Presenting Miss Universe Bahrain 2023

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After impressing with her confident outlook and determination to empower women in the region, Lujane Yacoub was recently crowned Miss Universe Bahrain. She spoke with Kristian Harrison about her life-changing achievement.

It has been an incredible journey for Miss Yacoub, who finished runner-up in last year’s competition before going one better this year. Considering that entering pageants was not something on her radar 18 months ago, her success has been staggering.

“I learned so much from last year, which gave me more conviction that I could be a representative for my country this time around,” she explains. “The beautiful thing about the Miss Universe organisation is that it helped me realise that I could reach out to my community and I could make a difference.”

Miss Yacoub is open about her struggles with social anxiety in the past, which makes her achievements even more remarkable considering the prism of scrutiny and recognition that such a title brings. She credits her communications coach, Hamad Al-Najjar, for the transformation and the confidence to project powerfully in the extremely important interview portions of the pageant.

“I also feel that being a mix of cultures – my dad is Bahraini and my mum is American – allowed me to develop a unique voice. On the global stage of Miss Universe, I can be there to also represent women or children that are mixed and who have a different outlook on life and culture.”

Miss Yacoub secured her success with her strong convictions on empowering women and girls, a cause incredibly close to her heart.

“As a woman, being part of this competition and actually wanting to do it and being allowed to is inspiring in itself,” she argues. “I want to show that other Bahraini women can do it too and part of my platform is championing heroes in Bahrain. One person can’t really change the whole world, but you can change the whole world for one person at a time.”

Words and actions are two very different concepts, but Miss Yacoub’s focus is now on the latter and she has already made a tangible difference in the community through her social media platforms and public appearances. She already has a plan in place to travel the long road of clearing up misconceptions about women in the region and Bahrain as a whole.

“As much as possible, I want to share what women here represent and what Bahrain represents through actual facts and stories. People need to see how women are encouraged and I now have the opportunity to do that through the Miss Universe stage, showing those internationally what we all see here internally.”

Alongside her feminist voice, Miss Yacoub is an artist at heart and she strongly believes in championing children through art and expression.

“My desire is to create impactful experiences through working with children,” she asserts. “I do art classes and it is important to me as someone who grew up with a learning disability to convey that art that was a tool I used to overcome it and thrive later in life. Art will never cease to be relevant, and some children that may not think in a linear fashion may think in a non-linear fashion.”

Miss Yacoub is now preparing for the Miss Universe 2023 final, which will take place in El Salvador on November 18. With such a powerful voice and determined goals, coupled with excellent support from her friends, family and team, it would surprise no one if she took the global crown too.

Follow her journey on Instagram @lujaneyacoub and @missuniversebahrain