Dubai to host Miss Universe UAE on Nov.7, application open to all UAE residents - GulfToday

Dubai to host Miss Universe UAE on Nov.7, application open to all UAE residents

The organisers of the Miss Universe UAE pose for a photograph in Dubai.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

As the United Arab Emirates celebrates its 50th founding anniversary this December comes the historic representation of the country at the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant to be hosted for the first time by Israel, 70 years after the prestigious competition saw its first outing in Long Beach, California, USA in 1952.

The formal announcement of the UAE participation and the first-ever Miss Universe-United Arab Emirates tilt was announced on Thursday afternoon at the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa, Dubai by the designated Miss Universe UAE Council composed of Josh Yugen, president/national director and Yugen Group founder/chief executive officer; Furne Amato, Creatives head and Amato Couture founder/creative director; Maggie Wilson, Creative consultant and Miss Philippines-World 2008/TV host/actress/interior designer/entrepreneur; Afaf Meky, Charities and Philanthropy head and Smile Train (global cleft palate charity) country manager; Sharihan Al Mashary, Communications head and first-ever female Emirati hotel general manager; and Zel Ali, Compassion and Empowerment head and United Nations Refugee Agency-UAE Aiming Higher advocate.

It was six weeks back when the Miss Universe Organisation (MUO) headquartered in New York, USA, appointed Yugen as the Miss Universe-United Arab Emirates president and national director. In a press statement released on Thursday, MUO president Paula M. Shugart said: "I could not be more pleased to welcome the first-ever representative from the United Arab Emirates, to our globally televised event in December. The UAE is marking a very important time in its history, from the signing of the Abraham Accords, to hosting the World Expo, and there has never been a better time to spotlight on the women residing in this country."

Meanwhile, while it had been announced in Jan. 2021 that the 70th edition would be held in Costa Rica, last July 20, the MUO confirmed the competition would be held in the southern resort town of Eilat in Israel in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the Eilat Municipality. The UAE is the 42nd country to join so far.

The UAE competitions, the applications for which was opened on Thursday itself over the Instagram Miss Universe-UAE as well as over is now among the over 95 Miss Universe franchisees worldwide. It shall be held  at the La Perle at Habtoor City in Dubai on Nov. 7 (Sunday) with the selection of the Top 30 aspirants to be conducted on Oct. 20 (Wednesday) . Other activities such as the fashion show and charity initiatives will take place until Nov. 5 (Friday).

On Thursday, Yugen volunteered that his being part of the international beauty pageant is a dream come true since he first watched it on television in the Philippines in 1991. In response to Gulf Today's question, he pointed out that the key word in carrying out all segments of the competition is "respect" for the culture and traditions of the UAE which continually is on the look-out for what each and every citizen and expatriate resident must be provided for and enjoyed: "The Miss Universe UAE is not just a parade of beauty or celebration of intelligence but moreover she is a paragon of a purposeful queen and a heart to serve and help through her advocacies. A number of young Emirati women already expressed interest in joining."

That is why in the composition of the council that will be responsible for preparing the Miss Universe-United Arab Emirates representative are Al Mashary, Ali and Meky who, in their own orientations and aspirations believe that being a beauty queen is more than the sculpted physical appearance the world has been exposed to.  

"We are going to be a game-changer. There will be no swimwear but couture active wear for which Furne Amato is working on," said Yugen, adding that in the UAE version, gone are the stereotyping in beauty pageants; much as what should be impressed upon everyone and hopefully everyone openly accepts, is a purposeful life even for a beauty queen.

Amato said it would be a "fashion forward (thing), modern and not the traditional pageantry stuff.

Taking off from what Yugen had said about the uniqueness of the Miss Universe-United Arab Emirates and specifically that of being a game-changer, Al Mashary said the competition is open to both Emirati and expatriate women resident of at least three years, between the ages of 18 and 28. They must epitomise the global service and significance of the nation through all its past 50 years and onwards to the next 50 and beyond.

Ali who has been on the forefront of helping thousands of refugee youth get educational assistance as education is only the way to uplift life's sordidness, said the role of the council is to "enhance" the abilities of every contestant, particularly the winner. That being a beauty queen is not only about the external beauty but an inspiring empowered leader.

Emirati social media influencer/art director/fashion design student Reem Birdette said: "I am happy to be here to know about this. I am excited. It is a dream come true that the Miss Universe-United Arab Emirates (is here at last)."

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