The 60-year-old Miss Buenos Aires says change is coming as the Miss Universe race comes to an end

The 60-year-old Miss Buenos Aires says change is coming as the Miss Universe race comes to an end

A 60-year-old Argentinian beauty queen may have reached her end, but she says her remarkable journey is the “first step to change” in society’s perceptions.

Alejandra Rodriguez made headlines around the world in April when she was crowned Miss Buenos Aires, becoming the first woman over the age of 60 to win a competition organized by the Miss Universe franchise.

Although she was unable to repeat this victory on Saturday to become Miss Argentina and earn the right to represent her country in the Miss Universe contest, she did win the “Best Face” category and celebrated her achievement as the beginning of a shift in how beauty is perceived.

“This is the first step for the change that is coming,” Rodriguez, a lawyer and journalist by profession, told CNN en Español after the contest.

“I hope this (my post) is a before-and-after sign. I think outer beauty is always the main focus, and I don’t think it’s wrong to choose a beautiful woman, but maybe the concept of beauty needs to be expanded,” she said.

Rodriguez’s participation was only possible after the Miss Universe organization changed its age rules.

Until 2023, contestants must be between 18 and 28 years old as of January 1 of the year they competed. As of 2024, there is no upper age limit.

“It was a positive change, and I think it happened little by little, like all changes,” she said, adding that she was grateful to have “the opportunity to be first.”

Ending the age limit was just one of a series of rule changes introduced by the competition in 2023 in an attempt to modernize.

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For the first time in its more than 70-year history, the franchise has also given the green light for women who are married or divorced, have given birth or are pregnant to participate.

“There was also a 40-year-old woman who participated, and a 37-year-old woman. It feels like the boundaries are really expanding,” Rodriguez said. “There were women who were mothers, things that were previously unimaginable at Miss Universe.”

Rodriguez said that although she did not have the honor of representing her country, stereotypes regarding beauty, age, shape and weight are slowly changing.

Saturday’s winner was Magali Bennjam, who was 29 and would have been ruled too old to compete under the previous rules.

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