Miss Universe PH 2023 Michelle Dee opens up about brothers with special needs

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee opened up about her story, motivations, family, and love for her two brothers with special needs.

Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee with her brothers
Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee with her brothers, Adam and Mazen | Screenshot: YouTube/Empire Philippines

During Miss Universe Philippines 2023, Michelle’s advocacy focused on autism awareness and mental health education. This advocacy is close to her heart because of her brothers, Mazen and Adam, who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Melanie Marquez, Michelle's beauty queen mother, had Adam with her now-estranged lawyer husband. Meanwhile, Mazen is Melanie’s child with a sheik.

In Michelle’s “Her Story” video on Empire Philippines’ YouTube channel, she talked about her motivations for joining Miss Universe and how her two brothers supported her on her journey. Adam and Mazen joined her as they unwind at Salcedo Park. According to her, this park is special for them because it’s where her brothers exercise and where she gets to relax and take a break.

Michelle introduced her two brothers, saying, “So, these are my two brothers. They're individuals on the spectrum. This is Adam, my younger brother, and this is Mazen, my older brother.”

Michelle recalled some fond memories of spending time at the park with her family. She said, “All of us grew up here. We have so many memories here playing in the park behind us.”

“When you have brothers on the spectrum, they also need a lot of exercise, kaya lagi silang tumatakbo dito. Dito sila nag-e-exercise just to wind down and relax,” she added.

According to Michelle, her brothers played a big role in her choice to advocate for autism awareness. She said, “This is why I advocate for autism awareness because my brothers needed it and everyone on the spectrum needs it too."

Her brothers were with Michelle, their mom Melanie, and their family when she was crowned Miss Universe Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, May 13, 2023.

Michelle wishes to inspire others to take a chance at something they are passionate about. Rather than looking for reasons why you shouldn't, take the first step and give it your all.

She said, “If there's anything that you should take from life is that there is no excuse for you not to achieve what you want to achieve. It's either you want to get it and you make it happen, or you give yourself a million reasons not to do it.”

You can watch the rest of the video on Empire Philippines’ YouTube channel:

— Sally, The Summit Express

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