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Latina Miss Universe National Costumes Bring Historic Meaning To Competition

Excited as ever to watch the official Miss Universe competition on Saturday night? Then you might be interested in getting a glimpse into the preliminaries. Sure, we’re very geared up to cheer for nuestra gente from the comfort of our couch this weekend (with some palomitas and a nice bottle of wine, of course). But this past Wednesday’s live stream brought all the contestants together to celebrate our favorite part of the competition: the National Costumes presentation. And yes, our jaws are still on the floor.

It’s no secret the National Costumes portion of the competition is arguably the most meaningful. Each contestant works with a designer from their country to make a historical costume that represents their heritage — and the results are mesmerizing. This year was no exception, with Miss Colombia getting inspired by the sunsets in the country’s Cafetero region, and Miss Mexico paying tribute to the iconic “Serenata Mexicana.”

Ahead, find all the stunning national costumes worn by this year’s Latina Miss Universe contestants, and prepare for goosebumps.

1. Miss Argentina

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Argentina, Barbara Cabrera walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Firstly, Miss Argentina Barbara Cabrera stunned in a costume inspired by her country’s Iguazu Falls. With the falls considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, designers chose to make the costume completely sustainable. Faux feathers and recyclable materials come together to represent the flowing waterfall.

2. Miss Bolivia

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Bolivia, Maria Camila Sanabria Pereyra walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Next up, Miss Bolivia Camila Sanabria’s traje tipico was just as iconic, inspired by the city of Potosí and its many contributions to the world. Embroidered with the words “Potosi, Bolivia,” the outfit is embellished with coins and crystals, also paying tribute to Calcha culture. Upon Sanabria’s head sits a condor, the country’s national bird, and a mining hat representing the city’s mining history.

3. Miss Brazil

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Brazil, Mia Mamede walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Moreover, Miss Brazil Mia Mamede’s costume was drop-dead gorgeous, inspired by the sea and the Lara mermaid. This mermaid is a part of Brazilian folklore, specifically from ancient Tupi and Guaraní mythology. Scales, shine, and a shell complete the look, with many calling her the “Queen of the Sea.”

4. Miss Chile

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Chile, Sofia Depassier walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Miss Chile Sofia Depassier initially made headlines for her original national costume — an outfit representing the Gaviota award given to winners at her country’s Viña del Mar festival (here’s a drawing of the design). However, the crystal-embellished dress was completely ruined during her travels to the competition site in New Orleans. In fact, a suitcase placed on top of the dress allegedly crushed it. Depassier remained positive, and wore a bright yellow dress representing Chile’s Atacam desert.

5. Miss Colombia

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Colombia, Maria Fernanda Aristizabal walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

We loved Miss Colombia Maria Frenanda Aristizabal’s costume, titled “The Phoenix Queen” and representing the country’s Cafetera region. Specifically inspired by the sunsets there, accompanied by a delicious coffee, of course, the costume was stunning. Made of Swarovski crystals and real feathers, the “phoenix” idea speaks to Colombians’ ability to rise up from the ashes.

6. Miss Costa Rica

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Costa Rica, Maria Fernanda Rodriguez Avila walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Next, we’re obsessing over Miss Costa Rica Maria Fernanda Rodriguez Avila’s national costume, and with good reason. The crystal-embellished outfit featured wings and a beaded headpiece with a beak, representing the Costa Rican hummingbird. The contestant posted a behind-the-scenes Instagram video getting ready for the moment, and it’s iconic.

7. Miss Dominican Republic

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Dominican Republic, Andreina Martinez walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Few did it better than Miss Dominican Republic Andreina Martinez, who absolutely stunned in her traje tipico. Her costume was inspired by the cigua palmera, DR’s national bird, and the golden feathers were made from recyclable materials. Meanwhile, the costume fought to raise awareness about protecting the environment and animals at risk of extinction.

8. Miss Ecuador

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Ecuador, Nayelhi Gonzalez walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Furthermore, Miss Ecuador Nayelhi Gonzalez looked gorgeous in her costume, a moment she posted about on Instagram. Gonzalez captioned the post with, “father Sun with mother Earth,” describing how it was inspired by the Inca celebration Inti Raymi. The contestant spoke about how the traje tipico featured a gold crown to celebrate gold and the sun, and the cape also paid tribute to the “sun god.” The costume also brought in symbols of Kichwa indigenous culture.

9. Miss El Salvador

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss El Salvador, Alexjandra Guajardo Sada walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

We were absolutely wowed by Miss El Salvador Alejandra Guajardo’s national costume, which laser-focused on her country’s currency. Guajardo explained on Instagram that her traje tipico represented El Colón, the currency used in El Salvador from 1892 to 2001. It also symbolizes El Salvador being “the first country to use cryptocurrency as a legal currency” in 2021. A stunning and educational costume.

10. Miss Guatemala

Miss Universe national costumes.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Guatemala, Ivana Batchelor walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw Miss Guatemala Ivana Batchelor’s national costume, because, well — can you?! The costume, titled “Guatemala Inmortal,” was the very meaning of epic, bringing together several aspects of her country. It featured the Mayan calendar, the Gran Jaguar pyramid, the Maya jaguar symbol, and even parts of the national flower monja blanca and national tree ceiba pentandra (Kapok tree).

11. Miss Mexico

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Mexico, Irma Cristina Miranda Valenzuela walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Next, Miss Mexico Irma Cristina Miranda Valenzuela’s national costume did not disappoint, inspired by the “Serenata Mexicana” tradition. Paying tribute to a classic traje de charro, the dress featured floral embroidery and a special tribute to pre-Conquista ofrendas. The costume was made of black velvet, sequins, crystals, and original buttons from a charro jacket with an Aztec calendar engraving. Perfection.

12. Miss Nicaragua

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Nicaragua, Norma Huembes walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Likewise, Miss Nicaragua Norma Huembes’ national costume was a gorgeous crystal-embellished extravaganza, but still had so much meaning. As in, that jaw-dropping headpiece bringing in images of Nicaragua’s national flower, the sacuanjoche. While the contestant’s cape from the swimsuit catwalk was “a tribute to all the immigrants that have to leave their country” in search of a better future, her national costume honored her country and was titled, “Mujer Volcánica, Soberana de la Nación.”

13. Miss Panama

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Panama, Solaris Barba walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Straightaway, Miss Panama Solaris Barba gave us all goosebumps when she walked the Miss Universe runway, and it’s easy to see why. Thought-up by designer Virgilio Batista, the super-intricate costume brought together beading and crystal embellishment like no other, crowned by a shockingly-beautiful headpiece. The entire costume is what dreams are made of, with Barba herself explaining on IG that “It allows us to appreciate pre-Columbian figures, body painting as a tradition of our indigenous peoples” and natural symbols. As she wrote, it is “Panamá puente del mundo, corazón del universo,” after all.

14. Miss Paraguay

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Paraguay, Lia Aymara Duarte Ashmore walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Miss Paraguay Leah Ashmore markedly found inspiration in her country’s flag for her own national costume. As shown in photos, it brings together the flag’s red, white, and blue, plus the gold in the national coat of arms. The coat of arms’ centered gold star is featured in the costume, while “Republica del Paraguay” looms above. The coat of arms’ reverse side brings in a golden lion, which Ashmore wore on her back. Check out this behind-the-scenes video on IG!

15. Miss Peru

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Peru, Alessia Rovegno walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Miss Peru Alessia Rovegno absolutely stunned in a winged national costume that represented the Peruvian Amazonia area of the widespread Amazon rainforest. The bright-red creation did come with its fair share of drama, though. The wings broke before going out on stage, so Rovegno had to hold them up with her hands. It was still amazing!

16. Miss Puerto Rico

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Puerto Rico, Ashley Carino walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Cariño’s traje tipico was as unique as it comes, and we love her for it! Cariño’s costume was startlingly-futuristic, made up of stark white separates that recalled space travel. While it wasn’t easy to see its Boricua significance at first, everything clarified as soon as she turned around. The back represents Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory, with a hologram displaying important figures like the five Puerto Rican Miss Universe winners. The design is meant to inspire science education in the country, and is made of biodegradable, 3D printed plastic.

17. Miss Uruguay

Meanwhile, Miss Uruguay Carla Romero’s traje tipico pays tribute to Uruguay’s Candombe music and dance. As explained by the costume’s designer Mauro Gardela, candombe is one of the country’s “biggest cultural” cornerstones. Inspired by candombe’s comparsa performers, they sought to include a five-point star, half-moon, and the flag. Of course, Romero was at the center as the superstar “vedette.”

18. Miss Venezuela

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 11: Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel stunned by wearing a costume paying homage to her country’s national soccer team, La Vinotinto. Complete with colors inspired by the jersey and a golden soccer ball, it symbolizes the Venezuelan people’s “discipline” and compromise.

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