A body positivity advocate has won the Miss Universe Nepal 2023 crown.
Jane Dipika Garrett, 22, who is part-American, will now represent Nepal at the global competition, to be held in El Salvador in November.
A nursing student from Kathmandu, Garrett beat 20 other contestants to the title, winning judges over with her charm and advocacy for mental health.
“As a woman who is curvy and who does not meet certain beauty standards, I'm here to represent women who are curvy, who struggle with weight gain, who struggle with hormonal issues,” she said following her win.
“I believe that there is not only one type of beauty standard but every single woman is beautiful just as she is.”
Garrett's win is yet another milestone for the long-running Miss Universe, one of the most-watched beauty contests now in its 72nd year.
Last year, the Miss Universe Organisation made a historic change to its selection process to accept married women and mothers in the competition this year.
The rule change is one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the competition, which previously only allowed single women, aged between 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children.
Last month, Miss Universe Guatemala Michelle Cohn, a mother of two, became the first contestant who's a mother to be selected for the pageant.
Cohn, 28, a model and entrepreneur, has a son and daughter with husband Andres Matheu.
“The universe gave me a chance, and here I am taking it wholeheartedly and eagerly,” she posted in Spanish on Instagram soon after her crowning.
“A little over a year ago, I would have thought this was impossible and today I am here looking to be the first mother to represent Guatemala to the universe. Here I am today, once again proving what we as women can accomplish.”
Garett's win is also notable in that it comes weeks after the Miss Universe Organisation severed ties with organisers of the Miss Universe Indonesia pageant following sexual harassment claims made by contestants.
Miss Universe Indonesia contestants had earlier filed a police complaint alleging that they were subjected to topless “body checks” in a room with more than 20 people, including men. The competition was held in Jakarta from July 29 to August 3.
"In light of what we have learnt took place at Miss Universe Indonesia, it has become clear that this franchise has not lived up to our brand standards, ethics, or expectations as outlined in our franchise handbook and code of conduct,” Miss Universe posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
No measurements such as height, weight or body dimensions are required to be taken to join a Miss Universe pageant worldwide, it added.