Pageant queens react to ‘leaked’ Miss Universe video

Miss Universe PH Pasig City Selena Reyes —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Miss Universe PH Pasig City Selena Reyes —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The reactions from former and current pageant contestants to the “leaked video” of a meeting between the new owners of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) have ranged from dismay and resignation to even a sense of hopefulness.

The video featuring co-owners Anne Jakrajutatip and Mexican businessman Raul Rocha Cantu along with several other attendees was leaked last week and made the rounds. During the course of that meeting, Jakrajutatip talked about her “communication strategy … of social inclusion” that allowed married women, mothers and trans women to participate in Miss Universe and removed age restrictions for pageant hopefuls. They didn’t stop there, however, as one of them clarified that these women “can compete but they cannot win.”

The video skips a number of times and they tackle other topics like allowing “real-size beauty” to be represented so viewers would be able to relate. Despite the large number of candidates, Jakrajutatip pointed out, “You already know who’s the winner.”

Oldest candidate

In the past, MUO only allowed women aged 18 to 28 to compete, but this rule has since been scrapped. It opened the gates for many women who have since taken the opportunity to join the pageant and represent their countries.

Miss Nepal 2023 Jane Garret —JANE DIPIKA/ INSTAGRAM

At the Miss Universe Philippines Quezon City search held earlier this month, 69-year-old Joyce Cubales was the oldest candidate and managed to make the first cut, landing among the 15 semifinalists. Pasig City’s bet for Miss Universe Philippines is Selena Antonio Reyes, a 38-year-old wife and mother of two. During the question and answer portion in Quezon City, Cubales was asked to comment on what she found the most striking about the comments she’s received. Instead of clapping back at ageists, she said that someone was moved to live a healthier life after finding out that a sexagenarian like her was a candidate in the local search. Pasig City’s Reyes also chose to be positive. In her Instagram post on Sunday night, she wrote that “each perceived ‘disadvantage’ has only served to strengthen my belief in the power of diverse representation.”


Miss Nepal 2023 Jane Dipika Garret was the pageant’s first plus-size delegate, and was applauded and loudly cheered on during the finals night last year. Despite the adulation then, she remained pragmatic and levelheaded.

“I knew [the pageant] was rigged from the moment I was onstage. I realized us ‘inclusion’ girls weren’t ever gonna get a real chance to win. But it is what it is and I’m super happy for my experience there and the platform I’ve been able to create. I have all my lovely fans and supporters, and that’s more than a crown for me,” Garret wrote in her Instagram story.

Perhaps Reyes is choosing to remain positive despite Jakrajutatip’s incendiary comments if only not to jinx her chances at the Miss Universe Philippines finals this coming May.

“I am happy that diversity and inclusivity have been considered for Miss Universe whether it is for communications purposes only or for any other reasons. What is important is it has opened opportunities that were not previously available. Now is my chance … I am grateful for that,” Reyes said. INQ