DUBAI: Mohra Tantawy, the 21-year-old beauty queen, is set to grace the global stage as she dons the sash and crown to represent Egypt in the upcoming Miss Universe beauty pageant in El Salvador on Nov. 18.
In an interview with Arab News, the rising star shared her whirlwind journey and her thoughts on representing Egypt on the world stage.
“It’s truly been an honor to have this opportunity to represent my country and to be part of this journey,” she said. “It means the world to me that I get to showcase all that Egypt has to offer, to show the world what Egyptians are really made of.”
Tantawy expressed that wrapping her head around the events of the past few months has been quite challenging for her.
“I never expected myself to be here. I didn’t grow up with pageantry. It wasn’t something that was instilled in me at a young age, but I am a strong believer of what is meant for you will find you and that is exactly what Miss Universe Egypt did, it found me,” she said.
The model won the Miss Universe Egypt title in September. The pageant was held in Cairo and live streamed globally on the pageant’s YouTube channel.
Tantawy competed with finalists Salma Eltoukhy, Doaa Meera Tarek, Aya Abdelrazik and Amera Othman.
The competition’s categories were a personal interview, a swimwear round backed by Egyptian brand Hadia Ghaleb, an evening gown round, and the final question.
Tantawy reflected on her position as Miss Universe Egypt and the platform she now has, saying: “If I could say one thing to all the women in Egypt, it would be to always remember just how strong and resilient you are."
Her message continued: “You may face hardships in your life, you may not always get the support you deserve, but if anyone in the world can do it, it is you. Look back at your ancestors and see just how much they’ve achieved but also always look towards the future because it is yours to create.”
The model is now preparing for the contest in El Salvador.
“What excites me the most is getting to meet all the delegates,” she said. “Pageantry has a unique air of sisterhood that is unrepeatable! Even with my experience in Miss Intercontinental, my favorite part was the friends I made on my journey. So, I look forward to meeting so many strong, inspiring women and creating friendships that I know will last a lifetime.”
Tantawy's journey was not a smooth ride.
“I believe every delegates goes through hardships in her reign and I was no exception to that,” she said. “Winning the title after Egypt’s three-year break was a lot of pressure and I did get a lot of messages saying that I was not pretty enough, or that there was better representation for Egyptian women, but it is important in these moments to be aware of who to — and not to — listen to.”
“There will always be people who shy away behind a screen and spread negativity and people who don’t believe in you,” she said, adding: “But, it is vital in these times to believe in yourself, to surround yourself with positivity, remember the voices that do believe in you and never give up on your dreams.”