- Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin won the national costume contest at Miss Universe on Sunday.
- Lwin held up a “Pray for Myanmar” sign, addressing her country’s current political crisis.
- Myanmar’s military overthrew the country’s democracy in February, killing hundreds of protesters.
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Lwin held up a “Pray for Myanmar” sign as she walked the stage, addressing her country’s current political crisis.
The pageant queen has made it her mission to shine a spotlight on what is currently happening in Myanmar while she represents her country at Miss Universe, which is being held this year in Hollywood, Florida.
“They are killing our people like animals,” she told The New York Times. “Where is the humanity? We are helpless here.”
Myanmar’s military overthrew the country’s democracy in February and detained its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. More than 780 people have since been killed in protests across the region.
Lwin, 22, has joined in the protests and also donated her savings to people whose family members have been killed.
“The soldiers patrol the city every day and sometimes they set up roadblocks to harass the people coming through,” she said. “In some cases, they fire without hesitation. We are scared of our own soldiers. Whenever we see one, all we feel is anger and fear.”
Lwin does not believe she will be able to safely return to Myanmar after speaking out against the military during the competition. She does not know where she will go next.
The pageant queen has had a whirlwind of a week at Miss Universe. The suitcase that had all of Lwin’s outfits – including her original national costume – for the competition was lost by the airline. She had to borrow outfits from some contestants while the organizers helped her secure an evening gown.
People from Myanmar who lived in the US were also able to send Lwin a traditional dress to walk the stage for the national costume contest.