The annual Miss Universe beauty pageant was delayed last year due to COVID-19, but this year, 74 young women were finally able to take the stage in Hollywood, Florida. It was a bit of an untraditional pageant, with many country representatives displaying protest and political messages in their presentations, but it was all toward the goal of pursuing their definitions of beauty. In the end, though, only one can win, and win she did: the 69th Miss Universe is 26-year old Andrea Meza, Miss Mexico.
“I am so honored to have been selected among the 73 other amazing women I stood with tonight,” Meza said in a news release from Miss Universe Organization. “It is a dream come true to wear the Miss Universe crown, and I hope to serve the world through my advocacy for equality in the year to come and beyond.”
“We live in a society that more and more is more than advanced, and as we advance as a society, we’ve also advanced with stereotypes,” Meza said in her final speech. “Nowadays beauty isn’t only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirit, but in our hearts and the way that we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you that you’re not valuable.”
Meza, a native of Chihuahua City, Mexico, works as a model and make-up artist, though she also possesses a degree in software engineering. In her own time, she’s an activist for the Municipal Institute for Women, an organization that combats gender-based violence, and she’s also a tourism brand ambassador for her hometown.
Meza will be taking over the philanthropic duties of the Miss Universe title from its previous holder, Zozibini Tunzi, as she moves to New York City to work with the Miss Universe Organization.