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Miss Universe: an increasingly political contest

In addition to the beauty and the beauty pageant skills, statements in Miss Universe can influence politics .

Lola de los Santos Bicco, Bernadette Belle and Candy Thuzar

In the background, politics will always be present, the protagonists of these world-class events have a voice on the international stage that allows them to influence in an important way. Photos: IG-loladls19, IG-bernadettebelle, IG-thuzar_wintlwin

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: Miss Universo: un concurso cada vez más político

Why is it usually so important for countries to win the Soccer World Cup, the Olympic Games, the Eurovision Song Contest, get some Oscars, have drivers in Formula 1, cyclists in the Tour de France, awards in gastronomy or the next Miss Universe? The answer is simple: soft power .

The soft power and Miss Universe

Soft power is all those actions that do not require the use of force to influence international politics , this in contrast to hard power that does imply the use of military force or economic power in an aggressive way to influence to make an actor or country to do what you want. So culture, sports, entertainment, art, the media, advertising, etc. they are traditional examples of that 'influence'. That is why it is important for the countries of the world achievements in these areas.

Precisely, having the Miss Universe queen adds prestige to the country, since she becomes an ambassador not only for the organization, but also for the country she comes from . Without making much effort, the beauty queen will promote her nation in terms of tourism, investment and as a brand in general.

The voice of the woman who becomes Miss Universe will have a lot of weight in the world, for that reason the organization makes the winners sign various contracts that prevent them from breaking with the image that Miss Universe seeks . According to Peru 21, the contest takes total control over the new queen: the place where she will live, her clothes, her image, the events she will attend and how she will be managed at the public level, among other things. Breaking any rule of the organization can lead to the loss of the title. In 2017, Turkey's beauty queen Itir Esen lost her country's crown for a tweet in which she unfortunately compared the blood of her period with the one of the victims of a coup d'état a year earlier .

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Breaking the Miss Universe scheme

Some contest winners have broken the outlined scheme, either out of ignorance (like Miss Turkey) or because they really want to influence the political scene. An example has been the representative of Myanmar, Thuzar Wint Lwin, who used the Miss Universe 2021 scenario to ask them to pray for Myanmar , denouncing what is happening in her country, which is mired in the consequences of a coup and a long history of political and social problems. This small action generates a response from public opinion and the international community that exerts pressure on the rulers of the Asian country . In the same nation, the beauty queen Htar htet htet used her image to influence the conflict, announced that she joined the guerrillas to fight the coup and encouraged others to take up arms like her, according to information from Newscast.

The brand new Miss Universe 2021, the Mexican Andrea Meza, answered one of the questions in the contest with her strategy to combat the pandemic in her country, one of which has the highest number of deaths in the world. Meza's statement had great resonance in Mexican politics and increased criticism of the government's strategy during the pandemic and left AMLO in a bad position to the world .

In the same edition of the contest, held on USA soil, the representative of Singapore, Bernadette Belle Ong, wore a dress in the colors of her country with the phrase: "Stop Asian Hate" , the motto of the movement that seeks to stop the attacks against the Asian community in the United States. During the last year, there have been numerous hate crimes against people of Asian origin, blaming them for spreading Covid-19, which originated in China. Belle Ong added that her dress symbolizes "unity for all, social harmony in a multiracial, multicultural and interfaith country," according to People magazine.

Also that night, Miss Uruguay wore a dress to show her support for a cause. Lola de los Santos wore an outfit with the colors of the rainbow in support of the LGBT community , with this she asked to stop the hatred, rejection, violence and discrimination towards this community.