Miss Universe

From Academic Kids

The Miss Universe beauty contest has been held since 1952 (not to be confused with the similar Miss World). Founded by California clothing company Pacific Mills to showcase its Catalina swimwear brand, it became part of Kayser-Roth and then Gulf and Western Industries. In 1996 Donald Trump acquired ownership of the pageant, then being broadcast by CBS; in 2003 the television rights went to NBC.

Despite its historical rivalry with Miss World, the Miss Universe contest retains unparalleled prestige in many parts of the world, particularly Latin America.



The process of electing Miss Universe in most cases is a long one. Most countries which want to participate must first hold contests in each city to elect a candidate to become the country's representative for Miss Universe. Then it must elect a candidate from among the women selected by each city. For example, in Finland, Miss Helsinki must compete against the women selected by the other Finnish cities. Once a country has selected a candidate she goes on to compete for the title of Miss Universe. The number of countries participating fluctuates each year due to interest as well as financial capabilities: the Miss Universe Organization charges a franchise fee to license a country for competition, which is individually determined for each nation. Generally, about 70-80 countries will participate, with new ones coming in and out each year. Different pageants can compete to hold the license for each country, especially when the previous organization has been revoked/expelled, as in the case of the major Miss Italy and Miss France competitions (although the traditional Miss France organization has returned as of 2004).

Among the most important national pageants in the world are the Miss Venezuela, Miss India, Miss Philippines, Miss USA, Miss Colombia, Miss Peru, and Miss Puerto Rico Universe contests, all of which command consistently high interest and television ratings in their respective countries. Organizations attempting to build themselves up to the level of these established contests include Nuestra Belleza Mexico (Miss Mexico), Miss Universe Japan, and the triumvirate of Miss Bolivia-Miss Paraguay-Miss Uruguay (all directed by Gloria de Limpias). Among the more recent arrivals in the pageant are China (2002), Albania (2002), Vietnam (2004), Georgia (2004), Ethiopia (2004), and Latvia (2005); there have also been resurgent efforts to revive strong national pageants in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Canada, and the Caribbean, among other regions. There are continually efforts to expand the pageant, but the participation of some countries such as Indonesia and Algeria has proven difficult due to cultural barriers to the swimsuit competition, while others such as Mozambique, Armenia and Nepal have balked at sending representatives due to the cost. Only four countries have been present at every Miss Universe since it's inception in 1952 as of 2005; Canada, France, Germany, and the USA.

Such a national competition does not necessarily always occur, however. For example, in 2000 Australia abolished their competition as a relic of a bygone era. Since then, Australian delegates have been chosen by a modelling agency in time for the Miss Universe competition. Although such "castings" are not uncommon, they are generally discouraged by the Miss Universe Organization, which prefers national pageants that preserve the aura of respectability and competition required to reach the world finals. Despite the "casted" Australian delegate being chosen as Miss Universe in 2004, it is likely that Australia will return to organizing a national pageant. (In fact, Miss Australia 2004, Jennifer Hawkins, won Miss Universe 2004.)

According to the organisers, the Miss Universe contest isn't won just on looks. Women who aspire to become Miss Universe must be intelligent, well-mannered and cultured. Many times, a candidate has lost the contest because she did not have a good answer to a question during the contest's question and answer round. Miss Universe also prohibits transsexual applicants.


The first winner in 1952 was Armi Kuusela from Finland, who married a wealthy Filipino businessman from the famous Hilario clan of Manila (The first Miss Asia, from Malaysia, and first Miss International, from Colombia, also married Filipinos!). Interestingly, the Miss Universe title was post-dated until 1958, which explains why in pictures Ms. Kuusela's sash reads "Miss Universe 1953."

As of the 2005 contest, there have been 7 American, 4 Venezuelan, and 4 Puerto Rican, Misses Universe. Many other countries have won the contest once or twice.

Irene Sez, Miss Universe 1981, ran for President of Venezuela in 1998, losing to Hugo Chvez. In 1992 she was elected mayor of Chacao. While mayor, she gained some notoriety by banning overly passionate kissing in public parks. In 1999 she became governor of Margarita Island.

Yet another Miss Universe, 2002's winner Oxana Fedorova of Russia, became the first Miss Universe who officially did not finish her reign, making first runner-up Justine Pasek of Panama the first Panamanian ever to hold the title.


The Miss Universe contest's central offices are in New York, and the contest is held in different cities each year. All the contests until 1972 were held within the United States. Miss Universe Organization, a partnership between NBC and Donald Trump, has run the contest since June 20, 2002; they also hold the U.S. broadcast rights. They also produce the Miss USA (the winner of which goes on to represent the U.S. in the Miss Universe pageant), and Miss Teen USA contests.

Sergio Aragones has satirized the implications that the contest represents the universe, by portraying grotesque extraterrestrial contestants.

The winners

Year Miss Universe From Venue
1952 Armi Kuusela Finland Long Beach, California
1953 Christiane Martel France Long Beach, California
1954 Miriam Stevenson USA Long Beach, California
1955 Hillevi Rombin Sweden Long Beach, California
1956 Carol Morris USA Long Beach, California
1957 Gladys Zender Peru Long Beach, California
1958 Luz Marina Zuluaga Colombia Long Beach, California
1959 Akiko Kojima Japan Long Beach, California
1960 Linda Bement USA Miami Beach, Florida
1961 Marlene Schmidt Germany Miami Beach, Florida
1962 Norma Nolan Argentina Miami Beach, Florida
1963 Ieda Maria Vargas Brazil Miami Beach, Florida
1964 Corinna Tsopei Greece Miami Beach, Florida
1965 Apasra Hongsakula Thailand Miami Beach, Florida
1966 Margareta Arvidsson Sweden Miami Beach, Florida
1967 Sylvia Hitchcock USA Miami Beach, Florida
1968 Martha Vasconcellos Brazil Miami Beach, Florida
1969 Gloria Diaz Philippines Miami Beach, Florida
1970 Marisol Malaret Puerto Rico Miami Beach, Florida
1971 Georgiana Rizk Lebanon Miami Beach, Florida
1972 Kerry Anne Wells Australia Dorado, Puerto Rico
1973 Margarita Moran Philippines Athens, Greece
1974 Amparo Muoz Spain Manila, Philippines
1975 Anne Marie Pohtamo Finland San Salvador, El Salvador
1976 Rina Messinger Israel Hong Kong
1977 Janelle Commisiong Trinidad and Tobago Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
1978 Margaret Gardiner South Africa Acapulco, Mexico
1979 Maritza Sayalero Venezuela Perth, Australia
1980 Shawn Weatherly USA Seoul, South Korea
1981 Irene Sez Venezuela New York City, New York
1982 Karen Dianne Baldwin Canada Lima, Peru
1983 Lorraine Downes New Zealand St. Louis, Missouri
1984 Yvonne Ryding Sweden Miami, Florida
1985 Deborah Carthy-Deu Puerto Rico Miami, Florida
1986 Brbara Palacios Teyde Venezuela Panama City, Panama
1987 Cecilia Bolocco Chile Singapore
1988 Porntip Nakhirunkanok Thailand Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
1989 Angela Visser Netherlands Cancun, Mexico
1990 Mona Grudt Norway Los Angeles, California
1991 Lupita Jones Mexico Las Vegas, Nevada
1992 Michelle McLean Namibia Bangkok, Thailand
1993 Dayanara Torres Puerto Rico Mexico City, Mexico
1994 Sushmita Sen India Manila, Philippines
1995 Chelsi Smith United States Windhoek, Namibia
1996 Alicia Machado Venezuela Las Vegas, Nevada
1997 Brook Mahealani Lee United States Miami Beach, Florida
1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam Trinidad and Tobago Honolulu, Hawaii
1999 Mpule Kwelagobe Botswana Trinidad and Tobago
2000 Lara Dutta India Nicosia, Cyprus
2001 Denise Quiones Puerto Rico Bayamon, Puerto Rico
2002 Oxana Fedorova Russia San Juan, Puerto Rico
Justine Pasek Panama
2003 Amelia Vega Dominican Republic Panama City, Panama
2004 Jennifer Hawkins Australia Quito, Ecuador
2005 Natalie Glebova Canada Bangkok, Thailand

See also

External links

es:Miss Universo id:Miss Universe nl:Lijst van Miss Universe-winnaressen pt:Miss Universo sv:Miss Universum th:นางงามจักรวาล


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