Miss Austria Amina Dagi surprised the Miss Universe tilt this year when she came in for the National Costume portion wearing a dress – and a beard.
Dagi donned the appearance of Conchita Wurst, a drag queen popstar in Austria known for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix.” Wurst is portrayed by Thomas Neuwirth.
Miss Austria wore a white lace dress with gloves and an unmistakable rainbow ribbon tied below her thighs, an obvious reference to the LGBT movement.
The costume was designed by Aviad Arik Herman for the national costume competition held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Dec. 16.
Some members of the LGBT lauded Dagi for her brave stance.
“Bravo! Love it. What a way to make a statement and show support for equality. This is what a Miss Universe should do. She should unite people,” Mav Mehta commented on the Facebook photo of Miss Universe.
“Thank for your support to LGBT miss Austria. WE LOVE YOU,” Vietnamese commenter Nguyên Lee said.
But some netizens were not amused with Dagi’s choice for National Costume.
The comments on the photo uploaded by Senatus on Facebook were harsh, with one saying the rainbow ribbon looked cheap while another says Dagi’s attire does not represent her country.
“Miss Austria came as Conchita Wurst, Austria’s entrant and winner of Eurovision 2015, at the Miss Universe National Costume tilt. Reactions from left, right, and center have been tossed at its LGBT stance, but this is Miss Universe, so can we please focus on what’s really important here?? The gown is a bad replica of Conchita’s Eurovision outfit, the gloves aren’t working, and those ribbons (an obvious reference to the rainbow movement) look very much like the cheap kind you can buy from downtown gift shops,” Tessa Santos-Eastgate said in the photo uploaded by Senatus.
“While I applaud what she attempted to do here, it is not representative of her people, country or cultural heritage. It represents a person and a movement,” Danielle Lynn also said.
On her Facebook account, Miss Austria posted the photo of her choice for National Costume using the hashtags “courage,” “tolerance,” “acceptance,” and “freedom.”
“Miss Universe Organisation conveys the message of confidental beauty and being comfortable in your own skin. I want to share this message by appearing with my National Costume at #missuniverse designed by @aviadarikherman,” Dagi said.
See more photos of Dagi’s controversial costume below.