Rabiya Mateo on Miss Universe Q&A preps: 'It's like reviewing for board exam!'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 23) — The 69th Miss Universe pageant is less than a month away. How is the Philippines' representative Rabiya Mateo prepping?

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday, the 24-year-old Iloilo City lass said she has been devoting much of her time for the hardest segment of the pageant — the Q&A.

"You need to prepare for the hardest part of the competition," she revealed. "I would talk to a lot of people. That’s when I get to know something."

"I also read some articles online," she added. "It’s like me reviewing again for the board exam. That’s how I feel right now."

Mateo said she has been doing her Q&A trainings virtually while in Florida, where she will be competing with more than 70 candidates.

While using her background in physical therapy for her workout routine, she shared she also gets constant guidance from Miss Universe Philippines creative director Jonas Gaffud.

"I also do the 'pasarela' or catwalk training," she said. "Good thing I live with Sir Jonas Gaffud. We would give two to three hours a day for catwalk trainings."

Mateo also disclosed she has also been getting advice from Miss Universe titleholders Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray, and former Miss Universe finalist MJ Lastimosa.

"They would remind me to be myself because this is gonna be the time of my life," Mateo said. "I really need to enjoy the journey."

"I would say that I’m 95% ready but there are still a lot of things to be polished," she admitted. "But I’ve done everything. In my heart I know I’ve poured all the energy in my system."

Miss Universe 2020 skin care partner Olivia Quido-Co said fans all over the world have been sending their message of support for Mateo because of her "relatability and wisdom."

"Her wisdom, the way she speaks and tells her story, may substance to everything she says," Quido-Co told CNN Philippines in the same interview. "Makikita mo galing sa puso ang mga sinasabi niya."

[Translation: Her wisdom, the way she speaks and tells her story, there's substance to everyrhing she says. You can really see that she speaks from the heart.]

But what can Mateo offer to win the Philippines' fifth Miss Universe crown?

"It’s my heart and my time," she quickly replied. "Because I really want to be somebody who is involved in the community."

"I don’t want to be remembered as the face of Miss Universe Philippines, but I want them to remember me as a phenomenal woman who actually did something for her country," she stated.

Miss Universe 2020 will be held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida on May 16 (May 17 in Manila).