Michelle Dee pays homage to farmers

Miss Universe Philippines Makati wears Michael Barassi for MUPH 2023 National Costume

At a glance

  • ‘To our dear farmers, I am honored to represent all of you with my national costume but more than this costume, I stand as a Filipina honoring your dedication, hard work, and selfless devotion as our nation’s producers.’

FROM FARM TO FASHION Michelle Dee’s National Costume is a way to honor farmers for their hard work, created by Nueva Vizcaya-born Michael Barassi

Farmers are the backbone of any society.

Taking in the responsibility of providing citizens with essential crops and food to survive, they truly deserve any recognition they can get. They play a significant role in our lives and their efforts often go unnoticed. As a way to shine a light, Miss Universe Philippines 2023 sets up the National Costume Competition with the theme Tribute to Farmers. Miss Universe Philippines - Makati Michelle Dee chose designer Michael Barassi to design the impactful representation of the fertile lands in the Philippines.

They work long hours and face numerous challenges. Of course, these include unpredictable weather conditions and a great deal of time and money being invested to ensure that citizens of our society have access to healthy and nutritious food. That’s why it remains essential that people recognize their efforts and give them the support they need to continue their vital work. Thus, ensuring that people have a steady supply of food for years to come.

“The arduous life of farmers needs to be celebrated and honored. They are the food providers of our nation. If not for them, our tables won’t be filled with our daily staples. It is not a question as to why I chose them as inspiration for my national costume, the question must be why just now. They have been the industrious workers of our country and it’s time for us to acknowledge, praise, and elevate the immense contribution they give to society,” she says.

Michelle and Michael have known each other for quite some time. She even admitted that she has always been amazed by his creative works. When she started her vision for the National Costume Competition, she brainstormed with him.
“I believed he was the best person to put my vision into life. It was a team effort and I am glad we did,” she says. “As someone who is in the position to really empower Filipino creatives, I wanted to work with someone who was not only amazing at what they do but also shared the same passion as me in the stories we want to tell. He is known for always stepping outside the box and going over and beyond. He is truly one of Nueva Vizcaya’s creative gems.”

Without farmers, our society would cease to exist. “Celebrating our farmers and their crops highlights the very essence of what they have done, are doing, and will continue to do for our nation,” she adds.

Farmers are integral to our food supply. By providing them with access to resources and platforms to voice their concerns, we can help ensure their vital work continues for generations to come.

“I honestly believe that our farmers deserve more than the recognition. They deserve more opportunities for them to grow, to be uplifted, and to be heard. It is high time we provided and supported our farmers with technology that is due to them to alleviate their burden somehow and generate not only more productivity but also for them to live the meaningful lives they deserve.”

Michelle Dee gives out a message to the farmers, expressing her gratitude for their dedication to our sustainable future. She recognizes their contributions and will forever be thankful for them. “To our dear farmers, I am honored to represent all of you with my national costume but more than this costume, I stand as a Filipina honoring your dedication, hard work, and selfless devotion as our nation’s producers,” she says. “I am and will be forever grateful for the amazing wonders that you do. Mabuhay ang ating mga magsasaka (Long live our farmers)!”

Miss Universe Philippines 2023 celebrates agriculture by paying tribute to the richness of Filipino lands and featuring produce from various regions of the country. Michelle Dee represents the city of Makati, expressing her undying gratitude to the backbone of our society—the farmers.