Miss Universe contestants made bold political statements with their national costumes. Here are the most impactful looks.

·4 min read
Miss Universe contestants wide thumb
Miss Universe contestants.MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Miss Universe National Costume Show was held at the Universe Arena in Israel on Friday.

  • Contestants from around the world paid tribute to their home countries with their outfits.

  • The standout contestants wore costumes that made bold political statements.

Miss Ireland Katharine Walker's superhero-inspired costume was used to promote fair pay for healthcare workers.

Miss Ireland participates in the 2021 Miss Universe National Costume Contest.
Miss Ireland Katherine Walker.Miss Universe

Katherine Walker's outfit featured a silver headpiece, a green leotard, and matching green sleeves, which had "Healthcare" printed on one arm and "Hero" printed on the other.

She also had wing-like banners attached to her leotard, which had "Fair pay for nursing" printed on it.

Walker wrote on Instagram that she aimed to represent "every single healthcare worker, the real heroes of the world" with her costume.

Walker became a registered nurse in 2016, spent time looking after children in pediatric and neonatal intensive care, and worked on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miss Curaçao Shariëngela Cijntje's fiery ensemble was meant to show the effects of climate change.

Miss Curaçao participates in the 2021 Miss Universe National Costume Contest.
Miss Curaçao Shariëngela Cijntje.Miss Universe

Cijntje's outfit, designed by Jorge Salazar Caliz, consisted of a red-and-yellow feathered bodysuit and a matching headpiece.

The outfit was meant to show the effects of climate change on the island of Curaçao — particularly how its coral reefs are being destroyed — Insider previously reported.

Miss Czech Republic Karolína Kokešová wore a Lioness Warrior costume to promote women's rights across the world.

Miss Czech Republic.
Miss Czech Republic Karolína Kokešová.MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images

Kokešová said on Instagram that she wanted to promote women's rights with her outfit.

She wrote that the shield she carried had three symbolic elements. While the first face of the shield showed a rampant lion — the national emblem of the Czech Republic — the second face had Afghanistan's flag colors on it.

Kokešová said the third face of the shield had the Texas flag, alongside the text: "I'm One Voice, but Together we can ROAR."

"The concept behind this shield is to simply showcase regardless of race, 1st or 3rd world countries, women's rights issues are all over the world," she wrote.

Miss El Salvador Alejandra Gavidia's gown was designed to represent people affected by femicide.

Miss El Salvador participates in the 2021 Miss Universe National Costume Contest.
Miss El Salvador Alejandra Gavidia.Miss Universe

Gavidia's costume, designed by Francisco Guerrero, was meant to transform her into El Salvador's Monument to the Constitution, Insider previously reported.

On Instagram, Gavidia said the red handprints on the skirt were made by those who have been impacted by femicide, which is defined by Women's Aid as "the murder of women because they are women." According to the organization, femicide is a leading cause of premature death for women globally.

Gavidia added that the chains hanging from her shoulder represented obstacles to justice, while her black-and-green blindfold represented mourning and hope.

Miss Finland Essi Unkuri wore a semi-sheer skirt that advocated against deforestation.

Miss Finland Essi Unkuri
Miss Finland Essi Unkuri.MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images

Unkuri's outfit, designed by Merja Thil, was comprised of a sequined leotard, a yellow spiked collar, and a semi-sheer skirt that sent an important message about the environment.

The text "Stop Deforesting" can be seen in photos of the inside of the skirt, while the message "Let's Save Our Planet" can be seen in photos of the back of the skirt.

Emma Rose wore flowers from Great Britain to symbolize her home country's respect for the environment.

Miss Great Britain participates in the 2021 Miss Universe National Costume Contest.
Miss Great Britain Emma Rose.Miss Universe

Rose's outfit consisted of a sparkly green leotard with matching boots, and a headpiece that had the national flowers of Great Britain: roses for England, thistles for Scotland, and daffodils for Wales.

April Banbury, who designed the outfit, wrote on Instagram that it was created "in line with our respect for the environment and mindful of our own carbon footprint."

Lalela Mswane transformed into a dove to represent peace in South Africa.

Miss South Africa participates in the 2021 Miss Universe National Costume Contest.
Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane.Miss Universe

Mswane's outfit, which included a white bodysuit adorned with feathers, accompanied by a silver headpiece, was designed by the South African designer The Costume Dept.

"I represented my beautiful South Africa, culture and its spirit of Ubuntu. A nation that has shown that lasting peace can be achieved. I was honoured to bring this message of hope to the global stage," she wrote on Instagram.

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