Miss World or Miss Universe — which one is the bigger pageant is a debate that I don’t want to get into right now. But the constant postponement of the 71st edition of Miss World isn’t making it look good for the London-headquartered beauty contest — leaving it to the Miss Universe competition to be unarguably the most prestigious pageant to take place this year (at least).
In context of Nepal, Miss World is definitely the more popular pageant — thanks to almost 30 years of its history in the country, with The Hidden Treasure as the franchise owner; as compared to Miss Universe competition where Nepal debuted only six years ago in 2017. No wonder, Miss Nepal World is always considered THE Miss Nepal every year whereas the other Miss Nepal title holders — Earth, International and Supranational — don’t get the same kind of recognition even though they get crowned on the same stage, the same night. Miss Nepal Universe, on the other hand, is now no longer a franchise that is under The Hidden Treasure and has the first Miss Nepal Universe, Nagma Shrestha, as the National Director.
With multiple postponements in the schedule (and venue), Nepal now has two participants — Priyanka Rani Joshi (Miss Nepal World 2022) and Shrichchha Pradhan (Miss Nepal World 2023) who are yet to represent Nepal at the international pageant. Meanwhile, Miss Universe has been taking place every year with no such delays.
Sophiya Bhujel was Nepal’s bet in the competition last year in 2022, and it’s the most talked about Miss Universe Nepal, Jane Deepika Garrett, who is on the global stage this year. She is already part of the competition as she traveled to the host country, El Salvador, to compete in the 72nd edition of the Miss Universe pageant.
Jane had pleasantly surprised all the pageant fans around the world when she got crowned the Miss Universe Nepal 2023 earlier this year on September 3rd, breaking the conventional beauty pageant stereotypes as she became the first plus-size beauty queen to win any of the major pageant titles in the country.
She has been making heads turn at Miss Universe as well; as the people seem to be in awe of her — the cheers she received during the swimsuit round in the prelims are proof.
If the kind of love and reception she has been getting in the competition this year is anything to go by, she might be Nepal’s second bet to place in the Top 10 — or who knows — even go beyond that and actually create history as Nepal has never placed in the Top 5 in any of the five “big” pageants (Universe, World, Earth, International, Supranational) so far.
It was Manita Devkota, the Miss Universe Nepal 2018, who had made the Top 10 in the Miss Universe in Thailand; and that’ the closest Nepal has been to the crown yet in its six years of history.
The Miss Universe competition this year is truly the most inclusive one so far. Jane is the first plus-size contestant in the competition; and on the other hand, there are two trans beauty queens — Rikkie Valerie Kolle of the Netherlands and Marina Machete of Portugal — representing their countries as the Miss Universe Organization changed its rules allowing only “naturally born females” in 2012. It was Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018 who had then competed as the first transgender participant in the competition.
Another significant change the MUO made this year is allowing married women and mothers to join the pageant — and Maria Camila Avella of Colombia and Michelle Cohn of Guatemala are the two mothers competing this year, making it a first.
The Miss Universe pageant concluded the preliminary competition this week on Wednesday; followed by the National Costume competition on Thursday — and at both the occasions, Nepal’s Jane Deepika Garrett brought her A game. The coronation event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Nov 18th; which will be the early morning of Sunday in Nepal, starting at 7:00 AM.
Go, Jane, Go! We are all rooting for you!!