Myanmar's Thuzar Wint Lwin, whose original costume got lost in the mail, won the award for Best National Costume at the 69th Miss Universe.
At the preliminaries, the beauty queen wowed the audience in a traditional number, carrying a powerful message: “Pray for Myanmar.”
“In this costume, we can identify the delicate weaving skills of Myanmar women and the image of an admirable and courageous Myanmar lady,” as written in an Instagram post. “Candy herself embodies the determined strong and unstoppable spirit of a woman that perfectly fits this meaningful costume.”
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She has since been quite vocal about her opposition to the coup. Posting black and white photos of herself on Facebook, she wrote: “They blind us, they tie us. But our cries are louder than their violence.”
Lwin herself joined some physical protests, holding cardboards bearing the words, “We need R2P in Myanmar.” R2P stands for “Responsibility to Protect,” which is “an international norm that seeks to ensure that the international community never again fails to halt the mass atrocity crimes of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity,” according to the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
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An estimate by different watchdog groups, as reported by AP, indicated that government forces have killed at least 750 since the military junta seized power in a February 1 coup. In a previous interview, she said, "They are killing our people like animals. Where is the humanity? Please help us. We are helpless here.”
The New York Times reported that the military issues arrest warrants for personalities who are fighting against the junta. The announcements happen every night on television. Since Lwin admittedly felt anxious to know if she was one of them prior to the Miss Universe tilt, she decided to wear a hooded jacket and glasses to avoid any kind of attention at the airport. “I had to pass through immigration and I was so scared,” she confessed.
As stated in the same report, she “believes that it will not be safe for her to return to Myanmar after speaking out against the regime; she does not know where she will go after the pageant ends.”
Miss Myanmar entered the Top 21 of the Miss Universe competition, but failed to make it to the next round.
Andrea Meza of Mexico has been named Miss Universe, followed by Julia Gama of Brazil (first runner-up), Janick Maceta of Peru (second runner-up), Adline Castelino of India (third runner-up), and Kimberly Jimenez of Dominican Republic (fourth runner-up).
The prestigious pageant took place on Monday, May 17 in Hollywood, Florida, with actor Mario Lopez and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo as the hosts.
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