After a year without a competition due to the coronavirus pandemic, Andrea Meza of Mexico has officially been crowned Miss Universe.
Meza, who has a degree in software engineering, beat Miss Brazil at the end of the night, shouting on Sunday when the announcer shouted “Viva Mexico!” “
According to E! News, beauty queens from 74 countries and territories took part in the competition, but only 21 made it to the finals. There, Meza was faced with questions about beauty standards as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her latest round of statements, Miss Mexico was asked to address changing beauty standards around the world.
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“We live in an increasingly advanced society and as we have progressed as a society we have progressed with stereotypes,” she shared, according to the outlet. “Beauty is not just the way we look these days. For me, beauty radiates not only in our minds, but in our hearts and the way we conduct ourselves. Never allow someone to tell you that you have no value. “
Meza was also asked how she allegedly handled the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the show to cancel its 2020 competition.
“I think there is no perfect way to deal with this predicament like COVID-19,” she explained. “However, I believe what I would have done was create the lockdown before it even got so big because we’ve lost so many lives and can’t afford it. We have to take care of our people. That’s why I would have taken care of from the start. ”
The previous winner, Zozibini Tunzi, placed the crown on Meza’s head and waited to make sure she would stay in place as Meza radiated and made her first step to the front of the stage.
Tunzi, a public relations professional who became the first black woman from South Africa to win the competition, had held the title since December 2019.
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“I always knew my reign as Miss Universe would be like no other,” Tunzi said, passing the torch in a statement (via E! News). “While this is nothing like what I imagined for my year, this year has opened doors for me that I never could have imagined. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to connect virtually with people around the world and to elevate the causes that are most important to me. ”
The contest was hosted by Mario Lopez “Access Hollywood” and actor and model Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012. It was broadcast live from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood in Hollywood, Florida.
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Ahead of the contest, Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe organization, said she spent months planning a safe competition that followed similar guidelines to last November’s Miss USA 2020 contest in Memphis.
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The Miss Universe Pageant airs in more than 160 territories and countries around the world, including the United States on FYI and Telemundo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.