Harnaaz Sandhu, a girl from India. She was crowned as the 70th Miss Universe on Sunday. She made the whole nation feel proud of her, topping a field of some 80 contestants in a pageant that was touched by politics and pandemic. The previously regnant Miss Universe Andrea Meza of Mexico crowned her descendent, a Bollywood actress, in the Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat. The pageant was held in the middle of the night, wrapping up at 5 a.m local time which is 10 p.m according to the EST which was to accommodate the primetime schedule in the U.S.
This procession included traditional displays of national costumes, swimwear, and a series of interview questions. This round of interview questions was to test contestants’ public speaking skills. The top 10 showed off intricately bedazzled full-length gowns in either gold, silver, or bronze color. The Philippines’ Beatrice Luigi Gomez wore an asymmetrical cut dress which was with one sleeve; highlighting a new tattoo she said: “celebrates her womanhood.”
A crucial Palestinian-led spurn had urged contestants to skip the event to protest Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country with close ties to the Palestinians, was the only one who did not send a representative, citing the global COVID-19 situation. The South African government, which also strongly supports the Palestinian, due to that they withdrew support for the country’s representative over her participation in this pageant.
In Last month’s interview, Meza urged contestants to leave politics out of the pageant. Also, she said that the gathering was meant to bring together women from different backgrounds. She also reported to The Associated Press at the time. “When you are in there you forget about politics, about your religion.”
Sara Salansky, who is an official with the Israeli Tourism Ministry, reported that the country was selected to host the contest earlier this year which was because of Israel’s successful Coronavirus vaccination program. The contest abided by a last-minute mishap with the arrival of the omicron variant. Due to that Israel was forced to close its borders to foreign tourists late last month.
Most of the contestants who participated in Miss Universe were already in the country before the new regulations came into effect. But those who were not there or came afterward were given special permission to enter, albeit. And with a mandatory 72-hour quarantine period which the contestants have to fulfill. Throughout the run-up to Sunday’s contest, all contestants were tested for the Coronavirus every 48 hours and required to obey strict mask requirements. Amid all the safeguards, France’s contestant, Clemence Bottino, tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving in Israel. After 10 days in quarantine, she was declared virus-free last week and allowed to rejoin the competition. Last year’s pageant was delayed due to the pandemic before Meza was crowned in May for her abbreviated tenure. The complete contest was hosted by U.S. TV personality Steve Harvey. Also, the organizers said that the pageant was expected to reach an estimated 600 million viewers via the Fox network in 172 countries.