Matapos ang Miss Universe Philippines 2020 pageant, nilarawan ni Michelle Gumabao ang kanyang pagkapanalo ng 2nd-runner up bilang, “Not to wear a crown of jewels but maybe to wear a crown of thorns.”
Sa isang 25-minute na youtube video, ipinahayag ng volleyball star ang kanyang saloobin ukol sa isyung pumapabalibot sa kanya matapos ang coronation night,
“Early in the morning of the 25th, at around 3 am, and I heard things that I wasn’t supposed to hear and it hurt. I must admit I went back to my room and I cried so hard. Everything that I’ve been hearing for the past two days just came rushing in my head and I was heartbroken, I was devastated that night,” – Michelle.
Ayon sa kanya, uuwi na sana siya ng Manila dahil dito ngunit hindi ito natuloy dahil naalala niya ang kanyang purpose kung bakit sumali sa sa pageant in the first place sa usapan nila ng isang fellow candidate. Kaya nabuhayan ng loob si Michelle at pinagpatuloy ang laban sa korona. Ngunit na-overwhelmed naman ito nang lumabas online ang leaked na results ng pageant at marami ang nagtanong sa kanya ukol dito.
“Everything just came crashing down on me and I couldn’t handle, I admit I wasn’t strong enough to handle that at that moment. I knew I was gonna break down, I knew I was gonna cry, and I didn’t want to do that in front of the cameras. They tried so hard to get a breakdown off of me in the past and it never worked. And I told them that I will not give them the satisfaction,” dagdag ni Michelle.
Ani pa nito na humingi siya ng pahintulot sa organisyon sa kanyang pag-alis ngunit hinde ito pinayagan dahil nasa gitnapa lng sila ng shooting. Sa kalaunan, di na makapigil ang volleyball player kung kaya’t minensahe ani nito ang creative and events director of Miss Universe Philippines na si Jonas Gafudd at nag-congrats din sa mga winners bago ito tuluyang umalis.
“What saddens me the most is that when people were making issues about me leaving and not being part of that photo, the organization knew why. They knew my reasons, they knew I left, but they never said anything. They kept quiet. And now so many stories are circulating, so many issues are circulating and I told myself that I have to speak up, I have to defend myself, I have to fight for myself because I knew nobody would.”
Sinagot rin ni Michele ang mga bashers at haters niya online na huminto na sa sa pag-spread ng kasinungalingan at mga negatibong mensahe dahil dapat gamitin nila ang kanilang boses “to empower and not silence others”.
“It doesn’t mean that even though we are free to speak our hearts and minds and share our passions about a certain topic, that it is ok to bring and take people down just because we feel bad. It’s not just crowns that we should be fixing. We should be fixing society, because we can. We should be fixing systems, because we can. We should be fixing social issues, because we can. We should fixing the future, because we can.”- Michelle Gumabao