Breaking barriers: Mother, transwoman, plus-size bet among Miss Universe finalists

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 19) – This year’s Miss Universe not only showcased beauty and brains. It also broke barriers as a mother, transwoman, and plus-size model made it to the finals.

Colombia’s Maria Camila Avella Montañez was among the Top 5 finalists. She is one of the two mothers who entered the 72nd edition of the pageant held in El Salvador.

Montañez is the first mother to represent her country. She advocates self-love and the importance of sex education.

Meanwhile, transwoman Marina Machete of Portugal entered the Top 20. The 23-year-old flight attendant is the first transwoman to represent her country in Miss Universe. She fights against transphobia and champions trans rights.

Machete and Rikkie Valerie Kollé of Netherlands are the two transwomen who competed in this year’s Miss Universe.

Nepal's Jane Dipika Garrett also joined the competition’s Top 20. She is the first plus-sized candidate in Miss Universe. The crowd was heard cheering as the 22-year-old flaunted her curves during the swimsuit and evening gown events.