A software engineer from Chihuahua was crowned Miss Universe Sunday night at the contest’s 69th pageant in Hollywood, prevailing over contestants from 73 countries.
Andrea Meza, 26, is the third Mexican to win after Mexicali’s Lupita Jones in 1991 and Guadalajara’s Ximena Navarrete in 2010.
Meza graduated from the Autonomous University of Chihuahua in 2017 with a degree in software engineering. She is a tourism ambassador for her home state and a makeup artist in her spare time.
The competition was set to take place last year, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement during the pageant, Meza addressed the topic of modern day beauty standards.
“We live in a society that is increasingly advanced. And just as we have advanced as a society, we also have advanced in terms of stereotypes. Today, beauty does not lie only in how we see ourselves … For me, beauty lies in our spirit, in our soul and in the values which we hold. Never allow anyone to tell you that you are worthless,” she said.
Speaking on Good Morning America on Monday Meza said she first dreamed of taking home the crown when Navarrete triumphed in 2010.
“I used to think that Mexican people were not able to get to these places and to be in these high positions, and after she [Navarrete] won, she changed the mindset that I had,” Meza explained.
However, she said she still had to battle with insecurities to reach the competition. “I didn’t feel capable of doing this. I always thought that I was not pretty enough, that I was not smart enough, and I was afraid of being in front of cameras or microphones, so let’s just say that it was an impossible dream that I had … But I started growing up and I decided that this was the path I needed to take in order to get out of my comfort zone and keep growing,” she said.
She added that she feels a responsibility to represent Mexico and to inspire women. “In order to be … an ambassador of your country, you have to be prepared, and it doesn’t matter the career that you choose. I mean, I’m an engineer, we have doctors, we have administrators, and the amazing thing about Miss Universe is that we have all these well-prepared women,” she said.