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LOOK: The winning Miss Universe 2021 National Costume designed by a Filipino designer

By Camille Santiago Published Dec 13, 2021 2:35 pm Updated Dec 13, 2021 2:46 pm

Miss Universe Nigeria’s winning national costume was made by Filipino designer, Kennedy Jhon Gasper!

During the finals night of the 70th Miss Universe pageant held in Eilat, Israel on Dec. 13 (Philippine time), the best National Costume was given to Nigeria's Maristella Okpala.

"Thank you Lord! Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala talaga .umiiyak ako kanina habang kayakap si mama ..thank you sa lahat ng mga bumati!" the young designer said on Facebook.

The costume, named Mmanwa, was inspired by a famous traditional masquerade of the southeastern tribe of Nigeria called "Mmanwa." Mmanwa is a female masquerade costume that's designed for ceremonial and festive purposes to celebrate the rich Nigerian cultural heritage paying a closer attention to the strength women posses.

Okpala's costume is made of African beads, stones, and crafts and includes a 3-foot tribal mask and a cape featuring the Mmanwa's face. Its bright and colorful patterns and embellishments are said "to invoke the ancestral spirits."

Okpala shared that the the costume represents the tribe who "fought tirelessly to stop girl child mutilation and child slavery." 

"I picked this particular costume because I see a self reflection of my cause in this Mmanwa who protects children and women against any form of abuse," the beauty queen explained in her post.

"Finally this costume pays attention to the strong will of women in attaining what ever height they want to attain, no matter the challenges faced while reaching their desired goals."

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This is Gasper's second time to create a costume for a Miss Universe candidate. For the 69th Miss Universe competition, the 20-year-old student from Isabela also created Miss Cameroon Angele Kossinda's National Costume.

He has also created costumes for Miss Supranational Kenya 2021, Miss Utah Teen USA 2021 and Miss Grand International Haiti 2021.

Gasper is currently taking up Bachelor Of Science in Textile and Garment Technology-Major in Fashion Designing and Merchandising in Central Luzon State University.