NOLA and Miss Universe benefit eachother

Arianna D'Antonio, Worldview Editor

For the first time ever, the 71st Miss Universe was crowned in New Orleans.
Recent Loyola graduate Aria Jackson worked as production assistant for the competition, and she believes that the competition was a great opportunity for New Orleans’ media and production, as well as for the candidates.
“With none of them being from New Orleans, they are getting a taste of the culture and city,” Jackson said. “From having Big Sam’s Funky Nation perform to learning how to make gumbo, to walking in the Joan of Arc parade which kicked off Mardi Gras season, they are learning about a new culture by drawing similarities and differences to their own.”
“I’ve always heard about the competition and have even seen a few clips from previous years but never thought I would have the opportunity to work on the set,” Jackson said. “I usually perform on the stage, so being a part of the behind-the-scenes crew is a new and eye-opening experience for me.”
The Miss Universe competition started out with 30 countries who entered, which has now skyrocketed to 84 country contestants.
Erin Elizabeth Husbands runs The Crowning Moment, a Louisiana pageant coaching resource, and Husbands said that there were a few ways in which the competition was guaranteed to be different this year.
“Since Anne Jakrajutatip bought Miss Universe Organization, there was already a switch in many things from their public relations to cutting ties with Steve Harvey and showing the finals on Roku instead of national television,” Husbands said.
Husbands also said that she liked the team of hosts for this year’s event, since they are from pageant backgrounds.
“As a pageant coach, it’s super exciting to be at ‘the Super Bowl’ event of pageantry,” she said.
This year, there are 84 countries represented to emphasize a message of women empowerment, Jackson said.
The pageant is highly competitive and can be intimidating for delegates, but Jackson said she enjoyed watching the delegates make friends and have fun despite the high stakes.
“Most don’t see each other as opponents which ties into the mission of the pageant,” Jackson said. “The purpose is to bring women together from all over the world.”
“All of the delegates have a mission to their country in which they want to inspire, serve, help, bring awareness to or amplify the voice of a cause taking place in their country that they are dedicated to,” Jackson said. “This is, in heart, the essence of the competition. Allowing these women to network with each other, learn about other countries, and help each other in whatever way they can.”