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Miss Universe 2021 Candidates And The *Struggles* They Faced Before The Pageant

Behind the glitz and glamour lies some drama.
This year's candidates had their fair share of controversies.
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/missuniverse, Instagram/beatriceluigigmz
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All hail the new queen. Today, India’s pride Harnaaz Sandhu was crowned the 70th Miss Universe in Eilat, Israel, besting 79 representatives from different countries. Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira and South Africa’s Lalela Mswane claimed first and second runner-up spots respectively, with our every own PH bet Bea Gomez finishing off strong with a placement in the top 5.

In an event where glamour is the go-to and looks are over-the-top iconic, one would expect the Miss Universe candidates to be all-around ~perfect~. That’s not always the case, of course, as these women, no matter how flawless they look on stage, are humans—just like the rest of us!

And while there is no doubt that Miss Universe’s candidates are a group of well-rounded, intelligent women who stand for greater causes, that doesn’t exempt them from the struggles that come with the pageant journey.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the candidates who went through some *drama* behind the scenes.

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1. Miss Colombia Valeria Ayos

Valeria Ayos came back stronger this year after backing out in 2020.
Instagram/valeayos

Front-runner Miss Colombia might have been one of this year’s strongest contenders, but she also encountered issues prior to joining this year’s event. Last year, she was supposed to represent San Andres in Miss Universe Colombia, but backed out last minute due to personal reasons, which were rumored to be stress and pressure from the competition. She made it just in time this year though for her last eligible year (she’s 27!) and bagged a spot in the top 5.

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2. Miss France Clemence Botino

Clemence Botino made it to this year's top 10 after testing positive for COVID-19.
Instagram/clemencebotinooff

Miss France came in clutch this year, followed by a 10-day quarantine period after testing positive for COVID-19. The beauty queen expressed her dismay at the situation, especially since she’s fully vaccinated and has tested negative before departing from France. Thankfully, she was given a go-ahead to participate after her quarantine, and even made it to the top 10.

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3. Miss Philippines Bea Gomez

Bea Gomez is on this year's Miss Universe top 5.
Instagram/beatriceluigigmz

Filipino pride Bea Gomez was every bit laser-focused in her performance, but did you know she’s currently nursing a heartbreak? The Cebuana beauty was confirmed to have broken up with longtime girlfriend Kate Jagdon weeks before the competition, and has released no official statement regarding it. It looks like she has set her personal issues aside for her Miss Universe stint, as she represented the country well with a stellar finish this year.

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Congratulations on braving through the hardships, queens!

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