Singapore’s contestant at the world’s biggest beauty pageant made a literal fashion statement today.
Miss Universe Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong took the Miss Universe pageant stage in the United States today wrapped in a cape painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”
“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence! I wear my country proud and strong!” 26-year-old Ong wrote today after strutting down the runway in the costume of her own design in the red and white of Singapore’s flag.
The getup also included a red sequin leotard, thigh-high boots and puff sleeves. It was constructed by Filipino designer Arwin Meriales, with the graphics hand-painted by artist Paulo Espinosa.
Ong, who also hosts brand events in Singapore, teased that she would reveal her evening gown and swimwear looks during tomorrow’s preliminaries prior to Sunday’s main event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in the U.S. state of Florida. She was born in the Philippines and moved to Singapore when she was 10.
Social issues took center stage with a number of other contestants from over 70 countries.
Miss Universe Myanmar’s Thuzar Wint Lwin stood up for her country in traditional Burmese garb while holding a banner that read: “Pray for Myanmar” while Uruguay’s Lola de los Santos Bicco wore a rainbow-colored fan dress with the message “No more hate violence rejection discrimination.”
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This article, Miss Universe Singapore takes ‘Stop Asian Hate’ to pageant runway, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.