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Miss Universe has undergone a significant rule change, opening its doors to all women aged 18 and above. Previously, the competition had restricted contestants to those between 18 and 28 years old. R’Bonney Gabriel, the reigning Miss Universe, announced this groundbreaking shift during designer Tanner Fletcher’s 2023 New York Fashion Week show.

Gabriel praised Miss Universe for its commitment to inclusivity and said, “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.” The Miss Universe Organization subsequently confirmed this change on Instagram, revealing that the elimination of age limits would apply to all 2024 pageants worldwide.

This decision comes after a prior alteration allowing married women and mothers to participate. Juliana Morehouse of Miss Maine, set to compete in Miss USA, will make history as the first married contestant. This shift towards inclusivity has received mixed reactions, with some celebrating the changes and others expressing reservations.

In her Miss Universe journey, Gabriel, who had advocated for this rule change, emphasized that age should not define a woman’s potential. The Miss Universe Organization’s move to remove age barriers represents another step towards embracing diversity and redefining beauty standards in the pageant world.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The Business Insider

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