Controversy erupts over Pakistan's first Miss Universe contestant Erica Robin. Here's why

Erica Robin's representation of Pakistan at the Miss Universe Pakistan beauty pageant has ignited a wave of controversy. The decision has been particularly contentious among conservative voices in the country who are seething at the organizers for Robin's participation, allegedly without the country's consent.

This move by Pakistan to send a woman to represent the nation at the pageant is significant because beauty pageants are a rarity in the Muslim-majority country.

Robin, a 25-year-old Christian from Karachi, earned the title of Miss Universe Pakistan after competing against four other finalists in a contest held in the Maldives. She competed against Hira Inam (24), Jessica Wilson (28), Malika Alvi (19) and Sabrina Wasim (26) and emerged victorious. 

She is set to represent Pakistan in the Miss Universe pageant later this year. Her participation marks the very first time in the competition's 72-year history that Pakistan has nominated a representative.

Miss Universe 2023 will be held in El Salvador in November, where 2022 winner R'Bonney Gabriel will crown her successor.

During the selection process, Erica Robin was asked about her aspirations for her country, to which she replied that she wanted to change the perception that Pakistan is a backward nation.

However, her nomination has triggered a backlash which is in alignment with the very stereotype she is aiming to challenge.


After Robin won the Miss Universe Pakistan pageant, Pakistani Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of the Jamaat-e-Islami party said, "Who are the organisers of this beauty pageant in Pakistan? Who is doing this shameful act?"

Not just this, the caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has urged the country's intelligence agency to launch a probe against the organisers of the event to find out how they were able to hold the pageant without Pakistan's approval on her name.

Kakar labelled the entire event as a "shameful act" and an "insult and exploitation of women of Pakistan".

Erica Robin's comments 

In response to the controversy, Erica Robin expressed her enthusiasm to represent Pakistan while also voicing her confusion about the backlash.

She said, "It feels great to represent Pakistan. But I don't understand where the backlash is coming from. I think it is this idea that I would be parading in a swimsuit in a room full of men."