Miss Puerto Rico has become Miss Universe five times. The Miss Universe Pageant is very popular on the Island. So, would statehood mean that Puerto Rico can’t field a Miss Universe candidate?
Not according to Desireé Lowry, director of Puerto Rico’s Miss Universe pageant.
Miss Universe, a private company, has a history of accepting changes from participants in much less clear situations. For example, Miss Universe contestants from British Overseas Crown Dependencies, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have competed under a variety of different systems, from Miss United Kingdom in the 1950s to Miss England, then Miss England along with Miss Scotland and Miss Wales, then Miss United Kingdom again, then Miss Great Britain, and since 2010 — Miss United Kingdom once again. These decisions were made not by the Miss Universe franchise, but by the representatives of the various sections of the United Kingdom’s Miss Universe franchise. The Miss Universe UK franchise is now centered in Wales.
Clearly, there is a lot of flexibility in the system.
While the opportunity for full citizenship rights is more important for the people of Puerto Rico than the chance to compete in a beauty pageant, opponents of statehood like to seize on this emotional issue to suggest that Puerto Rico will lose experiences that are important to the Island. History suggests that they’re wrong.