Second time's the charm for Lujane Yacoub. The actress, dancer and model has won the Miss Universe Bahrain 2023 crown a year after she placed second at the annual beauty pageant.
Yacoub, 19, was also the youngest contestant at the event, live-streamed on Saturday night from the Mirihi Island Resort in the Maldives. She beat eight other contestants to the title, and will now represent Bahrain at the global Miss Universe pageant in November.
Born to a Bahraini father and American mother, Yacoub impressed the judges with her “beauty, authentic communication skills and a passionate heart towards her advocacies,” the Miss Universe Bahrain organisation said.
During the final Q&A segment, Yacoub was asked: “What is the biggest misconception about your country and how do you plan to correct it?”
Her winning answer was: “The biggest misconception about Bahrain and the Middle East is that it’s a place of oppression [that] women don't have rights. And this is far from the truth. Women are taught to thrive, to embrace their strengths, and go for their ambitions, and women are the true pearls of the country. And that would be my first goal as Miss Universe, is to clear up this misconception.”
A passionate cosplayer, Yacoub recently started Project Hero, which helps children in special needs schools and those recovering in hospitals discover the joys of dressing up as their favourite characters.
Miss Universe Bahrain judges this year included Egyptian actress Mai Omar, Moroccan actress Leila Hadioui, Filipino singer and former Now United member Bailey May, Bollywood actress Urvashi Rautela and Miss Universe Bahrain 2022 Evlin Khalifa.
Candidates were scored based on five segments of the competition including personal interview, activewear round, swimwear round, evening gown round and the final question round.
“We are very honoured to crown our new Miss Universe Bahrain 2023 with our goal of celebrating a platform that gives a voice to the empowerment of young women, to highlight their incredible and innovative contribution to our society and to inspire other women to break stereotypes not only in GCC but all throughout the world,” said Josh Yugen, owner and national director of Miss Universe Bahrain.
Yacoub will be the third participant from Bahrain to take part in the Miss Universe pageant, to be held this year in El Salvador.
In 2022, Manar Nadeem Deyani made history by becoming the first participant from Bahrain and the Gulf to take part in the competition, one of the longest-running and most-popular beauty contests.