Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Marquez Dee has recently come out as bisexual.
The 28-year-old Filipino actress and model was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2023 on May 13 and will go on to represent the Southeast Asian country at the Miss Universe 2023 competition in El Salvador later this year.
Dee, who was born in Makati, Metro Manila, is the daughter of former action star Frederick Dee and former supermodel and beauty queen Melanie Marquez. She was previously crowned Miss World Philippines 2019 and placed in the Top 12 of Miss World 2019 in London.
In an interview with MEGA Magazine, the model identified herself as bisexual, stating that the news is more of a “confirmation rather than a revelation.”
“I definitely identify myself as bisexual. I’ve identified with that for as long as I can remember. I’m attracted to all forms of beauty, all shapes and sizes,” Dee said, noting that her close friends have always known.
The actress added that her family already had an inkling about her sexual orientation, sharing moments when her mother would tease her about girls.
“I was getting positive feedback by just being myself. I never had to identify myself. I never had to quote, unquote come out. I was never really confronted about it by my parents or people who matter,” Dee shared.
Dee also addressed her childhood photos that resurfaced on social media.
In the images, she has short, uncombed hair and has a “boyish” style. Dee noted having a rugged appearance as she was into sports while she attended an all-girls high school. When she was told to speak about her gender before winning the crown, Dee refused.
I joined the pageant because this is much greater than myself. 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. I felt like coming out during the competition would shock everyone, and cloud everyone’s judgment. 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.
Dee only decided to come out recently to take control of her life and narrative as some netizens would reportedly use her circulating childhood photos to diminish her achievements.
“I want to come out with this story because I know that those photos were spread with malicious intent to kind of distract me, make me feel I’m not worthy of the crown,” she explained, adding that she had always been an advocate for the LGBT+ community.