Cover Story

Top of the world!

September 21 - September 27, 2022
Gulf Weekly Top of the world!
Gulf Weekly Top of the world!

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

The kingdom’s newly-crowned Miss Universe Evlin Khalifa aims to inspire and influence Bahraini women in a bid to see more Arab representation globally, as well as to make a difference in other people’s lives.

The 24-year-old multi-talented model had captured the hearts of a nine-strong star-studded panel of judges with her charisma, communication skills and campaigning passions, while competing against six other fabulous Bahraini finalists including Ghadeer AlShayeb, Maya Malalla, Lujane Yacoub, Maryam Naji, Shereen Ahmed and Maria Malalla in the second edition of the beauty pageant.

“It is a big blessing and this is definitely the happiest moment in my life,” said a thrilled Evlin.

The Bahraini-Russian had topped the selection process, which featured a series of activities staged by the Miss Universe Bahrain organisation, led by Dubai-based Yugen Group of Companies and presented in an eight-part YouTube series called Purpose.

The finalists, who were shortlisted from more than 300 Bahraini applicants aged between 18 and 28, took part in a number of workshops and photoshoots, which included a trip to Dubai.

Evlin’s participation and answer in the final question portion, which was ‘when do you think a woman becomes empowered’, had wowed the committee that sealed her royal fate.

“I think a woman becomes empowered when she knows herself, when she knows her values, and when she knows what she is capable of,” said Evlin from Riffa.

“An empowered woman is a role model of the people and whose actions lead to success. I’m here to be that woman to lead all the people to success and believe in themselves.”

The selection committee included Egyptian superstar Mai Omar, celebrity doctor Nader Saab, Bollywood’s multimedia superstar Urvashi Rautela and international supermodel Natalia Barulich. Senior vice president of Yugen as well as community and ambassador development Troy Reinhart was also on the panel along with pop music icon and lead vocalist of Grammy-winner Black Eyed Peas Jrey Soul, brand ambassador and digital influencer, Faryal Makhdoom, entrepreneur Julianne Holt-Kailihiwa and Miss International 2016 and Miss Universe Bahrain head of empowerment Kylie Verzosa.

Josh Yugen, the chief executive of Yugen Group and the national director of Miss Bahrain, says the entire team is honoured to crown Evlin as Miss Universe Bahrain 2022.

“Our new queen is quintessentially graced with passion, cocooned with courage and armoured with pursuit of love, sisterhood and kindness,” he added.

Evlin will be competing at the 71st annual Miss Universe pageant in 2023. While the date and location has yet to be confirmed for the international showcase, there are rumours that the Puerto Rico Coliseum could host the international competition in 2023, according to Jorge Pérez, regional manager of ASM Global, the company that manages the coliseum.

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