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Bahrain’s Miss Universe 2022 Evlin Khalifa is ‘over the moon’ with joy over her recent contest victory and hopes to make every Bahraini female proud by giving them a voice, alongside raising awareness about mental health issues and well-being as part of her community caring efforts.
The model and pianist from Riffa has been fascinated by beauty pageants since childhood, watching them on TV with her mum, Elvira, and now looks forward to empowering women through her experiences.
“Winning Miss Universe Bahrain is a big blessing and this is definitely the happiest moment in my life,” said Evlin, who graduated from five schools, finishing degrees and courses in music, dancing, modelling, taekwondo and comprehension, as well as receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Banking.
“As cliché as it sounds, with great power comes great responsibility,” she said. “Now that I have a platform, I plan to use it to inspire and influence Bahraini women and to be their voice.
“I love my country and my people and my dream is to make them proud to the best of my abilities. My goal is to be purposeful and now that I have the title of Miss Universe Bahrain, I feel like I am where I’m meant to be - it was a long way but my dream finally came true.”
Her first Miss Universe inspiration was Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines who won the crown in 2015. It was the Philippines’ first victory in 42 years and the third victory of the country in the pageant’s history.
“I really admired her, not just for her beauty, but her passion and intelligence,” said Evlin. “I think at that moment, the whole world knew and admired her the same way that I did - so I thought why can’t Arab women have a representation on an international level such as Miss Universe?
“Then, last year, history was made when Manar Jess Deyani was crowned the first-ever Miss Universe Bahrain to compete in the 70-year history of Miss Universe.
“I felt so proud that finally Bahraini women have a platform to showcase our culture, our country and our people. At that same moment, I thought about representing my country too and here I am now, where I am supposed to be.”
The 26-year-old Manar Jess Deyani, who is a fashion designer from Riffa, promoted inclusivity, raised awareness about mental health during her reign and was delighted to pass on the torch to Evlin. She said that it felt ‘emotional first and foremost’ when she passed on the crown and secondly ‘proud’!
“I felt an instant connection with Evlin,” said Jess. “As stunning as her face is, her personality is sensational. One of the main reasons I was captivated by her charm is her kindness, strength and intelligence. This girl is a warrior! You could sense her potential. I see many similarities between us and it takes a lot of courage to carry quite a heavy crown, to continue the legacy and history-making in the most gracious way. We Bahraini girls are growing stronger and we are here to build an empire of empowering women and advocating for our cases.”
Jess suffers from a disorder that causes her anxiety and depression while Evlin faced issued ver her weight which she managed to overcome with the help of her family. She aims to continue highlighting health issues as well as campaigning on behalf of the environment and other good causes.
“I also plan to dedicate my time to helping causes and organisations that are close to my heart such as Smile Train,” said Evlin. “Unfortunately, children with clefts suffer from external conditions that prevent them from properly breathing, eating and speaking. I want to increase awareness and encourage more people to support.”
Her dad Abdulla, mum, and brother, Nader, are all so proud of how far Evlin has come which she says, gives her even more confidence.
“My dad had no doubts that I could win this competition from the beginning and my mum still can’t believe my victory,” she added. “My mum is happiest to have my dream come true. Even my grandmother lost her voice watching the final episode. I’m just so thankful to everyone including my brother who always supports me with everything.”
Evlin is also thankful for the fantastic experience she had during the Miss Universe competition from forming bonds with the finalists to meeting renowned experts in different fields.
“In such a short time, I felt like I have gained a new family from my co-finalists and team members,” said the striking star. “I never felt like I was in a competition because the atmosphere was always supportive. I also got to meet a lot of iconic people including top fashion designer Furne Amato and celebrity makeup artist Vimi Joshi.”
Evlin is now putting all her focus on training and preparing for the 2023 Miss Universe competition with her team.
“There will be a lot of travelling involved and I can’t wait to start and share this journey with all of you,” she said. “I want to show the world how beautiful, intelligent and talented Middle Eastern women are. I want to see more Arab representations globally - may it be movies, music or beauty pageants.”
For details, follow @khalifa.evlin on Instagram.