Social justice and politics took center stage at a Miss Universe pageant, where contestants unveiled their outfits, riddled with political messages.
Miss Universe contestant Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong wore a red and white outfit inspired by Singapore’s national flag, which featured the words, “Stop Asian Hate” written on the back.
“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence!” Ong wrote in an Instagram caption. “Thank you #MissUniverse for giving me this opportunity!!!”
Miss Uruguay Lola de los Santos sported a rainbow outfit in support of the LGBTQ community, which featured the words, “No more hate, violence, rejection, discrimination.”
“Many people comment ‘this is not a typical Uruguayan costume.’ My sisters and I proudly use this platform to leave a message to the world, to express problems,” De los Santos wrote in Spanish in an Instagram caption.
Miss Universe Uruguay Lola de los Santos. 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/RGhZQWLEPa
— @DCHomos (@DCHomos) May 17, 2021
Miss Universe contestant Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin unraveled a scroll while she was on stage, and held it above her head so that the audience could see it. The scroll read, “Pray for Myanmar.”
The message is in reference to protesters being killed by security forces in Myanmar, where demonstrations against the February military coup that ousted the nation’s top government officials are taking place.
In March, at least 114 protesters were killed by security forces. In April, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) — a Thailand-based human rights nonprofit organization — said Friday at least 43 children have been killed during the coup in Myanmar, 15 of them younger than age 16.
Lwin wrote in an Instagram caption that her dress is one of Myanmar’s ethnic costumes, “specifically attired by Chin women at traditional ceremonies.”
After the February military coup in Myanmar, Lwin participated in a protest, where she posted the photos to Instagram, writing, “For the heros that sacrificed their lives in the fight for the freedom of our people, we will not forget and we will not stop.”
“With the strength and motivation you have given us we will fight for our democracy,” Miss Myanmar added.