Miss Universe 2022 beauty queens crowned, from Turkey to Italy and Kyrgyzstan

Seventy countries have named their pageant representatives

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It's been a busy week in the world of Miss Universe 2022, as the organisation announced this year's pageant will be held on January 14 next year in New Orleans.

The annual event, which was initially meant to be held later this year to crown the 2022 winner, was postponed earlier this month, extending the reign of the current title-holder, Harnaaz Sandhu from India.

Meanwhile, more representatives have been crowned across the world, leaving only a handful to come.

The next competition will be the 71st Miss Universe pageant, where Sandhu will make way for her successor at the end of the event.

About 70 countries far and wide — from the UK to Ukraine and Guatemala to Ghana — have named their representatives, with more to be unveiled over the coming months.

From the region, Miss Universe Bahrain was announced earlier this month.

Last month, winners from South Africa and Nepal were also named, while pageants in Costa Rica and Greece have yet to take place in September.

The last to win her country's crown will be Miss Universe China, on October 30.

In the meantime, here are a few of the contestants worth looking out for in this year's competition.

Kyrgyzstan

Altynai Botoyarova was named Miss Universe Kyrgyzastan on Wednesday.

At only 18, she's the minimum age required to enter the contest.

She first joined the national pageant two years ago and even competed in the 70th Miss World contest.

"My childhood dream was to compete in Miss Universe, and I wouldn't believe it if they told that 5-year-old girl that dream would come true," she wrote on social media.

Kyrgyzstan first began competing in Miss Universe in 2018.

Turkey

The Miss Turkey 2022 pageant took place on September 20 in Istanbul, with 20 finalists battling it out to take the crowns for Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Supranational.

Aleyna Sirin, 21, was named Miss Universe Turkey. The interior architecture and environmental design student from Malatya described herself during the competition as brave and idealistic.

Italy

Virginia Stablum is used to the spotlight, having starred on the Italian dating show Uomini e Donne, but now she will head to New Orleans in January to compete for her country.

Stablum, 24, was named Miss Universe Italy on September 18, beating 19 other contestants to the coveted crown.

The model and influencer was representing Trentino Alto Adige.

Bahrain

Evlin Khalifa, 24, from Riffa, was named the second Miss Universe Bahrain on September 11.

She beat 300 other hopefuls to the title, following in the footsteps of Manar Deyani, who last year made history by becoming the first beauty queen to represent the kingdom at the global pageant.

Khalifa, who was born to a Bahraini father and Russian mother, is a trained pianist, and took courses in dancing and taekwondo.

A graduate in finance and banking, she is pursuing online classes to master her Arabic and English skills, as well as psychology. She has also done some professional modelling work, having starred in a make-up advertisement for Dior.

Spain

Miss Universe Spain 2022 was crowned on Saturday, September 10 and Alicia Faubel, from Alicante, took home the title.

Faubel, 25, is a professional model and actress who speaks Spanish, English and Tagalog.

She has lived in Dubai and the Philippines and in 2019 starred in the 2019 film General Commander alongside Steven Seagal.

Jamaica

Miss Universe Jamaica 2022, Toshami Calvin, has pageantry in her blood — she's the cousin of Miss World 2019 Toni-Ann Singh. Crowned at a glitzy ceremony AC Hotel Kingston, Calvin, 26, was the clear favourite from the start, and beat 19 other hopefuls to the title.

Winning a spate of preliminary titles including Essence of Style Award, Best In Evening Wear and Spirit of the Pageant, the behavioural technician won praise for her work with autistic children.

"During my reign, I want to get into my advocacy which is raising awareness for children with special needs and children with autism. So, I want to look into how I can implement that, so that we can get these services readily available in rural Jamaica," she told Jamaica Observer soon after her win.

"Getting people diagnosed, so that the parents know that the children are not being bad, but they really have an issue and learning how to address that issue and how to deal with their children."

India

Divita Rai, an architect and model from Karnataka, won the Miss Diva contest on Sunday night.

Sandhu crowned her successor, who hopes to now become the fourth contestant from India to bag the Miss Universe title.

The Miss Diva pageant was not Rai's first rodeo, having participated in the contest last year and placed second after current Miss Universe Sandhu. In 2019, Rai also took part in the Karnataka state competition for Femina Miss India, which sends India's representative to the Miss World pageant, and placed in the top three.

Standing 1.8 metres tall, Rai, who lives in Mumbai, is already an established model, having walked at a number of fashion weeks across the country.

Nepal

Sophiya Bhujel was crowned Oriflame Miss Universe Nepal on August 27 in the grand finale held at Hotel Yak & Yeti, Kathmandu.

Sujita Basnet crowned Bhujel, 26, as her successor at the end of the event.

The professional model and social media influencer is no stranger to pageants, having also won Miss Eco International Nepal this year, as well as performing at Miss Nepal 2019. She also represented her home country at the Global Asian Model 2019.

South Africa

Ndavi Nokeri was named Miss South Africa 2022 on August 13 in a glitzy ceremony in Pretoria.

Sandhu championed a local designer at the show, as she attended in a bright orange, plunging fitted gown with a sweeping cape by South African fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee that turned heads on the red carpet.

Nokeri, 23, is from Tzaneen in Limpopo and is an investment management graduate. Miss South Africa 2021 Lalela Mswane was there to crown her predecessor at the event, which took place in Time Square's SunBet Arena.

Thailand

Anna Sueangam-iam, 23, was named Miss Universe Thailand 2022 in a pageant at True Icon Hall in Bangkok on Saturday.

The daughter of former bin collectors, Sueangam-iam, who has a degree in hotel and tourism management, was crowned by her predecessor Anchilee Scott-Kemmis and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, beating 28 other women on the night.

During the final Q&A session, Sueangam-iam asked what she would do to empower people who "feel hopeless". “You’re not the only ones facing despair,” she replied. “I used to be in despair too. We learn from our troubles to adapt and survive. I would call on all of you to have confidence in yourselves and rise to fight again. If I can, so can you.”

A new crown crafted by luxury jeweller Mouawad called Power of Resilience was also unveiled; Sueangam-iam won 1 million baht ($27,663), an apartment and new car.

Iraq

Balsam Hussein when she was declared as Miss Iraq 2022 on 28 July 2022. Azhar Al-Rubaie for The National

TV presenter Balsam Hussein, 26, a former hair-transplant specialist, was crowned Miss Iraq 2022 at a beauty contest held in Erbil, capital of the northern Kurdish region, last month.

Hussein was among 19 contestants from across the country who were vying for the title and a chance to represent Iraq at the Miss World and Miss Universe events.

Launched in 1947, the Miss Iraq contest was suspended for more than four decades in 1973 because of political upheaval and wars, and resumed only in 2015. The country last competed in 2017.

Hussein represented the Al Karakh district of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital where she was born and raised.

Lebanon

Yasmina Zaytoun was crowned Miss Lebanon 2022 in a glittering ceremony in Beirut last month. The pageant was the first to take place since 2018 in the country.

Zaytoun, who is from Kfarchouba, a village in southern Lebanon, is a journalism student, studying at Notre Dame University — Louaize. She is currently in the third year of her course.

As well as doing some modelling, she hosts the With Yasmina Show on Instagram, which she describes as an educational show and on which she interviews notable Lebanese media and sports personalities.

"This is the best thing that happened in my life ... my dream has finally come true," Zaytoun said on stage, after being crowned Miss Lebanon. "I dedicate my victory to my parents, for sure."

United Kingdom

The latest beauty queen to be crowned is Noky Simbani, 25, who won the Miss Universe Great Britain contest on July 9.

Simbani is from Derby, and holds a master's in engineering. She currently works in finance. In 2017, she represented England in the Miss Grand International pageant. Speaking at the time, Simbani said she was grateful for the platform pageantry had given her to help support local charitable organisations within her community.

Vietnam

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Chau, 27, won the Miss Universe Vietnam contest on June 25.

The model, and winner of Vietnam's Next Top Model 2016, is from the southern province of Tay Ninh. She was crowned at the pageant's finale with Sandhu and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray in attendance.

Chau is no stranger to pageants, having also won Miss Supranational Vietnam 2018 and Miss Supranational Asia 2019.

On Saturday, she also won the Best Body award and the ecology and environment ambassador title, according to local media.

Ukraine

Due to the war in Ukraine, the traditional Miss Universe Ukraine pageant was not held. However, a winner was still announced in a bid to draw attention to the Russian offensive in the country.

Viktoria Apanasenko, 27, who was the first runner-up at Miss Universe 2021, will represent her home nation at the global contest.

She's a professional model and volunteer, with a degree in social work, who's helping to provide food and medicine to vulnerable people. "She chose this profession because she has always had a sincere desire to help solve social problems and to be able to support vulnerable populations," said Miss Universe Ukraine in a statement on social media.

Philippines

Filipino-Italian beauty queen Celeste Cortesi was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2022 in a ceremony at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila in April.

Cortesi, 24, a representative for Pasay City, was born on December 15, 1997, to a Filipino mother and Italian father, and was raised in Italy before moving to the Philippines five years ago to pursue a career in pageantry.

The professional model, who is training to become a property agent, also won the Miss Philippines Earth title in 2018. She went on to represent the country at Miss Earth, where she placed in the top eight finalists.

She is the third Filipina to win two major national crowns, joining Carlene Aguilar, who was named Miss Philippines Earth 2001 and Miss World Philippines 2005, and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who was also Miss World Philippines 2016.

Bhutan

Bhutan is marking its pageant debut this year and Tashi Choden, from Wangdue Phodrang, is the country's first beauty queen.

Choden, 23, was crowned on June 4 after the competition ended in Thimphu. The professional model was also named best in three categories, including evening gown and ramp walk.

“Winning this pageant is a legitimate platform where I can advocate on social issues and talk to young women and try to empower them and try to make them believe in themselves more because I had a hard time believing in myself and look where I am right now,” Choden said, according to local news site BBS.

Seychelles

The first and last time Seychelles competed in Miss Universe was 1995 and after that 27-year hiatus, Gabriella Gonthier, from Mahe, will be representing her home country.

Gonthier, 24, is a model and monitoring and evaluation officer for the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy.

"She believes in creating a beautiful life rather than to wait for one and lives her life to the fullest as every single moment should be cherished; regardless of the situation," read a statement from Miss Universe Seychelles.

"Gabriella is a girl with vision and dreams, determined to make them a reality."

South Korea

Hanna Kim, from Seoul, will represent South Korea in the next pageant. Kim was appointed by Miss Queen Korea, the national beauty pageant responsible for selecting the country's representative for Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Supranational.

Kim, 26, is a woman of many talents. A professional fashion model, she's also a linguist, an interpreter and a classical ballet dancer.

South Korea's participation in the pageant dates back decades, but the country has not yet had a winner.

Canada

Amelia Tu, from Vancouver, is Canada's winning beauty queen this year.

Tu, 20, who is Chinese-Canadian, is currently studying biology and business at the University of California, Berkeley. She's no stranger to pageants, having competed in Rose Queen and Princess Pageant in Oregon state, and being crowned the 2020 Miss Chinese Rose Princess.

She's particularly passionate about sustainability and raising awareness of environmental issues, according to her biography on the Miss Universe Canada website.

"Although she has a vast variety of interests, her all-time favourite hobby would have to be exploring different genres of dance," the website states.

Ghana

Miss Universe Ghana 2022, Engracia Afua K Mofuman, was one of the first women to be crowned for the 71st pageant, as she won the title on December 21, succeeding reigning queen Naa Morkor Commodore.

The 176-centimetre-tall beauty has been on official pageant duties ever since, leading story times for children and meeting VIPs and ambassadors on the organisation's behalf.

Mofuman, 27, has participated in pageants before, competing at Miss Intercontinental 2018, where she came in the top 20.

A model, Mofuman is also quite the linguist and can speak fluent French, Spanish, English and Portuguese.

Indonesia

Laksmi Shari De Neefe Suardana took the Puteri Indonesia 2022 crown at the end of May, becoming the first contestant from Bali to enter Miss Universe.

The fashion designer, author, Unicef activist and model defeated 43 other finalists from 34 provinces in Indonesia, stunning the jury with her performance, according to CNN Indonesia.

Suardana, 26, was born in Melbourne to an Australian mother and Balinese father. Together with her parents, she has worked since 2004 to boost tourism in Bali through the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival.

She also dabbled in acting in 2010 when she appeared as an extra in the hit film Eat Pray Love.

Scroll through the gallery below to see the most dazzling Miss Universe 2021 national costumes

Updated: September 25, 2022, 12:48 PM
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