Miss Universe, swimwear, Ndavi Kokeri

Miss Bahrain, Evlin Khalifa walks onstage during The 71st Miss Universe Competition Preliminary Competition at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Image: Josh Brasted | AFP.

Miss Universe: Ladies stun in swimwear and national costumes

During the crucial preliminary rounds, contestants in the Miss Universe pageant paraded in swimsuits, burkinis and their national costumes.

Miss Universe, swimwear, Ndavi Kokeri

Miss Bahrain, Evlin Khalifa walks onstage during The 71st Miss Universe Competition Preliminary Competition at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Image: Josh Brasted | AFP.

Contestants representing 86 countries have arrived in Louisiana, in the United states for the 71st Miss Universe pageant.

Miss Universe is one of the longest-running and most-watched beauty competitions in the world; it is broadcast in 165 countries and seen by more than half a billion people annually, The National reports.

This coming weekend, fans will be glued to their screens all rooting for their favourite contestant.

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While the coronation night for Miss Universe 2022 will be held on Saturday (03:00 on Sunday, South African time), a crucial preliminary competition took place on Wednesday. , which will be followed by the colourful national costume competition.

During this preliminary competition, contestants paraded in their evening gowns, swimsuits and national costumes in front of the judges. The results will determine their scores and who makes it to the semifinal. The results of this round will be announced on the coronation night on Saturday, as per The National.


Probably one of the most controversial preliminary rounds has to be the swimsuit category.

And, although the swimsuit round is still part of this year’s competition, contestants are not obligated to wear them. Miss Universe Bahrain 2021, Manar Jess Deyani caused quite the stir at last year’s pageant when she appeared in fully covered sportswear for the swimwear round.

For this year’s preliminary round, Bahrain’s representative and Deyani’s successor Evlin Abdulla Khalifa was also modestly dressed and appeared in a pink burkini.

She paired her look with a customised cape with the message: “Arab Women should be represented. Muslim women can also become Miss Universe”.

Miss Universe
Bahrain’s representative Evlin Abdulla Khalifa looked gorgeous in a striking pink burkini. Image: @Miss Universe | YouTube

“Fortunately, the Miss Universe organisation respects our tradition and our culture so, of course, they allow us to be covered or not covered, which is what I really respect about this organisation,” Khalifa told The National earlier.

“There are a lot of factors why I decide to compete for the greatest competition of its kind, Miss Universe, but one of the major reasons is to break stereotypes,” Khalifa told The National following the preliminary competition.

“Arab women are kind, passionate and brave and they are ready to embrace the challenges of life. They can become beauty queens in modesty and can shine in modern pageantry.”

In a recent interview with Thai media, the new owner of the Miss Universe Organisation, media mogul Anne Jakrajutatip of Bangkok-based JKN Global Group said women should not be used as “sex symbols”.

Watch the live swimsuit and evening broadcast here:


South Africa’s own representative, Ndavi Nokeri, also did her country proud during the swimwear and evening gown preliminary round and stunned in a blue cut-out swimsuit and glittery gold dress.

Miss Universe, Ndavi Nokeri
Reigning Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri stunned in blue swimsuit with cutout details. Image: @Miss Universe | YouTube.

For the national costume round, she represented in a beautiful beaded dress paired with a beautiful bright pink flower head piece and a pair of wings.

“This year we wanted the national costume to have a distinctly African feel. We love the fact that Ndavi is proudly Tsonga. It is at the very core of who she is, and so part of the costume is inspired by her Tsonga culture and it is beautifully represented in the choice and use of fabrics,” Miss South Africa creative director Werner Wessels previously explained.

Watch the national costume round here:

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In 2022, the Miss Universe Organisation made the historic decision to change qualification rules for the first time in seven decades. According to an internal memo seen by The National, the organisation said it will allow married women and mothers to participate.

Previously, only single women, aged between 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children, could apply.

“We all believe that women should have agency over their lives and that a human’s personal decisions should not be a barrier to their success,” the memo said.

However, the new rules will not be applicable to the 14 January pageant, as many countries had already named their delegates when the decision was made. They will be effective for the 72nd Miss Universe contest, likely to be held later this year.

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