One of the most crucial parts of any beauty pageant has got to be the Q&A portion—and the recent one which happened earlier at the 69th Miss Universe, was just as exciting.
The Top 5 contenders Mexico, India, Brazil, Dominican Republic, and Peru answered the judges' questions about some of today's pressing issues: COVID-19, domestic abuse, women equality, and leadership. Read the transcript below.
Q: If you were the leader of our country, how would you have you handled the COVID-19 pandemic?
Miss Universe Mexico Andrea Meza: "I believe there's not a perfect way to handle this situation such as COVID-19. However, I believe that what I would have done was create the lockdown even 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've taken care of them since the beginning."
Q: Should countries lockdown due to COVID-19 despite the strain on their economies or should they open their boarders and risk the potentitial incrase infection rates?
Miss Universe India Adline Castelino: "Good evening, Universe. Well, coming from India and witnessing what India is experiencing right now, I have realized something very important: that nothing is more important than health of your loved ones, and you have to draw balance between economy and health. And that can only be done if the government works with the people hand in hand and produce something that will work for the economy. Thank you."
Q: In many countries, women are still considered incapable of being world leaders. Convince these countries that they are wrong.
Miss Universe Brazil Julia Gama: "Women are such important part of the society and just because we are not encouraged in the same way that men are, we have our potential ways. The world need women contributions because we came for some reason. And I invite every woman to understand that we are leaders of our lives and yes, we can do a lot for our communities. So please, take your power!"
Q: The night she won Miss Universe Zozi Tunzi explained the importance of leadership to young girls. How would you do that as Miss Universe?
Miss Universe Dominican Republic Kimberly Jimenez: "Good night, thank you for that question. I come from a family completely filled with women, of which have helped me, propelled me to help them today working with my non-profit, Athenas de Cristo. I understand that I don't need a title to be able to help others and to be able to support them. Thank you."
Q: What would you say to the woman watching tonight who are currently experiencing sexual or domestic abuse?
Miss Universe Peru Janick Maceta Del Castillo: "I would tell them that I admire their strength. That they're survivors. And i've been there too—I became the hero of my own story. That's why I advocate to save little girls from being victims, they're survivors, they're heroes, they have the power. And don't ever, ever make anyone silence your voice."
Mexico's Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe on Monday, May 17 (May 16 in USA) at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Brazil's Julia Gama is the first runner-up, while Peru's Janick Maceta, India's Adline Castelino, and Dominican Republic's Kimberly Perez are second, third, and fourth runner-up, respectively.