In a groundbreaking move, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) has officially dismantled age restrictions for all Miss Universe and associated pageants, ushering in a new era of inclusivity and empowerment within the beauty industry. The announcement, made on September 13, is set to take effect for all 2024 pageants globally, signaling a significant shift in the way society perceives beauty and age.

The pivotal announcement was delivered by the reigning Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel, during the Tanner Fletcher’s Spring 2024 New York Fashion Week show, aptly named “Beauty Pageant.” Gabriel, who is currently 29 years old, is already making history as the oldest Miss Universe to date. Her presence on Fletcher’s runway, alongside models spanning various age groups, served as a powerful testament to the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Congratulations to R’Bonney, the newly crowned Miss Universe! Your exceptional beauty, captivating presence, and remarkable wit and intelligence have truly set you apart as the best among the contestants. Your well-deserved victory shines brightly, and any claims of rigging from detractors are simply a testament to their own bitterness and unhappiness.

In an exclusive report by Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), Gabriel expressed her admiration for the Miss Universe Organization’s forward-thinking approach, saying, “What I love about Miss Universe is that they are always out first in line, looking for ways they can be more inclusive and better live up to the platform that they’ve designed for us. 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 — it’s nice to be a standard-bearer, and I’m proud that we get to do this.”

The decision to eliminate age limits was met with enthusiasm and support from various quarters. The policy change represents a significant step towards celebrating individuality and authenticity, regardless of societal norms and stereotypes. It sends a resounding message that a person’s ability to compete and succeed should not be constrained by their age; indeed, age is merely a number.

Fletcher Kasell, co-founder and creative director of Tanner Fletcher, expressed his delight at the collaboration with the Miss Universe Organization, stating, “We are thrilled to have partnered with the Miss Universe Organization on a ‘Beauty Pageant’ of our very own. It’s wonderful to open up the world of Tanner Fletcher to other organizations who share a similar, uplifting and empowering vision. We are aligned on the belief that all people, no matter the societal boxes they have been put into, deserve to act as their authentic selves and be celebrated for it.”

The visionary decision to remove age limits opens doors for individuals of all ages to pursue their dreams and participate in the Miss Universe pageant. It is a significant departure from the previous restriction that capped contestants at 28 years of age. This change reflects the evolving perception of beauty and recognizes that beauty knows no bounds.

R’Bonney Gabriel initially brought up the issue of age during the pageant’s question-and-answer segment, demonstrating her advocacy for change. Reflecting on her experience, she shared, “I answered an onstage question: ‘If you were going to make any changes to the organization’s rules, what would they be?’ I said to raise the age limit. When I competed, the age limit was 28, and I was 28 at the time. So, my answer was that I think we should change this — a woman’s ability to compete at Miss Universe, or anything in life, shouldn’t be defined by her age. Age should just be a number.”

The bold decision by this Organization aligns with their commitment to breaking stereotypes and setting new standards of empowerment. It redefines the parameters of beauty, allowing individuals from all walks of life to embrace their uniqueness and showcase their talents on a global stage.

Image taken from Miss Universe Official Website

As the world eagerly anticipates the 2023 Miss Universe beauty pageant, set to take place in El Salvador on November 18, the excitement is palpable. With age restrictions eliminated, the pageant promises to be a celebration of beauty, diversity, and the limitless potential of individuals to shine, regardless of their age. The Miss Universe Organization’s bold step is a beacon of hope for a more inclusive and equitable future in the world of beauty pageants, where age truly becomes just a number.