Dubai to hold historic Miss Universe UAE pageant with some Filipinos taking part

Three Filipinos are leading the charge while one daring Filipina is joining the competition.

Dubai to hold historic Miss Universe UAE pageant with some Filipinos taking part
(Images: Miss Universe UAE)

For the first time in 70 years, there will be a Miss Universe contender hailing from the United Arab Emirates, and some Filipinos are not passing up the opportunity to partake in the historic milestone, whether from behind the curtains or onto the pageant stage.

In fact, a Filipino had been given the unique function of putting the landmark show together: Dubai-based Josh Yugen, who heads Yugen PR and Yugen Events and leads Xpedition Magazine as its publisher and editor-in-chief, will serve as the President and National Director of the forthcoming pageant.

“Being appointed as the first ever President and National Director of the historical Miss Universe UAE is a magnitude of honor,” said Yugen in an Instagram post. “But am also aware that with great powers comes with great responsibilities.”

“You cannot box Miss Universe UAE. It is not just about the parade of beauty or celebration of intelligence, but moreover she is a paragon of a purposeful queen and a heart to serve and help through her advocacies,” he added.

Filipino designer Furne Amato is also onboard as Miss Universe UAE’s head of creatives, fashion, and design. Amato is responsible for the stunning pieces showcased by celebrities around the world, including Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Beyoncè, and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach. 

244988830 456279932345568 3568521091831294454 n
(Image from Instagram: @missuniverseuae)

Completing the crew of Filipino talent on the Miss Universe UAE council is veteran beauty queen and entrepreneur Maggie Wilson, who will be working as the organization’s creative consultant. 

“Having grown up in a GCC country I never thought I would see this day come. The launch is considered a milestone in the region,” said Wilson, who represented the country in the Miss World 2017 pageant. “I look forward to working alongside such exceptional and talented individuals.“

Meanwhile, Franki Russell, who currently resides in Dubai, UAE, is the lone Filipina vying for the crown in the historic pageant. A Kiwi-Filipina, Russell rose to fame after joining the reality show Pinoy Big Brother in 2018 and landing a guest role in the primetime series FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano

I am so inspired by everything this pageant stands for. Diversity, celebrating women from all walks of life, empowerment, and breaking stereotypes,” Rusell wrote on her Instagram. “Stepping out of my comfort zone never felt so good.”

Espousing the mission of “breaking stereotypes,” the Miss Universe UAE pageant will mostly consist of the traditional events throughout the competition, namely personal testimonials and interviews, charity programs, and couture catwalks featuring the contestants’ evening gowns.

One key difference, however, is that there won’t be a swimsuit competition, a decision that the council has made “as a form of respect for UAE’s culture,” as, according to Yugen’s interview with Inquirer, “there are still many Muslims living here.”

Instead, the pageant will include a “couture active wear” segment with contenders donning Amato’s designs.

The Miss Universe UAE coronation night is set to take place on November 7 in Dubai. The winner will go on to represent the gulf nation in the 70th Miss Universe pageant in Israel this December.

Get Hundreds of Discounts & Vouchers

Grab ₱100,000 worth of vouchers on food, home essentials, fashion finds and more!

Lush Sleep Body Lotion


Get weekly updates on new articles and deals.