The 69th Miss Universe winner is Andrea Meza from Mexico. Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa relinquished the coveted crown to Meza.

Other women in the top 5 were: Brazil's Julia Gama (1st Runner-Up), Janick Maceta del Castillo of Peru (2nd Runner-Up), Adline Castelino from India (3rd Runner-Up), and Dominican Republic's Kimberly Jiménez (4th Runner-Up).

The Miss Universe coronation night was held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida, May 16, 2021. Mario Lopez and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo hosted the event.

This year's pageant is very much different from the previous years because of the pandemic. The organizers had to implement major adjustments to ensure the candidates' safety. E! Online quoted Miss Universe Organization president, Paula M. Shugart, "We have spent months planning and preparing safety precautions to develop this edition of Miss Universe-one that will be memorable, special and totally innovative." 

Andrea Meza's Winning Answers

In the final question, former title-holder Brooke Lee read the question to Mexico: "If you were the leader of your country, how would you handle the COVID-19 pandemic?"

26-year-old Meza said she believes there is no perfect way to handle this hard situation. However, she said she would have created a lockdown even before the problem was that big.

"We have to take care of our people, that's why I would have taken care of them since the beginning," she ended.

This year, the questions were written by their fellow contestants.

But the pressure does not stop there. After the final question, each of the Top 5 finalists will deliver a 30-second final statement about a topic that they will randomly pick.

Andrea Meza pulled out the card with the topic: "changing beauty standards." 

Meza mentioned the prevailing stereotypes in the society, but she emphasized that beauty is not only about how we look.

"For me, beauty radiates, not only in our spirits, but in our hearts and the way that we conduct ourselves," she said in Spanish.

She ended with a powerful piece of advice to other women: "Never permit someone to tell you that you're not valuable."

Her wit and eloquence wowed the audience - and for sure, the judges as well, because that made her bring home the third Miss Universe crown for her country, Mexico. Andrea Meza follows the footsteps of Lupita Jones (1991) and Ximena Navarette (2010) as Mexicans who bagged the Miss Universe title.

READ MORE: Mexico Plans to Ban Beauty Pageants

Latinas Dominate Miss Universe Top 10

Aside from the representatives from Mexico, Brazil, Dominican Republic, and Peru, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica also made it to the 2020 Miss Universe Top 10. This means that six, or more than half of the top 10 finalists, were from Latin American countries. Thailand, Jamaica, and Australia also made it to this cut.

Other Countries in Miss Universe Top 21

Other Latinas, such as the ladies from Argentina, Colombia, and Nicaragua, made it to the 2020 Miss Universe Top 21.

U.S.A., Great Britain, Curacao, and France made it to the first cut as well.

Several Southeast Asian nations were also among the initial set of finalists, including Indonesia and Myanmar. The Philippines continues to still be a pageant powerhouse as their bet this year continues the decade-long run of holding at least a Top 20 (Top 21) spot in Miss Universe, with two titles and a couple of runner-up finishes. Meanwhile, Vietnam completes the Top 21, having garnered the most number of fan votes online. 

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