The wildest outfits in the history of Miss Universe's National Costume Show

·14 min read
Miss Nepal National Costume Show 2021
Miss Nepal at the Miss Universe 2020 National Costume Show. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe
  • We're taking a look back at the best costumes from the National Costume Show, including this year's.

  • The National Costume Show doesn't count towards contestants' overall scores - it's a chance for them to honor their homes.

  • In the last decade, the costumes have become more elaborate and ornate.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Miss Bahamas 2020, Shauntae Miller, wore a bedazzled airplane captain's uniform with an entire plane behind her.

Miss Bahamas National Costume Show 2021
Shauntae Miller. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

Her costume was a tribute to Bahamasair, according to the Miss Bahamas Instagram.

Miss Cameroon 2020, Kossinda Angele, looked like she was straight out of "The Lion King" on Broadway.

Miss Cameron National Costume Show 2021
Kossinda Angele. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

Angele's outfit, which she wore because lions are seen as the national animal of Cameroon according to her Instagram, was designed by Kennedy Jhon Gasper.

Miss Cayman Islands 2020, Mariah Tibbett, wore a circular ombré headpiece that looked like a sunset.

Miss Cayman Islands National Costume Show 2021
Mariah Tibbetts. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

Her outfit was described as a "sunset story" by designer Danielle Alexis.

Amanda Petri, Miss Denmark 2020, certainly stood out in this giant, feathery, neon pink ensemble.

Miss Denmark National Costume Show 2021
Amanda Petri. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

Her costume was designed by Neftali Jahaziel Espinoza and Diseñador Stalyn Nuñez, and was inspired by the original Danish fairytale, Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid."

Miss Colombia 2020, Laura Olascuaga, wore an elaborate orange costume that was inspired by indigenous Wayuu women.

Miss Colombia National Costume Show 2021
Laura Olascuaga. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

The costume was named "The Goddess of the Makuira" and was designed by Blanca Fernandez Aikaa.

Miss El Salvador 2020, Vanessa Velásquez, was a living, breathing flower bush.

Miss El Salvador National Costume Show 2021
Vanessa Velásquez. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

It also looks like there are some parrots hiding amongst the blossoms.

Eden Berandoive, Miss Haiti 2020, carried an entire fortress.

Miss Haiti National Costume Show 2021
Eden Berandoive. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

Her costume was a nod to the Citadelle Laferrière, a mountain fortress in northern Haiti. Her headpiece also contained a palm tree, the Haitian flag, and more national symbols.

Miss Jamaica 2020 Miqueal-Symone Williams' giant flowers were nods to her country's national flower, the Lignum vitae.

Miss Jamaica National Costume Show 2021
Miqueal-Symone Williams. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

In Latin, "Lignum vitae" means "wood of life." The flowers grow on the trees of the same name — the tree is one of the most useful in the world.

Miss Malaysia 2020, Francisca Luhong James, carried a full house.

Miss Malaysia National Costume Show 2021
Francisca Luhong James. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

James' costume was inspired by the rural homes in her native country.

Miss Mexico 2020, Andrea Meza - who went on to win the entire competition - was a fierce dragon.

Miss Mexico National Costume Show 2021
Andrea Meza. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

Her costume almost looked like an alebrije — you might recognize that as the "spirit animals" in Pixar's "Coco."

Anshika Sharma, Miss Nepal 2020, walked the runway with a cutout of Mount Everest and traditional Nepalese prayer flags.

Miss Nepal National Costume Show 2021
Anshika Sharma. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

The white jacket paid tribute to Nepal's legendary sherpas, who traditionally serve as guides for Mount Everest expeditions.

Miss Panama 2020, Carmen Jaramillo, channeled a shipwreck, with netting, seashells, and an anchor.

Miss Panama National Costume Show 2021
Carmen Jaramillo. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

Her costume was named "La Niña, La Pinta, y La Santa María," after the ships of Christopher Columbus that landed in 1492.

Estefanía Natalia Soto Torres, Miss Puerto Rico 2020, had the entire zodiac on her back.

Miss Puerto Rico National Costume Show 2021
Estefanía Natalia Soto Torres. Benjamin Askinas/Miss Universe

Clearly, astrology is important to her.

Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst, channeled two American icons: the Statue of Liberty and Sandra Bullock in "Miss Congeniality."

Miss Universe Cheslie Kryst
Miss USA Cheslie Kryst during the National Costume Contest. Miss Universe

In 2019, Miss USA told the New York Post that her costume, which was designed by Martin Izquierdo, pays homage to Rosie the Riveter, Maya Angelou, Lady Justice, and the statue herself, Lady Liberty.

However, it also seems like a clear reference to 2000 film, "Miss Congeniality," in which Sandra Bullock plays an FBI agent going undercover at a pageant. In one of the scenes, the pageant contestants all dress up as Lady Liberty, complete with torches and crowns.

Miss El Salvador 2019, Zuleika Soler, walked the runway in a skirt depicting an El Salvadoran town.

Miss Universe El Salvador costume
Miss El Salvador at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss Universe

It included symbols of El Salvador, including the national bird, the Torogoz.

Miss Vietnam, Hoàng Thùy, paid homage to Vietnamese iced coffee with her costume.

Miss Universe Vietnam costume
Miss Vietnam at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss UniversePatrick Prather/Miss Universe

The headpiece is a phin filter, which is what Vietnamese people use to brew their famous coffee.

In honor of Canada's nationwide legalization of marijuana, Miss Canada 2019, Alyssa Boston, wore a giant weed leaf.

Miss Universe Canada costume
Miss Canada at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss Universe

Canada legalized recreational marijuana across the country in October 2018.

Miss Laos 2019, Vichitta Phonevilay, had perhaps the most elaborate costume of the night.

Miss Universe laos costume 3
Miss Laos at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss Universe

Phonevilay's costume was a giant mechanical elephant emblazoned with the phrase "Stop Fire Save Amazon," which represents the country's national animal while raising awareness for the wildfires that have been devastating the Amazon rainforest that year.

Miss Brazil 2019, Julia Horta, donned a glammed-out soccer uniform and golden wings.

Miss Universe Brazil costume
Miss Brazil at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss Universe

Her jersey is No. 10, to honor Brazilian soccer legend Marta, who led the team in that year's World Cup.

Horta also walked the runway with a banner reading "Stop Violence Against Women."

Miss British Virgin Islands 2019 Bria Smith's dress was an upside-down tree.

Miss Universe British Virgin Islands costume
Miss British Virgin Islands at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Alex Mertz/Miss Universe

According to Twitter, the dress had elements of the country's national tree and national flower. The British Virgin Islands' national tree is the white cedar tree (the bottom of the dress), and the national flower is the white cedar flower — aka the flowers that grow on the white cedar tree (the top of her dress).

Miss Chile 2019, Geraldine González, had an unusual accessory: a giant cherry.

Miss Universe Chile costume
Miss Chile at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss Universe

Chile is known for its cherries. Their season is from October to January, making Chilean cherries popular during the holiday season, especially due to their deep red color.

Miss Cambodia 2019, Somnang Alyna, said her costume was inspired by Princess Indra Devi, who lived in the 12th century.

Miss Universe Cambodia costume
Miss Cambodia at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss Universe

Alyna shared the inspiration on Instagram. Devi was thought to have been a "worthy military strategist," as well as a poet and professor.

Miss India 2019 Vartika Singh's costume is extremely elaborate.

Miss universe india costume 2019
Miss India at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss Universe

Singh's costume honored India's beautiful textile crafts.

Miss Malaysia 2019, Shweta Sekhon, balanced a full dinner table as part of her costume.

Miss universe malaysia costume 2019
Miss Malaysia wore a floral costume during the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Patrick Prather/Miss Universe

According to Heavy, the costume "weighs over 60 pounds and features a table of traditional Malaysian food called kuih-muih, including onde-onde, kuih talam, red eggs, ang ku kuih."

Miss Universe Thailand 2018, Sophida Kanchanarin, paid homage to her country's national animal, the elephant.

thailand elephant miss universe
Miss Thailand Sophida Kanchanarin displays her costume during Miss Universe National Costume Show in Chon Buri, Thailand Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Images

The Miss Universe pageant was held in Bangkok, Thailand two years ago.

Miss Universe India 2018, Nehal Chudasama, carried around a portable throne on her back.

miss india 2018 costume
Miss India Nehal Chudasama displays her costume during Miss Universe National Costume Show in Chon Buri, Thailand Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Images

The costume weighed 105 pounds.

Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2018 Kiara Ortega's costume featured three pairs of hands and a star headpiece.

miss puerto rico national costume miss universe
Miss Puerto Rico Kiara Ortega displays her costume during Miss Universe National Costume Show in Chon Buri, Thailand Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Images

Her costume was meant to represent the people of Puerto Rico rebounding after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Miss Universe Singapore 2018 Zahra Khanum's costume referenced the summit in Singapore between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and American president Donald Trump.

miss singapore national costume miss universe
Miss Singapore Zahra Khanum displays her costume during Miss Universe National Costume Show in Chon Buri, Thailand Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Images

The dress's designer said the dress represented "world peace," but the internet wasn't so sure.

Miss Universe Laos 2018, On-anong Homsombath, carried two additional figures with her.

miss laos miss universe
Miss Universe Laos 2018 On-anong Homsombath. Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Images

Homsombath was the second-ever representative from Laos at Miss Universe.

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady's Transformers-inspired costume made a statement.

miss usa
Miss USA Erin Brady presents her outfit, during the national costume show at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Beauties will compete for the title of Miss Universe in Moscow on Nov. 9. Pavel Golovkin/AP Images

The costume is a patriotic Optimus Prime.

Miss Brazil 2013, Jakelyne Oliveira, wore a cape that depicted indigenous peoples of Brazil.

miss brazil
Miss Brazil 2013 Jakelyne Oliveira. Pavel Golovkin/AP Images

There are indigenous tribes living in the wilds of Brazil's Amazon even today.

Miss Thailand 2015, Aniporn Chalermburanawong, rocked a dress inspired by a tuk tuk.

miss thailand 2016
Miss Thailand 2015 Aniporn Chalermburanawong. Sakchai Lalit/AP Images

A tuk tuk is the most famous symbol of transportation in Thailand. It's a three-wheeled motorized scooter/taxi hybrid with no windows or doors.

Htet Htet Htun, Miss Myanmar 2016, wore a costume depicting traditional Burmese puppetry.

miss myanmar
Miss Myanmar 2016 Htet Htet Htun. Erik De Castro/Reuters

Puppetry has been integral to Myanmarese culture for thousands of years, dating all the way back to the 15th century — and some legends date it even further back to the 11th century.

Miss Canada 2014, Chanel Beckenlehner, wore a hockey-inspired ensemble, complete with a scoreboard.

miss canada 2015
Miss Canada, Chanel Beckenlehner, poses for the judges wearing a hockey-themed costume during the national costume show at the 63rd annual Miss Universe Competition in Miami, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. J Pat Carter/AP Images

"Hockey is basically the heartbeat of Canada," said the costume's designer Alex Kavanagh to Sportsnet in 2015.

Miss Panama 2016 Keity Drennan's costume looked like a piece of art.

miss peru
Miss Panama Keity Drennan 2016. Erik De Castro/Reuters

The elaborate outfit featured two statues.

Miss Guyana 2016, Soyini Fraser, paid homage to her tropical country by wearing a palm tree-inspired headdress.

miss guyana
Miss Guyana 2016 Soyini Fraser. Erik De Castro/Reuters

Fraser didn't place in Miss Universe, but she did win Miss United Nations in 2012.

Miss USA 2014, Nia Sanchez, wasn't shy about her love for red, white, and blue.

miss usa 2016
Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez. J Pat Carter/AP Images

Having worked at Hong Kong Disney, Sanchez is no stranger to wearing costumes.

Miss Dominican Republic 2007, Massiel Taveras, shouldered two massive dolphins and a coral headpiece.

miss dominican republic
Miss Dominican Republic 2007 Massiel Taveras. Daniel Aguilar/Reuters

Dolphins are a frequent sight in the blue waters of the Dominican Republic.

Miss Sweden 2016, Ida Ovmar, paid homage to Swedish author Astrid Lindgren's creation Pippi Longstocking, complete with her own horse.

miss sweden
Miss Sweden 2016 Ida Ovmar. Erik De Castro/Reuters

"Pippi Longstocking" is one of the most well-known pieces of Swedish literature — or any literature.

Miss Vietnam 2016 Dang Thi Le Hang's costume resembled a lotus flower.

miss vietnam
Miss Vietnam 2016 Dang Thi Le Hang. Erik De Castro/Reuters

The lotus is Vietnam's national flower.

Miss Finland 2005, Hanna Poulsen (then Ek), channeled Elsa from "Frozen" eight years before it was released.

miss finland
Miss Finland 2005 Hanna Poulsen. Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters

Dressing up as Elsa is something even Kristen Bell, who voiced Elsa's "Frozen" counterpart, Anna, in the film, can relate to.

Zahra Redwood, Miss Jamaica Universe 2007, rocked Rasta-colored hair wraps and a Bob Marley shirt.

miss jamaica
Miss Jamaica Universe 2007 Zahra Redwood. Daniel Aguilar/Reuters

Redwood was the first Rastafarian to be crowned Miss Jamaica Universe: Rastafari is a religion founded in Jamaica in the 1930s drawing heavily from the Old Testament.

Miss China 2006, Ying Hui Gao, turned heads with this ornate costume.

miss china
Miss China 2006 Ying Hui Gao. Sam Mircovich/Reuters

Her ensemble was inspired by the costumes worn at the Chinese opera.

Avanti Marianne Page, Miss Universe Sri Lanka 2014, wore a vibrantly colored costume.

miss sri lanka
Miss Universe Sri Lanka 2014 Avanti Marianne Page. J Pat Carter/AP Images

Page's costume was inspired by Sri Lankan guard stones.

Miss Universe Greece 2007, Doukissa Nomikou, donned an outfit inspired by ancient Grecian armor.

miss greece
Miss Greece Doukissa Nomikou introduces herself, in her national costume, during a Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City May 20, 2007. Daniel Aguilar/Reuters

The Trojan War might've been an inspiration.

Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 2006, Kenisha Thom, turned into a butterfly.

miss trinidad and tobago
Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 2006 Kenisha Thom. Sam Mircovich/Reuters

Trinidad and Tobago — and Tobago specifically — have a lot of butterflies.

Miss St. Lucia Universe 2014 Roxanne Didier-Nicholas's costume was a modernized take on St. Lucia's national dress.

miss st lucia
Miss St. Lucia Universe 2014 Roxanne Didier-Nicholas. J Pat Carter/AP Images

The St. Lucia national dress is called the Madras.

Miss Universe Great Britain 2014, Grace Levy, wore a version of the Queen's Guard uniform.

miss great britain
Miss Universe Great Britain 2014 Grace Levy. J Pat Carter/AP Images

The Queen's Guard stands outside the Queen's official residences, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Miss Finland 2014 Bea Toivonen's costume was winter white, just like Finland's snow-covered land.

miss finland
Miss Finland 2014 Bea Toivonen. J Pat Carter/AP Images

The inspiration could also be from a swan: the national bird of Finland is the whooper swan.

Miss Universe Sierra Leone 2016, Hawa Kamara, was the first woman to represent her country at Miss Universe.

miss sierra leone
Miss Universe candidate from Sierra Leone Hawa Kamara competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. Erik De Castro/Reuters

According to MissUniverse.com, Kamara was born in Kono, the land of diamonds, and raised in Sierra Leone's capital of Freetown.

Miss Dominican Republic 2014, Kimberly Castillo, had the patron saint of the Dominican Republic on her dress.

miss dominican republic
Miss Dominican Republic 2014 Kimberly Castillo. J Pat Carter/AP Images

The patron saint of the Dominican Republic is Virgen de Altagracia.

Marina Jacoby, Miss Nicaragua 2016, channeled a peacock.

miss nicaragua
Miss Nicaragua 2016 Marina Jacoby. Erik De Castro/Reuters

You can see the bedazzled beak peaking out from the top of her outfit.

Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016, Brenda Jimenez, got to wear a crown no matter what.

miss puerto rico
Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 Brenda Jimenez. Erik De Castro/Reuters

Jimenez was chosen to represent Puerto Rico after the original titleholder was dethroned for not fulfilling her obligations.

Johanna Acs, Miss Universe Germany 2016, donned a castle headdress.

miss germany
Miss Universe Germany 2016 Johanna Acs. Erik De Castro/Reuters

The prop was meant to evoke the storybook castles that Germany is known for.

Miss Egypt 2007, Ehsan Hatem, channeled Cleopatra.

miss egypt
Miss Egypt Ehsan Hatem introduces herself in her national costume during the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City May 20, 2007. Daniel Aguilar/Reuters

Though this might be a modern twist on Cleopatra's actual garb, the last active Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt may have been around more recently than you think.

Miss Chile Universe 2005, Renata Ruiz, wore a vibrant headpiece, complete with an Easter Island statue on top.

miss venezuela
Miss Universe 2005 contestant Renata Ruiz of Chile models her outfit during the National Costume Show in Bangkok. Miss Universe 2005 contestant Renata Ruiz of Chile models her outfit during the National Costume show in Bangkok May 25, 2005. Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters

Easter Island is a Chilean territory. Its famous statues are called moai.

Miss Universe Japan 2006, Kurara Chibana, won the national costume show for her samurai-inspired garb.

miss japan
Miss Universe Japan 2006 Kurara Chibana. Sam Mircovich/Reuters

Her outfit came complete with a samurai sword.

Miss Honduras 2013 Diana Schoutsen's costume combined peacocks and traditional Mayan clothing.

miss honduras
Miss Honduras 2013 Diana Schoutsen. Pavel Golovkin/AP Images

One of the most famous Mayan ruins is located in western Honduras: the ancient city of Copan.

Miss Haiti Universe 2013 Mondiana Pierre's costume looked like it was inspired by the indigenous tribes of Haiti.

miss haiti
Miss Haiti Universe 2013 Mondiana Pierre. Pavel Golovkin/AP Images

Taíno people and their culture were thought to have disappeared after colonization and disease, but they're actually thriving.

Read the original article on Insider