Fil-Am Physician Connie Mariano is Part of the Miss Universe 2023 Selection Committee
Dr. Connie Mariano, who served as a doctor to US presidents, will be one of the members of the selection committee for Miss Universe 2023 in El Salvador.
The Miss Universe fever is heating up and on Tuesday, November 14, the organization released the members of the selection committee who will pick the next queen happening in El Salvador on November 19, Manila time. One of the members of the panel is Dr. Connie Mariano, a Filipino-American physician and rear-admiral in the US Navy.
While it’s not common to hear Filipino-Americans making it abroad, Dr. Connie Mariano’s story has many firsts. Here are just some facts about her.
Her father was in the military and they traveled around the United States
In her interview with Arizona State University’s PBS in 2018, Dr. Mariano, who was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States at 2 years old, recalled the travels she had with her parents until they settled in San Diego in the 70s.
“I embraced the change. It was an opportunity to make the best of a situation,” she said. “What it taught me to do is to adjust to every environment you move to because you’re forced to do that. You absorb the culture. It makes you more of a citizen of the world.”
Dr. Mariano is the first Filipino rear-admiral in the US Navy and the first woman to serve in the medical units for George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton
In the same interview, Dr. Mariano recalled how she got the job to serve in the White House. She was about to finish her duty with the navy when she got a call from her boss he was nominating her for the position. It was her ex-husband who actually encouraged her to try for it.
“He (ex-husband) says you have nothing to lose, you’ll never get the job anyway. He was my first husband. I divorced him 13 years later. Nine months later I’m in D.C., it’s Christmas time, and I go for the interview.”
She eventually passed the interview and served under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Of her experience working with the US presidents, Dr. Mariano admitted she would often spend more time with them than her own kids.
“I saw the president then more than I saw my own family. You see them every single day.”
She left being the physician in the White House because she wanted to be with her kids
Dr. Mariano said that after Clinton, President George W. Bush wanted her to continue on but she decided to leave because of her kids. She served W for six months.
“I left for family. Recounting the story, it was kids. I missed them and I missed most of their childhood,” she shared. “They were three and five when I came to the White House. They were 12 and 14 [when I left].
On her many firsts as an admiral and female doctor in the White House
In her 2012 interview on KTAR News, she was asked about the accomplishments she managed to have in her career as the first Filipino female admiral and first woman doctor in the White House.
“i just did what I had to do. It doesn’t matter what the title was, i just did what I had to do.”
Dr. Mariano will be joined by a diverse panel in the committee that includes Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere of France, model Halima Aden, host and fashion guru Carson Kressley, and Miss Universe 1977 Janelle Commissiong of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Philippines’ Michelle Dee hopes to capture the 5th crown for the country on November 19, Manila time.