During the “national costume” segment of the annual competition, which concluded Sunday in Florida, the three contestants revealed messages alluding to anti-Asian hate, discrimination against LGBTQ communities and the ongoing political crisis in Myanmar.
Left to right: Miss Universe Bernadette Belle Ong, Miss Universe Myanmar Ma Thuzar Wint Lwin, Miss Universe Uruguay Lola de los Santos during the National Costume segment of Miss Universe 2021. Credit: Getty Images
In a one of the pageant’s most dramatic moments, Miss Universe Singapore, Bernadette Belle Ong, strode down the runway wearing an outfit inspired by the colors of Singapore’s national flag before turning to unveil a call to “Stop Asian Hate.”
Miss Universe Uruguay, Lola de los Santos, meanwhile showed support for LGBTQ communities with a rainbow outfit and skirt reading, “No more hate, violence, rejection, discrimination.”
Rather than using a costume to carry her message, Miss Universe Myanmar, Thuzar Wint Lwin, unveiled hers on a small scroll. Taking to the stage in an intricately beaded and embroidered outfit, she bowed to the audience before revealing a call for viewers to “pray” for her country.
Miss Universe Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong wears a Arwin Meriales x Paulo Pilapil Espinosa cape hand-painted with the hashtag “#StopAsianHate.” Credit: Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images
Ong’s glittery bodysuit, complete with puffed sleeves and thigh-high boots, was made by Filipino designers Arwin Meriales and Paulo Pilapil Espinosa in just two days, she wrote on Instagram.
Miss Universe Uruguay Lola de los Santos holds up her rainbow skirt in support of the LGBTQ+ community at Miss Universe 2021. Credit: Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images
Mexico’s contestant, Andrea Meza, was crowned as the overall winner of this year’s Miss Universe, which was held in Hollywood, Florida.