Miss Universe 2020 Top 5 show grace under pressure in Q&A portion, final words

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — The top 5 finalists of the 69th Miss Universe pageant showed that they are the complete package of beauty and brains during the question-and-answer round and their final statement before the winner was declared on Monday.

CNN Philippines compiles the answers given by Mexico's Andrea Meza, India's Adline Castelino, Brazil's Julia Gama, Dominican Republic's Kimberly Jimenez, and Peru's Janick Maceta del Castillo during these tests of their wits, which were the final basis for crowning the winner.

Question and answer round

Question to Mexico: If you were the leader of your country, how would you have handled the COVID-19 pandemic?

Andrea Meza: I believe there's not a perfect way to handle this harsh situation such as COVID-19. However, what I would've done was create a lockdown even before everything was that big because we lost so many lives and we cannot afford that. We have to take care of our people that's why I would've taken care of them since the beginning.

Question to India: Should countries lockdown due to COVID-19 despite the strain on their economies or should they open their borders and risk a potential increase in infection rates?

Adline Castelino: Coming from India and witnessing what India is experiencing right now, I have realized something very important. Nothing is more important than the health of your loved ones and you have to draw a balance between economy and health. That can be done only when the gov't works with the people hand in hand and produce something that will work with the economy.

Question to Brazil: In many countries, women are still considered incapable of being world leaders. Convince these countries that they are wrong.

Julia Gama: Women are such an important part of the society. Just because we're not encouraged in the same way that men are, we have our potential wasted. The world needs women's contributions because we can for some reason. I invite every woman to understand that we are the leaders of our lives. Yes, we can do a lot for our communities. So please, take your power.

Question to Dominican Republic: The night she won Miss Universe, Zuzi Tunzi explained the importance of teaching leadership to young girls. How will you do that as Miss Universe?

Kimberly Jimenez: I come from a family completely filled with women who propelled me into who I am today. Working with my non-profit group, I understand that I don't need a title to be able to help others and to be able to support them.

Question to Peru: What would you say to the women watching tonight who are currently experiencing sexual or domestic abuse?

Janick Maceta del Castillo: I will tell them that I admire their strength, that they're survivors, and I've been there, too. I became the hero of my own story that's why I advocate to save little girls from being victims. They are survivors, they are heroes, they have the power. Don't ever, ever make anyone silence your voice.

Final statements

Mexico's Andrea Meza on changing beauty standards: As we advance as a society, we also advanced with stereotypes. Nowadays beauty isn't only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirit, but in our hearts and the way we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you you're not valuable.

India's Adline Castelino on free speech and right to protest: We've seen many protests in the recent days, especially I want to point out the protest that women have made throughout the years with equal rights. Until today we are lacking them. Protests help us in raising our voice against what's happening against inequality. It helps minorities in any democracy to raise their voice. So the protest is very important. But what's not important is when you use it because with every right comes the responsibility so use it with power.

Brazil's Julia Gama on mental health: Mental health is still a very stigmatized topic. It keeps us from giving the right assistance to those in need. May we all tonight remember to normalize conversations about anxiety or depression. Because we all hurt sometimes but we don't need to face it alone. May we all come together because togetherness is our strength and together we can overcome anything. Let's support each other, let's share empathy.

Dominican Republic's Kimberly Jimenez on global poverty: During this pandemic, my country Dominican Republic has risen to 23% poverty rate. For me, being able to be here in front of you representing Dominican Republic makes me incredibly proud that it will help our tourism. We as human beings can realize that there are so many people out there who need our help, and we can overcome anything.

Peru's Janick Maceta del Castillo on climate change: It's our collective responsibility to start taking action in order to save our planet. Just little by little, we can start making a difference. Little by little, by recycling, by teaching young generation about taking care of our beautiful earth. We're just here for one time, this is the time we have to start taking care of it.

The 26-year-old Meza was named this year's winner, with Brazil's Julia Gama as first runner-up. Rounding out the Top 5 are Peru, India and the Dominican Republic.