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Meet the Filipina duo who took center stage at Princess of the Universe beauty pageant

SCENES shines a spotlight on youth around the world that are breaking down barriers and creating change. The character-driven short films will inspire and amaze, as these young change-makers tell their remarkable stories.

In a remarkable display of talent, and advocacy for good causes, two young Filipina contestants based in Qatar, Francesca Concepcion and Nia Janella Incabo, captivated the audience and judges at the 'Princess of the Universe' beauty competition held in the United Kingdom. Nia emerged victorious, claiming the prestigious title, while Francesca was awarded the coveted First Runner-Up prize.

Born in Qatar, first runner-up Francesca is a budding 16-year-old model. Her modelling journey began as a hobby but she gradually developed a passion for the profession. While Francesca didn't take modelling seriously at the beginning, over the years her love for the craft led her to participate in fashion shows and photoshoots in Qatar.

When Francesca and her family first heard about the ‘Princess of the Universe’ competition, they were not initially sure about it. “It was very new to me,” she recalls.

After revisiting the idea, she decided that it would be a good opportunity to pursue it. Before travelling to the UK for the competition, she told SCENES, “Hopefully, I'll give my best. I'll have fun and I can bring home any award. It doesn't matter.”

With an opportunity to choose her own advocacy, Francesca's dedication to animal welfare shone through. "Animal welfare is so close to my heart. It has always been on my mind and has been a part of my life," she emphasises.

Francesca picked animal welfare because she has always supported different animal rescue centres in Qatar. “I've been to a lot of shelters in Qatar,” says Francesca. “My whole entire family will be part of spaying and neutering stray animals, so it lessens the homeless animals here in Qatar,” she adds.

Born and raised in the UK but with Filipino heritage, Nia, 18, moved to Qatar at the age of 11. Initially uninterested in modelling, Nia's perspective changed as she grew older.

Her passion for pageantry and professional modelling stems from her admiration for Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray.