Andrea Meza of Mexico has been crowned Miss Universe for the year 2020, besting contestants from 73 other countries, including Miss India Adline Castelino, who came in fourth at the beauty pageant.
The 69th edition of the event, which was held on Sunday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood here, was a scaled-down affair in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The competition was postponed from late 2020 to May 2021 due to COVID-19.
According to the official Miss Universe website, the 26-year-old Meza was crowned by her predecessor Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa, who won the pageant in 2019.
When asked if she were the leader of her country, how she would have handled the pandemic, the Mexican contestant said there was “not a perfect way to handle this hard situation”.
“However, I believe that what I would have done is create a lockdown even before everything was that big. Because we lost so many lives and we can not afford that, we have to take care of our people. I would have taken care of them since the beginning,” Meza said in her response.
In her final statement, she was asked about her take on beauty standards.
“We live in a society that is more and more advanced… Nowadays, beauty is the only way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirit but in our hearts and the way that we conduct ourselves,” Meza added.
While Brazil”s Julia Gama, 28, emerged the runner-up at the contest, Janick Maceta (27) from Peru finished third.
India”s Castelino expressed her gratitude towards her country, which is battling a deadlier, second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, for support.
“Grateful for the love and support of the organisation and the country during such difficult times,” the 22-year-old model said in a statement.
Miss Diva Universe India also congratulated Castelino via its official Twitter page.
“India places 3rd Runner Up at @MissUniverse! Our hearts are filled with immense pride for our LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2020, @AdlineCastelino who has done such an exceptional job at the Miss Universe Pageant! We couldn”t have asked for a better representative than you,” the post read.
Singer Luis Fonsi of “Despacito” fame performed at the three-hour competition, hosted by Mario Lopez and Olivia Culpo.
This is the third Miss Universe victory for Mexico, with Ximena Navarrete and Lupita Jones being declared winners in 2010 and 1991, respectively.
The pageant was livestreamed on Voot Select in India and is currently available on the platform. PTI