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November 3, 2021 1:33 pm
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Former Miss Lebanon Will Judge UAE’s Miss Universe Contest Ahead of Upcoming Pageant in Israel

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Nadine Nassib Njeim. Photo: MTV Lebanon / Wikimedia Commons

Lebanese actress and ex-Miss Lebanon Nadine Nassib Njeim will sit on the jury of the Miss Universe UAE competition and help pick the contestant that will move on to compete in the 2021 Miss Universe pageant in Eilat, Israel.

The award-winning actress and former Miss Lebanon 2004 announced the news on Instagram in October. She said the Miss Universe pageant “is not just about the parade of beauty or celebration of intelligence … it is about the heart to serve with purpose and compassion. It is about empowering other women and choosing kindness both in our words and action.”

Israel and Lebanon have no diplomatic relations and former Miss Lebanon beauty queens have faced backlash for appearing to show warm relations with the Jewish state. In September, Njeim herself received criticism for posing with an Israeli make-up artist in the UAE, and later distanced herself from him, claiming she did not know he was Israeli.

In 2015, Miss Lebanon Saly Greige was forced to defend herself after a selfie that she took during the Miss Universe pageant with representatives from Israel, Japan and Slovenia stirred controversy online. In 2017, Miss Lebanon Amanda Hanna was stripped of her title, one week after winning the crown, when it was discovered that she had previously taken a trip to Israel using her Swedish passport.

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This year is the first time that the UAE will participate in the Miss Universe pageant. Dubai will host its first ever Miss Universe UAE competition in a live event on Nov. 7, with the contest open to any female UAE resident of any nationality between the ages of 18 and 28. Josh Yugen, president and national director of Miss Universe UAE, told The National that more than 12,000 women have applied — and that the pageant’s website crashed hours after it was announced due to the sheer number of attempted applications.

The winner will represent the UAE at the 2021 Miss Universe competition on Dec. 12 in Israel, where the current Miss Universe, Mexico’s Andrea Meza, will crown her successor.

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