The Miss Universe pageant is fast approaching. The beauty pageant, which celebrates women across the globe advocating for humanitarian work, sees women compete in categories ranging from evening gowns to swimwear. One of the biggest highlights of the Miss Universe pageant is the national costume competition. The expectations will be high for the current USA titleholder, R’Bonney Gabriel.
The national costume competition allows contestants to go all out with their form of dress and take it as over the top as possible. Miss Ukraine, Viktoria Apanasenko, who is one of the most-watched contestants this year due to Ukraine’s war with Russia, already unveiled her costume via Instagram, described as the “Warrior of Light.”
Historically, Miss USA has not disappointed viewers when it came to over-the-top costumes for the event.
Below, a look at Miss USA’s costumes through the years.
Miss USA 2002 National Costume
In 2002, several months after the tragic events of 9/11, Miss USA Shauntay Hinton competed in the national costume contest dressed as a New York firefighter holding the American flag in honor of the first responders to 9/11.
Miss USA 2004 National Costume
Miss USA 2004 Shandi Finnessey wore an all-white feather costume with bedazzled silver accessories. Finnessey appeared to be a catalyst in a more out-of-the-box approach to costumes.
Miss USA 2005 National Costume
The next year, Miss USA Chelsea Cooley wore a prairie girl costume for the National Costume contest. Cooley’s outfit was complete with a straw bonnet hat.
Miss USA 2007 National Costume
It wouldn’t be the last time Miss USA made a historic reference for the national costume contest. In 2007, Miss USA Rachel Smith looked to a historical figure to reference her costume, dressing like Elvis Presley.
Miss USA 2012 National Costume
Olivia Culpo, who was Miss USA in 2012 and is hosting the Miss Universe pageant on Wednesday, made a statement when she dressed like the Statue of Liberty with tulle and streamers coming out of the back of the costume reminiscent of fireworks. She went on to take the Miss Universe crown that night.
Miss USA 2020 National Costume
Miss USA 2020 Asya Branch competed in a bird-like costume reminiscent of DC Comic’s Hawk Girl.
With past contestants dressing like everything from warriors to NASCAR drivers, viewers of this year’s Miss Universe pageant are sure to be surprised by whatever the current Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel has up her sleeve for the National Costume contest. Though some prerecorded portions might be included as part of the broadcast program, the parade of national costumes takes place on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET ahead of the show; it’s available to watch for free on YouTube.
The Miss Universe pageant takes place on Saturday in Las Vegas. Harnaaz Sandhu of India currently holds the title of Miss Universe after she was crowned on Dec. 13, 2021.