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Rabiya Mateo Ends Miss Universe Journey At Top 21, Mexico’s Andrea Meza Crowned As The New Winner

Rabiya Mateo ended Miss Universe journey as a semi-finalist

The news is out, but we’re still proud of her, nonetheless: the Philippines’ Rabiya Mateo ended her Miss Universe journey at the beauty pageant’s Top 21 semi-finalists. 

After months of anticipation, the 69th Miss Universe competition, held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, USA on 16th May, crowned its new ambassadress, Mexico’s Andrea Meza. She wowed the crowd with her stunning red gown and stand on handling COVID-19 and changing beauty standards.

Mateo graced the stage with a yellow swimsuit

Rabiya Mateo Miss UniverseImage credit: Being Ivan, Being Ivan  

As part of the Top 21, Mateo was able to showcase her Halabira” walk, characterized by the swinging of her hips, on stage while wearing a bright yellow swimsuit. 

The other countries that landed a spot in the Top 21 were: Colombia, Peru, Australia, France, Myanmar, Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican Republic, the USA, Indonesia, Argentina, India, Curacao, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Great Britain, Nicaragua, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Vietnam.

Miss Myanmar won the Best in National Costume award

Miss Universe Rabiya Mateo - Myanmar National Costume
Image credit: Missosology 

Myanmar’s bet, Thuzar Wint Lwin, who had worn a traditional Burmese dress with woven fabric and beads with a banner that says “Pray for Myanmar,” bagged the Best National Costume award.

Thailand and India were the Asian countries in the Top 10

Miss Universe Rabiya Mateo - Top 10 India’s Adline Castelino, Brazil’s Julia Gama
Image credit: Being Ivan

The beauty queens in the Top 10, hailing from  Jamaica, Dominican Republic, India, Peru, Australia, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Brazil, proceeded through the competition with their evening gowns.

Latin American queens dominated the Top 5

Miss Universe Rabiya Mateo - Top 5
69th Miss Universe’s Top 5
Image credit: Being Ivan 

The competition narrowed down its Top 5, dominated by beauty queens from Latin American countries. Here, we saw Mexico’s Andrea Meza, India’s Adline Castelino, Brazil’s Julia Gama, Dominican Republic’s Kimberly Jimenez, and Peru’s Janick Maceta taking on the judges’ Q&A questions.

Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned as the new Miss Universe

Miss Universe Rabiya Mateo - Mexico
Image credit: @andreamezamx 

At the crowning moment, Dominican Republic’s Kimberly Jimenez placed 4th runner-up, followed by India’s Adline Castelino, the 3rd runner-up. Peru’s Janick Maceta was named as the 2nd runner-up, Brazil’s Julia Gama as 1st, and Mexico’s Andrea Meza won the 69th Miss Universe crown. Her predecessor, Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa, was there to hand over the crown. 

Meza answered a question about handling COVID-19

Meza strutted the stage with a yellow swimsuit during the swimsuit competition and a red gown during the evening gown competition. In the question and answer portion, Miss Universe 1997 Brook Lee asked her how she would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic if she were the leader of her country.

Miss Universe Rabiya Mateo - Mexico Costume
Meza wearing her national costume
Image credit: @andreamezamx 

Emphasizing that there’s no perfect way to handle COVID-19, she responded that she would have enforced a lockdown at the onset of the pandemic.

“I believe there’s not a perfect way to handle this harsh situation, such as COVID-19. However, I believe that what I would have done was create the lockdown before everything was that big. 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,” Meza responded.

She finished with a statement about beauty standards

Miss Universe Rabiya Mateo - Meza final statement
Meza during her final statement
Image credit: Being Ivan 

In her final statement, Meza made a stand about our changing beauty standards. She emphasized what being beautiful is, that it’s about more than the way we look. 

“We live in a society that’s more and more advanced, and as we advance as a society, we’ve also advanced with stereotypes. 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 aren’t valuable,” Meza said.

69th Miss Universe

Mateo may not have won the crown, but all her hard work to represent the Philippine flag at such a global event is already a feat in itself. 

Congratulations to Mexico’s Andrea Meza and we wish her all the best as she begins her Miss Universe journey!

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Cover image adapted from: Being Ivan and @andreamezamx