(Fwrd Axis) — The 2021 Miss Universe competition will take place on Sunday night where 75 women will compete for the prestigious honor. Once again, comedian Steve Harvey will host the event.
The pageant is in its 70th year and gives women the opportunity to “affect positive change personally, professionally and philanthropically as inspirational leaders and role models,” according to the official website for the pageant.
Last year, a winner was still crowned despite the coronavirus pandemic. Andrea Meza, Miss Universe Mexico, took the crown.
This year’s event is not without controversy. The event has drawn criticism and calls for boycotts from critics. The South African government withdrew its support for the pageant over Israeli treatment of Palestinians and called for Miss South Africa, Lelela Mswane to drop out.
“If anything, by withdrawing, Miss South Africa’s reputation and overall standing will be far more advanced in South Africa and internationally in comparison to a once-off event that can prove disastrous to her future and public standing as a young, black woman,” South Africa’s minister of sports, art, and culture Nathi Mthethwa said in a statement last month.
Mswane did not bend to the pressure and chose to compete in Sunday’s pageant, confirming the news in Thursday’s Jerusalem Post.
“If I had not come to Israel to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, I think I would have regretted it for the rest of my life,” she said. “Certain people have put me through hell and back. It has not been the easiest thing to deal with … But I choose to be optimistic.”
Greek model Rafaela Plastira protested the event, citing political purposes.
I may not live in Palestine but Palestine lives in my heart forever,” she said in a statement.
How To Watch The Miss Universe Pageant 2021
The Miss Universe pageant will air worldwide but airs on FOX in the United States at 8/7c from the Eilat Hotels & Resorts in Eilat, Israel.