Evlin Khalifa crowned Miss Universe Bahrain 2022

The kingdom's second beauty queen is from Riffa

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Evlin Khalifa, from Riffa, has been crowned the second Miss Universe Bahrain.

A year after Manar Deyani became the first beauty queen to represent Bahrain at the Miss Universe pageant, Khalifa, 24, takes the spotlight.

The crowning took place in a ceremony streamed on Miss Universe Bahrain's official YouTube page, showing the contestants sporting looks by Amato Couture and taking part in a question-and-answer segment.

Khalifa impressed the judges, including Indian actress Urvashi Rautela and Egyptian actress Mai Omar, with her answer to the question: "When do you think a woman becomes empowered?"

“I think a woman becomes empowered when she knows herself, when she knows her values and when she knows what she is capable of," she said.

"An empowered woman is a role model of the people and whose actions lead to success. And I’m here to be that woman to lead all the people to success and believe in themselves.”

Applications for the Miss Universe Bahrain 2022 competition opened in June, inviting aspiring beauty queens aged between 18 and 28, who are single and who hold a Bahraini passport, to enter the competition.

There were more than 300 applicants from across the kingdom, and these were whittled down to only seven, before the winner and three runners-up were crowned.

Filipina-Bahraini Shereen Ahmed and Maryam Naji came in as second runners-up, while the contest's youngest participant, Lujane Yacoub, was first runner-up.

Model Natalia Barulich announced the winners.

Scroll through the below gallery to see Miss Universe Bahrain finalists in Dubai

Who is Evlin Khalifa?

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

She is passionate about education and believes it is never too late to learn something new in life.

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.

She is also outspoken about anorexia, having being diagnosed with it, and is keen to spread awareness and start conversations about the eating disorder, leading a healthy lifestyle and well-being.

Changes for Miss Universe 2022

Khalifa will go on to compete in the international Miss Universe pageant next year.

There will be no pageant this year, it was announced last week. While no reason has been given for the postponement, it is probable that two Miss Universe pageants will be held next year, with the 2022 winner announced in the first quarter and the 2023 queen being crowned later in the year.

The news effectively extends the reign of Harnaaz Sandhu from India, who was crowned Miss Universe 2021 in December.

But the longest-reigning Miss Universe is Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa, who won the title in 2019 and reigned for 525 days after the 2020 pageant was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 50 countries, from the UK to Ukraine and Guatemala to Ghana, have named their representatives for the 71st Miss Universe, the location for which is yet to revealed.

Scroll through the gallery below for pictures of Miss Universe 2022 contestants who have already been crowned

Last month, the Miss Universe Organisation introduced a major rule change for eligibility. Starting with the 72nd pageant, the annual competition will accept married women and mothers.

In an internal memo seen by The National, the organisation said: "We all believe that women should have agency over their lives and that a human's personal decisions should not be a barrier to their success."

Previously, only single women aged between 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children, were allowed to apply.

The contest has been changing with the times. Last year, Miss Universe Bahrain made headlines by choosing to walk the swimsuit round in fully covered sportswear.

The former beauty queen, who is a fashion designer living in Dubai, has been mentoring the finalists along with a team of experts.

"Miss Universe has never been about physical beauty," she previously told The National. "If you are an aspiring Miss Universe, you have to find your purpose.

"Develop your confidence and identify the key messages you want to advocate for.

"It is also important to take care of your mental health because it can sometimes be hard with everyone watching, but you need to embrace your power within and find your voice."

Meet the first Miss Universe Bahrain: Manar Deyani — in pictures

Updated: September 13, 2022, 11:36 AM