EXCLUSIVE: Miss Bulgaria defends the recipient of her gown from cyberbullies

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Miss Bulgaria Violina Ancheva defended the 15-year-old girl who received the Sherri Hill gown she wore during the Miss Universe 2016 pageant after the lucky teen became the victim of cyberbullying.

"It's hard to believe that it is possible (for) somebody to write negative and rude comments to one 15-year-old girl. The decision to give this dress to this girl was mine and you have to respect my decision," she said in a video exclusively sent to CNN Philippines.


Some Filipino netizens criticized Zyra Nicole Cifra, the recipient of Ancheva's gown, saying she was undeserving of the present due to her status in life.

But her mother, Issay Gallano, whose letter to Ancheva made Cifra the "luckiest" girl in the Philippines, denied the claims that they are well-off.

Watch: Recipient of Miss Bulgaria's gown reacts to cyberbullying

"Sometimes I don't have the money to pay for my children's tuition fee," the single mother of two said.

Ancheva asked the people to stop bullying Cifra, and said material things should not matter as much.

"(The) sparkle, the dress, the heels, the jewelries aren't the most important thing in your life. The most important thing is your heart. You teach me that we have to be better person. And one day, all of us can be in need, and we have to be ready to help each other and not to be rude. So people, please stop. Please," Ancheva said.