New Telegraph

February 23, 2024

Miss Universe pageant makes ‘inclusive’ change, allows wives, mothers to compete


The Miss Universe pageant is updating its 70-year-old eligibility rule.

Effective for the 72nd pageant — which will take place in 2023 — married women and mothers will be allowed to compete in the pageant.

Preliminary pageants for this year’s event — which happens in December — have already taken place.

Currently, the rule states that only single women aged 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children are allowed to apply.

The age bracket will remain the same, a source close to the organization confirmed to Insider.

“We all believe that women should have agency over their lives and that a human’s personal decisions should not be a barrier to their success,” an internal memo seen by The National said.

The Post has contacted the Miss Universe organization for comment.

“The Miss Universe Organization is always the greatest and most innovative platform of its kind and now it will be more inclusive and welcoming to mothers and married women,” Josh Yugen, chief executive of Yugen Group and the national director of Miss Universe Bahrain, told The National. “For me, this is aligned with what I have been fighting for — breaking stereotypes and unlearning the stigma that the old society has forced on us from many many decades ago.”

Andrea Meza, who was crowned Miss Universe 2020, told Insider that the rule change was long overdue.

“I honestly love that this is happening,” Meza told the outlet. “Just like society changes and women are now occupying leadership positions where in the past only men could, it was about time pageants changed and opened up to women with families.

“There are a lot of women that got married young or had kids in their early 20s and they always wanted to participate in Miss Universe but couldn’t because of the rules,” she added. “Now those women can start or boost their careers in entertainment because of these changes.”

The rule affected Meza personally after her victory when internet sleuths found an Instagram post of her in a wedding gown, with a tuxedo-wearing man on top of a cliff, with the caption “3-09-19.”

However, a spokesperson for Miss Universe told Insider at the time that the image was just from a photoshoot she had done while working as the official tourism brand ambassador for Chihuahua, where she lived in Mexico.

And Meza, who represented Mexico in the pageant, had a message for people who don’t like the new rule.

“A few people are against these changes because they always wanted to see a single, beautiful woman who is available for a relationship,” she said. “They always wanted to see a woman that from the outside looks so perfect that she’s almost unreachable. The former is sexist and the latter is unrealistic.

“Just like in any other industry, women are capable of having demanding leadership positions without or with a family, it is no different in this case,” Meza reasoned.

*Courtesy: The New York Post

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