eventy-four gorgeous women from different countries vied for the most coveted Miss Universe 2020 crown during the 69th staging of the prestigious competition held on Monday morning, May 17 (Manila Time), at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA.
After the thorough deliberation of the panel of judges during the preliminary rounds, comprised of the closed-door contestant interview, evening gown competition, and swimsuit competition, 21 contenders were chosen to move on to the semi-finals, which were divided into three groups.
Our very own bet Miss Philippines Rabiya Mateo made it to the Top 21, along with Miss Colombia Laura Olascuaga, Miss Peru Janick del Castillo, Miss Australia Maria Thattil, Miss France Amandine Petit, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, Miss Jamaica Miqueal-Symone Williams, Miss Mexico Andrea Meza, Miss Dominican Republic Kimberly Jimenez, Miss USA Asya Branch, Miss Indonesia Ayu Maulida, Miss Argentina Alina Luz Akselrad, Miss India Adline Castelino, Miss Curacao Chantal Wiertz, Miss Puerto Rico Estefanía Soto, Miss Brazil Julia Gama, Miss Great Britain Jeanette Akua, Miss Nicaragua Ana Marcelo, Miss Thailand Amanda Obdam, and Miss Costa Rica Ivonne Cerdas. Completing the list was fan favorite Miss Vietnam Khánh Vân Nguyễn, who raked in the highest number of online votes.
A proud teacher and staunch champion of education, the 24-year-old stunner from Iloilo expressed on her introduction video how it has paved the way for her to get into where she is at present and how she wishes for her students to value it the same way she did.
“I really had my humble beginnings and education had transformed my life. Now, I am a teacher and I hope that my students will see the value of education the way that I saw it,” she said.
Then she added, “I live in a country where there is a lot of poor families and education is our social equalizer regardless of what background we have or the status of your family. If you educate yourself, you will be able to land a great job.”
During the swimsuit parade, Rabiya sizzled in a yellow two-piece swimwear topped with a pink cover-up and strutted in a pair of silver high-heeled sandals designed by Jojo Bragais, who is this year’s shoe sponsor for the competition. She also opted to wear her long, smooth, and wavy hair down and enthralled us with her signature “Hala Bira” walk.
However, Rabiya wasn’t able to break into the Top 10, which was composed of Jamaica, Dominican Republic, India, Peru, Australia, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Brazil.
After stunning us in their shimmering evening gowns, it was Miss Peru, Miss India, Miss Mexico, Miss Dominican Republic who were able to make it to the finals, wherein they amazed us with their performances during the Question and Answer portion and their statements on the global issues they had picked on the last stretch of the pageant.
In the end, it was Miss Mexico Andrea Meza who took home the Miss Universe 2020 title and the Mouawad Power of Unity Crown relinquished to her by Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi.
Miss Brazil was named 1st runner-up, while the 2nd runner-up was Miss India. Landing on the 3rd runner-up spot was Miss India, while Miss Dominican Republic was the 4th runner-up.
The 69th Miss Universe was hosted by Mario Lopez and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, along with side analysts Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega, Miss Universe 2017 Demi Leigh Tebow, and Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst.
It was broadcast here in the Philippines live via satellite on A2Z Channel 11, with a primer hosted by Dyan Castillejo that started exactly at 7:30 AM. Joining her were Miss Universe 2013 third runner-up Ariella Arida and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray who gave their insights and reactions before and after the competition, as well as MJ Felipe who gave the latest updates straight from pageant venue.
Video Courtesy of “IMG Universe, LLC” The Miss Universe Organization