“I’m doing this for my country and the people who live there,” said Evlin Khalifa, the newly crowned Miss Universe Bahrain. Country.
Khalifa, a trained pianist and model born to a Russian mother and Bahraini father, is only the second beauty queen to represent the kingdom in the prestigious international pageant. He follows in the footsteps of Manar Deyani, who made history last year by participating for his country for the first time.
A true example of the Bahraini national scene, Khalifa is also blessed with beauty that transcends borders. It’s little wonder he was selected from 300 applicants.
“This is the best time of my life,” he said. “When I reached the crown, I felt very blessed, honored and very happy. I am very grateful for all the support and trust, and I feel that it is my birthday, but even better.”
Less than two days after being drafted, it is clear that he is still coming to terms with the impact this title will have on his life. “At the time my parents saw that they wanted to invite me, but I was busy in meetings and interviews. So, they talked to each other, greeted each other and my father told me, ‘ I know you will win, I am very proud of you.’ And my mother, she’s the happiest, because finally her daughter is where she should be. And I’m happy to see her happy.”
With the world now focused on him, Khalifa hopes to use his new platform to shine a light on his home country. “With great power comes great responsibility. Now I have this voice to speak about the women of Bahrain.
“I want to represent our country at the international level, because I’m really proud of my country,” he said.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain is the pearl of the Middle East, and although it is a small country, it is very strong. Here, the ancient traditions of the millennia combine with modern values, so it is a unique country. Even the nation of many nations, and is kind, kind, loving and very hospitable.”
Khalifa will now go on to compete in the 71st Miss Universe pageant, which will take place in early 2023, and where Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu, from India, will be crowned the winner.
While it is still early days, thoughts are already turning to how best to approach the final competition. “I am eager to work with the team, we will meet and make a strategy on how to win.”
Part of that strategy, he explained, is helping to promote local designers. While her final looks have yet to be chosen, she decided to use the occasion to showcase fashion talents from the Middle East. “I have thought about it, and it will be a design based in the Gulf… They are very talented and passionate and I would like the world to know more about them.”
The new title also gave Khalifa more opportunity to support causes he believed in. One is the Smile Train Group, which has been providing reconstructive surgery for children born with cleft lips and palates since 1999. The cause is “very close to my heart”. he said.
She also wants to be an inspiration to other Bahraini women. “Bahrain is my soul, my heart and I see many strong, passionate women, and I want the world to see their beauty and to know about them.
“I work as a model and I see every day women who have passion, purpose and their goals and it amazes me. Some of them are business women, some are ordinary workers, and I see how hard they work for their dreams, I really love them.”
Any issue of beauty pages raises the issue that, in 2022, some would argue a parade judging women solely on their physical characteristics is outdated. To these naysayers, Khalifa asked instead to dig a little deeper. “It’s not just a beauty pageant, it’s an exemplary and motivational competition where strong women stand up for their rights, their dreams and for others.
“These women are changing the world for the better. The Miss Universe platform is a great opportunity for women to raise their voices for advocacy, rights and beliefs. It is very important for humanity and I am honored to participate .”
Scroll through the gallery below to see the photos the first Miss Universe Bahrain
Update: September 13, 2022, 10:56 AM