Andrea Meza, Mexican beauty queen, has been crowned Miss Universe at the 69th annual pageant.

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The Miss Universe pageant returned to TV on Sunday after it was initially cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The competition held in Hollywood, Florida, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

The 26-year-old Mexican beat 73 other women, including Julia Gama (Miss Brazil), who was runner-up, and Janick Maceta Del Castillo (Miss Peru), who was second runner-up.

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Dressed in a red evening gown, Meza walked the catwalk as Miss Universe, before a hug with the other competitors.

“I am so honored to have been selected among the 73 other amazing women I stood with tonight,” Meza stated.

“It is a dream come true to wear the Miss Universe crown. I hope to serve the world through my advocacy for equality in the year to come and beyond.”

In her final statement during the pageant, Meza spoke about beauty standards, saying: “We live in a society that more and more is more than advanced, and as we advance as a society, we’ve also advanced with stereotypes.

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“Nowadays beauty isn’t only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirit but in our hearts and the way that we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you that you’re not valuable.”

Meza, who is from Chihuahua City, is a model and make-up artist with a degree in software engineering. She is also an activist and works closely with the Municipal Institute for Women, which aims to end gender-based violence.

She was named Miss Mexico in 2017 after beginning her career in 2016 to represent Chihuahua at the pageant. Reaching the top five at the 2017 Miss World, Meza became the first runner-up behind India’s Manushi Chhillar.

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