New York City: For the first time in its history, the Miss Universe pageant will no longer have an upper age limit for contestants. Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel from the United States announced this major decision during the New York Fashion Week 2024.
R’Bonney Gabriel herself has broken the record as the oldest Miss Universe to be crowned. The 2022 winner is currently 29 years old. Miss Universe had previously capped its age limit for contestants at 28 years old.
However, based on the new changes introduced during Tanner Fletcher’s “Beauty Pageant” show at NYFW 2024, the organisation has decided to abolish its age limits.
However, candidates must be 18 years or above to be able to enter the competition. This change has also been brought in the organisation in its continued bid for inclusivity. Speaking to reporters at the New York Fashion Week, the Miss Universe winner stated that “age is not a barrier to a woman’s ability to compete or achieve greatness”.
“It’s a bold group of women in charge over here, and you know what, a lot of people tend to follow what we do — it’s nice to be a standard-bearer, and I’m proud that we get to do this,” stated R’Bonney.
The Miss Universe Organistation was first established in 1952. In 2022, the organisation was acquired by Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, also known as Anne Jakrajutatip, a transgender businesswoman for $20 million.
Under her leadership, Miss Universe 2023 saw removal of various restrictions. Married, divorced and pregnant contestants were allowed to compete in the beauty pageant.