up to the controversies that ensued.
“I’ve been so used to empowering others and speaking up for others but at a time when I want to fight and speak up for myself I am not allowed,” Gumabao wrote in the caption, a point she also made in her video. She said in her vlog that she was allowing herself this time to fight for herself.
“I heard things I never should have heard, witnessed things I never should have witnessed as a candidate,” the MUP candidate revealed.
“I’m not sharing this to attack or hurt anyone. I just want to share the truth. And I want to be true to myself because this will be the only way to look back into this and happily move on,” added Gumabao, who was a popular volleyball athlete before she tried and succeeded at the pageantry.
All the pressure and challenges, according to Gumabao, took a toll on her. Talking about the hardships she experienced days prior to the prestigious event, she said she cut her head, sprained her knee, and broke her toe. She also said that she passed out due to exhaustion.
“There were days where we were just kept in our rooms, and those little things built up. In the end, all the anxiety, pressure and exhaustion were a lot to handle.”
Gumabao said that she even got to bond with other candidates after the taping of the finals on October 24. But then, although she was able to push through despite the series of difficulties and the “cryptic messages” from people about the results, it was in the end, when she started hearing things she wasn’t supposed to hear, that she found herself succumbing to it all.
“Early morning of the 25th (October) at 3 a.m., I heard things that I wasn’t supposed to hear and it hurts, I must admit. I just went to my room and I cried so hard. Everything that I’ve been hearing the past few days came in rushing to my head.” Michele did not elaborate on those things she’d heard, but she said they left her feeling devastated and heartbroken.
Gumabao won as the 2nd runner up, following the 1st runner up, Paranaque’s Maria Ysabella Roxas Ysmael Martinez, and the grand champion, Iloilo’s Rabiya Mateo.
Shedding light on the issue of Michele leaving early in the competition, particularly her controversial absence on the photos of top 5, she said that it was her reluctance to let other people see her cry that made her want to leave. “I knew was going to break down, and I didn’t want to do that in front of the cameras.”
Gumabao said that she relayed this reason to Miss Universe Philippines creative director Jonas Gaffud, who told her that it was okay but he was just worried about social media and all the negative things people might say. She added that she messaged Rabiya Mateo to congratulate her, and received a thank you reply from the winner.
That is why it came as an overwhelming shock when she found out about all the people bashing her online for her absence from the photos.
“Upon reaching Manila, my family was there. They were telling me everything that was happening online and everything: all the stories and all the issues that people were making up, and I just couldn’t believe that people are capable of such things, that we’re in this beauty pageant, joining because of our dreams, because we want to empower people but it’s so toxic: the industry, the fans, the bashers, the criticism… Everything is just so toxic and I just couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Michele expressed her disappointment over Miss Universe’s Philippines silence despite all the speculations people have made about her absence. “When people were making issues about me leaving and not being part of that photo, the organization knew why. They knew my reasons, they knew why I left, they never said anything, they kept quiet,” she said.
Halfway through the vlog, Michele reminded everyone to be more responsible online.
“I also wanna take this time to remind everybody that we should stop bashing. We should stop spreading lies and negativity. And it doesn’t mean that even though we’re free to speak our minds and hearts and share our passions about a certain topic, it is okay to bring and take people down just because we feel bad.”
In the end, Michele Gumabao shared a message encouraging people to just appreciate pageantry for what it is and not be so quick to judge a candidate. She added that this would be her first and last time speaking on these issues and that she hopes that after this release, we all move on and learn from this.
Thoughts on this MUP 2020 controversy?
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