Michelle Dee (Miss Universe Philippines 2023): A Storied Journey of Beauty, Advocacy and Triumph

Introduction of Michelle Dee

Michelle Dee, an accomplished Filipina actress, model, television presenter, talk show host, and beauty pageant titleholder, has etched an impressive trajectory in the entertainment industry and the world of pageantry. From her Miss World Philippines 2019 win to her recent success as Miss Universe Philippines 2023, Michelle’s story is not just one of beauty but of resilience, intelligence, and a commitment to advocacy.

Early Life and Heritage

Michelle Daniela Marquez Dee’s roots trace back to a family deeply embedded in the pageant scene. Born on April 24, 1995, in Makati, Metro Manila, to Frederick “Derek” Dee, a prominent businessman, film producer, and former actor, and Melanie Marquez, a renowned actress, author, former supermodel, and beauty queen, Michelle inherits a legacy of glamour and achievement. Her family tree includes the Philippines’s Chinabank founder Dee C. Chuan as her paternal grand-uncle, and her paternal grandmother, Regina Y. Dee, heiress and philanthropist. On the maternal side, former PBA player Joey Marquez is her uncle, and her cousin Winwyn Marquez, a beauty queen in her own right, won Reina Hispanoamericana in 2017.

Michelle Dee spent idyllic summers on the family ranch in Utah, United States, and on the hacienda in Mabalacat, Pampanga, Philippines. These formative years shaped her love for farm animals, fostering a deep connection to nature. Despite her affluent upbringing, she attended De La Salle University in Manila, where she earned a degree in psychology, showcasing both her academic prowess and down-to-earth nature. In 2021, Michelle expanded her horizons by completing a certificate program in entrepreneurship essentials from the prestigious Harvard Business School.

Career Beginnings and Ventures

Embarking on a career that seamlessly blends modeling, acting, and hosting, Michelle Dee made a notable mark in various magazines, fashion shows, and commercials. Her versatility shone through in television shows and movies, including notable projects like “The Haunted,” “The Blood Sisters,” “The Better Woman,” and “The House Arrest of Us.”

Contrary to her pageant-laden family history, Michelle did not initially harbor dreams of becoming a beauty queen. Her perspective shifted after a transformative experience as a judge for Mister World, where overwhelming fan support ignited her confidence to pursue her own crown.

Miss World Philippines 2019 Triumph

Michelle Dee’s pageant journey commenced in 2019 when she entered the Miss World Philippines competition. In a field that included fellow actresses and models, Michelle’s beauty, intelligence, and commitment to advocacy set her apart. Her victory, crowned as Miss World Philippines 2019, showcased her prowess and earned her special awards, including Best in Swimsuit, Miss Bluewater Day Spa, Miss Bench, and Miss GCOX.

Representing the Philippines at the Miss World 2019 pageant in London, Michelle Dee excelled in various events, securing her place in the Top 12. Her eloquent response during the final round underscored the importance of seeing beauty in everything, reflecting her journey of self-acceptance and empowerment. While she narrowly missed the Top 5, the experience was transformative, shaping her perspective and fueling her determination.

Miss Universe Philippines 2022 and 2023

Undeterred by the challenges, Michelle Dee continued her pageant journey by participating in the Miss Universe Philippines pageant in 2022. Amidst fierce competition, she showcased her elegance, charisma, and eloquence, winning the Best in Evening Gown award and securing the title of Miss Universe Philippines Tourism 2022.

In 2023, Michelle Dee returned to the Miss Universe Philippines stage, representing Makati City. Her preparation involved rigorous training and coaching, complemented by academic excellence with the completion of a certificate program in entrepreneurship essentials from Harvard Business School. The preliminaries saw Michelle dazzling judges and the audience with her impeccable swimsuit and evening gown presentations. Her thoughtful responses during the interview round touched on vital issues such as mental health, social media, and women’s empowerment, showcasing the depth of her convictions.

The grand coronation on May 13, 2023, marked Michelle’s triumphant moment as she was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2023 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. She also received special awards like Miss Cream Silk, Miss Downy, and Miss Photogenic, solidifying her status as the country’s representative on the global stage.

Advocacy and Impact

Michelle Dee’s journey is not just about beauty and titles; it is about making a difference. Her advocacy for autism awareness, deeply personal due to her brother’s autism spectrum disorder, has become a cornerstone of her pageant career. Serving as a spokesperson for the Autism Society Philippines and the Center for Possibilities Foundation, she launched the “Autism Strong Philippines” campaign, aiming to empower and educate people about autism.

Her commitment extends beyond autism awareness to encompass mental health, women’s empowerment, and environmental sustainability. As a mental health first aider certified by the Philippine Mental Health Association, Michelle actively supports Women for Women International, a global organization aiding women survivors of war and conflict. Her role as an ambassador for the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines reflects her dedication to promoting conservation and climate action.

Accolades and Recognition

Michelle Dee’s impact reverberates beyond the pageant realm, evident in the accolades she has received. Recognition as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World by the Filipina Women’s Network in 2020, the Most Outstanding Filipina of the Year by the Philippine Women’s University in 2021, and acknowledgment as one of the 30 Under 30 Asia by Forbes in 2022 showcase her influence and contributions.

Miss Universe 2023 Performance

Michelle Dee’s journey reached a global stage with her participation in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant. Her captivating performance, both physically and intellectually, left an indelible mark. The swimsuit competition featured her confidently strutting in a red one-piece ensemble, a nod to her passion for autism advocacy. The evening gown competition saw Michelle paying homage to her family’s legacy with a Mark Bumgarner creation, reminiscent of her mother’s gown when crowned Miss International.

Michelle’s impressive showing garnered her the Spirit of Carnival award and recognition as one of the three Golden Awardees for the Voice of Change, alongside representatives from Angola and Puerto Rico. Additionally, securing the most votes in the Miss Universe app propelled her into the semifinals. Although she did not make it to the Top 5, Michelle’s impact resonated globally, showcasing the Philippines’ beauty, intelligence, and compassionate heart.

Personal Life and Hobbies

Beyond her professional endeavors, Michelle Dee’s personal life adds depth to her story. In a confirmed relationship with actor and model Edward Barber since 2022, their connection blossomed on the set of “The House Arrest of Us,” emphasizing the serendipity in her journey.

Michelle Dee’s interests extend to sports, where she enjoys playing volleyball, basketball, and badminton. As a fitness enthusiast, she practices yoga, pilates, and boxing. Her love for travel has taken her to more than 20 countries, exploring diverse cultures and cuisines. A music lover, Michelle plays the guitar and piano, with a penchant for K-pop and BTS. Her multilingual abilities include proficiency in English, Filipino, and Spanish, showcasing her global outlook.


Michelle Dee’s journey transcends the traditional narrative of a beauty queen. It is a tale of self-discovery, resilience, and unwavering commitment to advocacy. From her initial hesitations to becoming a symbol of empowerment and inclusivity, Michelle’s evolution has inspired aspiring beauty queens and individuals worldwide.

Her journey through Miss World Philippines to Miss Universe Philippines is a testament to the power of self-belief, perseverance, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. Michelle Dee has demonstrated that true beauty lies not only in physical appearance but also in intelligence, compassion, and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

As a woman of substance, Michelle Dee is poised to continue influencing positive change, making her a role model not only for Filipinas but for individuals globally. Her journey is a beacon of empowerment, resilience, and advocacy in the world of glamour and beauty. Michelle Dee stands as a testament to the belief that, with passion, dedication, and a genuine heart, one can make a significant difference in the world.

Read about “Anntonia Porsild: The First Thai Woman to Win Miss Supranational 2019 and Miss Universe 2023 Runner-Up“.

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