NEW YORK – The Miss Universe organization is updating its rules that will expand the pool of women eligible for the annual pageant.
Starting with the 72nd Miss Universe pageant, which will take place in 2023, married women and mothers will be allowed to compete, organizers have confirmed to FOX Television Stations.
Previous rules stated that candidates could not be married or pregnant and were required to remain celibate throughout their reign. The age bracket for the page, those between 18 and 28, will remain the same, a source close to the organization confirmed to the Director.
Andrea Meza, who was crowned Miss Universe 2020 while representing Mexico, welcomed the new law change.
“I really love that this is happening,” Meza told Insider. “As society changes and women are now occupying leadership positions where only men could in the past, it is time the pages are turned and opened to women with families.”
Miss Mexico Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe 2020 on stage at the 69th Miss Universe pageant at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on May 16, 2021, in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images)
“There are many women who are married young or who have children in their early 20s and they always want to participate in Miss Universe but they can’t because of the rules,” Meza continued. “Now these women can start or promote their careers in sports because of these changes.”
Contestants from 80 countries compete each year for the Miss Universe title, which is administered by the organization of the same name. The first pageant was held in 1952 in Long Beach, California, and was won by Armi Kuusela of Finland. Kuusela left his crown to get married just before his reign ended.
FILE – Miss Universe 1953, Armi Kuusela (Miss Finland) surrounded by her deputy: (from left to right) Miss Hong-Kong Judy Dan, Miss Hawaii Elsa Edsman, Miss Germany Renata Hoy and Miss Greece Daisy Mavraki, in Long Beach, California, May 29,
For the contestants to go to the Miss Universe pageant, there are certain steps that the women must complete. First, they must win their official state pageant in order to qualify for the Miss USA pageant.
Afterwards, the winner of Miss USA goes on to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant.
The Miss Universe Organization, which was owned by former President Donald Trump at one point, is currently owned by talent agency and entertainment company WME/IMG.
Meza, in his recent interview with Insider, called the previous rules of thumb for the page “sexist” and “inappropriate.”
“A few people are against these changes because they always want to see a beautiful woman looking for a relationship,” the 28-year-old told the outlet. “They always want to see a woman on the outside who looks perfect and almost unattainable. The former is sexual and the latter is true.”
Meza continued to note that the activities of Miss Universe throughout the year may be questionable, but that does not mean mothers and wives should not be allowed to compete.
“Just like in any other industry, women have the ability to demand leadership positions without or with family, it’s no different in this case,” he said.
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This story was reported from Cincinnati.