The Miss Universe pageant has made history by eliminating its maximum age limit for participants.
Miss Universe 2022, R'Bonney Gabriel announced significant changes within the Miss Universe Organization during 'Tanner Fletcher's Beauty Pageant Show' at New York Fashion Week this spring. The long-standing beauty pageant, which has been held since 1952, has abolished the previous age limit of 28 for contestants. R'Bonney Gabriel, who is currently 29-year-old, became the oldest Miss Universe ever crowned, breaking the previous age record.
29-year-old Miss Universe 2022, R'Bonney Gabriel | Instagram- R'Bonney Gabriel
This rule change reflects a dedication to diversity and sets a new standard for beauty pageants worldwide. However, contestants must still be at least 18 years old to participate. This modification is part of the organization's ongoing commitment to embracing diversity.
R'Bonney Gabriel, the reigning Miss Universe, stated during New York Fashion Week, "Age is not a barrier to a woman's ability to compete and achieve greatness." She praised the organization's leadership for their bold stance and acknowledged their influence in the industry.
Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, a transgender entrepreneur who purchased the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million the previous year, is credited with the organization's rapid growth.
Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip- A Transgender Entrepreneur who purchased the Miss Universe Organization | Instagram- Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip
Under her transformative leadership in 2023, restrictions on married, divorced, and pregnant contestants were removed, further emphasizing the commitment to diversity.
The Miss Universe Organization is pioneering innovative initiatives that establish a fresh benchmark and underscore the idea that empowerment and beauty are not restricted by any boundaries or age constraints.
Last month, Michelle Cohn achieved the distinction of being the first mother to qualify for the pageant and became Miss Universe Guatemala 2023, while just last week, Jane Dipika Garrett became Miss Universe Nepal 2023 and was the first plus-size model to be crowned.
Miss Universe Guatemala 2023, Michelle Cohn- first mother to qualify for the pageant | Instagram- Michelle Cohn
22-year-old Jane Dipika Garrett who has a mixed American heritage; emerged as the winner among 20 other contestants. A nursing student who is a passionate advocate for body positivity and her victory represents a significant milestone, as it opens doors for women of diverse body shapes and sizes to participate in global competitions.
Miss Universe Nepal 2023, Jane Dipika Garrett- the first plus-size model to be crowned | Instagram- Jane Dipika Garrett
“As a woman who is curvy and who does not meet certain beauty standards, I'm here to represent women who are curvy, who struggle with weight gain, who struggle with hormonal issues,” Jane said following her win.
“I believe that there is not only one type of beauty standard, but every single woman is beautiful just as she is.”
The upcoming Miss Universe competition, scheduled for November in El Salvador, is set to make history on multiple fronts. This event marks a significant departure from previous contests, as it will include contestants who are married, mothers and from all age groups above 18 years. The organization made this groundbreaking rule change last year, departing from the previous selection process, which only allowed unmarried women without children between the ages of 18 and 28 to participate.