Chelsea Manalo shares her journey from almost quitting to winning Miss Universe Philippines 2024

Newly crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2024 Chelsea Anne Manalo almost gave up on the competition due to financial issues. The coronation night took place on May 22 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, where Chelsea remained calm and composed while addressing the media at her first press conference held last Friday at the Belmont Hotel Manila in Pasay City.

Chelsea explained, “I really had financial issues, and I think most of the girls actually had that problem as well. But as for me, I joined here as an independent woman.” She expressed gratitude for the support of her parents and shared how Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando and Vice Governor Alex Castro helped her financially during her Miss Universe Philippines journey.

Raised in Meycauayan City, Bulacan, Chelsea is a tourism graduate who advocates for youth empowerment, particularly in children’s education, especially among indigenous communities. Her journey in pageantry began in Miss World Philippines 2017, where she placed in the Top 15 at the age of 17.

Having experienced bullying in her youth, Chelsea drew strength from her parents and friends. She encouraged other aspiring beauty queens to pursue their dreams despite challenges, emphasizing the importance of self-belief and perseverance.

As the first black Filipino-American beauty to represent the country at the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico later this year, Chelsea remains focused on inspiring women of all backgrounds. She looks up to former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach and is determined to uphold values of humility and transformation as a representative of the Philippines.

Reflecting on her crowning moment, Chelsea shared an emotional exchange with her parents, who have been a source of unwavering support throughout her journey. She brushed off negative comments and expressed readiness for the upcoming international pageant in Mexico, declaring, “Viva Mexico!”

Chelsea’s unwavering determination and resilience have propelled her to become a symbol of empowerment and representation for women in the Philippines. As she prepares to compete on the global stage, Chelsea aims to embody the essence of a true Filipina Miss Universe who carries not just a crown and sash, but the honor and pride of her nation.

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