Dubai Diaries: Why I'm excited for Miss Universe UAE

Dubai - As someone who grew up in Dubai watching pageants on television, I was full of admiration for the amazing participants.


Enid Grace Parker

Published: Tue 12 Oct 2021, 12:59 PM

With the announcement that Dubai will be hosting the first Miss Universe UAE, the emirate has taken one more groundbreaking step in the field of entertainment.

Beauty pageants have received a lot of flak over the years. Among the criticisms that have been levelled at these contests is that they objectify women and promote impossible beauty standards and body image.

While these concerns are no doubt valid, takeaways from pageants are always subjective; as someone who grew up in Dubai watching Miss Universe and Miss World events on television, I was full of admiration for the energy, the confidence, the charm and the ambition of the amazing women who participated in them.

For days after, I would feel on top of the world (or universe, as the case may be) - channelling all the good vibes I picked up, feeling as if the world was my catwalk and the universe my kingdom, even though I was clad in old jeans and sneakers, not stilettos and a gown.

And that’s why the pageant fan-girl in me is super excited about the upcoming Miss Universe UAE event.

Apart from the glitz of the contests themselves, we are often impacted by stories of what pageant winners went on to accomplish in life.

Did you know the first woman to hold the Miss Universe title, Finland’s Armi Kuusela, was heavily involved in cancer research? It was among many interesting bits of trivia that popped up when I was researching the Miss Universe pageant, which dates all the way back to 1952.

Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo, said in a City Times interview ahead of a visit to Dubai in 2018: “I think that everybody has a responsibility to give back, whether you’re a celebrity or not, and I do admire people who are celebrities who use their fame and their platform to do good.”

Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 1994, inspired us all and made an important statement as far as empowerment is concerned when she adopted two girls and raised them as a single mother in India. She’s also been involved in charity work for children. in a 2014 Deccan Chronicle interview, she commented, “Educating the girl child falls in my list of priorities.”

Sometimes, a pageant winner can turn into a role model for countless other young women. South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe in 2019, the first black woman from her country to win the title. She had said at the time, “May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine.”

After watching such amazing women take the stage over the years, we’re sure the Miss Universe UAE event will be nothing short of spectacular. With so many nationalities residing in the country, the pageant will no doubt be one that celebrates multi-culturalism and diversity as well as gives young women from all backgrounds a chance to shine.

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