The 71st Miss Universe pageant was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Saturday.
The pageant was full of memorable moments, as contestants traveled from all over to compete.
A contestant couldn’t compete because she got sick, and another traveled for 48 hours to get there.
Miss Laos Payengxa Lor traveled 48 hours to make the Miss Universe competition.
During the broadcast, it was revealed that Miss Laos Payengxa Lor made the longest journey to Miss Universe, which took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, this year.
Lor’s 48-hour voyage included five layovers.
Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel had the shortest journey to the competition, driving four hours from her hometown in Texas.
Lor is the first Miss Laos to make the Miss Universe semifinals.
Lor’s long journey to the competition paid off. She was announced as one of the top 16 delegates, becoming the first Miss Laos in history to make the Miss Universe semifinals.
Lor is also the first Hmong woman to compete in the Miss Universe competition, according to her bio.
The pageant queen taught herself English and became an English teacher. She works as a motivational speaker, volunteers for underprivileged people, and has a silver medal in taekwondo.
Miss Norway Ida Hauan couldn’t compete in the Miss Universe finals.
Before the top 16 was announced, it was revealed that Miss Norway Ida Hauan couldn’t appear in the finals because she was ill.
The presenters did not offer more details.
Hauan became an electrician at the age of 16 and now works as a counselor for mental health and substance abuse. She also volunteers at an animal shelter.
The judges were introduced incorrectly.
At the top of the pageant, the hosts, Jeannie Mai-Jenkins and Olivia Culpo, introduced the selection committee who would ultimately crown the next Miss Universe.
But the pageant appeared to have a technical difficulty, as Mai-Jenkins and Culpo read biographies for people who didn’t appear on screen at the time they said them.
The members of the selection committee looked confused as the camera panned to them at the wrong time.
The 70th Miss Universe spoke out against the bullying she experienced after being crowned.
In a pre-recorded segment, former Miss Universe candidates discussed the cyberbullying they experienced after participating in the pageant, including the 2021 winner Harnaaz Sandhu.
Sandhu said she received vitriol online because she gained weight after she won the pageant, which she has discussed multiple times throughout her reign as Miss Universe. In an August 2022 conversation with People, she said she “broke down so many times” because of people’s comments about her appearance.
But she also told the outlet how she looks and perfection shouldn’t be the focus.
“We all are imperfect,” she told People. “We need to realize that there’s a point where we understand that we need to embrace our flaws and when you do that, you can conquer anything in this world.”
Miss Australia Monique Riley’s visa was approved just minutes before she took off.
Riley had a close call when he came to make the competition.
The pageant queen has a degree in creative industries with a focus in fashion and acting. She currently works as an actress and is in the midst of creating her own fashion line.
Riley became an advocate for self-defense training after it helped her through a terrifying personal encounter, according to her Miss Universe bio. Riley now runs boxing classes that teach young women how to protect themselves.
The newly crowned Miss Universe packed 15 suitcases for the pageant.
Competing as Miss USA, R’Bonney Gabriel, who was crowned Miss Universe during the pageant, packed 15 suitcases for the pageant, according to the organization.
Gabriel is a fashion designer, so it’s no surprise he was attentive to his wardrobe when he came to the pageant.
The Miss Universe pageant paid tribute to Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst, who died in January 2022.
The pageant community was shocked when news broke that Cheslie Kryst had died by suicide at the age of 30 on January 30, 2022.
During Saturday’s broadcast, the pageant memorialized Kryst with a moving video tribute. In a speech that followed, Kryst’s mother April Simpkins discussed her daughter’s struggle with high-functioning depression and encouraged viewers to check on their strongest friends.
“The Cheslie you saw didn’t always match the way she felt inside,” Simpkins said. “Just because someone tells you they’re fine, doesn’t mean they are.”
“We all need to listen when we check in on our strong friends. Create a safe space so they have room to share if they are challenged,” she added.
Simpkins also announced the Cheslie C. Kryst Memorial Fund for Mental Health, created in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
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