Miss Universe Malaysia Speaks Up After National Costume Award Mix-Up
Malaysian beauty queen Shweta Sekhon finally aired her side following the controversial mix-up in naming the best in national costume winner in the Miss Universe 2019 pageant.
In an Instagram post on Monday night, Sekhon said she was given the impression that she won the Miss Universe special award since she was asked to don her national costume and go on standby during the pageant.
"Well, four countries were briefed on standby as we were Top 4 for national costume, and Philippines was part of it, too," she said, referring to Gazini Ganados, who was eventually proclaimed the real winner.
"We were told that a picture would be displayed if we made it to Top 20 and if we don't, we would have to put it on [costume]," she added. "The entire day, the crew went on finding my costume as I was told to be the winner. That is why I got into the costume, too."
During the early part of the Miss Universe 2019 pageant, host Steve Harvey announced that Ganados won the national costume award. The teleprompter and the images projected on stage showed the Filipina beauty queen in her silver eagle-inspired gown.
But for some reason, it was Sekhon who ended up beside Harvey to receive the award. She even told the visibly confused host: "It's not Philippines, it's Malaysia."
After the coronation night, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) released a press statement, saying they did not expect Sekhon to "jump the gun" when Harvey said Ganados won the national costume competition.
MUO stressed that "no mistakes regarding the national costume winner were made" by Harvey or the pageant's production team.
Sekhon said she is "totally fine" despite the mix-up as she congratulated Ganados on her best in national costume award.
"Congratulations to the very beautiful [Gazini Ganados]," she said, tagging the Filipina's Instagram account. "Love you so much, babe."
"I am totally fine with it (mix-up) because in my eyes, every girl that came to compete is a winner! Philippines or Malaysia, there isn't any difference because we are one," she added.
Sekhon went on to extend her support for the newly crowned Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa.
"Congratulations [Zozibini Tunzi] for the title, too! Truly deserving indeed and I can't wait to see your journey!" she said.
In a previous interview with ABS-CBN News, Ganados said she was surprised to hear that she won the national costume award.
"Thank you so much! Oh my gosh, I'm so proud of Mommy Cary (Santiago)," she said, referring to the designer of her costume.