Miss Universe bets Myanmar, Singapore, Uruguay use pageant stage for resistance vs prejudice, violence

May 14, 2021 - 12:30 PM
Lola De los Santos, Miss Universe Uruguay 2020 on stage during the National Costume Show at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida on May 13, 2021. (Miss Universe Organization/Benjamin Askinas; Screenshot/Ko Zawye Kyawtun video; Instagram/bernadettebelle)

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?”

That’s what Miss Universe Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong said after donning a costume with a cape that has a strong message against Asian hate.

“My National Costume is inspired by Singapore’s National Flag — it symbolises unity for all and social harmony in a multi-racial, multi-cultural and inter-religious country,” Bernadette said.

“I wear my country proud and strong!” she added.

Like Bernadette, Miss Universe Uruguay’s Lola de los Santos Bicco also used the Miss Universe stage to stand up for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Lola’s black gown has a rainbow-colored part with the following statement:

“No more hate, violence, rejection, discrimination.”

Lola’s suit was created “in the hands of different artists and people who came together to give life to the most important message ‘I AM ME.’

She also said this costume was inspired by her story.

“This costume is inspired by my own story, a free young woman who decided to tell the world who she is, to be the light of those who, still oppressed by other people’s opinions, discrimination and violence, have not been able to scream for HER FREEDOM,” Lola’s translated message said.

On the other hand, after Miss Grand Myanmar Han Lay who took Myanmar’s democratic fight in the pageant scene, the ASEAN country’s bet to Miss Universe, Thuzar Wint Lwin nicknamed Candy Thuzar, also made a statement during the national costume competition.

READ: Beauty queen takes Myanmar’s democratic fight to international stage

After she showcased her Chin costume, Candy Thuzar raised a banner bearing “Pray for Myanmar.”

Candy Thuzar shared that she lost her original national costume.

“This is such a beautiful coincidence that I represented Hakha (Capital of Chin State) in Miss Universe Myanmar and now I had to wear the Chin costume again and represented Myanmar on Miss Universe stage,” the Myanmar beauty said.

“My official NC couldn’t make it here in time for some reasons. But with the help of Chin community here, I was able to get the Chin attire and did my best in NatCos competition,” she added.

Last March, model Han Lay pleaded for “urgent international help” Myanmar amid the crackdown by military rulers in her country.

This was two months after the generals overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government.

Meanwhile, the statement costumes at the Miss Universe pageant earned praises on social media. Pageant fans said the beauty queens are using their platform for good by raising awareness on humanitarian issues.

Miss Universe Organization said the National Costume Show “is an international tradition where contestants display an authentic costume of choice that best represents the culture of their home country.”