Lebanon's Yasmina Zaytoun says Miss Universe pageant was a 'wonderful journey'

'As Lebanese we will never give up,' said the beauty queen after the finals wrapped up

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Yasmina Zaytoun may not have won Miss Universe for Lebanon on Sunday, but her reign as national beauty queen is not over.

Soon, she will also compete in the 71st Miss World, where Karolina Bielawska of Poland will crown her successor. A date and location for the pageant final have yet to be announced, but more than 80 contestants around the world have been named so far.

Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel was named Miss Universe 2022 during the dazzling final, which took place in New Orleans.

Zaytoun didn't make it to the final stages, but she's not letting that hold her back.

"It was a wonderful journey," she wrote on Instagram after the pageant ended. "Full of ups and downs, but as Lebanese we will never give up because Lebanon needs us!!"

A video of her tearily talking about her beloved homeland was also posted on the Miss Lebanon Fan Club account, with the message: "Hard Luck Yasmina! You were strong, confident & raised your voice! You did your best! Miss World is NEXT! Sending you so much love."

Zaytoun was named Miss Lebanon 2022 in a glittering ceremony in Beirut in July. The pageant was the first to take place since 2018. She was crowned by Maya Reaidy, who held the Miss Lebanon crown from 2018 to 2021.

"I did it," Zaytoun, 20, wrote on Instagram, celebrating being declared the winner.

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 sport personalities. Guests have included TV presenter Lana Daoud, politician Paula Yacoubian, and actress and influencer Enjy Kiwan, to name a few.

"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."

Zaytoun was only one of two contestants from the Arab world, alongside Miss Universe Bahrain Evlin Khalifa, who also did not make it to the final stages.

"You made Bahrain and the universe proud @evlin_khalifa," read a post on the official Miss Universe Bahrain account after the finals. "We are all waving with pride."

Zaytoun has proudly spoken about her homeland on the world's stage since being named Miss Lebanon.

In the national costume round, she paid tribute to the cedar tree with an outfit designed by Charbel Zoe Couture.

"We are warriors! Even one of the biggest explosions in history didn’t stop us from dreaming and succeeding," Zaytoun wrote on Instagram. "Because we are like the cedar strong, unbreakable and resilient!"

Charbel Zoe also commented on the inspiration for the design: "This look represents the cedar tree which stands for Lebanon’s resilience. The bodysuit is made of metal recognising a female warrior who believes in breaking strength for a one-of-a-kind country. It’s refreshing to see a warrior tree-like Lebanon."

Scroll through the gallery below to see more outfits from the national costume round

Updated: January 15, 2023, 11:16 AM