Rabiya Mateo is no stranger to adversity and hate from other people.
In an exclusive interview with GMA News Online, Rabiya revealed that she received comments from other people about her skin color that made her hate herself.
“I had those moments. I feel like I’m not beautiful enough because I’m morena,” she said.
“‘Alam mo ang ganda mo sana if maputi ka (you’re beautiful only if you had fairer skin)’ … for a moment, I believed them. I was obsessed with whitening my skin,” she added.
Rabiya said she hated herself every time she looked in the mirror. “I want to be accepted by this society. I want people to love me. I want people to appreciate me even better.”
The beauty queen said she was even bullied for how she looked.
But after everything she has endured, Rabiya is now able to fully love herself.
Now she loves her color so much, saying it’s one of the reasons why she won Miss Universe Philippines.
“Isa ’to sa ebidensya na isa akong Pilipina at bakit ko ito ikakahiya (This is proof that I’m a Filipina and why should I be ashamed of that)?”
The beauty queen urged Filipinos to reevaluate their criteria of beauty and realize there’s no single standard on what beautiful should look like.
“Life is not superficial and beauty should be heartfelt always, so to the women and to the youth who are being bullied, the best way to conquer that is to love yourself even better,” she said.
“If you love yourself, you won’t be affected by anything they throw at you,” Rabiya said in Filipino.
Rabiya, who won the Miss Universe Philippines crown in October, is preparing for the 69th Miss Universe pageant.
Miss Universe will take place at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on May 16, 2021. – Kaela Malig/RC, GMA News