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Miss Universe denies having Saudi Arabia contestant for 2024 edition

MANILA, Philippines — "False and misleading" — such was the reaction of Miss Universe Organization (MUO) over news of having a delegate from Saudia Arabia for the pageant's 2024 edition.

MUO released a statement last April 1 following an earlier announcement by model Rumy Alqahtani that she would become Saudia Arabia's first-ever Miss Universe contestant.

In its statement, the organization categorically stated no Miss Universe contestant selection has been conducted in Saudi Arabia yet.

The organization went on to detail the process of contestant selection in participating countries with verified franchises.

MUO is "undergoing a rigorous vetting process qualifying a potential candidate" for the Saudia Arabian franchise of Miss Universe and an assigned national director to represent it.

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"Saudia Arabia will not have this opportunity to join our prestigious pageant until this is final and confirmed by our approval committee," MUO added.

Alqahtani has yet to address MUO's statement and has not taken down her announcement on social media.

In fact, the model posted a photo set on Instagram of herself holding up flags of countries she claimed she had friends and supporters from — these countries being Cambodia, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines (whose flag she held up the wrong way).

MUO also released a separate statement to confirm its parent company JKN Global Group initiated legal proceedings in Thai court to "safeguard the intellectual property rights associated with the Miss Universe brand" in response to unauthorized and improper use of the brand's name.

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The organization said it would take all necessary measures to defend its rights and maintain the brand's integrity and its associated assets.

The Philippine franchise of the brand recently announceed its 2024 coronation night will be on May 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena where over 50 beauty queens are vying to succeed Michelle Dee as Miss Universe Philippines.

The winner will go on to compete at the 73rd Miss Universe pageant to be held in Mexico later this