The highly anticipated and controversial Miss Universe 2021 pageant took place over the weekend in Israel, where three participants from different parts of the world were crowned and given their respective titles.
Miss South Africa 2021 titleholder, Lalela Mswane, was the chosen candidate to represent South Africa at this year’s Miss Universe beauty pageant, but she competed without the support of the Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture because they said the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestine were well documented, and they simply could not associate themselves with the pageant.
At the end of the Miss Universe 2021 pageant, the 24-year-old LLB graduate was unfortunately not crowned the winner, but did manage to walk away as the second runner-up.
During her final speech, Mswane urged young women to go for what they want, because they all have it in them to achieve anything they put their mind to.
“I would like young women to know that since the beginning of time, they have had everything within them to achieve anything they wanted, it is the world that convinced [us] that we do not,” said Mswane.
At the end of the beauty pageant, Lalela said in an interview that she was happy with her decision to compete, because if she did not toss her hat in the ring, she would have regretted it for the rest of her life.
She also mentioned how overwhelming it had been for her to have made it in the top three of the competition, and that the experience of the competition was nothing short of amazing.
“I am overwhelmed to have made it into the top three of the competition. The whole experience has been beyond my wildest expectations,” said the Miss SA titleholder.
Mswane went head to head in the top three with Miss Paraguay, Nadia Ferreira, who was crowned the first runner-up, and Miss India, Harnaaz Sandhu, who walked away with the title of Miss Universe 2021.
“Congratulations to Harnaaz and Nadia and all the other contestants who made this journey so special. I am deeply thankful to all the amazing people who have supported and uplifted me,” said Mswane.
Here are some pictures of the top-three winners of the Miss Universe 2021 pageant: