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Cebuana beauty wins Universal Woman 2024 crown

MANILA, Philippines —  Maria Gigante, a model, host and influencer from Bantayan Island, Cebu, was crowned the second Universal Woman winner in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on March 22. 

She was also named the UW Social Media winner prior to the announcement of the 24 semi-finalists. Maria's victory bodes well for the ALV Pageant Circle, which holds the local franchise, after a slew of non-placements from its other franchises last year.

There was a slight confusion with pageant audiences, especially with the Filipino pageant community, who thought Maria was out of the race after the first 12 semi-finalists were announced. However, the announcement was made in two installments. The remaining 12 delegates  were revealed after a commercial break.

Lesandra Chirinos of Venezuela, Elisa Mysyshyne of France, Brianna Maii of Cambodia and Chapeli Peña of Dominican Republic were proclaimed runners-up in descending order.

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The other delegates who made it to the Top 12 were the representatives from Zimbabwe, Denmark, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Great Britain and Puerto Rico.

The Universal Woman pageant is open to all women between the ages of 25 to 45, with no restrictions on height, weight and marital status. UW is a platform that champions the unique brilliance and beauty of women, making an impact in the world today.

Gigante was crowned by outgoing titleholder Valentina Sanchez Trivella of Venezuela. Prior to this victorious journey, Maria was a finalist in the Miss World Philippines 2022 search, where she was proclaimed a co-winner in the Head-to-Head Challenge.

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