As the 72nd Miss Universe pageant approaches on November 18 in El Salvador, anticipation builds, with model Halima Aden gearing up to serve as a member of the selection committee.
Expressing her gratitude for the opportunity, US Somali model Aden posted on Instagram, sharing a photo from the country with her just over one million followers. Joining her on the judging panel are nine other individuals, including celebrity-designer Carson Kressley, mixed martial arts fighter Mario Bautista, Roku's marketing vice president Sweta Patel, Miss Universe 1977 Janelle Comissiong, Puerto Rican actress Giselle Blonde, and US Filipino physician Connie Mariano.
This year's international beauty pageant features three Arab contestants: Miss Universe Bahrain Lujane Yacoub, Miss Universe Egypt Mohra Tantawy, and Miss Universe Lebanon Maya Aboul Hosn. Prior to the contest, the three models spoke to Arab News, offering perspectives on the challenges they face and outlining their respective aspirations.
Yacoub outlined her three-fold mission, aiming to support young artists struggling with subjects like mathematics. She shared her experience of overcoming a learning disability through the arts and expressed a desire to help others achieve early successes. Yacoub also discussed her involvement as a Smile Train ambassador and in the Hero Project, where she interviews individuals contributing positively to the world through charities.
Tantawy, still processing the events of the previous few months, reflected on her unexpected journey into pageantry, emphasizing her belief that that destiny has a way of finding individuals. Despite facing criticism after winning the title following Egypt's three-year hiatus, she underscored the importance of selective listening in such moments.
Whereas, Aboul Hosn aspires to utilize her platform to serve as an inspiration to the Arab world. From humble origins, she stressed the significance of hard work in achieving goals, encouraging all girls to believe that persistent effort can lead to success.