Let’s be frank here. The United Arab Emirates isn’t the first country that comes to mind when someone mentions human rights, let alone female rights. In fact, it’s probably on the bottom of most lists that have to do with human rights violations. But that doesn’t mean that things can’t change.
During the last few centuries, more and more Arab countries started fighting for various kinds of freedoms. For example, you might have noticed that Arabic women can now compete in beauty pageants such as the Miss Universe contest. So, let’s delve into this spectacular news and find out more, shall we?
It Took 70 Years
The fifties and sixties were quite some decades. Many changes were going on after the Second World War. Most of them were in the form of the so-called sexual revolution. One of the best examples of how bare skin and long legs became everyday topics in regular households was the first Miss Universe beauty pageant. It took place in 1952, and now, half the planet stops every year to witness the brand-new beauty queen.
Unfortunately, not all countries and cultures followed suit, let alone participated in this global event. The thought of seeing Arab women in a Miss U contest was outrageous for seventy years. Due to their regressive patriarchal cultures, backward politics, and community stigma, the Arab World wouldn’t include their beautiful women in any competition of this kind. However, the times are changing, and 2022 will see the first Arab competitor.
The Search for Delegate Is Led by a Filipino Team
So, after seventy years of no MU contest experience, who would lead the search for the most beautiful woman in the UAE? Sure, Arab men and women know their people the best, but that’s not enough. Other countries have more knowledge on how to win the Miss Universe pageant. The Filipino people know best, and their team will search on behalf of the UAE for their MU debut in Israel in 2022.
But who’s the leader of this Filipino team who’ll find the first delegate of the UAE to the Miss Universe? Moreover, who has the credibility to say which girls are prettier than others? Well, it’s Josh Yugen — a Filipino socialite and TV star. His task is to find that one girl that will overshadow all others with her unique Arab beauty in Israel. And with his celebrity experience, well, we don’t doubt that he’ll do one hell of a job.
In several interviews, Yugen mentioned how the winner would continue the tradition of these beauty pageants. In his words, the queen won’t be your regular beauty, with conventional curves and shallow phrases like world peace. The queen will break stereotypes. And to find the perfect one, Yugen will use help from two other Filipino socialites — designer Furne Amato and former MU winner Maggie Wilson.
Nevertheless, even if they will break traditions in choosing the UAE representative, there will be no swimsuits. This is the unfortunate reality of most Middle East countries. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The fact that there will be an Arab beauty in the Universe competition this year is a big step forward, and the rest will follow in due time. Well, at least that’s what we hope for, isn’t it?
Application Status of Candidates
But who can apply to be UAE representative? Well, it’s easy. Yugen’s idea was to ask the MU organization for an allowance to open up the search for non-Emirate-born residents. Luckily, their answer was yes. Girls can, therefore, be naturalized, and they’ll still be suitable to compete and dream big of becoming the crowned Miss Universe.
The best example of how big of news this is in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the fact that the website for applicants crashed during its initial launch. Of course, it wasn’t because there was something wrong with its digital background — it was logistics. No one could imagine that there would be so much public interest. The site’s 1 MB of application space was simply not enough for all the CVs coming in.
Yugen’s co-workers on this project, Amato and Wilson, won’t only be there to help him select the Arab representative. Moreover, their job is also to make sure that the coronation night goes as planned — all fancy and glamorous. Just like any other coronation, this event needs to fulfill the audience’s expectations. And in this particular case, it needs to exceed them, as it’s the first MU-related contest in the United Arab Emirates.
Yet, what will the show look like without swimsuits? Well, Yugen seems to think that it won’t bother anyone. Moreover, it was his decision not to include it. In his words, it’s a way of paying respect to local Arab culture. There’s no need to push things too far, at least not this time. The idea is that the community will soften down in the future and that we’ll see swimwear and more provocative outings from contestants with time.
Miss Universe Journey
By now, one might think that becoming Miss Universe is not that hard. You just need to be pretty and apply for your local beauty pageant. Well, that might work in romantic comedies from the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, but the real world is much different. To officially become the most beautiful woman in the world, contestants need to fulfill and work on the following.
- The future queen needs to be between the age of 17 and 27;
- She shouldn’t be married, pregnant, or have kids;
- Compete against other candidates in talent, beauty with purpose, and head-to-head rounds pre-finale;
- Be eligible to travel abroad;
- Not have a criminal record.
Of course, there’s yet another factor that one needs to accomplish before they can call themselves Miss Universe — luck. Although it might sound like a cliché, luck plays a major role in the outcome. Either way, we don’t doubt that the future contestant for Miss Universe from the UAE will rock the world of beauty pageants.