After being crowned at the Puteri Indonesia beauty pageant, Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana is set to compete in the Miss Universe world beauty pageant on 14 January 2023 in New Orleans, USA. As the first Puteri Indonesia winner from Bali, Laksmi will hit the international stage representing the country — but more personally, her hometown of Ubud, Bali.
The name may be familiar to some, as Laksmi is the third child of Janet DeNeefe (Ubud Writers and Readers Festival Founder) and Dr. Drs I Ketut Suardana M.Fil.H (supervisor of the Mudra Swari Saraswati Foundation). With two figures strongly rooted in Bali’s literacy scene, Laksmi has been inspired to make this the focus of her advocacy campaign at Miss Universe.
“I have always hoped that Ubud Writers and Readers Festival could help develop higher-level literacy for young Indonesians. Laksmi has answered by becoming Miss Universe Indonesia. She is our greatest ambassador!“ shares Janet DeNeefe, Laksmi’s mother. The festival has long brought Indonesian writers to an international platform, especially with their Bali Emerging Writers Festival spin-off. With a global audience, the Indonesia representative hopes to take this further with her campaign #LaksmiForLiteracy.
Miss Universe empowers women to develop the confidence they need to achieve their personal goals. With support from the Puteri Indonesia Foundation and Mustika Ratu, Laksmi will compete with seventy-two finalists from other countries in the Miss Universe 2022 competition which started on 3 January, with the Grand Final taking place on 14 January 2023.
At the national costume show, Laksmi will present a national costume with the theme ‘The Glory of Phinisi’. The outfit is inspired by the Indonesian motto, Jalesveva Jayamahe, On the Sea We Are Victorious, by the talented Indonesian designer, Morphacio.
“For me, the noble spirit of Jalesveva Jayamahe reflects the beauty of our country. There are thousands of islands in Indonesia, from Sabang to Merauke, and the sea also binds us together, protects, connects and cares for us,” Laksmi explained during a press conference in Jakarta.
Laksmi DeNeefe Suardana’s educational achievements include Bachelor of Fashion Business from the Polimoda Florence institute with a degree in the Business of Fashion. She has always been active in Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and has presented as a moderator in the Book Club program, and as a speaker at the festival. Now she is writing a storybook for Indonesian children that spotlights Jakarta, the city of literature, and iconic heritage sites.