Miss Mexico Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe 2021 on Sunday a year after the 2020 pageant was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 26-year-old model-software engineer – who was crowned by 2019 titleholder Zozibini Tunzi – reacted to her triumph on Instagram: ‘MISS UNIVERSE IS MÉXICO!’, and later: ‘MÉXICO ESTO ES PARA TI,’ which translates as ‘Mexico is for you’.
For the grand finale, Andrea dazzled in a flaming red-fringed gown designed by Ivis Lenin to accept the honor onstage Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.
Meza – who has 40 cousins and wowed judges in a hot pink mini dress, a yellow bikini and Aztec dragon national costume – is reportedly the third Mexican woman to ever win the crown, following Lupita Jones and Ximena Navarrete.
Congrats! Miss Mexicana Universal Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe 2021 on Sunday a year after the 2020 pageant was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic
The 26-year-old model-software engineer – who was crowned by 2019 titleholder Zozibini Tunzi (R) – reacted to her triumph on Instagram: ‘MISS UNIVERSE IS MÉXICO!’
The Autonomous University of Chihuahua grad managed to beat out 73 other contestants for the title of Miss Universe at the 69th annual beauty competition, including Miss Brazil Julia Gama – who came in as runner up – and Miss Peru Janick Maceta Del Castillo, who came in third place.
‘I am so honored to have been selected among the 73 other amazing women I stood with tonight,’ Meza said in a press release from the Miss Universe Organization.
‘It is a dream come true to wear the Miss Universe crown, and I hope to serve the world through my advocacy for equality in the year to come and beyond.’
‘We live in a society that more and more is more than advanced, and as we advance as a society, we’ve also advanced with stereotypes,’ she said in her final statement during the pageant
‘Nowadays beauty isn’t only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirit, but in our hearts and the way that we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you that you’re not valuable.’
The model and makeup-artist, who is from Chihuahua City, is also an activist, and ‘works closely with the Municipal Institute for Women, which aims to end gender-based violence.’
She additionally serves as the official Tourism Brand Ambassador for her hometown.
The FYI-broadcast ceremony was hosted by 2012 titleholder Olivia Culpo and Saved by the Bell star Mario Lopez, and it featured a special performance by Luis Fonsi.
During the Q&A round with four other contestants, Andrea was asked about beauty standards in the fast-evolving age of technology.
‘We live in a society that more and more is more advanced and as we have advanced as a society, we have advanced with stereotypes,’ Meza explained through a translator.
‘Nowadays, beauty is not only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirits, but in our hearts and the way we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you that you are not valuable.’
The 6ft vegan – who reportedly has Chinese ancestry – also explained how she would have handled the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I believe that what I would have done was create the lockdown even before everything was that big,’ Andrea stated.
‘Because we lost so many lives and we cannot afford that. We have to take care of our people. That’s why I would have taken care of them since the beginning.’
And while Miss America ditched their swimsuit competition in 2018, the women competing for Miss Universe were still required to strut their stuff in a bikini.
Meza donned three very different dresses throughout the competition including a hot-pink mini and a beige halter gown with a thigh-high slit.
Miss Mexico 2017 also represented her country by wearing a national costume of an Aztec dragon featuring thousands of beads and colorful feathers.
Other contestants standing out in their national costumes included Singapore’s Bernadette Belle Ong who wore a cape emblazoned with ‘Stop Asian Hate.’
Taking to her Instagram, she penned: ‘This year’s national costume is inspired by the Singapore flag. The red of the flag represents universal fellowship, and white purity.’
‘These ideals ring true not just for Singapore but also at an international competition like Miss Universe that brings women together to empower each other and address important issues. #stopasianhate.’
She continued: ‘Our peaceful social fabric is built on respect for all races, languages and religions. We stand tall and raise our voice for democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. This is what makes Singapore thrive as a multicultural, inter-religious nation.’
Also sending a message was Uruguay’s Lola de los Santos Biccò, who fanned out her rainbow-colored cape to reveal the phrase: ‘No more hate, violence, rejection, discrimination.’
Myanmar’s Thuzar Wint Lwin literally held a sign up asking for ‘Prayers for Myanmar’ in reaction to the unrest in the Asian nation since the military carried out a putsch on February 1, disputing the results of an election that resulted in a pro-democracy party winning power.
Across Myanmar, citizens have been pushing back against the ruling junta, staging massive demonstrations which have been met with violence by the military and led to the deaths of hundreds so far.
Other memorable performances included Miss Philippines Rabiya Mateo, who stood out in a pair of red and blue wings and three stars which represented the colours and symbols of her country’s flag.
The three stars in the Philippine flag represent the country’s main island groups which are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Wearing her dark hair loose and wavy, Rabiya completed her eye-catching ensemble with a pair of mismatched but colour-coordinated heels.
Miss Bahamas Shauntae-Ashleigh Miller, who placed as first runner-up in 2018, also made sure she was one to be seen in her glitzy air hostess-inspired outfit – complete with a plane attached to her back.