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Rabiya Mateo, Zozibini Tunzi share ups, downs of Miss Universe reign during pandemic
Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo; Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi
Miss Universe Philippines via Facebook; Miss Universe/ Frank L Szelwach

Rabiya Mateo, Zozibini Tunzi share ups, downs of Miss Universe reign during pandemic

Kathleen A. Llemit (Philstar.com) - May 13, 2021 - 1:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — Reigning Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi and Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo are experiencing unique reigns.

Instead of globetrotting to push for their causes, they're among the many queens of 2020 who have seen more times actively engaged in the virtual world and less on the road as past queens have been accustomed with.

“I guess traveling and working on the ground with people is what I miss the most," Tunzi admitted during a recent virtual press conference organized by Lazada Philippines.

Rabiya added many plans during her reign, including grand press conferences and send-off parties, were canceled.

Zozibini, however, stressed an important function of her position and the organization.

"But the biggest job of Miss Universe is not really traveling. It’s about the people, shaping hearts, making an impact especially now when it’s needed the most. So, wherever you are in the world, even from your bedroom or your couch, what’s important is you make an impact,” the longest-reigning Miss Universe in recent memory said.

She was crowned by the Philippines' Catriona Gray in December 8, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

Rabiya, meanwhile, saw the inaugural Miss Universe Philippines' coronation night moved thrice. Initially scheduled for May and then moved to June, the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 coronation night took place last October 25 in Baguio City.

It was mostly a virtual affair for Zozibini with may events and one-on-ones with contestants held online.

But the South African beauty chose to see the positive side of it. Amid dealing with the communal frustration on the health crisis and cyberbullying, Zozibini still sees her time online as productive because she was able to reach more people through social media.

“It is the first time in history where all of us is experiencing the same thing and, for the first time in history, we’ve all come together to fight for the same cause. And that for me is a beautiful thing to be a part of, to be creating a united universe platform saying that here we are, we are so different yet very much alike. Here we are, from different backgrounds and different countries… yet we’re all battling the same thing. Being in the middle of it, I feel so proud to unite people during this time,” Zobini said.

Rabiya had a slightly different experience being a reigning queen in a beauty pageant-obsessed country.

“It was totally different. I had a different crowning moment. Even if we’re in a pandemic, beauty pageants are so relevant to society. So during my reign, I am still able to work and travel in different parts of the country. I went to Bicol and Cebu. I realized that Filipinos really love pageantry and that whenever they see beauty queens, it gives them hope. It gives them a sense of, okay, there’s still a chance to do something good in our life and that is the most powerful tool – to transform their perspective during these difficult times,” Rabiya shared.

RABIYA MATEO
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