Miss Universe S'pore 2021 dons 'Stop Asian Hate' slogan on national costume with flag colours

Bernadette Belle Ong said she is using the platform to send a strong message.

Belmont Lay | May 14, 2021, 12:15 PM

Miss Universe Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong donned a cape with the "Stop Asian Hate" slogan as part of the 2021 contest's national costume segment.

The national costume segment was broadcast on Miss Universe's YouTube channel on May 14, 2021.

The Miss Universe 2021 finals will be airing exclusively on the iQiyi app and iq.com on May 18.

Prior to the unveiling of the Singapore national costume, Ong, 26, said in an interview: "Respect and harmony among all are interwoven in Singapore's social fabric, and I want to embody these values by making a bold statement that addresses prejudice.

"In light of the challenging times we are facing during the pandemic, I hope to convey the message and a reminder that there is strength in unity."

Costume unveiled

On Instagram, after the costume was unveiled in a series of photos, Ong's posts were accompanied by the caption:

What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence! Thank you #MissUniverse for giving me this opportunity!!!

My National Costume is inspired by Singapore’s National Flag β€” it symbolises unity for all and social harmony in a multi-racial, multi-cultural and inter-religious country β™₯οΈπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬

I wear my country proud and strong! π— π—”π—π—¨π—Ÿπ—”π—› π—¦π—œπ—‘π—šπ—”π—£π—¨π—₯𝗔!!! πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬

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A post shared by Miss Universe Singapore πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ (@bernadettebelle)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Miss Universe Singapore πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ (@bernadettebelle)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Miss Universe Singapore πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ (@bernadettebelle)

Ong was born and raised in the Philippines until she was 11 years old, a point highlighted by media there.

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A post shared by Miss Universe Singapore πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ (@bernadettebelle)

Miss Universe held in US

Miss Universe is being held in the United States this year at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, located in the city of Hollywood in southern Broward County.

The area, however, has the dubious honour of having a record daily average of more than 400 Covid-19 cases, while the state of Florida has more than 3,000 daily infections.

But that has not deterred Ong.

Ong, a model-actress-host, joined Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) 2019, where she won the Miss Charm subsidiary award.

She was handpicked by MUS national director and 2011 winner Valerie Lim to be Singapore's delegate in December 2020 after the local event could not be held because of the pandemic.

Spent more than 5 days travelling to the US

The last stretch of the physical journey to the finals has been tough.

Ong departed Singapore on April 30 and arrived in Miami only on May 5.

She was fully vaccinated before departing.

She also had to take a polymerase chain reaction test and served a one-day quarantine while waiting for the result.

Ong's route to Miami consisted of three long-haul flights.

The journey was made longer when she missed her connecting flight and had to spend 24 hours in an airport lounge in Istanbul, Turkey.

On Instagram, she described the journey as "exhausting", and said "everything that could go wrong did go wrong".