Miss Universe pageant removes age restrictions, opening competition to women of all ages

Age should not be a barrier to recognizing beauty, and society is increasingly embracing this perspective. Women have often been told that beauty diminishes with age, but this is far from the truth. The prestigious Miss Universe pageant is setting an important example by removing age restrictions from their competition. According to PEOPLE, women over the age of 18 will now have the opportunity to participate in the contest.

In the near future, all adult women will have the chance to take part in this pageant. R’Bonney Gabriel, the 2022 Miss Universe titleholder, made the heartening announcement during Tanner Fletcher’s show at New York Fashion Week this year, as reported by Women’s Wear Daily. According to a brief statement shared on the pageant’s official Instagram story, this change is scheduled to become official in 2024.

The Instagram story proclaimed, “Starting then, every adult woman in the world will be eligible to compete to be Miss Universe.” Notably, Gabriel, at the age of 28, became the oldest woman to be crowned Miss Universe. She also achieved the distinction of being the first Filipino-American woman to win the prestigious Miss USA title before competing in Miss Universe. Gabriel expressed her admiration for Miss Universe, highlighting how they consistently lead the way in seeking inclusivity and living up to the platform they’ve created for contestants.

She emphasized that a woman’s capacity to compete in Miss Universe or any endeavor should not be constrained by her age, emphasizing that age is merely a number. In a previous statement, Gabriel expressed her desire to see an expansion in the age eligibility criteria for the contest. She made this statement when asked about the changes she would like to see in the rules of the Miss Universe pageant during her Q&A segment in 2023.

Gabriel shared her favorite quote, saying, “My favorite quote is ‘If not now, then when?’ Because I believe age should not define us. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday, but it’s now—the time is now to go after what you want.”

Furthermore, she elaborated on her perspective: “Especially now that I’m Miss Universe, I have a very big platform, and that is one of my key goals as Miss Universe.” This underscores her commitment to using her position to advocate for inclusivity and empowerment regardless of age.

The extension of the age limit for Miss Universe contestants is just one of several changes made to the pageant’s existing rulebook. In early 2022, the organization began permitting mothers and married women to compete for the crown.

Netizens also shared their reactions to this news. @phcouples7080 commented on Twitter: “Perhaps they are in need of more women willing to compete.” @ReyTuk added: “I can’t wait to see women in their 50s in the competition, because I know a lot of women looking divine at this age. So, let’s see how true is this statement.” @LiLiReynolds expressed enthusiasm, saying, “I like it, anyone of any age can be Miss Universe. Is the same going to be for Miss USA?”

According to the organization’s website, the 72nd Miss Universe competition is scheduled to take place on November 18th in El Salvador.

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