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Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Miss Universe Competition took place in Hollywood on Sunday, 16 May, with Mexico’s Andrea Meza taking home the crown.
Meza was asked how would she have handled COVID-19 if she was the leader of her country. She responded by saying that she would have a lockdown earlier and that it is important to “take care of our people.” In her concluding statement, Meza focused on changing beauty standards, stating that beauty is not only about how people look but about “people’s hearts” and the way they love themselves.
"We live in a society that more and more is more than advanced, and as we advance as a society, we've also advanced with stereotypes," she said. "Nowadays beauty isn't only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirit, but in our hearts and the way that we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you that you're not valuable."
According to her biography profile, Meza is also an activist focused on women's rights, and works closely with the Municipal Institute for Women.
Upon the winning announcement, Miss Mexico received her crown, the sash and flowers from last year’s Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa on stage. Brazil’s Julia Gama was crowned the first runner-up, and Miss Peru Janick Maceta was awarded the second runner-up. India’s Adline Castelino and Dominican Republic’s Kimberly Perez were third runner-up and fourth runner-up, respectively.
Tunzi also took the stage with her final walk before relinquishing her crown. Tunzi became the longest-reigning winner in the history of Miss Universe due to the pandemic delay.
On Sunday, many of the national costumes showcased included a shout-out to the recent political and social issues happening worldwide. Myanmar’s Thuzar Wint Lwin, who had lost her costume in shipping, wore a beaded national costume holding a “Pray for Myanmar” placard.
Philippine-born Singaporean Bernadette Belle Wu Ong paraded in a red-white costume with #StopAsianHate on her cape, a reference to the attacks on Asians in various cities in the world. Miss Myanmar was later crowned the winner for the Miss Universe 2020 National Costume segment. You can also vote for your favourite national costume in Yahoo’s poll here.
The 74 delegates were then picked to form the Top 21, and went on to compete in the swimsuit round. Decked in a bright yellow two-piece swimsuit, Miss Philippines had received a lot of love and attention on social media for her look.
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) May 17, 2021
The top ten finalists, Miss Dominican Republic, Miss Jamaica, Miss India, Miss Peru, Miss Australia, Miss Puerto Rico, Miss Thailand, Miss Costa Rica, Miss Mexico, and Miss Brazil, then took the stage for the evening gown competition.
The final five that made the cut after the evening gown competition were Miss Mexico, Miss India, Miss Brazil, Miss Dominican Republic and Miss Peru.