Discover why Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Tebow has a connection to the Philippines that goes beyond beauty pageantry.
Most Filipinos would recognize her as the beauty queen who handed over her reign to Catriona Gray, but Demi-Leigh Tebow has always had a personal connection to Philippines. As the co-host of Miss Universe Philippines 2022, she immediately gave a resounding yes when she was given the call by MUPH. “The Philippines is a very special place to my husband and me. It was the first country I visited as Miss Universe 2017, and my husband was born in the Philippines so it’s very close to both of our hearts,” she reveals during our exclusive interview about her husband and American football player Tim Tebow who was born in Manila in 1987. “We have various philanthropic efforts in the Philippines where we’re passionate about fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves,”
The South African beauty queen has also worked with several Filipino creatives. From wearing gowns by Filipino designer Michael Cinco in the past to working with local makeup artist Albert Kurniawan during her current visit. She even applauds Miss Universe Philippines for making sure to showcase talent from all over the country. “Most of the people in the entertainment industry, design or production, a lot of the times they are freelancers. I know that the industry was hit very hard by COVID so I love that they used this time to showcase the extremely creative and talented designers and artists in the Philippines. These designers don’t have to take a back seat to the rest of the world because the Philippines have world-class designers right here, and it’s always so fun to get to work with them,” she affirms.
She also made headline for her incredible looks and chemistry with the candidates during the pageant final. Take a look below:
After the grand night, the South African beauty queen hopped on a plane the next day to visit the Tebow CURE Hospital in Davao City, the philanthropic organization that she works with alongside her husband. “The Tebow Cure hospital treats children with profound medical needs. The hospital was the first-of-its-kind medical facility in the Philippines and has conducted over 31,000 patient visits and performed over 5,400 orthopedic and reconstructive procedures,” she explains and share that Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi came with her. “Seeing the impact made through the hospital first-hand is always a very special experience for me.”
She fondly recalls how she learned Filipino culture through her husband. He would sing Filipino songs and tell childhood stories, one of which is reason why Demi and Tim Tebow made it their mission to help disabled children in the Philippines. “The thing that truly stands out to me, though, is how when on a visit back to the Philippines when Tim was just fifteen years old, he met a boy named Sherwin with his feet on backwards. Sherwin was seen as cursed in his village because of his disability. That moment served as the catalyst for Tim’s life mission of fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves, which has now become our mission.”
With Demi adding businesswoman, philanthropist, and active advocate for Human Trafficking to her Miss Universe title, she hopes that the all beauty queens continue to fight for what they believes in with or without the crown. “One thing I learned from my journey to becoming Miss Universe is that I did not come this far to just come this far. I did not work this hard for just a title or a crown. The moment I handed over my reign all of the value I put into that title was gone. I was left to reevaluate my purpose and what God had planned for me. I was left with the question, “What’s next?” I realized quickly that my confidence and purpose could not come from something as temporary as a physical crown or title. I had to find my deeper purpose and use my platform to make an impact in my country and ultimately in the world.”
Photos by MARY BENSON with MISSION DRIVEN STUDIOS