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Miss Universe organisation says Saudi Arabia has not put forward a contestant for 2024

Model Rumy Alqahtani posted on Instagram that she was representing Saudi Arabia in the pageant (Ahmed Mohamed / ES Composite)
Model Rumy Alqahtani posted on Instagram that she was representing Saudi Arabia in the pageant (Ahmed Mohamed / ES Composite)

The Miss Universe pageant has denied reports that Saudi Arabia will take part in the competition for the first time.

Last week it was reported that model Rumy Alqahtani was set to be the Kingdom’s first-ever entrant in the global competition’s 73-year history, which this year’s contest to take place in Mexico in late September.

Announcing her entrance in a post on Instagram, 27-year-old Alqahtani wrote: “I am honored to participate in the Miss Universe International 2024 competition.

“This is the first participation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Miss Universe competition”.

But these claims appear to have been denied by the competition itself.

In a statement shared online by New York Times journalist Vivian Nereim, the Miss Universe pageant said: “We would like to categorically state that no selection process has been conducted in Saudi Arabia and any such claims are false and misleading.

“The selection of contestants to represent their respective countries in the Miss Universe competition is a rigorous process that adheres strictly to our policies and guidelines.

“Each country’s selection is carried out in accordance with established criteria and regulations, ensuring fairness and transparency in the selection of participants.”

The statement added that while Saudi Arabia is not yet among those countries “fully participating this year” it is undergoing a vetting process.

It continued: “Saudi Arabia will not have this opportunity to join our prestigious pageant until this is final and confirmed by our approval committee.”

Alqahtani, from Saudi capital Riyadh, is already widely decorated and well-known in the pageantry world, with more than one million followers on Instagram.

She has already been named Miss Arab Peace and Miss Woman SA, according to Grazia.

Miss Universe is a major international beauty pageant, run by the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), headquartered in the US, Mexico and Thailand.

The MUO describes itself on its website as “a global, inclusive organization that celebrates all cultures, backgrounds and religions” and which provides a “safe space for women to share their stories and drive impact personally, professionally, and philanthropically”.

“The women who participate in this international platform serve as inspirational leaders and role models to their communities and fans around the world,” it adds.