Australia’s Maria Thattil hopes to inspire others after shaking things up at Miss Universe 2020

18 May 2021 | Angelique Reyes

Miss Universe Australia 2020 Maria Thattil may have missed out on the crown of Miss Universe but she still has plenty to celebrate about. In the nail-biting Miss Universe finale held in the US today, the Melbourne beauty earned herself a placing in Top 10 out of a pool of 73 contestants but was just unexpectedly edged out of the Top 5.

Thattil impressed the judges in a dazzling red bikini, proudly walking the stage with bright confidence in a sheer blue cape and metallic silver heels. Later in the contest, Thattil stunned in a sparkling white gown with a high slit and sheer panels on her chest and arms, looking like an angel on stage. Thattil’s speaking skills, her beautiful features and the whole aura she carries has been the talk of the pageant world since the beginning of the competition.



She has been the viewers-favorite and was one of the strongest contestants for the crown. Despite not making it to the final round, Thattil said she was “blessed, fulfilled and grateful” of how far she came in the contest and hopes it inspires others to “carve out” their own place.

She took to her social media to share her feelings as she wrote, “When I entered Miss Universe Australia I said I came ‘to shake it up’. I was told she’s too short, she’s not Australian enough, she can’t stand up against the taller women.” Maria Thattil, ever since her coronation, has been experiencing hateful comments due to her ethnic background that doesn’t fit in her ‘blonde beach babe’ stereotype.

However, Maria is determined to use her voice to speak about diversity. “Failing to see people as belonging or valued citizens because of superficial, skin-deep factors is an exclusive, damaging framework to operate from and inhibits representation, diversity and growth”, she said.

And guess what? As the 3rd woman of colour to represent Australia after 69 years of (Miss Universe) standing at 5”3 tall, I placed in the top 10 in the world,” she added replying to all the stereotypes she has faced since her journey began. All set to head home with many lessons and messages to share in the coming days about her incredible experience, she starts by sharing her first ever international experience.



She also shared, “I didn’t come from a country that had the biggest ‘sash factor’ or resources to prepare me. Nor the biggest social media following. I was reminded daily that I didn’t fit the mould for an ‘Australian Miss Universe’ delegate or a Miss Universe delegate at all. I flew to America alone in the middle of a pandemic to compete because border laws meant no one could accompany me. I was questioned daily for choosing pageantry as an activist for inclusion, equality and progression. I was trolled online and woke up to rankings, racism, body shaming, criticisms and hate daily. But still WE RISE.”

She wants her experience to lead as an example for people to believe that, “you on your OWN are enough.” For her community of supporters, for those who are shorter, darker, different, maybe feel like a misfit or maybe think the world doesn’t have a place for them, she wants these people to look at her and be reminded of their abilities to carve out their ‘own’ place.

“I know and have proved that determination, self-belief, confidence and heart will see you rise above structures that have kept you down,” she added as she shared how her friends and she thought Miss Universe would be her way to live her purpose but with or without the incredible title she believes she will still be true to her heart.

With a promise to amplify the voice of many others like her who were once not heard, with her own voice, she is headed home, blessed, fulfilled and grateful, with the fire in her belly just warming up. Maria Thattil has proven to be a force to be reckoned with and there isn’t a ceiling she won’t shatter.