Miss Universe scraps age limit

By Marisol Bo-oc | 11:37 AM September 13, 2023

Every adult woman can now join the Miss Universe as the beauty pageant lifts all age limits for candidates over 18 years old.

The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) announced on Wednesday, Sept. 13, the elimination of all age limits across all Miss Universe and associated pageants.

“This change will apply for all 2024 pageants globally,” read a statement from MUO. Prior, the prestigious pageant had an age limit of 28 years old for contestants.

The announcement was made by reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel during the Tanner Fletcher’s spring 2024 New York Fashion Week show Tuesday titled “Beauty Pageant.”

“What I love about Miss Universe is that they are always out first in line, looking for ways they can be more inclusive and better live up to the platform that they’ve designed for us,” said Gabriel in an exclusive report by Women’s Wear Daily. (WWD).

“It’s a bold group of women in charge over here, and you know what, a lot of people tend to follow what we do — it’s nice to be a standard-bearer, and I’m proud that we get to do this.”

 The WWD report added: “Gabriel, 29, is the oldest Miss Universe to date, and joined a group of models that represented a wide span of ages on Fletcher’s runway to add visibility to the organization’s message. The policy change is effective for 2024 pageants worldwide.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with the Miss Universe Organization on a ‘Beauty Pageant’ of our very own,” Fletcher Kasell, cofounder and creative director of Tanner Fletcher, said in a statement. 

“It’s wonderful to open up the world of Tanner Fletcher to other organizations who share a similar, uplifting and empowering vision. We are aligned on the belief that all people no matter the societal boxes they have been put into deserve to act as their authentic selves and be celebrated for it.”

Gabriel initially brought up the issue of age during the pageant’s question-and-answer segment. She recalled, “I answered an onstage question: ‘If you were going to make any changes to the organization’s rules, what would they be?’ I said to raise the age limit. When I competed, the age limit was 28, and I was 28 at the time. So, my answer was that I think we should change this — a woman’s ability to compete at Miss Universe, or anything in life, shouldn’t be defined by her age. Age should just be a number.”

In 2022, Miss Universe announced that it will start accepting married women and mothers with children to join the pageant.

It also previously scrapped the height requirement.

The 2023 Miss Universe beauty pageant will be held in El Salvador on Nov. 18.

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