Miss Universe Bahrain announces formation of first council

Group will be responsible for selecting the next beauty queen and preparing them for the global competition

Miss Universe Bahrain council members from left: TV personality Raymond Gutierrez, actress and beauty queen Kylie Verzosa, Miss Universe Bahrain 2022 Evlin Khalifa, national director Josh Yugen, entrepreneur Lorenzo Vega and filmmaker Brillante Mendoza. Photo: Miss Universe Bahrain
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The Miss Universe Bahrain organisation has announced the formation of its first council. Made up of experts from various fields, the group will be responsible for selecting the next Miss Universe Bahrain and grooming them for the global Miss Universe competition.

Headed by national director Josh Yugen, the chief executive of Yugen Group, the council also includes Miss Universe Bahrain 2022 Evlin Khalifa, who has been named head of culture. Celebrity favourite fashion designer Furne One, whose Amato label is headquartered in Dubai, will be the creative director, while Filipina actress and beauty queen Kylie Verzosa, who won Miss International in 2016, will be the head of empowerment.

Other council members include Filipino TV personality Raymond Gutierrez as fashion director, entrepreneur Lorenzo Vega as head of innovation, TV producer Joey Abacan as senior executive consultant and filmmaker Brillante Mendoza as artistic director.

As head of culture, Khalifa's responsibilities will include ensuring the organisation and contestants respect and uphold the traditions and culture of Bahrain.

"We are happy to keep the traditions and culture of the region while constantly innovating the pageantry scene in the Middle East," Yugen told The National.

Miss Universe is one of the longest-running and most-watched beauty competitions in the world; it is broadcast in 165 countries and seen by more than half a billion people annually.

Scroll through the gallery below for more pictures from the Miss Universe 2022 competition

Miss Universe Bahrain has successfully sent two delegates to the global competition, starting with Miss Universe Bahrain 2021, Manar Nadeem Deyani, who became the first beauty queen to represent Bahrain.

Deyani made waves at the event, held in Israel, when she walked in the swimsuit competition in a fully covered flowing activewear outfit.

Khalifa, who beat more than 300 applicants to win the Miss Universe Bahrain 2022 title, also made a striking appearance at the Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans in February. Although she did not make it to the semi-finals, she was praised for her powerful statement about representation during the swimsuit round when she made an appearance in a pink burkini.

Khalifa, 24, customised her cape with the message: "Arab Women should be represented. Muslim women can also become Miss Universe".

She also had the word "equality" written in Arabic on it.

Scroll through the gallery below for more pictures from Evlin Khalifa's Miss Universe journey

“I am so thankful to all of the new members of the Miss Universe Bahrain council, my friends and colleagues in the industry for lending us their time and expertise in making this franchise a phenomenal success,” said Yugen.

Yugen, whose company also owns the Miss Universe Pakistan franchise, had earlier revealed the next Miss Universe Bahrain would be a reality-show-style competition split into several episodes and broadcast online.

Production is set to begin in July, with the first episode to be broadcast in August.

Organisers said they were looking for "the most passionate girl from Bahrain who could defy the odds and has the fire to summon the universe".

Applicants need to be between 18 and 28 years of age, and have an advocacy and "inspirational story of empowerment and resilience". And, for the first time in 71 years, their marital status will not matter — applicants can be single, married, divorced or mothers.

The Miss Universe Organisation made the historic decision to no longer limit the contest to single women last year, saying it was a move to evolve with the times.

Applications are still being accepted for Miss Universe Bahrain 2023.

Updated: April 27, 2023, 11:36 AM