Munoz: Was the wrong queen given the Miss Universe crown?


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The 2023 Miss Universe Competition was surrounded in controversy when highly favored Miss Venezuela lost to Miss U.S.A.

Helena Munoz, Staff Writer

2023 started off with a newly crowned Miss Universe, but commotions arose when Miss Venezuela lost the crown to Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel despite being the favorite to win.

It’s no secret Miss Universe and pageants have always been criticized because of evident sexism and unreachable beauty standards they glorify. Every year, Miss Universe faces  controversy. From presenters making mistakes by crowning the first runner up instead of the winner, to viewers bullying past winners for their weight gain, this time Miss Universe is accused of rigging Gabriel’s win. 

Viewers believe Amanda Dudamel from Venezuela was the most deserving of the crown but ended up losing because the U.S. didn’t want Venezuela to have the same number of wins as them. Before this year’s competition, the U.S. had eight wins while Venezuela had seven. 

During a meeting with the Expanded Military Political High Command, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro expressed his frustration.

“Nos robaron el Miss Universe,” Maduro said. “Amanda Dudamel ganó de calle, bueno no puede ser un robo como ese,” which translates to “They stole Miss Universe from us. Amanda Dudamel won by a landslide; there is no robbery like that one.” 

In an interview with Fox News, Miss Universe 2022 judge Emily Austin responded to Maduro, saying, “It’s so funny because Maduro is literally an illegitimate president and cheated his way there. It’s like when a thief calls another thief out… I feel like he had bigger problems to deal with than Miss Universe.” 

On Jan. 18, Miss Universe Executive Amy Emmerich defended Gabriel’s win in a statement to The Los Angeles Times. Emmerich said, “The allegations of the rigging of Miss Universe are false. People saying that it’s suspect that JKN Global Group owns both Miss Universe and Miss USA aren’t familiar with the history of the organizations. One of the top four accounting firms in the United States handled the results and verified the process.” 

She added, “R’Bonney has been a strong and dedicated contestant. She is the rightful Miss Universe. I look forward to this much attention being focused on her non-profit work as well.”  

Miss Universe is not only about being pretty but about having good presence, communicative skills, charisma and being a powerful ambassador. In the final round of Miss Universe the contestants were asked: “If you win Miss Universe, how would you work to demonstrate this as an empowering and progressive organization?”

To which Miss USA said, “Well, I would use it to be a transformational leader. As a very passionate designer, I’ve been sewing for 13 years. I use fashion as a force for good. In my industry, I’ve been cutting down on pollution through recycled materials when I make my clothing. I choose sewing classes for women that have survived from human trafficking and domestic violence. And I say that because it is so important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference. We all have something special and when we plant those seeds to other people in our life, we transform them and we use that as a vehicle for change.”

On the other hand, Miss Venezuela said, “If I get to win Miss Universe, I will follow the legacy that many women across the universe have shown to be part of the organization because Miss Universe has demonstrated that they choose women who inspire with their messages and transform with their actions. And that’s precisely why I would like to do it. I’m a fashion designer by profession, but I’m a designer of dreams as a woman. Thank you so much.”

If we judge this solely based on the answers they both gave, Dudamel deserved to win because her answer was concise and powerful, especially since Gabriel passed over the time limit when giving her answer. 

No matter how much viewers complain about it being rigged, the truth is Miss Universe has always been rigged, and in this case Miss USA won simply because it looked good for the U.S. to win the event they hosted.