By CARA HUNT
Tribune Features Writer
The Miss Universe Organisation recently made a major adjustment to its pageant structure, announcing that for the first time in their history, they will allow married women and mothers to compete in the international beauty pageant.
The organisation released the statement last week, saying, “Women should have agency over their lives, and that a human’s personal decisions should not be a barrier to their success.”
It is a part of their process to evolve with the changing of times to best represent and support women globally.
Randeika Foulkes-Cartwright, who won the Miss Plus World crown in 2021 and is also married, weighed in on the subject.
She said many things seem impossible until they are actually done.
She pointed out that while some people may be against the inclusion of married women and mothers, it only means that these contestants would be allowed to compete; it doesn’t guarantee them the title.
“It is important to note that these women that have now been included in the Miss Universe requirements would have to win their national pageant to even get to the Miss Universe stage, so I don’t fully understand why some people aren’t for the inclusion aspect,” she said.
“Every country will want to send their best. You won’t get a pass because you are pregnant, married or are a mom.”
Randeika added: “It takes a village to raise a child and do everything else. I would imagine that the reign of a pregnant, married or mommy miss universe would be a bit different from that of a single Miss Universe. The Miss Universe Organisation did say they would work with each (winner) accordingly.”
She said she is extremely proud of the Miss Universe Organisation “for making yet another bold move of inclusion.”
“This gives women like me the opportunity to compete on what some consider the biggest stage in pageantry This may be enough to get me out of retirement and back in the gym,” said Randeika.
However, other Bahamian pageant fans shared different views.
Pageant fan Tiana told Tribune Woman, “I don’t agree with the decision. I feel like there should be beauty pageant for young single ladies and separate ones for moms or married ladies. Because when you get married or became a mother, your life does change and so does your perspective on the world. And so, I think that would affect the way you answer your questions and the platforms you decide to focus on.”
Lisa added that the requirements of the reign may be difficult.
“I know that there is quite a bit of travel involved and you have all these requirements that Miss Universe demands of you. I’m not saying its impossible to do that with a husband or child, but I am sure that it is something that has to be considered,” she said.
Renee said having a child or being pregnant would definitely affect a swimsuit/fitness competition.
“I think some women bounce back after pregnancy and look great, but there are some of us who don’t. And that is just natural. But I think there would be an unfair advantage to have women who have had a child compete with women who haven’t.”
OIivia, who had a child at 18, said she would have loved to had the opportunity to compete when she was younger.
“I secretly wanted to enter Miss Bahamas, but unfortunately that couldn’t happen because of my son. So as much as I love him and would not trade him in for anything, I do feel like my pageant girl dream was denied,” she said.