- Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin won the national costume contest at Miss Universe on Sunday.
- Lwin held up a “Pray for Myanmar” sign, referring to the current political crisis in his country.
- Myanmar’s military overthrew the country’s democracy in February, killing hundreds of protesters.
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Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin won the national costume contest at Miss Universe on Sunday night with a powerful political statement.
Lwin held up a “Pray for Myanmar” sign as she walked on stage, addressing her country’s current political crisis.
The queen of the contest has made it her mission to shine a light on what’s happening in Myanmar right now as she represents her country at Miss Universe, which is being held this year in Hollywood, Florida.
“They kill our people like animals,” she said. The New York Times. “Where is humanity? We are helpless here.”
Myanmar’s military overthrew the country’s democracy in February and arrested its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. More than 780 people have since been killed in protests across the region.
Lwin, 22, joined the protests and also donated his savings to people whose family members were killed.
“The soldiers patrol the city every day and sometimes they set up roadblocks to harass people passing by,” she said. “In some cases, they shoot without hesitation. We are afraid of our own soldiers. Whenever we see one, all we feel is anger and fear.”
Lwin doesn’t think she’ll be able to return safely to Myanmar after speaking out against the military during the competition. She doesn’t know where she will go next.
The pageant queen had a weeklong whirlwind at Miss Universe. The suitcase that contained all of Lwin’s outfits – including his original national costume – for the competition was lost by the airline. She had to borrow outfits from some contestants while the organizers helped her secure an evening gown.
The people of Myanmar who lived in the United States were also able to send Lwin a traditional dress to walk on the stage of the national costume competition.