Mexico Takes Home The Miss Universe Crown, COVID-Related Questions Dominate Q&A
Here are the highlights from the most prestigious coronation night!
The coronavirus may have delayed the Miss Universe 2020 pageant, but the excitement of millions of fans all over the world certainly did not falter. We witnessed the growth of 74 women through their journey in the hopes of taking home the Miss Universe crown, which Andrea Meza of Mexico succeeded in doing so!
If you missed the much-awaited coronation night, we’ve got you covered!
The pageant, held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, was hosted by actor and TV personality Mario Lopez, and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo. The show started with an opening number from the 74 contestants, dancing along to Pitbull’s chart-topping hits “Don’t Stop The Party”, “Fireball”, and “Feel This Moment”.
Unlike the previous Miss Universe finales, this year’s competition included a Top 21 for the first time ever, instead of the usual Top 16. According to commentators Demi Leigh Tebow (Miss Universe 2017), Paulina Vega (Miss Universe 2014), and Cheslie Kryst (Miss USA 2019), the 21 semi-finalists were chosen by the selection committee and through fan voting.
The Top 21 made our jaws drop during the swimsuit competition
The selection committee is a group of powerful, accomplished, all-women panel: Sheryl Adkins-Green (Chief Marketing Officer of Mary Kay Inc.), Zuleyka Rivera (Miss Universe 2006), Arden Cho (actress and activist), Keltie Knight (host of “Entertainment Tonight”), Deepica Mutyala (Founder and CEO of Live Tinted), Tatyana Orozco (CEO of Arena del Rio), Christine Duffy (President of the Carnival Cruise Line), andBrook Lee (Miss Universe 1997).
The Top 21, chosen based on the confidence and charisma they exuded during the preliminary interviews, strutted to “Sing” by Pentatonix while wearing vibrant two-piece swimsuits and shoes by Filipino designer Jojo Bragais.
Our very own Rabiya Mateo confidently rocked her yellow swimsuit, which beautifully complemented her morena skin!
Filipino netizens show support for Rabiya Mateo
Unfortunately, our girl Rabiya didn’t make the cut for the Top 10. However, our kababayans still showed their love and support for the Ilonggo Queen!
Thank you for representing our country, we love you Rabiya#PHILIPINES#MissUniverse pic.twitter.com/QT6UuJHXGS
— janamgalvez🍥 (@janamgalvez) May 17, 2021
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray also expressed their admiration and how proud they are of Rabiya for giving her best!
Rabiya you made us so proud! We know you put your heart into this and we love you! Mabuhay ang Pinay! 🇵🇭 #MissUniverse— Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (@PiaWurtzbach) May 17, 2021
Woooow this year is intense!! 😲 Sending Rabiya all of our love! She made our country proud! 💛 11 Year consecutive semi-streak Pilipinassss 🇵🇭🇵🇭🇵🇭 #MissUniverse
— Catriona Gray (@catrionaelisa) May 17, 2021
We are so proud of you, Rabiya!
Myanmar wins best national costume
During the preliminaries, Miss Myanmar Ma Thuzar Wint Li wasn’t able to wear her original national costume, as it was not shipped to Florida in time. However, this roadblock didn’t stop her from winning the best national costume award at the 69th Miss Universe competition!
“A well-deserved win, especially considering the message behind it,” according to Cheslie Kryst. Paulina Vega says, “National costumes are a lot of fun, we know that. But I love how many of this year’s delegates used their costumes to send important messages. I applaud that.”
The Top 10 graced the stage for the evening gown competition
Jamaica, Dominican Republic, India, Peru, Australia, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Brazil exhibited their confidence and poise while walking to Leslie Odom Jr.’s “Go Crazy” during their evening gown parade.
Miss Thailand Amanda Obdam’s dress turned out to be a crowd favorite. She rocked a blue, backless dress with a deep V cut neckline, which beautifully resembled the ocean and its flowy waves.
The first ever Miss Universe Impact Award
Saba Yussouf, co-founder of Invisi Smart Global, which is the official safety and PPE sponsor of this year’s competition, presented the first ever Miss Universe Impact award to Miss Bolivia Lenka Nemer D'rpic for her advocacy in promoting urban gardening to combat poverty.
“We can take all of these organic products, and all of this work that is actually cultivating for people to have decent lives, for them not to be hungry,” says Lenka. “I think that’s something so basic, food is something so basic, and it’s actually something so hard to get properly.”
The Q&A and final statements of the Top 5
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the whole world, and the Miss Universe is a unique platform to let the candidates’ voices be heard. Not surprisingly, some COVID-related questions were asked during this year’s Question and Answer portion.
Judge Brook Lee asked “If you were the leader of your country, how would you have handled the COVID-19 pandemic?”.
Miss Mexico answered: “I believe there is not a perfect way to handle this harsh situation. However, I believe that what I would have done was create the lockdown even before everything was that big. We lost so many lives, and we cannot afford that. We have to take care of our people. I would have taken care of them since the beginning.”
Tatiana Orozoco also asked the question “Should countries lock down due to COVID-19 despite the strain on their economies, or should they open their borders and risk a potential increase in infection rates?”, and Miss India related her answer to the present situation in her country.
“I have realized something very important. That nothing is more important than the health of your loved ones, and you have to draw a balance between economy and health,” she says. “That can only be done when the government works with the people hand-in-hand.”
For the final statement, the contestants were given a random topic under current events, for which they were each given 30 seconds to answer.
In just 30 seconds, these Top 5 candidates from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, India, and Dominican Republic managed to emphasize the importance of changing society’s beauty standards, free speech and the right to protest, mental health, combatting global poverty, and taking care of our Mother Earth.
While they are all equally passionate and smart, only one winner gets to take home the crown.
Miss Mexico Andrea Meza is crowned Miss Universe 2020
Miss Mexico Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe 2020, while Miss Brazil Julia Gama (1st Runner-up) and Miss Peru Janick Maceta del Castillo (2nd Runner-up) completed the Top 3.
As mentioned by Andrea’s predecessor, longest-reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, “Miss Universe is the beginning of the rest of your life. I hope she realizes what an incredible platform this is. I hope she uses it to make a difference, and I hope that she becomes a catalyst for positive change.”
Congratulations, to the new Miss Universe, Andrea Meza!