IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Miss Universe contestants use fashion to send impactful messages

The contestants from Myanmar, Uruguay and Singapore used their time in the spotlight to express political statements.
Miss Universe contestants from from Singapore, Myanmar and Uruguay used their platforms in the pageant to send powerful statements.
Miss Universe contestants from from Singapore, Myanmar and Uruguay used their platforms in the pageant to send powerful statements.Getty Images
/ Source: Reuters

Miss Mexico Andrea Meza may have been crowned Miss Universe on Sunday night, but three other contestants are also being remembered for the bold political statements they made onstage over the course of the competition.

Myanmar's Miss Universe contestant, Thuzar Wint Lwin, used the pageant to urge the world to speak out against the military junta, whose security forces have killed hundreds of opponents since it seized power in a Feb. 1 coup.

"Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day," she said in a video message for the competition, where she was appearing in the finals at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

"I would like to urge everyone to speak about Myanmar. As Miss Universe Myanmar since the coup, I have been speaking out as much as I can," she said.

Thuzar Wint Lwin is among dozens of Myanmar celebrities, actors, social media influencers and sports people who have voiced opposition to the coup, in which elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown and detained.

Myanmar's Miss Universe contestant, Thuzar Wint Lwin, appeared onstage with a "Pray for Myanmar" sign.Rodrigo Varela / Getty Images

At least 790 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group. It says over 5,000 people have been arrested, with some 4,000 still detained, including several celebrities.

Thuzar Wint Lwin did not make it to the last round of the Miss Universe competition, but she won the best national costume portion, which took place Thursday. Her look was based on the ethnic costume of her Chin people from northwestern Myanmar, where fighting has raged in recent days between the army and anti-junta militia fighters.

As she paraded with her national costume, she held up a placard that said "Pray for Myanmar."

Singapore's competitor, Bernadette Belle Ong, wore a cape with the message "Stop Asian hate."Rodrigo Varela / Getty Images

Also during the national costume competition, Singapore's competitor, Bernadette Belle Ong, wore a red and white ensemble, inspired by the colors of her nation's flag, with a cape decorated with the words, "Stop Asian hate."

"What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence!" she wrote alongside a picture of the outfit on Instagram. "My National Costume ... symbolises unity for all and social harmony in a multi-racial, multi-cultural and inter-religious country."

A look by Miss Uruguay Lola de los Santos made a statement about LGBTQ equality.Rodrigo Varela / Getty Images

And Miss Uruguay, Lola de los Santos, accessorized her black bodysuit with a rainbow skirt reading, "No more hate, violence, rejection, discrimination." She has often posted about issues of LGBTQ equality on social media and was also a judge at Miss Trans Star Uruguay.