Miss Universe Will Allow Married Women and Mothers To Compete

Miss Universe Will Allow Married Women and Mothers To Compete

August 10, 2022
By Katerina Katakalides

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Big changes are coming to the Miss Universe Organization! The rumor mill has been spinning wildly in pageant land and the Queenly team is here to try and sort things out. On August 5th, 2022, an internal memo between the Miss Universe Organization and national directors was leaked on social media. This memo notified directors that women who are married, divorced, pregnant, previously pregnant, or who have given birth will be eligible to compete. Previously, only single women who have never been pregnant could compete in this system.

In the memo, which was allegedly sent by Amy Emmerich, CEO of the Miss Universe Organization, directors were told that this change will begin with the upcoming, 72nd edition. “As you know, the Miss Universe Organization has always strived to evolve with the changing times to best represent and support women globally. As part of the next step in our evolution, we have implemented the following changes: Effective with the 72nd Miss Universe competition and national preliminary competitions leading up to it, women who are or have been married, as well as women who are pregnant or have children, will be able to compete,” it announced. “Despite the difference in our cultures and beliefs, this allows all women to put their fate in their own hands and we will accommodate whoever is Miss Universe accordingly. We look forward to continue welcoming even more aspirational women to our community as a result of these latest changes. We wanted to share this with you now, as you begin preparations for your local pageants for 2023.”

Although this news has yet to be confirmed by the international organization, Shanna Moakler, former Miss USA and Executive Director of Miss Nevada USA and Teen USA, took to Instagram and shared the news with her audience. “WOW! BREAKING NEWS,” her caption began. “All NEW eligibility requirements for the 2023 State Pageants announced! Women who ARE or who have been married, as well as women who are pregnant or have children, will be eligible to compete at state! This new rule does NOT apply to teens!”

The next Miss USA pageant will be held on October 3rd, 2022 in Reno, Nevada. During the finale, Elle Smith of Kentucky will crown her successor. We know what you might be wondering- can Miss USA be married or pregnant? Well, this next edition of Miss USA is in a unique spot. Although these updated entry requirements were rolled out prior to the next Miss USA pageant, the 2022 state pageant season has already come to a close and the Miss USA Class of 2022 has already been selected, making it highly unlikely that these changes will impact the upcoming pageant.

How is the pageant community reacting?

Although this update to the entry requirements at Miss Universe marks the first time that such drastic changes have occurred, this isn’t the first time that the idea of a married or pregnant Miss Universe has floated around the pageant world.

At the 48th edition of Miss Universe, held in Trinidad and Tobago, the final question touched upon this previously-taboo topic. “If Miss Universe were to become pregnant during her reign, should she be allowed to continue as Miss Universe?” Mpule Kwelagobe of Botswana was asked. The soon-to-be Miss Universe 1999 shared her answer with conviction: "Personally, I think Miss Universe is a symbol of a woman as well as she's celebrating her femininity, and I believe that if she should fall pregnant it will not in any way interrupt her duties. I believe as a woman she should celebrate her femininity."

While it seems that the former Miss Universe would be on board with these changes, not all members of the pageant community are convinced. Deshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016, expressed her confusion and skepticism in an Instagram comment. “I can absolutely understand married women, but pregnant women and women with children is confusing to me because the title requires constant travel and a slammed schedule for the entire year,” she wrote. “I am not understanding how you can be a mom during that time. Even being in a relationship was almost impossible which is why many Miss USAs and Miss Universes start their titles in relationships but most times end up ending the relationship by the end of their reigns lol So children added to the responsibility seems unrealistic for this type of title and commitment. I would be curious to know how this is going to work.”

Can pageant queens be in a relationship?

Deshauna isn’t wrong! It’s common knowledge in the pageant industry that many high-profile titleholders who compete in major international pageants are unable to sustain their relationships. This is especially prevalent among the winners of Miss Universe Philippines, one of the biggest pageant powerhouses. Catriona Gray, Miss Universe 2019, ended her six-year relationship with model Clint Bondad shortly after capturing the coveted crown. Although both remained positive when reflecting on their relationship after announcing their “mutual” split, a short, snap interview with Clint provided more insight into their breakup. “One reason is I’m a little bit conscious... I see her and she’s surrounded by like 20, 30 people all the time, right?” Clint explained. “I mean, I see that she sees my messages, but I know for a fact that she goes from shooting pictures to interview[s], and sponsors, to more talk, and more talk.”

Being Miss Universe is an extremely demanding job, one that requires constant travel, appearances, service, and self-improvement. It’s no surprise that Catriona found it challenging to balance out being in a committed relationship with both Clint and her title. After all, she was one of the most dedicated Miss Universe titleholders that the pageant world has seen in decades. However, she isn’t the only Miss Universe Philippines to experience the added pressure of being in a relationship and being a titleholder.

Beatrice Luigi Gomez, Miss Universe Philippines 2021, made history when she became the first member of the LGBTQ community to win this prestigious title. During the time, Beatrice was in a long-term relationship with Kate Jagdon. Sadly, Kate would take to Instagram a few weeks before the 2021 Miss Universe pageant to announce their split. “Bea and I have parted ways. I am simply taking this step to move forward and go on with my life. Nothing more,” she posted to her story. “We all go forward with love and respect and I wish Bea the best of luck in her journey. At this moment, please respect my privacy and this will be the last time I will address the issue.”

While Kate’s story made it seem as if this split was less than amicable, most pageant fans attributed it to Beatrice’s busy schedule as Miss Universe Philippines and her demanding preparation for the upcoming Miss Universe pageant. Beatrice, however, would reveal more about their breakup that unveiled some unknown downsides of being a national titleholder with a significant other and other toxic baggage that plagued their relationship.

"When I was on my way to the MUPH competition, after a series of confrontations I learned that she had already been entertaining a person named 'Adam' for over a year during our relationship, she's made out with someone, made a move on other girls, and have been going out more often than usual that there were even times she wouldn't come home for days," Beatrice revealed. "I wouldn't know where she was or who she was with. I didn't recognize her anymore and things began to change. People warned me about what she's been doing and yet I continued to defend her and even tried my best to make it work," she added.

Although their relationship seemed doomed even before she won Miss Universe Philippines, Beatrice revealed that this only added fuel to the fire. "For over two months when I was already here in Manila, I was on video call with her for as much as possible. But long distance made it hard for us, there were days that instead of talking about how our days went, she'd be in a party or playing her video games. I wasn't perfect either. I focused too much on trying to grow granted," she shared.

From what we’ve seen, being a prominent pageant titleholder can add extra, unneeded stress to a relationship. While some titleholders, like Miss USA 2018 Sarah Rose Summers Combs, are able to grow healthy, fulfilling relationships, not everyone is able to do so. This trend makes everyone wonder- can Miss Universe be married? Although marriages typically have a stronger foundation than relationships, being an international titleholder can still negatively impact any couple.

With the new entry requirements for Miss Universe, we have to think about how pageantry will change and where Miss Universe is specifically heading. Pageantry is always changing, but this is definitely the biggest one we’ve seen within this organization. While we can embrace this new direction, there’s one thing we hope never changes about Miss Universe: the glamorous pageant gowns!

Shopping for your pageant should be a breeze! A queen like you deserves the royal treatment whether she’s buying a new dress online or shopping secondhand. At Queenly, we’ve committed ourselves to promoting sustainable fashion while making it affordable for everyone. Join our community of Queens who have listed outfits in their online closet. It’s as easy as signing up for a free account, snapping some pics, and uploading the details- that’s it!

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