This year’s Miss Universe will be a pageant of firsts. The 72nd edition of the international beauty pageant will feature two transgender women, two mothers and one plus-sized model aiming for the crown.
In fact, the inclusion of Miss Nepal -- Jane Dipika Garrett – as the first plus-sized model to compete in Miss Universe was not without controversy, reported Marca. This despite the fact that Garrett, 22, emerged as a crowd favourite during the preliminaries held on Wednesday, November 15 in El Salvador as she walked the runway.
Garrett, who is part American, describes herself as an advocate of body positivity. “As a curvy woman who doesn’t follow certain beauty standards, I’m here to represent all women,” she told Hola magazine in an interview.
Her inclusion in the world’s most famous beauty contest will be a win for body positivity and representation, especially as the Miss Nepal winner has struggled with body image issues in the past. “A few years ago, I was a very insecure person and had very low self-esteem. Now, I love myself, and that’s success to me,” she told Hola.
“As a curvy woman who doesn’t follow certain beauty standards, I’m here to represent all women,” Garrett said. “I think there’s not one way to be beautiful, every woman is beautiful just as they are.”
Garrett is not the only one who will make history at the pageant - Miss Portugal Marina Machete and Miss Netherlands Rikkie Kolle will be the first trans women to compete in Miss Universe. Meanwhile, Miss Guatemala Michelle Cohn and Miss Camila Avella will mark the first time that married women and mothers will be allowed to compete.
The Miss Universe finale will take place on November 18.