71st Miss Universe: Major standouts from pre-pageant events and activities

The 71st Miss Universe contestants have been very busy with their pre-pageant events and activities ahead of the preliminary, national costume, and final competitions.

Brennan's, a famous New Orleans restaurant located in the heart of the French Quarter, hosted the contestants a special dinner where they enjoyed delicious and authentic Creole cuisine.

In addition to touring, filming, and rehearsing for the big show, a welcome press conference was held for the 84 contestants on Monday, January 9 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.

Present were Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Jerry Reyes (President of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Board of Commissioners) Kelly Schulz (Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Relations at New Orleans & Company), Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart, and outgoing queen Harnaaz Sandhu.

The contestants were also taken to a welcome reception at Gallier Hall, a historic building on St. Charles Avenue. They all dolled up for the special event filled with live music, dance, glam, and more inspirational speeches.

JKN Global Group's Anne Jakrajutatip, the new owner of MUO also attended the party and gave a powerful message: "It's time for women to rise. It's time for women to manage the world, in fact, the universe. You must have a purpose in life, you must know why you were born, and you must use your personality to serve the purpose of your soul."

Major standouts from their pre-pageant events and activities based on their overall presence and "it factor" include the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Aruba, Philippines, USA, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Thailand, Portugal, Italy, South Africa, Jamaica, and Mexico.

Here are some photos from the welcome reception:

Photos: Benjamin Askinas / Miss Universe


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