Erica Robin was crowned Miss Universe Pakistan last Thursday.
Erica Robin, the 24-year-old who won the inaugural Miss Universe Pakistan pageant held in Maldives, is being criticised in her home country. From religious leaders to caretaker Prime Minister, everyone has criticised the competition and Ms Robin's participation, putting a question mark on her participation in the Global Miss Universe Pageant to be held in El Salvador in November, according to a report in Independent. Erica Robin competed against Hira Inam (24), Jessica Wilson (28), Malika Alvi (19) and Sabrina Wasim (26) for the title and was crowned last Thursday.
The outrage in Pakistan
Religious leaders in deeply conservative Pakistan said the event was an insult to Pakistan. Taqi Usmani, an Islamic scholar, demanded that the government take action against the organisers of the pageant. He also wants to dispel the idea that Ms Robin was "representing Pakistan".
On X (formerly Twitter), politician Mushtaq Ahmed Khan said: "Who are the organisers of this beauty pageant in Pakistan? Who is doing this shameful act?"
As per the Independent report, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has asked the country's intelligence agency to launch an investigation against the organisers and how they were able to hold the pageant without the country's approval about using its name.
Mr Kakar has called the staging of the Maldives pageant a "shameful act" and an "insult and exploitation of women of Pakistan".
What Erica Robin said
Talking about the beauty contest, the 24-year-old told Voice Of America that she felt a lot of responsibility on her shoulders as she believed it would be the first time Pakistan would have a participant in the global Miss Universe pageant.
"However, I won't do anything that would harm the reputation of the country," she added.
After winning the contest, Ms Robin, a Christian, said in an Instagram post that she was honoured. "We have a beautiful culture that the media is not talking about, Pakistani people are very generous, kind and hospitable. On top of that, I would like to invite everyone to visit my country and try the most sumptuous Pakistani cuisines and explore our enchanting nature, our snow-capped mountains, our greeneries and our progressive landscapes."
Who are the organisers?
The beauty pageant was organised by Dubai-based agency Yugen Group. It put out an advertisement in March, inviting applications from Pakistani women. The agency also owns the Miss Universe Bahrain and Miss Universe Egypt franchises, as per Independent.
Ms Robin, a professional model, applied along with hundreds of other professionals. She made it to top 10 contestants and then into top 5.
Speaking about the pageant, Josh Yugen, founder of Yugen Group, told The National: "We want to localise our approach without changing the dynamics of the Miss Universe brand. We are still going to show women from Pakistan who are beautifully confident and who are the epitome of stories of dreams turning into realities."
Who is Erica Robin?
Ms Robin was born on September 14, 1999, in Karachi. She did her schooling from St Patrick's Girls High School and then went to Government College of Commerce and Business Administration in Chandigarh.
Ms Robin started her professional modelling career in January 2020 and appeared in the July 2020 issue of DIVA Magazine Pakistan. She revealed in an interview that she once caught the attention of model and actor Vaneeza Ahmed, who got her into modelling.