Miss Universe contestants compete in national costume contest

Miss Colombia Gabriela Tafur Nader showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss Colombia Gabriela Tafur Nader showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Miss Universe contestants stunned a cheering crowd Friday night, competing in preliminary swimsuit and evening gown contests and the extravagant national costume competition.

The 90 women from across the globe have been in Atlanta since Thanksgiving preparing for the Miss Universe pageant, which culminates with its final night Sunday. The preliminary swimsuit and evening gown scores, along with scores from a private interview with a panel of judges, determine who will continue competing Sunday.



The costume contest does not hold weight in determining who makes it to the top 20 in the final competition, but one contestant will win the best contest award.

A loud, enthusiastic crowd packed a ballroom at the Marriott Marquis to watch Friday's competition. Large contingents from countries including the Philippines, Colombia and Albania cheered for their nation's representatives while holding light-up signs, waving flags and even occasionally blaring a loud horn.

For the first phase of competition, swimsuit, contestants donned vibrant multicolored bikinis and carried flowing chiffon capes behind them.

However, the runway proved treacherous for some, with at least four women tripping or falling during the swimsuit competition. Miss France Maeva Coucke took the hardest fall, landing on her side before getting back up, smiling and signifying to the judges that she was OK. A brief break was taken during the swimsuit competition to sweep the stage after multiple falls.

Contestants brought the drama in the evening gown competition, with dresses ranging from traditional to outlandish. Miss Kazakhstan Alfiya Yersaiyn stood out in a massive gown made of tiered orange tulle. Miss USA Cheslie Kryst opted for a champagne colored gown covered in jewels with a silk train trailing from one hip.

The national costume contest allowed contestants to celebrate traditions and important items and figures from their countries.

Explore» MORE PHOTOS from the national costume contest 

Kryst wore a costume “inspired by great American women” and symbols, including Maya Angelou, Rosie the Riveter and Lady Justice. The outfit had large gold-tipped wings, gold denim and a pointed crown similar to that of the Statue of Liberty.

Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados wore an elaborate silver costume with two life-sized Philippine Eagles on her shoulder and a headpiece also emulating her country's national bird.

 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss USA Cheslie Kryst showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie

 Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados  showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie

 Miss Honduras Rosemary Arauz showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss Honduras Rosemary Arauz showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Some contestants also chose to make political statements with their costumes. Miss Canada Alyssa Boston, an advocate for legalizing cannabis, walked the runway in a green showgirl-like costume inspired by marijuana. After strutting down the runway in a bedazzled soccer uniform and sun-like golden wings on her back, Miss Brazil Julia Horta unfurled a banner reading “Stop violence against women.” Miss Laos Vichitta Phonevilay may have had the largest costume, walking out in a Trojan Horse-like elephant. When she emerged from the elephant, she displayed a banner reading “Stop fire, save Amazon,” in reference to the devastating wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.

 Miss Canada Alyssa Boston showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss Canada Alyssa Boston showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie

 Miss Laos Vichitta Phonevilay showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss Laos Vichitta Phonevilay showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie

 Miss Brazil Julia Horta showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss Brazil Julia Horta showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie

The Miss Universe finals will be broadcast live from Tyler Perry Studios at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. The pageant can be viewed on Fox and Telemundo.

 Miss Haiti Gabriela Clesca Vallejo showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss Haiti Gabriela Clesca Vallejo showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie

 Miss India Vartika Singh  showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.  PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC
Miss India Vartika Singh showcases her costume that represents her country at the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Atlanta on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE/FOR THE AJC

Credit: Elissa Benzie

Credit: Elissa Benzie


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