Loving the roots of being a Filipino, Matea Mahal Smith was crowned Miss Filipina International 2023, making her the first Filipina of Black descent after a decade of the said pageant.
Smith, who was born in Florida, was announced as the winner of the prestigious beauty pageant, emphasizing the beauty and intelligence of Filipinos on a global scale.
During the competition on August 7, the beauty queen highlighted her admiration for her mother, who became her inspiration to be a trauma surgeon in the future.
In her answer during the pageant, she said that her mother was a role model for her, as she endured struggles at the age of 15 when she got to the United States even without prior knowledge of speaking English.
“When she got here she faced discrimination as well as becoming a young mom. With all the challenges and obstacles that stood on her her way, she always found a way to overcome them,” Smith said.
Besides admiring her mother for being a brave individual despite facing discrimination, Smith also stated how her mother gave her the courage to stay true to herself and love her nationality.
“My mom has taught me to embrace my cultural heritage, my uniqueness, and to be a proud Afro-Filipina,” she said.
With this, she motivated other individuals to love their own features and appearance, as this not only reflects their personalities but also the culture of their roots.
“This entire experience has been so amazing, full of love and support. I hope to make you proud as I embark on this new journey,” Smith captioned on her Instagram account.
Along with Smith was Amanda Russo, who won the Miss Filipina International Tourism title; first runner-up Lauren Skeoch; second runner-up Patricia Bianca Tapia; and third runner-up Rylen Faith Steinbuch.