For the first time in its history, Miss Universe is updating its eligibility rule and making a huge change in its selection process by allowing married women and mothers to compete.
For the last 70 years, the pageant was only available to women who had never been married or had children, but now, both mothers and married women can enter the pageant.
The new rule will take affect during the 72nd Miss Universe pageant, which is set to take place in 2023.
‘We all believe that women should have agency over their lives and that a human’s personal decisions should not be a barrier to their success,’ an internal memo obtained by The National said.
For the first time in its history, Miss Universe is updating its eligibility rule by allowing married women and mothers to compete (Miss Universe 2020 pageant is pictured)
For the last 70 years, the pageant previously only available to women who had never been married or had children (Andrea Meza, Miss Universe 2020, is pictured)
The new rule will take affect for the 72nd Miss Universe pageant, which is set to take place in 2023 (The Miss Universe 2021 pageant is seen above)
Currently, the rule states that only non-married and women without children aged 18 to 28 are eligible to participate. Despite the new rule the age requirements will remain the same.
Josh Yugen, the national director of Miss Universe told The National: ‘The Miss Universe Organization is always the greatest and most innovative platform of its kind and now it will be more inclusive and welcoming to mothers and married women.
‘For me, this is aligned with what I have been fighting for — breaking stereotypes and unlearning the stigma that the old society has forced on us from many many decades ago.’
Andrea Meza, 27, who represented Mexico and was crowned Miss Universe in 2020, noted the new rule was long overdue.
‘I honestly love that this is happening,’ she said in an interview with Insider. ‘Just like society changes and women are now occupying leadership positions where in the past only men could.
‘It was about time pageants changed and opened up to women with families.’
Andrea added: ‘There are a lot of women that got married young or had kids in their early 20s and they always wanted to participate in Miss Universe but couldn’t because of the rules.
‘Now those women can start or boost their careers in entertainment because of these changes.’
Andrea Meza (pictured), 27, who represented Mexico and was crowned Miss Universe in 2020, noted the new rule was long overdue and told Insider it’s ‘incredible’
Hours after she was crowned Miss Universe, internet trolls resurfaced an old photo of Andrea posing in a white wedding gown and thought she was married, but it was part of a photoshoot
Furthermore, the rule affected Andrea personally, as just a few hours after she was crowned Miss Universe, internet trolls resurfaced an old photo that showed her posing in a white wedding gown alongside a man in a suit.
The photo was quickly spread around the web and reported to Miss Universe by pageant fans who claimed she had broken the rule and participated in the event while married.
However, Andrea quickly put to the rumors to rest when she announced the picture was from a photo shoot she did while working as a brand a brand ambassador for Chihuahua in Mexico – and that she was not, in fact, married.
After experiencing the hate that came along when fans thought she was married, Andrea had her own message for those who disapprove of Miss Universe’s new rule.
‘A few people are against these changes because they always wanted to see a single, beautiful woman who is available for a relationship,’ she said.
‘They always wanted to see a woman that from the outside looks so perfect that she’s almost unreachable. The former is sexist and the latter is unrealistic.’
And although she noted the industry was ‘demanding,’ she said it shouldn’t disqualify married woman or wives from competing in the pageant, with her adding that the new rule was ‘incredible.’
And this isn’t the first time the pageant has made history; in 2021 Manar Nadeem Deyani, 25, who represented Bahrian, made headlines when she walked in active wear during the swimsuit round.
Manar sported a fully-covered flowing activewear outfit during the round and received loud cheers from the crowds.
This isn’t the first time the pageant has made history; in 2021 Manar Deyani, 25, from Bahrian, made headlines when she walked in active wear during the swimsuit round
India Sandhu, 22, was crowned Miss Universe 2021 and was applauded one of her winning responses, which fans have been nodding towards as the new rule makes headlines
In an interview with The National at the time, Manar said: ‘Today I walked not just alone but with the millions of women who believe that in this generation the only standard of beauty should be the light that is sparkling from within.
‘Anyone can shine as long they have the heart to serve with purity, compassion and kindness.’
India Harnaaz Sandhu, 22, was crowned Miss Universe 2021 and was applauded for one of her winning responses, where she gave advice to the young women dealing with pressure of society, which fans have been nodding towards as the new rule makes headlines.
She stated: ‘I think the biggest pressure the youth today is facing is to believe in themselves; to know that you are unique and that [is] what makes you beautiful.
‘Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk [about] more important things that [are] happening worldwide.
‘I think this is what you need to understand. Come out and speak for yourself because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own. I believed in myself, and that’s why I’m standing here today.’