StyleBible Preview

This Is Maxine Medina’s Strategy to Winning Miss Universe

Her evening gown designer, Rhett Eala, clues us in.
This Is Maxine Medina’s Strategy to Winning Miss Universe
IMAGE Charles Rodulfo
Her evening gown designer, Rhett Eala, clues us in.

After a remarkable showing at the Miss Universe preliminary competition at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, it is only a matter of time until we find out if our hometown bet Maxine Medina has made it to the Top 12, or better yet, if she will give the Philippines its fourth crown. 

We at Preview are optimistic about the pageant’s finals scheduled on Monday, especially after seeing Maxine rock the swimsuit, evening gown, and national costume segments during the preliminaries. Impressed with Maxine’s walk, wardrobe choices, and confidence, we chatted with her go-to designer Rhett Eala right after the Thursday show to get more information on her evening gown. But in doing so, we discovered more than just the cut and color; we exposed a (partial) blueprint towards a potential back-to-back. 

Maxine's strategy to winning the Miss Universe crown? Read on and find out.

1. Pick a color and make it your signature.

Not counting the Sherri Hill halter Maxine wore during the parade of nations, the Filipina beauty queen told a color story with her swimsuit, evening gown, and national costume picks at Thursday evening’s preliminaries. 

IMAGE Charles Rodulfo

The green accents from Maxine’s swimsuit and national costume are amplified by her evening gown color choice. Could green be her lucky color? 

Specifically for the evening gown segment, designer Rhett Eala shares, “She really wanted to wear green and own that color. It has not been used by a Miss Philippines [candidate] on the Miss Universe stage, I think.”

2. Take the elegant, non-traditional route.

Maxine stepped out in a silhouette that took a detour from the formulaic high slits, long trains, and cascading chiffons of the evening. “It’s not your typical pageant gown,” Rhett says of Maxine’s emerald green column dress.

IMAGE Charles Rodulfo


Sure, the dress has spaghetti straps, a sweetheart neckline, and a glittered bodice; but it also has four tiers of fringe. And how often does a beauty queen rock this much fringe? 

3. Serve eye candy, pull tricks.

The gown’s emerald hue contrasted with the shades of red on the stage’s backdrop while the fringe made Maxine look like she was walking on air. Instagram went wild over Maxine’s edgy pageant look even before the evening gown preliminaries webcast ended!

IMAGE INSTAGRAM/maxine_medina

4. Get only the best to be in your squad.

Inspired by the vintas of the Mindanao region, the long-sleeved ethnic print dress that Maxine wore during the national costume round served as the take-off point for Jewelmer’s ultra-modern, South Sea pearl–embellished headdress.

IMAGE INSTAGRAM/maxine_medina

Each pearl in the headdress is valued at USD 1,000 each. You do the math.

Isn’t this a major upgrade from the national costume gaffe of 2014?

5. Keep everyone on their toes.

Rhett confirms that he has prepared another dress for Maxine to use at the finals show on Monday morning—Top 12 or not. When asked if the said dress will be in the same shade of green, he replies with a coy “Hmmm…Maybe…” keeping all of us in suspense.