Miss Universe 2021: Do you see a potential winner among these contestants? Women representing 74 countries are preparing to compete for the title of Miss Universe 2021. The 69th Miss Universe competition will take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in Hollywood, Florida.
May 17, 2021 / 01:18 PM IST
Aisha Harumi Tochigi, Miss Japan: She is Japanese and Ghanaian and in Ghana for seven years, but spent most of her life living in Japan. Being a mixed minority in Japanese society was not easy for her growing up due to discrimination. She was also subjected to extreme poverty as a child and contracted malaria while living in Africa. These challenges made her grow stronger and was able to gain a wide perspective on other cultures. She’s now an activist for malaria eradication and works for campaigns that support women’s rights and orphanages. Aisha is also using her platform as an Asian-Black woman to spread awareness about discrimination and stands for equality in race and gender. She is working with social activists along with hosting events where people discuss racism and biracial identity. Her ambition is to make a change in the world where people won’t be judged for who they are.
Alina Luz Akselrad, Miss Argentina: She is dedicated to helping women build their confidence and considers philanthropy a lifestyle. She has certificates in persuasive writing and children’s rights from Harvard University and recently published her own book that offers guidance and empowerment to young women. She also volunteers in different organizations that fight against child malnutrition and has her own advocacy campaign, “Embrace Your Power,” that aims at improving women's self-confidence from childhood, since she experienced bullying when she was a little girl. Upon watching her mother beat cancer, she is also an advocate for cancer prevention and lends her support to pediatric oncology patients.
Alina Sanko, Miss Russia: This 22 year old is from a small southern town called Azov. She graduated from State University of Land Administration with distinction with a degree in architecture and design. Now, Alina is getting her masters at Moscow State University in the Higher School of Television. She is passionate about art and is also a talented painter. She uses her talent in the arts to provide art therapy and craft classes for children, along with reading books with them. She is also currently preparing for her own art exhibit. She is an active supporter of charitable initiatives and volunteers for various foundations that support children with serious diseases.
Amandine Petit, Miss France: She is 23-year-old-native of Caen, in Normandy France and studying for her master’s degree in social, sanitary, and gerontological management. Amandine loves helping people and considers herself positive and dynamic. She speaks on the radio weekly to advocate for various causes and to spread positivity, she donates her earnings to the Association Les Bonnes Fées for underprivileged women. She also visits Pasteur Institute and supports medical research for various conditions including Alzheimer’s.
Andrea Meza, Miss Mexico: She holds a degree in software engineering and is proud to be a woman who graduated in a male dominated field of study. Andrea is an activist focused on women's rights and inclusion and currently works closely with the Municipal Institute for Women, which aims to end gender violence. She has also been part of a global charity association raising funds in India, Indonesia and China for the downtrodden. Apart from this, she is a certified make-up artist, model also practices fitness. Andrea is also the official Tourism Brand Ambassador for Chihuahua, promoting the best touristic attractions and rich culture her beautiful home offers.
Asya Branch, Miss USA: Having never ventured solo out of her home state at the age of 17, Asya Branch attended Harvard University for summer school. This experience transformed her life as it forced her out of her comfort zone and allowed her to see her limitless potential. She’s earned two state level titles and become the first representative of her state to win Miss USA. She’s used these titles to promote her passion for criminal justice reform, which has led to the passing of legislation at the city, state, and federal levels. She also works with Best Buddies to ensure everyone, regardless of their disabilties has a friend, and partners with Smile Train to help provide cleft surgeries.
Ayu Maulida Putri, Miss Indonesia: She is a competitive Muslim woman who loves challenges. She’s been living her dream as a model since she was 15 and is passionate about fashion. Her goal is to prove to all women that the sky's the only limit and wants to show that every dream is possible if you work hard and are passionate. With a bachelor’s degree in law, she plans to become a lawyer in the future. She believes that everyone should have access to proper education and healthcare and co-founded Senyum Desa/Smiling Village, an association that helps rural areas in Indonesia.
Dhenia Covens, Miss Belgium: She is 23-year-old and is a make-up artist and a manager at the Hollister storefront in her hometown. As an animal lover she adopted a tiger from the World Wide Fund for Nature, but at home her English Bulldog, Luiz, is her best friend. Dhenia is a very active individual who loves to dance. She aspires to become a well-rounded pageant coach to help other women feel confident to take the stage. She wants to use her passion for pageantry to inspire young women to work hard for their dreams and to become strong and independent.
Francisca Luhong James, Miss Malaysia: This 25-year-old Kayan-Kenyah-Iban native from Kuching, Sarawak. Francisca is a part-time model and former public relations and marketing executive. She’s been involved in many charities over the years and volunteered for the Paint The World charity concert to raise money for children with special needs. She has also worked with the Global Peace Foundation to gather food for indigenous people of Malaysia. As Miss Universe Malaysia, she’s started the foundation Beyond Aid to raise money for refugees and underprivileged children. Her advocacy is focused on women’s empowerment and wants to continue to empower young girls to work together to create a positive change in society and create more female youth leaders.
Jeanette Akua, Great Britain: She is passionate about music and education and has a master’s degree in international economic policy and analysis. She works as a business development manager at a leading economic consultancy and speaks at global conferences, addressing CEOs and world leaders. She’s also a former X Factor UK top 10 finalist. She has also written and released her own music with over a million streams. She is the founder of the Be Audacious campaign, which aims to empower women to have the audacity to pursue their dreams and to have the nerve to walk through doors they are told are not meant for them. She hosts online series that celebrates and shares the diverse stories of women from all over the world: from doctors, architects and business owners to single mothers, sexual assault survivors and women living with chronic illness.
Jiaxin Sun, Miss China: She is passionate about communication and leadership development. After receiving a bachelor's degree in management, she pushed herself to conquer her fear of speaking in front of crowds and became the president of a public speaking club under a non-profit organization. Jiaxin who was once an extreme introvert now works as a mentor in a youth leadership academy and is an inspiration to many children as she pushes them to become confident leaders. She established the “Mother-Made Club” to help the women living in Mountain Wuzhishan sell handmade products to make money to support themselves and their families.
Julia Gama, Miss Brazil: Julia Gama is an actress, entrepreneur and motivational speaker who is passionate about life and diverse cultures. She studied chemistry engineering and has a degree in drama arts. She began her journey as an international ambassador for Leprosy six years ago and is an activist in India, China, Europe and Brazil and has received several distinctions from international organizations. For her cultural contribution, she received the “The Most Incredible Award” from Belt and the Road Chinese Government International Initiative in 2017. She lived in China for three years and is the first Brazilian actress to conquer space in the Chinese film industry. With the hardship of the pandemic, Julia decided to leave China and return to Brazil to work with Smile Train. She expects to provide surgeries to all the cleft lip and palate children in Brazil by July of 2021.
Maria Thattil, Miss Australia: She is a multi-hyphenate who is a founder, speaker, corporate professional, digital creator and fierce activist for inclusivity, equality and empowerment. She graduated with a psychology degree with Honours, and then with a Masters degree in Management with First Class Honours, and was nominated for a scholarship to Harvard University. Maria’s biggest hobby is volunteering and is a member of the United Nations (UN) Association of Australia, works as an ambassador for the SisterWorks charity and volunteers for Mission Australia. As an Australian woman of Indian descent, a daughter of immigrants, and a product of a hybrid culture, Maria believes her upbringing has gifted her with unique experiences and fuels her passion for inclusivity. She is the founder of her own podcast ‘Mind With Me’ which is a curation of conversations and interviews on a myriad of critical and complex topics.
Nadia Sayers, Miss Ireland: This 26-year-old mental health early intervention worker graduated from Queens University Belfast, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She’s currently working in suicide prevention and now has a master’s degree in psychology and mental health therapies and works within a mental health charity that develops inspiring comic books based on the true stories of young survivors. She is a qualified Mental Health First Aider, Befriender, FGM Awareness and ASIST trained. Her passion for mental health stems from her own personal mental health struggles as a young girl. Nadia discovered new-found acting skills and took on the elf role of ‘Snowdrop’ to spread Christmas magic in her local town and spent time as a Disney princess (Anna) visiting hospitals, birthdays and community celebrations.
Nova Stevens, Miss Canada: After her family fled civil war in Sudan, Nova was sent alone to Canada at age 6. Growing up separately from her family, Nova appreciates the importance of fostering healthy development and is continuously looking for opportunities to serve young Canadians. She is a co-founder and spokesperson for ‘Freedom March Vancouver’ and ‘Black Freedom Society’ whose mission is to eradicate hate and racism experienced by black and indigenous people of color. She has an affinity for acting and modelling and has also made appearances on productions in the film industry in Vancouver. She expresses herself through art and movement and has worked internationally in Fashion Week across the globe.
Paula Mehmetukaj, Miss Albania: She is an MBA student and founder of the Bashke Foundation. The word Bashkë means “together” in Albanian and perfectly explains the core of her project: building a community together. She’s also an activist for women's rights, environmental protection and advocates against animal abuse. She believes that it’s important that women support each other and come together to fight for their rights. She’s dedicated herself as a Red Cross volunteer and also plants trees with the Municipality of Tirana. In the future, she hopes to enter the TV and entertainment industry so her voice can be heard everywhere in the world.
Tehila Levi, Miss Israel: This 19-years-old recently graduated from high school and has begun her military service at the Home Front Command's Information Division of the IDF. She is volunteering in a kindergarten for children with special needs, which is the same kindergarten that her little brother attended. She also supports the Israeli Society for Children and Adults with Autism "Alut" and her dream is to study speech therapy.
Adline Castelino, Miss India: Adline Castelino was born and raised in Kuwait and moved by herself at 15-years-old to Mumbai, the “City of Dreams,” to pursue her aspirations. She used her entrepreneurial spirit to obtain her business administration degree from Wilson College and enjoys the creative opportunities her career path provides. She works as a Goodwill Ambassador for Smile Train, is the face for the PCOS Free India Campaign, and collaborates with SNEHA, an organization that provides affordable healthcare to women. Her grandmother died giving birth to her mother at the young age of 22, because she could not afford healthcare. This drove Adline to advocate for the rights of farmers in her community to have sustainable livelihoods and work closely with Vikas Sahyog Pratishthan to give back to deprived rural communities.