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LOOK: The competition begins as 69th Miss Universe delegates arrive in Florida

By CHUCK SMITH Published May 09, 2021 4:38 pm

After a months-long delay due to the COVID-19, the competition has finally begun. Delegates of the 69th Miss Universe pageant have arrived at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida this week, in preparation for the event’s coronation night on May 16 (Monday, May 17 in Philippine time).

A total of 74 contestants will compete for the crown—including the Philippines’ Rabiya Mateo, who is hoping to be the country’s fifth Filipino Miss Universe titleholder after Gloria Diaz, Margarita Moran, Pia Wurtzbach, and Catriona Gray.

The Miss Universe delegates will have a very tight schedule leading to the Miss Universe’s May 16 live show. After the registration and fitting this weekend, contestants will have to do photo and video shoots over the weekend.

The competition’s preliminary activities—namely the National Costume competition and the Closed Door interview—will start on May 13.

The Preliminary Competition will be held on May 14 in the US.

The tight schedule—the preliminary activities were usually spread out in a two-week timeframe in the past—may have something to do with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a previous press release, the Miss Universe Organization said it will follow strict health guidelines and policies—including mask usage, social distancing, quarantining upon arrival and rigorous testing, as well as a working group with others following the same restrictions, in coordination with health officials”—to ensure the safety of the contestants.

Amanda Obdam, Miss Universe Thailand 2020, arrives at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the 69th Miss Universe Competition. Photo courtesy of ©IMG Universe LLC/BENJAMIN ASKINAS

Mariangel Villasmil, Miss Universe Venezuela 2020, arrives at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the 69th Miss Universe Competition. Photo courtesy of ©IMG Universe LLC/BENJAMIN ASKINAS

Maria Thattil, Miss Universe Australia 2020, Francisca Luhong James, Miss Universe Malaysia 2020, and Jeanette Akua, Miss Universe Great Britain 2020 arrive at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the 69th Miss Universe Competition. Photo courtesy of ©IMG Universe LLC/BENJAMIN ASKINAS

Jeanette Akua, Miss Universe Great Britain 2020 arrives at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the 69th Miss Universe Competition. Photo courtesy of ©IMG Universe LLC/BENJAMIN ASKINAS

Leyla Espinoza Calvache, Miss Universe Ecuador 2020, arrives at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the 69th Miss Universe Competition. Photo courtesy of ©IMG Universe LLC/BENJAMIN ASKINAS

Eden Berandoive, Miss Universe Haiti 2020, arrives at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the 69th Miss Universe Competition. Photo courtesy of ©IMG Universe LLC/BENJAMIN ASKINAS

Sarita Reth, Miss Universe Cambodia 2020, arrives at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the 69th Miss Universe Competition. Photo courtesy of ©IMG Universe LLC/BENJAMIN ASKINAS

Banner photo courtesy of ©IMG Universe LLC/BENJAMIN ASKINAS