DUBAI: Twenty-four-year-old Bahraini Russian model and pianist Evlin Abdullah-Khalifa has been named Miss Universe Bahrain this year.
She was chosen by a jury that included Egyptian actress Mai Omar, Jrey Soul of the Black Eyed Peas and influencer Faryal Makhdoom, among others.
Lujane Yacoub, 18, came in first second and Mariam Naji of Raffi and Shereen Ahmed of Manama filled third place with a tie for second place.
“My main goal in life is to be successful (and) to believe in myself because I have struggled with this issue a lot in my life. And I realized that whenever you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. And I mean everyone looks to believe in themselves as well as how my sisters and I believed in ourselves,” an emotional Abdullah-Khalifa said in an interview with Arab News.
The glamorous Miss Universe Bahrain 2022 beauty pageant kicked off on September 7 with a series of episodes online, with the final episode airing on Sunday evening to reveal the new beauty queen.
During the last Q&A segment, Abdullah-Khalifa was asked, “When do you think a woman becomes empowered?” Her winning answer captured the hearts of the jury “I think a woman becomes empowered when she knows herself, when she knows her values and when she knows what she is capable of. An empowered woman is a role model for people and whose actions lead to success. And I’m here to be that woman who leads everyone to success and who believes in herself.
Born to a Bahraini father and a Russian mother, the winner declares herself an advocate for education and also seeks to raise awareness of the anorexia from which she suffers.
Asked about her experience as Miss Universe Bahrain 2022, Abdullah-Khalifa told Arab News: “Beauty pageants have changed me a lot. In that short time, I have become a totally different person, a better version of myself. -same.”
The top seven finalists shot the series in eight episodes and engaged in several activities to further promote their various advocacy and charitable missions.
The first edition of Miss Universe Bahrain, which took place last year, crowned model Manar Jess Deyani, who made history as the shortest contestant in the Miss Universe pageant at 154.9cm.
Abdullah-Khalifa said she owed her own victory to Deyani. “The first thought of participating in Miss Universe Bahrain came to me when I saw Manar Jess Deyani on the international Miss Universe stage. At that time, I realized that women from the Middle East can show themselves , we can shine and we can show how beautiful and strong our women are,” Abdullah-Khalifa said.
Deyani made waves when she opted out of wearing a traditional swimsuit during the show’s preliminary round, receiving a lot of support and recognition from the women and the community she represents.
“For me, that’s what it’s all about: Celebrating individuality and the freedom to choose, especially over their clothing choices. I was very lucky to experience the Miss Universe last year and I’m very grateful to the entire Miss Universe team because they’re very sensitive and are all culturally aware and representational so when I got there at the pageant they gave me given an option to wear the burkini during the swimsuit competition, which for me is so empowering because a lot of women can relate to that choice and that statement I made the moment I walked out of the scene,” Deyani said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the 71st Miss Universe pageant Khalifa will be competing in has been postponed to next year, a source confirmed to Arab News. Although no reason was given for the postponement, it is likely that two Miss Universe pageants will take place next year, with the 2023 winner being crowned later in the year.