We just entered into a new year, and although many people are leaving things in the past, unfortunately, COVID-19 keeps hunting us and affecting our plans. One of the most recent people affected by the virus is Miss Latvia Jekaterina “Kate” Alexeeva, who tested positive for COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the Miss Universe competition.
The event, which is around the corner, began welcoming the candidates in New Orleans, Louisiana, to register as official delegates of their countries; however, for Kate, the dream turned into a nightmare when she began presenting health issues.
“Shortly after the New Year, I got diagnosed with COVID. Complications followed. At the moment, I’m still recovering. That said, unfortunately, I am forced to revoke my participation in Miss Universe this year. I still can’t believe I’m saying this,” she wrote on Instagram.
“This decision is made because my health and the health of other contestants and their families is a priority. I am so sad to admit it and still can’t believe,” she added.
After Kate’s withdrawal, the lineup is now lowered to 85 beauty pageants competing during the 71st Miss Universe, set to take place on January 14 at the Ernest N. Moral Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In 2022, the once-labeled old-fashioned Miss Universe pageant changed its path to a new era after transgender businesswoman Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip bought the organization for $20M.
Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, known for being a Thai media tycoon and transgender rights advocate, is the CEO of JKN Global Group PCL, a Thailand-based media distribution company. “We seek not only to continue its legacy of providing a platform to passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions but also to evolve the brand for the next generation,” Anne said.
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Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip is the first transgender woman to own the Miss Universe Organization. It is expected she taps into diversity, representation, and inclusivity. In 2012, the organization lifted its ban on transgender contestants.
HOLA! USA previously reported the Miss Universe Organization updated its beauty pageant rules and began welcoming wives and mothers to compete for the crown for the first time in history. According to The National, in 2023, the annual competition will accept married women and contestants with children.