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Oldest Miss Universe winners

Oldest Miss Universe winners

Oldest Miss Universe winners

In recent years, Miss Universe has gone through a lot of contentious and ground-breaking changes. From only allowing transgenders compete to now accepting mothers and married women as well. The organization makes these important decisions as it works to create a pageant that is more tolerant and inclusive. However, one interesting issue has yet to be addressed.

At 28-years, 9 months and 25 days, Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel becomes the pageant’s oldest reigning titleholder. Very appropriate given her circumstance, she was questioned on a comparable topic during the Top 5 Q&A.

R’Bonney was questioned by judge Mara Martin on the improvements she would want to see in the Miss Universe competition. She replied:

For me, I would like to see an age increase because I am 28 years old and that is the oldest age to compete, and I think it’s a beautiful thing. My favorite quote is “if not now, then when?”, because as a woman, I believe age does not define us. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday, but it’s now. The time is now that you can go after what you want.

In the early years of Miss Universe, the majority of the winners were extremely young women, typically between the ages of 17 and 18. Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela, who took home the title in 2009 at the age of 18, is the most recent Miss Universe in this age bracket.

Given these statistics, including R’Bonney, here are the top five oldest Miss Universes. Also specified are their ages at the time they captured the title.

2 – Andrea Meza

As the previous record holder, Andrea Meza became Mexico’s third Miss Universe at the age of 26 years, 9 months and 3 days. In comparison, she was 23 when she first competed at Miss World in 2017.

3 – Brook Mahealani Lee, Miss Universe 1997

For the longest time, the title of oldest Miss Universe went to another American. Brook Lee from Hawaii won the crown at 26-years-old. At the time she was just around 4 months and 8 days before turning 27.

4 – Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015

Eighteen years later, Brook would eventually pass on the distinction to Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines. In taking home the country’s third Miss Universe crown in over 40 years, she did so at the age of 26 years, 2 months, and 26 days.

5 – Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019

Spanning over one year, five months and eight days, South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi earned the title of longest-reigning Miss Universe. Due to the global health crisis concerning COVID-19, she had to relinquish her title in May of 2021.

Winning back in 2019, she was around 26 years, 2 months and 20 days old.

In an industry where age is often a defining quality, it’s truly monumental for someone like R’Bonney to defy this norm. Like her, we eagerly await the day when Miss Universe raises the eligibility age so that more women will have the opportunity to inspire others to also chase their dreams.

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