The wildest outfits in the history of Miss Universe's National Costume Show

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss India at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.
  • In honour of Miss Universe 2019, we’re taking a look back at all the best costumes from the National Costume Show – including this year’s.
  • The National Costume Show is a separate part of the pageant and doesn’t count towards contestants’ overall scores. It’s a chance for them to honour and celebrate their countries.
  • In the last decade, the costumes have become more elaborate, ornate, and, in some cases, a bit confusing.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A new Miss Universe has been crowned – but before she was announced, the contestants took part in the National Costume show on December 6.

In honour of (perhaps) the best part of the entire pageant, we’ve rounded up the most elaborate national costumes for your viewing pleasure. Whether you loved Miss Canada’s marijuana ensemble or Miss Malaysia’s portable buffet, there was probably something for you.

Keep scrolling for some of the best national costumes in Miss Universe history.


Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst channeled two American icons: the Statue of Liberty and Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality.”

Miss UniverseMiss USA Cheslie Kryst during the National Costume Contest.

Miss USA told the New York Post that her costume, which was designed by Martin Izquierdo, pays homage to Rosie the Riveter, Maya Angelou, Lady Justice, and the statue herself, Lady Liberty.

However, it also seems like a clear reference to 2000 film, “Miss Congeniality,” in which Sandra Bullock plays an FBI agent going undercover at a pageant. In one of the scenes, the pageant contestants all dress up as Lady Liberty, complete with torches and crowns.


Miss El Salvador 2019 Zuleika Soler walked the runway in a skirt depicting an El Salvadoran town.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss El Salvador at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

It included symbols of El Salvador, including the national bird, the Torogoz.


Miss Vietnam Hoàng Thùy paid homage to Vietnamese iced coffee with her costume.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniversePatrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss Vietnam at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

The headpiece is a phin filter, which is what Vietnamese people use to brew their famous coffee.


In honour of Canada’s recent nationwide legalization of marijuana, Miss Canada 2019 Alyssa Boston wore a giant weed leaf.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss Canada at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

Canada legalised recreational marijuana across the country in October 2018.


Miss Laos 2019 Vichitta Phonevilay had perhaps the most elaborate costume of the night.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss Laos at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

Phonevilay’s costume was a giant mechanical elephant emblazoned with the phrase “Stop Fire Save Amazon,” which represents the country’s national animal while raising awareness for the wildfires that have been devastating the Amazon rainforest this year.


Miss Brazil 2019 Julia Horta donned a glammed-out soccer uniform and golden wings.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss Brazil at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

Her jersey is No. 10, to honour Brazilian soccer legend Marta, who led the team in this year’s World Cup.

Horta also walked the runway with a banner reading “Stop Violence Against Women.”


Miss British Virgin Islands 2019 Bria Smith’s dress was an upside-down tree.

Alex Mertz/Miss UniverseMiss British Virgin Islands at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

According to Twitter, the dress had elements of the country’s national tree and national flower. The British Virgin Islands’ national tree is the white cedar tree (the bottom of the dress), and the national flower is the white cedar flower – aka the flowers that grow on the white cedar tree (the top of her dress).


Miss Chile 2019 Geraldine González had an unusual accessory: a giant cherry.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss Chile at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

Chile is known for its cherries. Their season is from October to January, making Chilean cherries popular during the holiday season, especially due to their deep red colour.


Miss Cambodia 2019 Somnang Alyna said her costume was inspired by Princess Indra Devi, who lived in the 12th century.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss Cambodia at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

Alyna shared the inspiration on Instagram. Devi was thought to have been a “worthy military strategist,” as well as a poet and professor.


Miss India 2019 Vartika Singh’s costume is extremely elaborate.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss India at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

Singh’s costume honoured India’s beautiful textile crafts.


Miss Malaysia 2019 Shweta Sekhon balanced a full dinner table as part of her costume.

Patrick Prather/Miss UniverseMiss Malaysia wore a floral costume during the 2019 Miss Universe pageant.

According to Heavy, the costume “weighs over 60 pounds and features a table of traditional Malaysian food called kuih-muih, including onde-onde, kuih talam, red eggs, ang ku kuih.”


Miss Universe Thailand 2018 Sophida Kanchanarin paid homage to her country’s national animal, the elephant.

Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP ImagesMiss Thailand Sophida Kanchanarin displays her costume during Miss Universe National Costume Show in Chon Buri, Thailand Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.

The Miss Universe pageant was held in Bangkok, Thailand last year.


Miss Universe India 2018 Nehal Chudasama carried around a portable throne on her back.

Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP ImagesMiss India Nehal Chudasama displays her costume during Miss Universe National Costume Show in Chon Buri, Thailand Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.

The costume weighs 105 pounds.


Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2018 Kiara Ortega’s costume featured three pairs of hands and a star headpiece.

Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP ImagesMiss Puerto Rico Kiara Ortega displays her costume during Miss Universe National Costume Show in Chon Buri, Thailand Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.

Her costume was meant to represent the people of Puerto Rico rebounding after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.


Miss Universe Singapore 2018 Zahra Khanum’s costume referenced the summit in Singapore between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and American president Donald Trump.

Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP ImagesMiss Singapore Zahra Khanum displays her costume during Miss Universe National Costume Show in Chon Buri, Thailand Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.

The dress’s designer said the dress represented “world peace,” but the internet wasn’t so sure.


Miss Universe Laos 2018 On-anong Homsombath carried two additional figures with her.

Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP ImagesMiss Universe Laos 2018 On-anong Homsombath.

Homsombath is the second-ever representative from Laos at Miss Universe.


Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady’s Transformers-inspired costume made a statement.

Pavel Golovkin/AP ImagesMiss USA Erin Brady presents her outfit, during the national costume show at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Beauties will compete for the title of Miss Universe in Moscow on Nov. 9.

The costume is a patriotic Optimus Prime.


Miss Brazil 2013 Jakelyne Oliveira wore a cape that depicted indigenous peoples of Brazil.

Pavel Golovkin/AP ImagesMiss Brazil 2013 Jakelyne Oliveira.

There are indigenous tribes living in the wilds of Brazil’s Amazon even today.


Miss Thailand 2015 Aniporn Chalermburanawong rocked a dress inspired by a tuk tuk.

Sakchai Lalit/AP ImagesMiss Thailand 2015 Aniporn Chalermburanawong.

A tuk tuk is the most famous symbol of transportation in Thailand. It’s a three-wheeled motorised scooter/taxi hybrid with no windows or doors.


Htet Htet Htun, Miss Myanmar 2016, wore a costume depicting traditional Burmese puppetry.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Myanmar 2016 Htet Htet Htun.

Puppetry has been integral to Myanmarese culture for thousands of years, dating all the way back to the 15th century – and some legends date it even further back to the 11th century.


Miss Canada 2014 Chanel Beckenlehner wore a hockey-inspired ensemble, complete with a scoreboard.

J Pat Carter/AP ImagesMiss Canada, Chanel Beckenlehner, poses for the judges wearing a hockey-themed costume during the national costume show at the 63rd annual Miss Universe Competition in Miami, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015.

“Hockey is basically the heartbeat of Canada,” said the costume’s designer Alex Kavanagh to Sportsnet in 2015.


Miss Panama 2016 Keity Drennan’s costume looked like a piece of art.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Panama Keity Drennan 2016.

The elaborate outfit featured two statues.


Miss Guyana 2016 Soyini Fraser paid homage to her tropical country by wearing a palm tree-inspired headdress.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Guyana 2016 Soyini Fraser.

Fraser didn’t place in Miss Universe, but she did win Miss United Nations in 2012.


Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez wasn’t shy about her love for red, white, and blue.

J Pat Carter/AP ImagesMiss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez.

Having worked at Hong Kong Disney, Sanchez is no stranger to wearing costumes.


Miss Dominican Republic 2007 Massiel Taveras shouldered two massive dolphins and a coral headpiece.

Daniel Aguilar/ReutersMiss Dominican Republic 2007 Massiel Taveras.

Dolphins are a frequent sight in the blue waters of the Dominican Republic.


Miss Sweden 2016 Ida Ovmar paid homage to Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s creation Pippi Longstocking, complete with her own horse.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Sweden 2016 Ida Ovmar.

“Pippi Longstocking” is one of the most well-known pieces of Swedish literature – or any literature.


Miss Vietnam 2016 Dang Thi Le Hang’s costume resembled a lotus flower.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Vietnam 2016 Dang Thi Le Hang.

The lotus is Vietnam’s national flower.


Miss Finland 2005 Hanna Poulsen (then Ek) channeled Elsa from “Frozen” eight years before it was released.

Chaiwat Subprasom/ReutersMiss Finland 2005 Hanna Poulsen.

Dressing up as Elsa is something even Kristen Bell, who voiced Elsa’s “Frozen” counterpart, Anna, in the film, can relate to.


Zahra Redwood, Miss Jamaica Universe 2007, rocked Rasta-coloured hair wraps and a Bob Marley shirt.

Daniel Aguilar/ReutersMiss Jamaica Universe 2007 Zahra Redwood.

Redwood was the first Rastafarian to be crowned Miss Jamaica Universe: Rastafari is a religion founded in Jamaica in the 1930s drawing heavily from the Old Testament.


Miss China 2006 Ying Hui Gao turned heads with this ornate costume.

Sam Mircovich/ReutersMiss China 2006 Ying Hui Gao.

Her ensemble was inspired by the costumes worn at the Chinese opera.


Avanti Marianne Page, Miss Universe Sri Lanka 2014, wore a vibrantly-coloured costume.

J Pat Carter/AP ImagesMiss Universe Sri Lanka 2014 Avanti Marianne Page.

Page’s costume was inspired by Sri Lankan guard stones.


Miss Universe Greece 2007 Doukissa Nomikou donned an outfit inspired by ancient Grecian armour.

Daniel Aguilar/ReutersMiss Greece Doukissa Nomikou introduces herself, in her national costume, during a Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City May 20, 2007.

The Trojan War might’ve been an inspiration.


Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 2006 Kenisha Thom turned into a butterfly.

Sam Mircovich/ReutersMiss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 2006 Kenisha Thom.

Trinidad and Tobago – and Tobago specifically – have a lot of butterflies.


Miss St. Lucia Universe 2014 Roxanne Didier-Nicholas’s costume was a modernised take on St. Lucia’s national dress.

J Pat Carter/AP ImagesMiss St. Lucia Universe 2014 Roxanne Didier-Nicholas.

The St. Lucia national dress is called the Madras.


Miss Universe Great Britain 2014 Grace Levy wore a version of the Queen’s Guard uniform.

J Pat Carter/AP ImagesMiss Universe Great Britain 2014 Grace Levy.

The Queen’s Guard stands outside the Queen’s official residences, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.


Miss Finland 2014 Bea Toivonen’s costume was winter white, just like Finland’s snow-covered land.

J Pat Carter/AP ImagesMiss Finland 2014 Bea Toivonen.

The inspiration could also be from a swan: the national bird of Finland is the whooper swan.


Miss Universe Sierra Leone 2016 Hawa Kamara was the first woman to represent her country at Miss Universe.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Universe candidate from Sierra Leone Hawa Kamara competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017.

According to MissUniverse.com, Kamara was born in Kono, the land of diamonds, and raised in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown.


Miss Dominican Republic 2014 Kimberly Castillo had the patron saint of the Dominican Republic on her dress.

J Pat Carter/AP ImagesMiss Dominican Republic 2014 Kimberly Castillo.

The patron saint of the Dominican Republic is Virgen de Altagracia.


Marina Jacoby, Miss Nicaragua 2016, channeled a peacock.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Nicaragua 2016 Marina Jacoby.

You can see the bedazzled beak peaking out from the top of her outfit.


Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 Brenda Jimenez got to wear a crown no matter what.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 Brenda Jimenez.

Jimenez was chosen to represent Puerto Rico after the original titleholder was dethroned for not fulfilling her obligations.


Johanna Acs, Miss Universe Germany 2016, donned a castle headdress.

Erik De Castro/ReutersMiss Universe Germany 2016 Johanna Acs.

The prop was meant to evoke the storybook castles that Germany is known for.


Miss Egypt 2007 Ehsan Hatem channeled Cleopatra.

Daniel Aguilar/ReutersMiss Egypt Ehsan Hatem introduces herself in her national costume during the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City May 20, 2007.

Though this might be a modern twist on Cleopatra’s actual garb, the last active Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt may have been around more recently than you think.


Miss Chile Universe 2005 Renata Ruiz wore a vibrant headpiece, complete with an Easter Island statue on top.

Chaiwat Subprasom/ReutersMiss Universe 2005 contestant Renata Ruiz of Chile models her outfit during the National Costume Show in Bangkok. Miss Universe 2005 contestant Renata Ruiz of Chile models her outfit during the National Costume show in Bangkok May 25, 2005.

Easter Island is a Chilean territory. Its famous statues are called moai.


Miss Universe Japan 2006, Kurara Chibana, won the national costume show for her samurai-inspired garb.

Sam Mircovich/ReutersMiss Universe Japan 2006 Kurara Chibana.

Her outfit came complete with a samurai sword.


Miss Honduras 2013 Diana Schoutsen’s costume combined peacocks and traditional Mayan clothing.

Pavel Golovkin/AP ImagesMiss Honduras 2013 Diana Schoutsen.

One of the most famous Mayan ruins is located in western Honduras: the ancient city of Copan.


Miss Haiti Universe 2013 Mondiana Pierre’s costume looked like it was inspired by the indigenous tribes of Haiti.

Pavel Golovkin/AP ImagesMiss Haiti Universe 2013 Mondiana Pierre.

Taíno people and their culture were thought to have disappeared after colonisation and disease, but they’re actually thriving.

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