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Miss Universe talks about COVID-era reign on visit to Israel

Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, said during a visit to Jerusalem on Wednesday that her reign has been short but sweet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a brief trip to Israel ahead of the 2021 Miss Universe pageant, which will be held in Eilat on December 12, she said that this visit has been one of the highlights of her time as Miss Universe.

“It’s the first time that I’ve been here in Israel, and I was so excited to see Jerusalem and to visit the Old City,” she said in an interview at the Tourism Ministry. “My family is Catholic, and for them and for me it’s important to get to know more about it.”

She said that she had learned a great deal from seeing “all these different religions and cultures mixed in the same place.”

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On Tuesday, she spent the entire day in Tel Aviv and was planning to tour the desert on Thursday.

Miss Universe Andrea Meza of Mexico is seen visiting Jerusalem, Israel, on November 17, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Meza, a software engineer and model, was not afraid to come to Israel, because “I know that sometimes headlines are more dramatic than what the reality is. It happens the same with my country….

“I was very excited to come here and explore all that Israel has to offer, and to see it with my own eyes.”

Lalela Mswane, the winner of South Africa’s contest, has reportedly lost her government’s support, because of her decision to take part in the pageant. But Meza said she has not faced anything similar and said that Miss Universe represents unity.

“Yes, I have seen comments on social media,” she said. “But Mexico and Israel have a good relationship….

“Miss Universe is not a political or religious movement. It’s more about the women that are participating in it and what they have to offer, and coming together. It’s 70, 80, 90 countries with different cultures, different beliefs, and they’re all together, experiencing and getting to know each other, learning from each other; and I think that’s the most important part.”

Speaking about winning the title during the pandemic, when the pageant was postponed from December 2020 to May 2021, she said, “Even before winning, we knew that it was going to be a short reign, due to COVID….

“When I won, I decided to do as much as possible during this short time, and I have been enjoying everything about it. I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

She has used her visibility to make an impact in an important way by posting photos of herself getting vaccinated on social media.

“That was my first official activity as Miss Universe, promoting the vaccination program. It was important to raise awareness of this because people were afraid of this. Because it’s new, it’s normal, but I wanted them to investigate a little more but to think not only about themselves but about the community.”

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Her family members back home, in the city of Chihuahua, have all received the vaccine, she said.

Told that Israelis enjoy Latino telenovelas, she was asked for a recommendation, and said she had enjoyed the series 100 Dias para Enamorarnos.

While visiting the Western Wall on Wednesday, Meza placed a note in the wall, as is traditional.

She declined to reveal what she had written in the note, but said, “I’m looking forward to coming back to take part in the pageant next month.”

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