Kennedy Jhon Gasper, a 20-year-old Filipino student, created the Best National Costume piece at the 70th Miss Universe.
During the coronation night, Miss Nigeria Maristella Okpala was named as Best in National Costume on Monday, December 13 (Manila time). Kennedy led the team in creating Miss Nigeria’s winning national costume look. This is the second time that Kennedy’s creation made it to the Miss Universe stage. During the last pageant, he also created the “Lionness” national costume of Miss Universe Cameroon 2020 Kossinda Angeles.
Even more impressive is that Kennedy is still a third-year college student from Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija. Yet, his creation outshined other international fashion designers from all over the world.
The Mmanwa mask
According to Maristella on Instragam, her national costume look was inspired by “Mmanwa,” a traditional masquerade of the southeastern Nigerian tribe. The mask was traditionally designed for ceremonial and festive purposes to celebrate the rich Nigerian cultural heritage.
The 3ft tribal mask has a colorful back cape boldly showcasing the Mmanwa’s face.
On Kennedy’s Instagram, he explained that he stayed true to the culture by using African beads and stones. He added that he wanted to symbolize the women’s strength and courage in achieving their dreams.
“This costume pays attention to the strong will of women in attaining whatever height they want to attain, no matter the challenges faced while reaching their desired goals,” he added.
Miss Universe’s Best National Costume
On Facebook, Kennedy became more candid and shared that he cried with his mother when his creation bagged the prize. He wrote, “Thank you Lord! Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala talaga. Umiiyak ako kanina habang kayakap si mama. Thank you sa lahat ng mga bumati!”
Meanwhile, Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu was crowned the winner of the 70th Miss Universe pageant. Our Philippine bet, Beatrice Luigi Gomez, landed in the Top 5 of the competition.