The 72nd annual Miss Universe competition is hours away, and the selection committee has been working diligently to select the next Miss Universe on Saturday, November 18.
Among the selection committee is Janelle Commissiong, a Trinidadian politician, model, and the first Black beauty queen to be crowned Miss Universe. Commissiong was selected at the 1977 Miss Universe competition in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Janelle was also elected Miss Photogenic, becoming the first black woman to win these awards in Miss Universe history.
The former titleholder, who advocated for black rights and world peace, is also why the National Costume Gala is what we know today. According to co-host of Telemundo’s La Mesa Caliente, Giselle Blondet, who is also part of the 2023 selection committee, said that Janelle shaped the costume’s preliminary gala after she couldn’t find a national traditional dress.
Blondet said that Janelle revealed she and her team designed a costume to represent Trinidad and Tobago. Her gown was so impactful that it became a reference to upcoming pageants. Her winged dress was made of iridescent silk and was inspired by the hummingbird, which Trinidad’s national bird.
The National Costume Gala does not affect the scores of the contestants. Still, it is an important showcase of the culture and heritage of each country represented, as well as the perfect way to show the creativity and artistry of the designers who created the costumes.