Andrea Meza from Mexico has been crowned Miss Universe 2020. Miss Brazil, Julia Gama, was the runner-up while Miss Peru, Janick Maceta Del Castillo, secured the third position, among 73 other women representing different countries.
Meza, a software engineer, clinched the title at the pageant that was held after a gap of a year due to covid-19. She was presented the crown by her predecessor Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States.
Meza – who has 40 cousins – is reportedly the third Mexican woman to ever win the crown, following Lupita Jones and Ximena Navarrete.
In the final round, 26-year-old Meza was asked to speak on the changing beauty standards. Responding, she said: “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.” “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,” she added.
FINAL STATEMENT: Mexico. #MISSUNIVERSE
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) May 17, 2021
The show began with a swimsuit segment, which was followed by an evening gown round and interview. Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi also graced the stage for a performance alongside the Top 5 contestants, reported People’s Magazine.
Meza was also asked how she would have handled the COVID pandemic if she was the leader of her country, and said she would have started a lockdown earlier.
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“I believe there is not a perfect way to handle this hard situation such as COVID-19,” she said. “However, I believe what I would have done is create the lockdown even before everything was that big because we lost so many lives and we cannot afford that. We have to take care of our people. That’s why I would have taken care of them since the beginning.”
According to her contestant biography, the Miss Universe 2020 is also an activist focused on women’s rights and works closely with the Municipal Institute for Women.
In March 2021, it was announced that the competition would be returning with a live broadcast after a number of safety precautions were put in place.
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“We have spent months planning and preparing safety precautions to develop this edition of Miss Universe — one that will be memorable, special and totally innovative,” the organization’s president, Paula M. Shugart, said at the time, reported People.com.