- The national costume show gives Miss Universe contestants the chance to celebrate their countries.
- Three contestants from the 2021 competition used the show to make political statements.
- Miss Myanmar won the competition with her powerful outfit.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
But before the final night of the competition, the 74 Miss Universe contestants participated in the national costume show, where each contestant was able to wear an outfit that celebrates and honors their home country.
The Miss Universe candidates wore a myriad of daring outfits during the show, but three contestants took their ensembles to the next level by embedding political messages into them.
Miss Myanmar won the national costume show with a ‘Pray for Myanmar’ sign
Thuzar Wint Lwin, Miss Myanmar, addressed Myanmar’s political climate as she walked in the national costume show.
The country’s military overthrew its democracy and detained its leader in February, and it has used violence to quash protesters. The Myanmar military has killed over 700 protesters to date.
During the national costume show, Lwin, who has participated in protests and donated money to people who have lost family members in the protests, carried a sign that said “Pray for Myanmar” to bring awareness to the situation in her country.
“They are killing our people like animals,” Lwin told The New York Times. “Where is the humanity? We are helpless here.”
“The soldiers patrol the city every day and sometimes they set up roadblocks to harass the people coming through,” she also told The Times. “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.”
Her powerful costume led Lwin to win the national costume show – even though she wasn’t wearing the outfit she originally planned to sport for the competition because her luggage got lost on her way to the competition.
Lwin thinks she will be unsafe in Myanmar because of her actions, and she does not plan to return to her home country after the competition.
Miss Singapore and Miss Uruguay also wore political outfits
Lwin wasn’t the only Miss Universe contestant to make a political statement with her costume.
Miss Singapore, Bernadette Belle Ong, wore a sparkly leotard with a cape that read “Stop Asian Hate.”
“I wanted to make sure that representation for Asians will be brought to light, especially given the situation,” Ong, 26, told Insider, nodding to the uptick in violence against Asian Americans.
“It’s difficult now with the prejudice and the violence,” she went on to say. “I wanted to be able to shake up the movement by putting it in my dress.”
Similarly, Tania Lola De Los Santos, who represented Uruguay and identifies as a lesbian, celebrated her country’s LGBTQ community with her outfit.
Like Ong, De Los Santos wore a leotard with a cape. The rainbow cape read, “No more hate, violence, rejection, discrimination.”
“It’s important for me to use this platform for my message and not only to look beautiful,” De Los Santos told Insider.
“We need more equality, not more hate and discrimination,” she added.
You can see more looks from the Miss Universe national costume show here.