An Australian beauty queen lauded Miss Universe Philippines after it lifted the height requirement for entrants aspiring to join the 2021 edition of the pageant.
In its social media posts announcing the application period for the 2021 Miss Universe Philippines pageant, it can be seen that the organization indicated that it does not have a height requirement for those planning to apply for this year's beauty contest. Applicants must also be under 28 years old at the time of the Miss Universe pageant, a Filipino citizen and a Philippine passport holder, and female who has never been married or borne children.
Miss Universe 2020 Maria Thattil praised Miss Universe Philippines for this decision. In an Instagram post, she wrote: "Woke to the great news that (Miss Universe Philippines)removed the height requirement in the (Miss Universe)competition.
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She went on to share that other national Miss Universe franchises should follow Miss Universe Philippines in removing the height requirement. "Miss Universe is a powerful global ambassador," Maria said. "All the delegates are too, and have the opportunity to ignite global change for GOOD."
Maria shared she is 5'3 in height, but she still managed to enter the Top 10 of the 69th Miss Universe pageant, adding she is among the shortest candidates of the pageant in its 69-year history.
She ended: "Well done (Miss Universe Philippines) for challenging exclusive beauty standards. The number of cms you stand tall doesn’t dictate your ability to be a leader and change maker. Less barriers to access for all women - here is to progress."
Does height matter?
Miss Universe Philippines removing its height requirement for its entrants means more women can apply and potentially join the pageant.
As Maria Thattil noted on her Instagram post, the Miss Universe pageant does not impose a height requirement. Thus, it is the national franchises that choose to impose a height requirement. Andrea Meza of Mexico, this year's winner of the Miss Universe pageant, stands at 5 feet and 11 inches.
In the Philippines, local pageants traditionally set the height requirement at five feet and four inches for its contestants. This is, for instance, the requirement set by the Miss World Philippines pageant for its past two calls for applicants. Miss Philippines Earth also has a 5'4 height requirement for its applicants.
Binibining Pilipinas, which sent the Philippines' representatives to Miss Universe pageant until 2019, also sent a height requirement for 5'4 for its contestants.
Interestingly, Aces & Queens, the famed beauty pageant camp that has trained pageant winners such as Pia Wurtzbach, Kylie Versoza, and Megan Young, has posted a call for aspiring beauty queens. The call, which is looking for women who wants to be trained by the pageant camp for the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 pageant, has a minimum height requirement for applicants.
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Miss Universe Philippines' removal of the height requirement is nonetheless a welcome change in the local pageant scene as fans and followers continue to discuss the issue of inclusivity in these competitions.
Banner photo from the Miss Universe Organization