Miss Universe 2022 to be held in New Orleans next year

The global beauty pageant has been postponed to reportedly make way for the Fifa World Cup

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The coastal US city of New Orleans will play host to the 71st Miss Universe pageant on January 14. 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 current titleholder, Harnaaz Sandhu from India.

“There is no place like New Orleans. This vibrant city has been at the top of our list to host for quite some time due to its rich cultural history, as well as its unique arts, entertainment and culinary scene,” said Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organisation. “I look forward to our delegates from all over the world getting to experience all it has to offer."

More than 90 women will vie for the title of Miss Universe at the event, to be held at the Ernest N Morial Convention Centre. They will compete in various categories, including evening gown and swimwear. They will also take part in an in-depth interview session. The evening will culminate with the 70th Miss Universe, Sandhu, crowning her successor.

“My time as Miss Universe has been an incredible experience and I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have received as a result of this platform,” Sandhu said. “I’m very excited that I will be crowning the next titleholder in New Orleans and that she will kick off her reign in such an exciting and special city known for its resilience, music and grand celebrations.”

The announcement also means two Miss Universe pageants are likely to be held next year, with the second taking place later in the year to crown Miss Universe 2023.

The last time two pageants were held in the same year was in 2021 when, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, a postponed Miss Universe 2020 was held in Hollywood, South Florida, in May. Miss Mexico Andrea Meza won the competition and then crowned her successor, Miss Universe 2021 Sandhu, in December in Israel.

It is likely that a decision to postpone the pageant was taken to make way for the Fifa World Cup, scheduled to kick off in Qatar in November.

More than 50 countries — from the UK to Ukraine and Guatemala to Ghana — have named their representatives for the 71st Miss Universe. In the region, Evlin Khalifa, 24, was named Miss Universe Bahrain on September 11. The trained pianist and dancer will be only the second beauty queen to represent her country at the global pageant.

Scroll through the gallery below for Miss Universe 2022 contestants who have been crowned so far

Located along the Mississippi River, New Orleans is known for its history, musical traditions and festivals, including the Mardi Gras. A former French and Spanish colony, it is nicknamed The Big Easy, an ode to its laid-back culture, or NoLa, which stands for New Orleans, Louisiana.

“The City of New Orleans and the Miss Universe Organisation share common values of celebrating inclusion, culture and the empowerment of women,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the first female mayor in the city’s 300-year history.

“Former Miss Universe delegates and winners have gone on to become surgeons, diplomats, politicians and business leaders, and they all champion social causes that are important to them. Hosting this event demonstrates the significant global impact an international city like New Orleans has on the world’s tourism and cultural stages."

Meet Miss Universe Bahrain Evlin Khalifa, who says she's 'doing this for my country' — in pictures

Updated: September 20, 2022, 8:05 AM