Fact Check

Saudi Arabia Entered Miss Universe Contestant for 1st Time in 2024?

It would be the first time the Kingdom is represented at the annual international beauty pageant.

Published March 29, 2024

Updated April 3, 2024
Rumy Alqahtani shared the image on her verified Instagram account. (Instagram/@dr_nile)
Rumy Alqahtani shared the image on her verified Instagram account. (Image Via Instagram/@dr_nile)
Claim:
Saudi Arabia nominated a Miss Universe contestant for the first time in March 2024.
Context

Update: The Miss Universe Organization released a statement on April 1, 2024, denying that any contestant selection process has taken place in Saudi Arabia and it is therefore "not yet among those countries fully confirmed participating [in 2024]."

Saudi Arabia supposedly entered a contestant in the Miss Universe pageant for the first time in March 2024. Social media was awash with claims the Kingdom would be represented by model Rumy Alqahtani at the year's installment of the annual, international beauty contest.

On March 28, 2024, one X (formerly Twitter) account wrote: "Saudi Arabia has entered the Miss Universe competition for the first time ever."

Together, the posts had amassed 3.1 million views at the time of this writing. Examples of the claim also appeared elsewhere on X, Reddit, Facebook and Instagram.

On March 24, 2024, Alqahtani announced on her verified Instagram page she would be participating in the beauty pageant. She wrote: "I am honored to participate in the Miss Universe 2024 competition. This is the first participation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Miss Universe competition."

However, despite Alqahtani's announcement of Saudi Arabia's participating and coverage of same by numerous international news outlets, including Yahoo, Middle East Monitor, Vogue and the BBC's Arabic-language websites, the Miss Universe Organization said on April 1 that the news was "false and misleading": 

Miss Universe Organization would like to address recent reports claiming the participation of a contestant representing Saudi Arabia in this year's competition. We would like to categorically state that no selection process has been conducted in Saudi Arabia, and any such claims are false and misleading.

The selection of contestants to represent their respective countries in the Miss Universe competition is a rigorous process that adheres strictly to our policies and guidelines. Each country's selection is carried out in accordance with established criteria and regulations, ensuring fairness and transparency in the selection of participants. 

...

While Saudi Arabia is not yet among those countries fully confirmed participating this year, we are currently undergoing a rigorous vetting process qualifying a potential candidate to be awarded the franchise and assigned national direct to represent. Saudi Arabia will not have this opportunity to join our prestigious pageant until this is final and confirmed by our approval committee. 

Snopes therefore rates this claim Unproven until we hear otherwise from the Miss Universe Organization.

 

Sources

Helou, Roxana El. 'كل ما عليك معرفته عن ملكة جمال السعودية رومي القحطاني'. Vogue Arabia, 27 Mar. 2024, https://ar.vogue.me/الناس/مشاهير/ملكة-جمال-السعودية-رومي-القحطاني-ومعل/.

'In first, Saudi to take part in Miss Universe contest'. Middle East Monitor, 28. Mar. 2024, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20240328-in-first-saudi-to-take-part-in-miss-universe-contest/.

Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/C46cXXjsoOT/. Accessed 29 Mar. 2024.

'Saudi Arabia Miss Universe Rumy Alqahtani wan make history to become first woman to represent her kontri'. BBC News Pidgin, 28 Mar. 2024, https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/articles/ce9rpv76z7xo.

'Saudi Arabia to Participate in Miss Universe Pageant for the First Time'. Yahoo News, 27 Mar. 2024, https://uk.news.yahoo.com/saudi-arabia-participate-miss-universe-101321922.html.

'رومي القحطاني.. أول سعودية تشارك بمسابقة ملكة جمال الكون 2024'. BBC News عربي, 27 Mar. 2024, https://www.bbc.com/arabic/articles/c8v3l2m5j03o.

Updates

On April 3, 2024, the rating of this fact check was revised from True to Unproven, based on a news release from the Miss Universe Organization.

Nick Hardinges is a London-based reporter who previously worked as a fact-checker at Reuters.

Article Tags