Miss Universe Philippines Michelle Dee comes out as bisexual: ‘I have so much more to offer’

Michelle Dee

Michelle Dee, the newly crowned Miss Universe Philippines, has publicly come out as bisexual, saying she is “attracted to all forms of beauty, all shapes and sizes”. 

The 28-year-old, who is set to represent the Philippines at upcoming Miss Universe 2023 competition in El Salvador, told Mega Magazine that she has been bisexual “for as long as I can remember”. 

The beauty queen made the decision to come out publicly after pictures resurfaced of her in her younger years, where she had more of a “boyish” style, leading people online to speculate about her identity. 

“I have so much more to offer the world and the universe than how I identify myself,” she told the magazine, citing her advocacy for autism awareness as more important than her sexuality. 

She is not the only LGBTQ+ woman in the pageant world, with Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico tying the knot in 2022 and trans tycoon Jakapong “Anne” Jakrajutatip buying out the Miss Universe franchise for a cool $20 million in the same year.

Explaining the pressure she was under to share her sexuality with the world during the competition, she said: “This is not about me. This is about the cause I’m fighting, advocating for: autism awareness. That’s my main goal. My identity is not what I want to be remembered for. 

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“I felt like coming out during the competition would shock everyone, and cloud everyone’s judgement. I also wanted to do that within my own timeline, and it wasn’t the right time. Because I want all of my focus and everyone’s focus to be on all the good causes.”

She added: “I acknowledge that it was so malicious that I felt – and this applies to everyone – when somebody takes away your story, then you should take control of that narrative. Turn it around and make it an empowering story.

“So that’s what I’m doing. I feel that it’s so important when somebody tries to knock you down and use your past against you. 

“We all have to realize that we’ve come such a long way to just let our past define us. Again, how old was I? That was 2014, and it’s 2023.” 

Dee also told the magazine about her first experience of queer attraction, when she was around 12 years old. 

She explained that she was close with a female family friend after moving back to the Philippines from the United States. One day, they were out together in town and her friend had to leave early, making her extremely upset – an experience she described as “weird”. 

Dee mused: “Was it my love for our friendship or attraction? It was confusing. Who really knows the concept of love at 12 years old?”

Later, she felt a similar attraction for AI boyband member Ben Adams, an “‘aha!’ moment” which explained her feelings towards her friend. 

“I was like, ‘Okay, it was the same kind of feeling’,” Dee said. 

Dee was crowned Miss Universe Philippines on 13 May at the SM Mall of Asia Arena and will compete at the international competition in El Salvador at the end of the year. 

She won Miss World Philippines 2019 and placed in the top 12 at the Miss World 2019 pageant in London.