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Beauty With Attitude

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  • 04/27/15--17:26: Miss Zimbabwe 2015



  •  Emily Katanga Kachote (center), 25, of Harare was crowned Miss Zimbabwe 2015 held at the Mermaid's Pool in Shamva on April 26. She will represent her country in 2015 Miss World pageant whose date and venue have yet to be confirmed. Ann-Grace Mutambu (left) came out as first princess while Chengetai Kanonhuwa (right)  was the second princess.



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    Uruguay crowned two new queens in last April 26 in Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco. Bianca Sanchez (left) was crowned Miss Universe Uruguay 2015 and will compete in the next edition of Miss Universe pageant. Sherika De Armas (right) was crowned Miss World Uruguay 2015 and will compete in the next edition of Miss World.   


    The new queens are joined by their court that includes 1st runner-up Fátima Lara (2nd from left), 
    2nd runner-up Julia Carriquiry (center), and 3rd runner-up Victoria Moraes (second from right).

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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY FADIL BERISHA

    GIVE THREE ADJECTIVES THAT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD DESCRIBE YOU.

         My friends would say I’m a bold, perseverant techie.

    IF YOU WERE TO COME BACK AS AN ANIMAL IN THE NEXT LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

         I really admire tigers for both their beauty and ability to lead, so I’d love to come back as one. They are respected in their environment and always take care of their own. Sadly, they are facing danger from poaching, habitat loss and more. Hopefully that changes!

    NAME THREE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD NEVER DO.

    I would never betray my family and loved ones, stop pursuing my passions and give up being a foodie!

    CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT DESIGNER SHOES? WHY OR WHY NOT? 

         Even though I’m a style blogger and love fashion, I can live without designer shoes. They are beautiful, but there are plenty of shoes just as beautiful and comfortable without the designer label attached.

    WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

         I plan on continuing to take steps bringing me closer to my dream of reporting and anchoring for a national news network. I have always wanted to be a journalist since I was a little girl watching the nightly news with my parents and I can’t wait to one day be able to share someone’s story to millions of people around the nation.

    PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEGHAN SMALL

    IS PHYSICAL APPEARANCE IMPORTANT? WHY OR WHY NOT?

         I believe physical appearance can be important because you never know who you can run into. Isn’t it better if you ran into someone who could help you land your dream job, have a great business connection or even your future soul mate and you looked top notch? That said, I still believe a person’s inner qualities is what separates them from everyone else. You can create beauty with your attitude, behavior and actions.

    DO YOU THINK THAT OUR CULTURE IS TOO PREOCCUPIED WITH BEAUTY? HOW COULD WE CHANGE THAT?

        
    I believe it can appear that way, after all, it’s hard to hate beautiful things! However, I know each high school and graduating class does more and more community service and gives back than the year before. A good way I found not to get caught up with beauty is by staying aware of what’s going on; in our communities, our nation and the world.

    DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM MAN (OR IF YOU'RE GAY, DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM WOMAN). 

    My dream man is someone who is compassionate, ambitious, loyal and will challenge me to be my best. I believe the person you choose to spend the rest of your life with is an extremely important decision and you want your partner to be supportive, encouraging and honest.

    IF YOU COULD GO ON A BLIND DATE WITH ANY MAN (OR WOMAN), WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

    Matt Bomer, 100 per cent! He’s most known for playing Neal Caffrey in White Collar. It probably wouldn’t be a date necessarily because we are both happily taken, but I’d love to chat with him over coffee about all the roles he’s taken on! I’m sure he learned a ton from White Collar and it doesn’t hurt he’s very handsome.


    PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOAN CHU

    IF YOU HAD TO BE ANOTHER WOMAN FOR ONE WEEK, WHICH WOMAN WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE AND WHY?

         I would love to be Norah O’Donnell, who is one of the morning anchors for CBS This Morning. She has a great presence on air, is incredibly intelligent and has fantastic story-telling skills. She’s definitely someone I would love to get advice from.

    HAVE YOU EVER HAD COSMETIC SURGERY OR ANY OTHER ALTERATION TO YOUR APPEARANCE?

         
    I’ve never had cosmetic surgery or altered my appearance. In the media industry there is pressure on physical appearance, but I’m proud to say what you see is 100 per cent me!

    WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT THE U.S.A.?

         
    The United States is one of the most charitable nations in the world. When tragedies strike other countries, including most recently the earthquake in Nepal, Americans dig deep into their pockets and help. The United States’ generosity makes me incredibly proud to be an American.

    DO YOU THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE A CERTAIN AGE WHEN PEOPLE ARE FORCED TO RETIRE?

         I don’t think there should be a certain age when people are forced to retire. If you truly love what you do, it’s not work at all and being forced to retire would be a bad thing not only for the company, but the individual who loves what she does. However, it’s important to recognize when you are burned out and need to take care of yourself.   

    WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH OLDER PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM ALZHEIMER'S AND OTHER LIFE-THREATENING DISEASES WHERE THEY CAN'T TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES?

         I believe it’s very important these individuals are in a nurturing environment with compassionate and patient caretakers. I remember watching a riveting "60 Minutes" piece about mental health and how families of those suffering just wish for sympathy. As long as the caretakers have sympathy for these individuals, I believe they can dramatically help. These caretakers can be family, trained health care providers or friends, as long as they treat the individuals with dignity and respect. 

    DO YOU SUPPORT LAWS TO REQUIRE MANDATORY BILINGUAL EDUCATION FOR ALL STUDENTS IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS?

    Absolutely! My first language was Vietnamese and thanks to my Mom’s rules of only speaking Vietnamese in the Cung house and with other Vietnamese speakers, I am fluent in the language and am comfortable reading and writing as well. Every day the world is getting smaller thanks to the Internet and access to mobile phones. Being able to speak another language not only benefits all Americans, but also provides a greater sense of unity.


    PEOPLE SAY THAT MOST PAGEANT CONTESTANTS ARE RELIGIOUS. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE?

         To me, religion is what brings out the best in a person, makes them compassionate, more responsible, more ethical, more humanitarian. Pageant contestants are some of the most incredible people I’ve met, so I would agree that most pageant contestants are religious.

    WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF AN ETHICAL PERSON?

               Someone who is ethical has respect for others, integrity and would not harm someone else intentionally.  

    WHAT WOULD A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM REVIEWING YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK ACCOUNTS LIKE FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM OR TWITTER?

    They would learn I’m a positive, ambitious person who is relentlessly resourceful. On social media, I love to post inspirational quotes to motivate others and to spread positivism.

    WHAT HAVE YOU GAINED BY COMPETING IN PAGEANTS? 

    I think pageants are a sport and I’ve definitely learned a lot about how strong I really am through preparing for pageants. I’ve had the chance to meet incredible women who are my closest friends and I’ve been able to see my heart grow through all the people I’ve been able to help through my nonprofit organization and community.

    COMPARED TO THE 1950s-1970s, WOMEN TODAY HAVE MORE OPTIONS IN TERMS OF THEIR PERSONAL CHOICES AND PERSONAL LIVES. DESPITE THESE OPTIONS, WHY DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE MISS USA?

         Being Miss USA is a lifelong dream of mine, but it’s not the only one. I’m already taking the steps necessary to achieve one of my other dreams: being a network correspondent and anchor. Throughout my reign, many girls are surprised to find out I am also currently a reporter and anchor. I love telling them girls and women have so much to offer the world.  If I win Miss USA, I will be able to set an example Miss USA isn’t just beautiful, but also ambitious, career driven and willing to work hard to accomplish any goal.





    Follow Hoang-Kim on Instagram


    and Twitter!



    Thank you, Hoang-Kim, for granting us this interview 
    and we wish you the best of luck in Miss USA 2015!

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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHANA LEMOS


    GIVE THREE ADJECTIVES THAT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD DESCRIBE YOU.

         Compassionate, lighthearted, and hardworking.

    IF YOU WERE TO COME BACK AS AN ANIMAL IN THE NEXT LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

         I would want to come back as a giant panda! Pandas are my favorite animal, and have been since I was a little girl. They are such beautiful creatures, it makes me laugh that they chew on bamboo all day and sleep a ton. I am a supporter of the WWF fund, their goal is to save wildlife and the most important species in the world, including the giant panda!

    NAME THREE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD NEVER DO.
    • Stop eating chocolate.
    • Hunt any type of animal.
    • Be on a reality TV show.

    CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT DESIGNER SHOES? WHY OR WHY NOT? 

       I can definitely live without designer shoes! I was raised by my parents to not have a ‘need' for anything other than necessities. They grounded me with realizing what is really important in life. Although I am very fortunate to have received some designer shoes as gifts, I would much rather put the money towards something else, like buying pairs of shoes for someone in need with the money I could spend on one pair of designer shoes!

    DO YOU THINK THAT "SEXUALITY EDUCATION" SHOULD BE PART OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS?

         I do not think that “sexuality education” is necessary for elementary age students. I believe that these students are still to young, and should wait until middle school age to be taught this type of education. According to statistics, 67% of sexual education in America starts in the 6th grade, which I feel to be the more appropriate age.

    WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

         I see myself having had a successful reign as Miss USA! After that, I hope to use my degree in Merchandise Marketing from FIDM and my background in selling wedding gowns and managing a bridal salon, to open my own bridal store that sells bridal, evening and pageantry gowns! I would love to bring the knowledge that I learned working at a store in Los Angeles to Pennsylvania, as well as other cities if I could open multiple stores! I also see myself being settled down with a husband and a family of my own. (And a couple of dogs too!) 

    PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAGEANT IMAGES

    IF YOU WON MISS USA AND ONE OF THE CANDIDATES TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN'T DESERVE THE CROWN, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?

        I would tell her that I hope she would change her mind after she watched me fulfill my duties as Miss USA! I have come to realize that you can’t please everyone in this life, but you can live a life your proud of and be nice to everyone, no matter what.

    IS PHYSICAL APPEARANCE IMPORTANT? WHY OR WHY NOT?

         I do think physical appearance is important, because it shows that you respect yourself and want to present the best version of yourself possible. I do believe most employers look for a presentable outward appearance as well, so it can only benefit you in the long run! I truly do believe beauty comes from within, so if you are kind, good hearted person, it will shine through to the outside!

    DO YOU THINK THAT OUR CULTURE IS TOO PREOCCUPIED WITH BEAUTY? HOW COULD WE CHANGE THAT?

         I do think our culture is very preoccupied with beauty. I think we can change this by raising our children to believe that what is on the inside is what truly matters, and they they should not judge a person by what they look like. I also think we should teach our daughters to be comfortable with themselves as they are, before any makeup/beauty products are introduced to them. 

    DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM MAN (OR IF YOU'RE GAY, DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM WOMAN). 

    A man who puts God first, who respects his family, who loves animals, is a hard worker, and loves me! :)

    IF YOU COULD GO ON A BLIND DATE WITH ANY MAN (OR WOMAN), WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

         I would go on a blind date with the actor Chris Hemsworth. He is definitely my ‘celebrity crush!’


    PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAGEANT IMAGES

    IF YOU HAD TO BE ANOTHER WOMAN FOR ONE WEEK, WHICH WOMAN WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE AND WHY?

         Carolina Herrera, who is a Venezuelan-American fashion designer. As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, I am the biggest fan of Ms. Herrera. I would love to talk to her about her exciting career and how she grew the worldwide brand that she has today. I have particular interest in her bridal collections, as I was able to work with the garments in person at a bridal salon in Los Angeles. 

    WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT THE U.S.A.? 

    I love the USA’s diverse culture. I’ve had the opportunity to live in Los Angeles while I attended college and I was amazed by all of the different cultures and diverse people that live there. I met so many people from all around the world and learned so much about their different beliefs and traditions. I think its incredible that we are a country of such rich diversity. I hope to have the opportunity to live in other cities in the US to meet even more people!

    DO YOU THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE A CERTAIN AGE WHEN PEOPLE ARE FORCED TO RETIRE?

         I do not think there should be any age that anyone is forced to retire, with our nations amazing health care and advances in health and wellness technology, people are living longer and staying more active. I applaud those who want to keep working and do what they love, till any age!

    WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH OLDER PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM ALZHEIMER'S AND OTHER LIFE-THREATENING DISEASES WHERE THEY CAN'T TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES?

         I think that long-term care centers and living centers should be available throughout every state to care for these individuals who need help and can’t be on their own. There needs to be enough of these facilities so that everyone can receive the help that they need.

    IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WAS TERMINALLY ILL AND IN AGONY AND ASKED YOU TO HELP THEM DIE, HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE IT?
    I would not be able to help anyone in my family die, because that would be to hard for me. I would however try to find them the help and care that they needed, as well as making them as comfortable as possible. I believe in the power of God and that he can heal anyone from any illness. I would turn to my faith at this time!

    DO YOU SUPPORT LAWS TO REQUIRE MANDATORY BILINGUAL EDUCATION FOR ALL STUDENTS IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS?

         I do support the laws to require mandatory bilingual education for all students in American schools. I think that knowing another language other than English is so beneficial in today's day and age of so many diverse cultures in our great country.





    CAN A PERSON WHO WAS BORN A MALE, BUT WHO HAS A SEX REASSIGNMENT TO BECOME FEMALE, BE TRULY A FEMALE IN YOUR OPINION?  

         I do believe a person who has a sex reassignment to the opposite sex can be considered a true ‘male’ or ‘female’ after their surgery.  I do believe that some people are born in the wrong body and I fully support them on their journey to find happiness as a member of the opposite sex. 

    WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF AN ETHICAL PERSON?

               My definition of an ethical person is someone who understands the difference between what is right and wrong and lives by that example every day. This person is not afraid to step in and stop something when they see a negative situation. This person also is the first to applaud the right-doings of any person.

    WHAT WOULD A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM REVIEWING YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK ACCOUNTS LIKE FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM OR TWITTER?

    They would see that I am a very social person who loves volunteer work, exercise, travel and being outdoors! They would also see that I have a sense of humor and love to joke around with my friends.

    WHAT HAVE YOU GAINED BY COMPETING IN PAGEANTS? 

    I have gained self-confidence, poise and public speaking skills. I have gained friendships that feel more like a sisterhood. I have gained connections in business, fashion and the modeling world. I have traveled and met people from all across the United States. I have gained a strong sense of self, and a passion for volunteer work of any kind. I would not trade what I have received from competing in pageants for anything, it has truly changed my life in the most positive way!

    COMPARED TO THE 1950s-1970s, WOMEN TODAY HAVE MORE OPTIONS IN TERMS OF THEIR PERSONAL CHOICES AND PERSONAL LIVES. DESPITE THESE OPTIONS, WHY DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE MISS USA?

         I think being Miss USA would only open more doors and opportunities towards these new professional levels that are now available to women. Being Miss USA would mean being a confidently beautiful woman who is goal and career driven. This title would set me up for all future endeavors in my life, especially a career path!




    Follow Elizabeth on Instagram


    and Twitter!



    Thank you, Elizabeth, for granting us this interview
    and we wish you the best of luck in Miss USA 2015!

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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARC REYNOLDS

    GIVE THREE ADJECTIVES THAT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD DESCRIBE YOU.

          Spontaneous, funny, and caring as described by Miss Alabama USA Madison Guthrie.

    IF YOU WERE TO COME BACK AS AN ANIMAL IN THE NEXT LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

         If I were to come back in another life as an animal I would be a lion.  Lions are such beautiful and majestic animals!  And they are known as the “Kings and Queens of the Safari.” Who wouldn’t want to be that?

    NAME THREE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD NEVER DO.

         1. Be in the same room or the same vicinity as a snake. 2. Go more than two weeks without Oreos. 3. Cut off my family. I need them in my life every day. 

    CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT DESIGNER SHOES? WHY OR WHY NOT? 

         Absolutely. As much as I love saying I’m wearing Gucci, if the shoes look the same and they are equally as comfy and inexpensive, I’m totally fine with them. 

    SHOULD ABORTION BE BANNED IN THE CASES OF WOMEN WHO HAVE REPEATED ABORTIONS, BUT CONTINUE NOT TO USE BIRTH CONTROL?

         I do think there should be a record kept on how many times a woman has had an abortion, and if she continues to abuse it she should not be allowed to get anymore.  If she cannot take the responsibility of using birth control, there comes a time when you have to live with your decisions and the consequences thereafter. 

    IF YOU WON MISS USA AND ONE OF THE CANDIDATES TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN'T DESERVE THE CROWN, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?


         If I won the Miss USA crown and a candidate told me I didn’t deserve it, I would like to sit down one-on-one with her and speak to her about why she felt that way. I would listen, take notes, and try and better myself in any way she felt I needed to. The girls I compete with have strong opinions and that is a blessing. If I could better myself because of another’s opinion, I would take that opportunity.



    IS PHYSICAL APPEARANCE IMPORTANT? WHY OR WHY NOT?

         I think physical appearance is all determined in the eye of the beholder.  But in the end, it’s the beauty of a person’s heart and mind that really matters.  You could be the most beautiful person in the world, but if you have an ugly heart that is what people will see and remember.

    DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM MAN (OR IF YOU'RE GAY, DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM WOMAN). 

         My dream man … The most attractive part of a man to me is his character, and how polite and respectful he is.  Opening my door for me, holding my hand down the set of stairs, and offering his coat if I’m chilly, are the little things a lot of men have forgotten about.  However, all he needs to do is go have a chat with his Grandpa about chivalry and he’ll be set. If he can do those little things and has a strong jaw and a little twinkle in his eye when he looks at me, I’m all set. 

    IF YOU COULD GO ON A BLIND DATE WITH ANY MAN (OR WOMAN), WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

         If I could choose my blind date, I would pick Derek Hough.  I have always wanted to be a dancer; I’m sure he could teach me a few tricks on the dance floor. 

    WHAT IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE THAT AMERICA FACES?

         I think the biggest challenge America faces is the fact that we are so used to having instant gratification in all we do.  We have been blessed as a nation to have endless opportunity and many things we want in life can be given to us in a snap of our fingers.  The value of hard work has slowly been diminished.  We must remember how to work in order to keep America strong. 

    WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT THE U.S.A.?

         I have a military family. My brother was a United States Marine and my uncle was a Colonel in the Army. I am so incredibly proud to have my freedoms and my family protected by such a force as our United States military. 

    DO YOU THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE A CERTAIN AGE WHEN PEOPLE ARE FORCED TO RETIRE?


         Unless you are a surgeon and could endanger another person’s life I don’t think anyone should be forced to retire. There are people who love their jobs and love the things they do! Why should they be forced to give up the things in life they worked for and love?   


    PHOTOGRAPHY BY TERRY WRIGHT

    IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WAS TERMINALLY ILL AND IN AGONY AND ASKED YOU TO HELP THEM DIE, HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE IT?

         No matter how much pain a person was in, I could not help him/her die.  It is not my place to interfere when it is or isn’t a person’s time to pass on.  I would help him/her be as comfortable as possible and pray that his/her pain would subside and he/she could pass on in peace.  

    HOW SHOULD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT RESPOND TO THE THREAT OF ISIS?

         ISIS is a worldwide threat and as such it should be handled in a worldwide manner.  Although the United States has the best military force in the world, it is going to take a team effort to take them down.  I feel that we should combine our forces and unite with nations around the world and work as a team to stop this threat.  

    VIRTUALLY ALL TERRORIST ATTACKS SINCE 9/11 HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY MUSLIMS WHO JUSTIFY THEIR TERRORISM BY QUOTING VIOLENT ACTS FROM THE KORAN. THIS SUGGESTS THAT ISLAM MAY NOT BE A RELIGION OF PEACE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?  

         Although acts of terrorism have been committed by Muslims, I think it is important to remember that not all Muslims are terrorists.  It is a very sad thing that some have put a bad name on their religion, but there are many good people who practice this religion.  If one dog has rabies, do you stay away from all dogs for the rest of your life? 

    PEOPLE SAY THAT MOST PAGEANT CONTESTANTS ARE RELIGIOUS. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE?

         I would agree. In my experience I have met many pageant contestants with a religious background.  I think this comes not only from how we were raised, but also from the fact that we understand that our talents are not just coincidence, they are given to us from a higher power, and for that we are grateful. 



    WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF AN ETHICAL PERSON?

         I think an ethical person is an honest person. Someone who isn’t afraid to make the right decision even when so many people are telling him or her not to make the right choice.  Honesty is the keystone. 

    WHAT WOULD A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM REVIEWING YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK ACCOUNTS LIKE FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM OR TWITTER?

         If a potential employer were to look at my social media outlets, it would see that I am surrounded by incredible friends and family. I love to travel. Laughter is a very important part of life.

    WHAT HAVE YOU GAINED BY COMPETING IN PAGEANTS? 

         I have gained so much from pageants!  I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without my experience of pageantry in my life.  I have gained skills in interview, public speaking, self-confidence, and most importantly have learned to have an opinion and not be afraid to stand for what I feel to be true.  I recommend pageants to everyone girl in the world. 

    COMPARED TO THE 1950s-1970s, WOMEN TODAY HAVE MORE OPTIONS IN TERMS OF THEIR PERSONAL CHOICES AND PERSONAL LIVES. DESPITE THESE OPTIONS, WHY DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE MISS USA?

         Women today do have many more options in their own lives, which is exactly why I want to Miss USA. It is an option for me and a choice I have made.  Being Miss USA will give me that opportunity to continue to empower women and help them see that they can be whoever they choose to be with hard work.  

    WITH MISS SOUTH CAROLINA USA 2015 SARAH WEISHUHN

     
     Follow Claira on Instagram


    and Twitter!

    Thank you, Claira, for granting us this interview 
    and we wish you the best of luck in Miss USA 2015!


    SECRETS TO BEING CONFIDENTLY BEAUTIFUL



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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY FADIL BERISHA 

    GIVE THREE ADJECTIVES THAT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD DESCRIBE YOU.

          Adventurous, compassionate, witty.

    HAVE YOU SEEN "50 SHADES OF GREY?" IF YOU HAVE, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT? IF YOU HAVEN'T, WOULD YOU SEE IT?

          As a self-proclaimed bookworm, my one policy is that I have to read the book before I watch the movie and to be honest, I couldn’t make it through the first 50 pages. I have always been a huge fan of books with a strong female lead, and Anastasia Steele was super dull. I think the part where I put the book down was when she basically had an orgasm when Christen Grey blinked in her general direction. 

    DO YOU THINK THAT "SEXUALITY EDUCATION" SHOULD BE PART OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS?

          I remember when I was in 5th grade our teachers sent home a permission slip home with us asking if it was okay for us to be taught “Sex Ed”. Those of us whose parents said yes were taken to a separate classroom and taught the birds & bees from our health education teacher. The other students whose parents had said no, stayed in the regular classroom. It gave the parents the choice of how their children were educated, but also allowed room for Sexuality Education in the school curriculum. A happy medium for the educators and families.

    WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

          Five years is a long time, especially at my age where there are so many opportunities waiting for you to grab; each leading down a different road. My top priority goals are to graduate with my advanced degrees in Law and Business, and find a job that I truly love. Ultimately when I answer questions like these, I always think of this Maya Angelou quote: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” In 5 years, my goal is to be successful in all aspects of my life. 

    IF YOU WON MISS USA AND ONE OF THE CANDIDATES TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN'T DESERVE THE CROWN, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?

          I think all pageant titleholders at any level have had to deal with negative feedback one way or another. You will never be able to control what people say but you can control the way you react. To most adversity I smile, hold my head high, and ignore the negative Nancy’s. At the end of the day Miss USA is a journey and  it’s my dream. I wouldn’t let people who were unhappy with the results rain on my parade.

    PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA'S MOM 

    IS PHYSICAL APPEARANCE IMPORTANT? WHY OR WHY NOT?

          To an extent. I believe that taking care of your body - physically and mentally - is a form of self-respect. Being proud of your curves, height, and all the bits of you that make you unique is important. That type of pride or in some cases embarrassment can be reflected on your outer appearance and how you take care of yourself.

    DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM MAN (OR IF YOU'RE GAY, DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM WOMAN).

         Rob Gronkowski. (But seriously- a goofy guy who loves sports and loves his momma)

    IF YOU HAD TO BE ANOTHER WOMAN FOR ONE WEEK, WHICH WOMAN WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE AND WHY?

          Beyoncé! I swear she could walk down a hallway and wind would still be blowing through her hair. That woman is flawless and I would love to see a day in the life, none the less a week, of one of the most inspiring women in today’s society. 

    WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT PAGEANTS LIKE MISS VENEZUELA PROMOTING COSMETIC SURGERY SO MUCH? IS THAT A POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE EXAMPLE FOR YOUNG WOMEN? 

          Promoting cosmetic surgery to win a pageant is a definitely negative example. Outer beauty is so subjective. Miss Universe, Miss Venezuela, Miss USA or any pageant out there is not looking for a girl that fits a mold, but someone who already is that person before the pageant started. Someone who embodies what the title stands for, who lives their life each and every day like a woman the organization would be proud to have as a representative. No amount of cosmetic surgery will help someone become that individual. 

    WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT THE U.S.A.?

          Nowhere else in the world is there such a mix of such different cultures coming together to live under one nation and one government. As someone who comes from a very international and cultured background, this is something that I am so proud of. Even in the little state of West Virginia our international community is growing and providing so much insight into the world around us by introducing unique foods, languages, and festivals. The United States is truly a melting pot and that is one of the many traits that makes me proud to be a citizen of this country. 

    PHOTOGRAPHY BY GEORGINA VAUGHN 

    IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WAS TERMINALLY ILL AND IN AGONY AND ASKED YOU TO HELP THEM DIE, HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE IT?

         I would be a complete wreck, just thinking about a loved one asking me this question tears at my heart. But I would put myself in their shoes. Is a life of pain and agony worth living if you’ve lived a wonderful life? If you have no regrets and could leave this world happy with the legacy you left behind, would the few days, weeks, months of pain, waiting for death’s call be worth it? I know that if I was in this situation I would be strong for the family that can’t be, I would be compassionate and understanding, but most of all I would do what is best for my family member.

    HOW SHOULD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT RESPOND TO THE THREAT OF ISIS?

         One of ISIS’s biggest weapons is social media. Their ability to use fear in order to recruit people easily radicalized has let ISIS and their causes grow out of control. Although this is not a black and white solution or problem by any means, it should be tackled quickly by a joint effort between multiple nations. One of the things our government could do to begin the response is by denying ISIS the attention that they are so desperate to receive. While it is important to know and understand what is happening all around the world, perhaps if the media concentrated on stories that counter the ideology behind ISIS, their recruitment efforts would be less successful. 

    VIRTUALLY ALL TERRORIST ATTACKS SINCE 9/11 HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY MUSLIMS WHO JUSTIFY THEIR TERRORISM BY QUOTING VIOLENT ACTS FROM THE KORAN. THIS SUGGESTS THAT ISLAM MAY NOT BE A RELIGION OF PEACE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?  ?

         Throughout history there has been many times where people pick and choose passages from religious texts to further their agendas. It’s heartbreaking that a group of radical extremists have corrupted so many minds with fear and hate while hiding behind a few passages from the Koran.  While I am no scholar on the Koran, I believe it would be unfair to judge an entire religion based on the horrendous terrorist acts that have been committed by an ignorant and hateful minority group. 

    DO YOU SUPPORT LAWS TO REQUIRE MANDATORY BILINGUAL EDUCATION FOR ALL STUDENTS IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS?

         As a trilingual ( English, Spanish, French) citizen in this melting pot of a country, knowing a second or even third language is extremely helpful. While I don’t believe it should be mandatory in schools, I do believe it should be encouraged. We live in a day and age where communication is becoming increasingly easy and important through various platforms such as social media. Furthermore for most careers, knowing a second language is just as beneficial to the employer as it is to the employee and customers. 

    PEOPLE SAY THAT MOST PAGEANT CONTESTANTS ARE RELIGIOUS. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE?

         I believe everyone on this earth falls somewhere on the religious spectrum. It’s hard not to have faith in a greater power when this world is so unique and filled with miracles. With that being said I do believe people who participate in any sort of competition tend to be more religious. It’s not easy putting yourself in a position to be judged by strangers, none the less on a stage to be judged by an entire audience, or in our case 5 million viewers on live TV. Pageants are a leap of faith- you need to have faith in yourself, and faith that God (or whatever higher power you believe in) is leading you in the right direction no matter the outcome. 


    CAN A PERSON WHO WAS BORN A MALE, BUT WHO HAS A SEX REASSIGNMENT TO BECOME FEMALE, BE TRULY A FEMALE IN YOUR OPINION?  

         I believe you are a male or female based on the DNA you are born with. But I also believe that a male can be a woman and a female can be a man. Society is so quick to divide us into our gender categories- little girls play with makeup and dolls, boys with trucks and tools. We each have the right to develop into the individual we feel most comfortable being. If for some that means being the opposite gender then who are we to judge or prevent that person being happy.

    WHAT WOULD A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM REVIEWING YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK ACCOUNTS LIKE FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM OR TWITTER?

         That I’m slightly obsessed with "Game of Thrones" and my grandma’s chihuahua, I love corny jokes and sarcastic humor, and my coffee addiction is getting a little out of control. 

    WHAT HAVE YOU GAINED BY COMPETING IN PAGEANTS?

         What have I not gained? Without pageants I would be a completely different person! Pageants have given me my best friends, a second family, a better understanding of who I am and who I aspire to be. Not to mention I don’t even sweat interviews and public speaking is second nature to me. I am so blessed that I randomly decided to do one and the pageant bug bit me hard! Pageants are so much more than what meets the eye.

    SOME STATES STILL PRACTICE THE DEATH PENALTY AS PUNISHMENT FOR HORRENDOUS CRIMES. DO YOU THINK THAT IT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED? WHY OR WHY NOT?

         I understand there is a need for closure when it comes to tragedies that deserve the ultimate punishment of the death penalty. But to me, I believe that a life isolated in a small cell, with nothing but your own thoughts to keep you company for the rest of your days is more punishment than the escape of death. Then again, each horrendous crime is different, but each ruin the lives of more than just the person involved but the families of all affected. 

    COMPARED TO THE 1950s-1970s, WOMEN TODAY HAVE MORE OPTIONS IN TERMS OF THEIR PERSONAL CHOICES AND PERSONAL LIVES. DESPITE THESE OPTIONS, WHY DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE MISS USA?

         As someone whose ambition is directly tied to making sure my actions, career, and dreams will help make a positive difference in today’s society, I would be so honored to play a part in the Miss Universe Organization’s legacy. Miss USA comes a spotlight that I could use to further advance the cause of gender equality. I plan to use my recognition in advancing not only this cause, but many others, by working with organizations, charities and philanthropies to help make a difference on a local and national scale. 



    Follow Andrea on Instagram

    and Twitter!


    Thank you, Andrea, for granting us this interview 
    and we wish you the best of luck in Miss USA 2015!



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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY JONATHAN CARTER 

    GIVE THREE ADJECTIVES THAT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD DESCRIBE YOU.'

         Spunky, Confident, Passionate

    HAVE YOU SEEN "50 SHADES OF GREY?" IF YOU HAVE, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT? IF YOU HAVEN'T, WOULD YOU SEE IT?

         I haven’t but I might in the future!

    IF YOU WERE TO COME BACK AS AN ANIMAL IN THE NEXT LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?


         I would return as a horse because they have a pack mentality & enjoy being around people & others of their kind but they can run free & enjoy nature too.

    NAME THREE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD NEVER DO.


         Experiment with drugs, sacrifice my morals, give up ice cream

    CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT DESIGNER SHOES? WHY OR WHY NOT?


         Yes I can! I have been doing so my whole life. As long as you feel beautiful in what you’re wearing, the tags shouldn’t matter. Besides, I like to go barefoot when I can!

    DO YOU THINK THAT "SEXUALITY EDUCATION" SHOULD BE PART OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS?


         It should be integrated into our schools in the near future. How can we expect our children to respect themselves & each other without learning about sexuality first? I do think we can find a child friendly way of teaching them understanding & tolerance at such a young age.

    WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?


         As Miss Vermont USA, so many doors have opened for me since my crowning. I want to continue to model & see the world through travel & when I feel that part of my life has come to an end, I want to work as a public image consultant. Overall, in the next five years I want to grow as a career woman, see the world, & be happy.
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY JONATHAN CARTER 

    IF YOU WON MISS USA AND ONE OF THE CANDIDATES TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN'T DESERVE THE CROWN, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?

         Any pageant girl will tell you that on a different day, there’s a different winner for a title in the pageant world. We all know that & I believe that by representing our states as titleholders, we all deserve the Miss USA crown. All 51 of us work incredibly hard & love our jobs & take being Miss USA very seriously. I would tell her that I understand her opinion but I am going to be the best Miss USA I can & that we all are equally worthy of this job.


    IS PHYSICAL APPEARANCE IMPORTANT? WHY OR WHY NOT?


         Physical appearance is very important because it’s the first impression the world sees of you. Presenting a polished image that represents who you are is important no matter what industry you are a part of.

    DO YOU THINK THAT OUR CULTURE IS TOO PREOCCUPIED WITH BEAUTY? HOW COULD WE CHANGE THAT?


         Our culture is too consumed with outer beauty. Too often physical beauty is made the priority over personality & inner beauty. Young people need to be encouraged to embrace their quirks & differences. They need to be taught that in life being yourself & expressing yourself if the best way to succeed at their dreams.

    DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM MAN (OR IF YOU'RE GAY, DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM WOMAN). 

         My dream man is tall (I’m a chronic high heel wearer), health conscious, funny, & confident. I like a man who can stand up for himself, match my energy level, love (or pretend to) my cat, & if he’s handsome I definitely won’t complain! My dream man supports my passions while having his own & wants to build on those together as a team.

    IF YOU COULD GO ON A BLIND DATE WITH ANY MAN (OR WOMAN), WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

         I’ve never been much of a swooning girl with a celebrity crush but I wouldn’t say no to a date with Theo James! He is handsome, athletic, a musician like me & he co-starred in one of my favorite movies: Divergent.

    IF YOU HAD TO BE ANOTHER WOMAN FOR ONE WEEK, WHICH WOMAN WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE AND WHY?

         I would want to walk in the shoes of a woman in a third world country. It’s so easy to take all that we have for granted, especially in the United States. Many people in our country are completely unaware of the way people around the world live & given this experience, I think it would give me stronger grasp on how to improve our world & appreciate my circumstances.

    HAVE YOU EVER HAD COSMETIC SURGERY OR ANY OTHER ALTERATION TO YOUR APPEARANCE?

         Unless spray tans count, I have not.

    DO YOU THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE A CERTAIN AGE WHEN PEOPLE ARE FORCED TO RETIRE? 

          We are a country of hard working people & I don’t think we should discourage people from embracing this trait።

    IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WAS TERMINALLY ILL AND IN AGONY AND ASKED YOU TO HELP THEM DIE, HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE IT?

         A similar situation actually happened in my family a few years ago. It was my grandmother’s wish that if she was ever on life support that we, as a family, let her go. At the end of the day, everyone has control over their own life & even in death, their wishes should be respected. I will never forget the moment my family came to terms with this truth, but I think we all knew that respecting her choice & sending her with our love was what she wanted.

    DO YOU SUPPORT LAWS TO REQUIRE MANDATORY BILINGUAL EDUCATION FOR ALL STUDENTS IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS?


          As someone who had to take a second language in schools, I can say that learning Spanish & French made me more culturally tolerant & introduced me to other parts of the world. It’s an invaluable skill that should be mandated in all of our schools.



    WHAT WOULD A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM REVIEWING YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK ACCOUNTS LIKE FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM OR TWITTER?


          My social media is very real & fun. It’s an extension of my personality. They would learn that I am very active in my community, I’m well rounded, & that I can’t resist the occasional selfie.

    SOME STATES STILL PRACTICE THE DEATH PENALTY AS PUNISHMENT FOR HORRENDOUS CRIMES. DO YOU THINK THAT IT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED? WHY OR WHY NOT?


          No matter the crime they committed, I don’t think anyone should be subjected to the death penalty. Reciprocating violence with more violence creates an endless circle of hatred & death. I think forcing someone to live out the rest of their lives with the guilt & reality of their crimes if a more appropriate solution.


    COMPARED TO THE 1950s-1970s, WOMEN TODAY HAVE MORE OPTIONS IN TERMS OF THEIR PERSONAL CHOICES AND PERSONAL LIVES. DESPITE THESE OPTIONS, WHY DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE MISS USA?


          Becoming Miss USA is a job of a lifetime, but it is a job. It is not all about being pretty & flaunting your crown, just as being Miss Vermont USA is so much more than that. Being Miss USA for a year teaches you skills that many take years to learn including: marketing, communication skills, public speaking experience, & independence. To me, it seems like a great choice for a young woman.





    Follow Jackie on Instagram

    and Twitter!



    Thank you, Jackie, for granting us this interview 
    and we wish you the best of luck in Miss USA 2015!

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  • 05/04/15--18:39: Miss Sweden World 2015

  • Natalia Fogelund, 21, from Gothenburg was crowned Miss Sweden World 2015 at the Sheraton Stockholm Hotel on May 2. She will represent Sweden in Miss World 2015 whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed. The first runner-up was Stina Nordlander andthe  second runner-up was Issabella Georgsson. Miss Sweden World pageant was organized by Miss Queen of Scandinavia.



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         Miss World Zimbabwe Emily Kachote could be stripped of her crown should allegations about her purported appearance in leaked nude photographs prove to be true, the pageant organizer said Tuesday. Photos supposedly showing the newly crowned pageant queen drunk and naked surfaced on social media over the weekend. Kachote’s ex-boyfriend claimed he took the pictures, the Chronicle newspaper in Bulawayo said. 

         The Miss Zimbabwe Trust said it would not dethrone the reigning queen without an investigation. But if the allegations are true, then the pageant organizer would have to revoke her crown. “When we sit down with Emily to get her side of the story and if our investigations find that this is true, then we’ve no option but to dethrone her and replace her with the first princess Anne-Grace [Mutambu],” the Chronicle quoted trust representative Tendai Chirau as saying. 

         Competitors in the Miss World Zimbabwe pageant had signed statements saying they had never posed nude for a photo, the Herald daily newspaper in Harare reported. “When the girls toured the country’s provinces, we told them that if they had posed nude anywhere, they were not supposed to participate in the pageant, and those who qualified for the finals assured us that they do not have any nude pictures anywhere,” Chirau said at a press conference Monday.

    CREDIT: FACEBOOK

         Kachote, a 25-year-old financial adviser, had little to say in an interview with the Herald newspaper. “I don’t know what this is all about. That is all I can say for now,” she said.

         However, the pageant queen apparently told the local tabloid H-Metro she was aware of the nude photos and that she had hoped her ex-boyfriend deleted them, the South African online news site News24 reported. “I was hoping the pictures would have been deleted by now since it happened a long time ago and I last spoke to the guy a year ago and I no longer have anything to do with [him] since what we had ended a long time ago,” Kachote was quoted as saying. “I have always suspected that those pictures would circulate, but it happened a long time ago, and I believe my past does not determine where I am going.”


    Source: International Business Times, May 6. 2015


        



     



         

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    Miri City Mayor Lawrence Lai has warned organisers not to hold drag queen pageants for any
    festivals in the city. 


    MIRI, May 9 ― Organisers of drag queen pageants have been given a stern warning not to hold such events in Miri City for any festivals including the annual city day celebration.
    Miri City Mayor Lawrence Lai said Miri City Council would not endorse or support any application for such an event here as it understood local religious and cultural sensitivities.
    He also denied the allegation by some quarters that the rising trend of drag queen competitions here were part of Miri City's tenth year anniversary bash that would be celebrated on May 20.
    “MCC never approved or authorised such events and it is not part of our Miri City day celebrations,” he told Bernama here today.
    Lai was commenting on the Miss Transuniverse Miri 2015 that would be held today at one of hotels here that created an uproar among the local community.
    Upon checking with his officers, Lai said no licenses or permits were issued for the event and certainly MCC was never directly involved with the organiser.
    On Thursday, Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisation Sarawak chairman (Mapim) Mohammad Fariduddeen Rosli had issued a media statement requesting the organiser to cancel the event.
    “We have received information that there will be Muslim participants in that event which is clearly an offence under Section 25, Syariah Offence 2001, Ordinance 2001,” he said.
    He urged the local authorities especially Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department to take immediate action if such an event was being held.
    Dayak Association of Miri (DAM) had also echoed similar sentiments on the matter especially when it involved Iban traditional custome and wanted the state goverment to ban the event in Sarawak.
    Its president Serawa Budol said the beauty queen competition featuring transvestites using Iban traditional customs or theme should be banned immediately as it tarnished the cultural, historical and sancity of the old-age tradition of the Iban community in Sarawak. ― Bernama

    - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/no-drag-queen-pageants-allowed-in-miri-warns-mayor#sthash.TMOgNXPL.dpuf

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  • 05/12/15--19:27: Miss Northern Ireland 2015



  • Leanne McDowell,  a 19-year-old marketing student from Cookstown was crowned Miss Northern Ireland 2015 at Europa Hotel in Belfast on May 11. She will now represent Northern Ireland in Miss World 2015 whose date and venue have yet to be announced. 



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    FANNEY INGSVARSDOTTIR / Arnor Halldorsson Photography


         Ungfrú Ísland (Miss Iceland) pageant is returning to international pageantry. The country was absent in 2014 Miss World pageant and has not competed in Miss Universe since 2009 when Ingibjörg Raghnheidur Egilsdóttir placed in the Top 15. The Icelandic franchise for both Miss World and Miss Universe has been bought by the owners of World Class, Björn Leifsson and Hafdís Jónsdóttir, with former Miss Iceland Fanney Ingsvarsdóttir serving as the national director. Fanney succeeds Íris Telma Jónsdóttir, another former Miss Iceland, who was the director in 2013. The national finals of Ungfrú Ísland 2015 will be held on September 5 at Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik. The winner will succeed the reigning Ungfrú Ísland 2013,Tanja Ýr Ástþórsdóttir, and represent Iceland in Miss World 2015. It is reported that the 1st runner-up will compete in Miss Universe 2015.

         For a small country of nearly 325,000 people, Iceland has had impressive success in world pageantry, starting with Guðrún Bjarnadóttir who was crowned Miss International 1963. Icelandic beauties so far have placed fourteen times in Miss International and has won the Miss World crown three times with Holmfridur Karlsdóttir (1985), Linda Pétursdóttir (1988) and Unnur Birna Vilhjálmsdóttir (2005). It has never won the Miss Universe crown, but Anna Geirsdóttir came close to winning it in 1962 when she placed 1st runner-up.

         Visit the official website of Miss Iceland at http://ungfruisland.is/ 





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    Jinder Atwal, 27, won the Mr. World Canada 2015 title while Anastasia Lin, 25, was crowned Miss World Canada 2015 during a joint Miss & Mr. World Canada 2015 pageant at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on Saturday, May 16. Atwal will compete in the next edition of Mr. World and Lin will compete in Miss World 2015. It was Lin's second attempt for the crown (she placed third in 2013).

    The show was marred by controversy when one of the male contestants berated the pageant by calling it "unfair" which prompted the host to grab the microphone. A member of the audience was able to videotape the entire incident and uploaded it on YouTube:




    ANASTASIA LIN
    JINDER ATWAL

    PHOTO CREDIT: MISS WORLD CANADA

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    Liz Arevalos (center), a 21-year-old medical student from Paraguay was crowned Miss Progress International 2015 on May 16 in Puglia, Italy. Her court includes Kelly Van Den Dungen from Netherlands (left) who won the title Miss Progress Environment 2015, Susanna Shkrabak (right) from USA who won the title of Miss Progress Human Rights 2015, and Neidy Robles from Mexico won the title Miss Progress Integration of Cultures 2015. Arevalos was also awarded the title of Miss Progress Health 2015. Laila Khan Niazi of Pakistan won the National Costume award, Daiane Rosa of Brazil won Miss Internet. Nearly 20 contestants competed in the third edition of the pageant.





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         The brouhaha began when the eccentric president of  the Thailand-based Miss Grand International Organization (MGI), Nawat Itsaragirisl, posted on the official Facebook page of MGI on May 19, 2015 the following announcement - that he would take the current titleholder, Lees Garcia, and Miss Grand Kurdistan 2014 Dalia Hassan, with him to the Middle East to promote the organization's platform, "Stop The War And Violence" by visiting refugee camps in Kurdistan. Minutes after he posted the announcement, pageant fans rushed to express their major concern for the MGI team: would the team be guaranteed safety from any possible attack by the Islamic jihadist group, ISIS? 



         A day later, on May 20th, Lees Garcia posted on her Facebook page a statement reassuring her fans that she trusts the MGI organization in its risky endeavor. She sounds sincere, but she is also sincerely naive and foolish:


         As I write this article, ISIS has just conquered the strategically and symbolically important city of Ramadi, and months after the Islamic terrorist group had conquered the major cities of Fallujah and Mosul. Nawat writes: "Together they join hands to put 'Stop the War & Violence' Campaign in official action." Seriously? What makes them so sure that they can stop the war and violence when even armed Iraqi soldiers could not escape ISIS's tremendous fire power? The truth is many of these Iraqi soldiers are so scared of ISIS that they have abandoned their posts and many of them are not at all committed to fighting the enemy. 

         There is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone or any group seeking to stop war and violence; in fact, it is noble and courageous, but can't you start by stopping the war and violence in your own backyard first? How about stopping the war against human trafficking in Thailand which is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking?  Instead of traveling to the Middle East and expose themselves to extreme mortal danger, the MGI team should be aggressively fighting against human trafficking in Thailand and lend voice to its hundreds and thousands of defenseless victims: this is more realistic and practical - and perhaps much safer - than some delusional and presumptuous mission to stop the war and violence in the Middle East. Granted, the MGI team will be visiting Kurdistan, a relatively safe region thanks to brave and well-armed Kurdish army who is fighting ISIS, but there's no guarantee that the team's mode of transport (chopper, truck, jeep, car, whatever) will not be bombed by ISIS from a distance. In war, anything can happen.

         Lees' national director, Noemi Melendez, sent me a Facebook message expressing her concern about Lees' safety. She also said that she had contacted Nawat but he has never replied. 



         Despite pleas from her concerned fans, national director, and family, Lees packed her suitcases and headed to the airport. For a 5-day trip, she surely packed a luggage good for two weeks! We can only hope that at least two of these suitcases contain goodies for the refugees.


         And what do Lees's parents think about her potentially dangerous trip near ISIS territory? Here's the official statement posted by Igxie Rivera, Lees's mother:



         As you can see, the parents seem very conflicted as they express their anxiety over their daughter's safety and at the same time put complete trust in Nawat and his organization. The parents can't really do anything to stop their daughter because she is an adult who has made a choice which could bring severe consequences. So the least thing they could do is hope and pray for Lees's safe return.

         Some of us would probably agree with the mother's statement that the trip "is nothing more than a transparent attempt of self-promotion, using a tragedy of historic proportions for selfish reasons." I myself believe that the trip is undeniably a shameless self-promotion for Nawat, perhaps a puerile attempt to portray himself as some sort of a Thai George Clooney, and for his fledgling two-year old pageant which recently has been demoted to a minor status by Missosology, the world's biggest and most popular pageant website, due to Nawat's alleged inappropriate business ethics. The best that Nawat could hope for - to save face and to regain the relevance of his pageant - would be a successful humanitarian outreach and a totally safe return from the trip. No one wants to get hurt or killed while doing charity in a war-torn region, and even though we are masters of our own destiny, there may be situations that we simply cannot control. 

    By Rafa Delfin, 5/21/2015


    #StopTheWarAndViolence
    #CharityBeginsAtHome
    #GetReal
    #BringHerBackAlive 



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  • 05/24/15--13:11: Miss Universe Canada 2015


  • Paola Núñez Valdez, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was 10 years old, was crowned Miss Universe Canada 2015, on Saturday May 23rd at the St Lawrence Centre for the Arts during the Miss Universe Canada 2015 Finals. She will now compete in the next edition of Miss Universe pageant. Her court includes 1st runner-up  Michelle McKay, 2nd runner-up Kathryn Kohut, 3rd runner-up Brynn Blackwood , and 4th runner-up Skye Nwaelleh.




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  • 05/24/15--17:02: Miss Morocco 2015


  • Fatima Zahra El-Horre, a 23-year-old student of business law and taxation from Marrakech, was crowned Miss Maroc 2015 (Miss Morocco 2015) at Movenpick Hotel in Tangier. It is reported that she might compete in Miss World 2015, the first Moroccan candidate since 1968. The first runner went to Tangiers’ Kawtar Benserghi, while the second and third runners were won respectively by Hafsa from Meknes and Feryal Ziani from Tetoua.



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    Heartbreaking end: Damarys Ruiz, 68, died on the streets after spending the last 15 years of her life homeless

    Damarys Ruiz, 68, shot to stardom in 1973 at the age of 26 when she entered the Miss Venezuela contest to represent her home state.

    But her body was found in a park in the country's capital Caracas this week, but none of her family have visited the hospital to identify her.

    Despite being just 5ft 2" tall, the beautiful Miss Sucre - a state in the north of Venezuela - impressed the judges with her intelligence and looks, including her hourglass figure. 

    Despite her fame and popularity, Ms Ruiz never made it to the big time. After deciding not to pursue a career in law, she began selling homemade crafts and junk jewellery in Caracas.
    She never had a proper boyfriend and instead lived with her brother, who according to friends was jealous of her and didn't allow her any freedom.

    In a rare interview in 2005, Ms Ruiz told local media: 'He used to starve me. He often threatened me and often hit me.

    'I repeatedly called the police but they never did anything.'

    Not able to stand the abuse, she fled in 2000 and, with nowhere else to go, started living on the streets. 

    Rosalba Gomes, who had known Ms Ruiz for the last two years of her life, said: 'I saw her two or three times in the week and I talked to her for long hours.

    'Her life ended up with great depression, without receiving support from her family or friends. She couldn't see any way to escape the trap she was in.

    'She was a beautiful woman inside and outside.

    'My cute little old lady. This lady was wonderful, educated and a great conversationalist. She was a lawyer and studied several years in the university and had opinions about everything.
    'I loved to listen to her and her stories, anecdotes, we talked about everything.'

    A hospital spokesman said her body had still not been formally identified by a member of her family because no one had turned up, despite the publicity.

    SOURCE: Daily Mail, UK, 5/21/2015

    Heyday: The brunette shot to stardom in 1973 at the age of 26 when she entered the Miss Venezuela contest


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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY FADIL BERISHA 

    GIVE THREE ADJECTIVES THAT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD DESCRIBE YOU.

         My friends would probably say I was funny, trustworthy and nurturing. I am supportive, compassionate, and affectionate and truly enjoy making people laugh.  Friendships are incredibly important to me, so whenever possible I make it a point to let my friends know how special they are to me. 

    HAVE YOU SEEN "50 SHADES OF GREY?" IF YOU HAVE, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT? IF YOU HAVEN'T, WOULD YOU SEE IT?

         I just saw it this weekend! I found the movie to be intriguing yet disturbing at times.  I think there is a very fine line between desire and abuse, and at certain times during the movie the characters were dangerously close to crossing that line. 

    IF YOU WERE TO COME BACK AS AN ANIMAL IN THE NEXT LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

         I would be a dolphin! Dolphins are incredibly smart, social and playful animals. They have very good vision and excellent hearing.  They are able to swim for thousands of miles, and live in such beautiful locations. In addition, I am part of the Cove Initiative and have helped raise awareness for dolphin preservation, so they have a special place in my heart.

    NAME THREE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD NEVER DO.

         I ALWAYS say “Never say Never,” but there are a few things that I am pretty sure are safe: I will never work in a factory farm. I will never visit Sea World, again. And I will never get a face tattoo!

    CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT DESIGNER SHOES? WHY OR WHY NOT

        Nowadays, there are many great options for shoes at very reasonable prices. I do not think I would be devastated if I did not own designer shoes. That's not to say that I don’t love a new pair of designer shoes, but it's not a necessity.

    PHOTOGRAPHY BY EDWIN SHAW

    SHOULD ABORTION BE BANNED IN THE CASES OF WOMEN WHO HAVE REPEATED ABORTIONS, BUT CONTINUE NOT TO USE BIRTH CONTROL?

         I do believe that any critical issue involving a woman and her body should not be decided by another entity or governing body. 

    DO YOU THINK THAT "SEXUALITY EDUCATION" SHOULD BE PART OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS? 

         I do think that sexual education should be taught in American schools. I think that education is a way of bringing awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and the consequences of unplanned pregnancies. We must inform students of human sexuality so that they go into that very serious part of their life, well informed and prepared to handle anything and everything. 

    WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

         In the next five years, after hopefully winning Miss USA and Miss Universe :) -I would love to continue my work in the political world in Washington D.C. My ultimate dream would be to produce and host my own news show that reported the news in a way that anyone could understand. Often I find that news outlets, especially political news outlets, speak to viewers as if they were strategists or experts-which the average person is not. 


         I want to create a show that tells the audience what is happening in the world, why it is important and how it all began. If the news was delivered like a story, rather than a lecture, I think a lot more people would be interested.  This has the potential to create a well-informed electorate, increase voter turnout, and stimulate public involvement in our government-both locally and nationally. 

    IF YOU WON MISS USA AND ONE OF THE CANDIDATES TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN'T DESERVE THE CROWN, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?

         I would not tell her anything, but rather show her.  I am a very non-confrontational personality, and I would not let her opinion affect me negatively. I know that if I won the title of Miss USA, it would be because I deserved it. I would be a great Miss USA and nothing she could say to me would make me feel less deserving.  I think I would feel compassion for her, because I understand that it would be difficult not to win. I would invite her to spend time with me throughout my reign so she could get to know me. I would gladly change her mind. 

    IS PHYSICAL APPEARANCE IMPORTANT? WHY OR WHY NOT?

         I think physical appearance is important, but not as significant as we have made it in society today. Physical appearance is one way to show your individuality. It can also be a way to express yourself. You can treat your body, clothes, makeup and hair like a canvas; portraying whom you think you represent on the inside. Appearance is important but I do not think it is healthy to idolize the pursuit of the “perfect” physique or face, because there is no such thing.



    DO YOU THINK THAT OUR CULTURE IS TOO PREOCCUPIED WITH BEAUTY? HOW COULD WE CHANGE THAT?

         I do think that our society can be overly preoccupied with beauty; however, it is important to be able to experience feeling beautiful. I love to have my makeup and hair done and enjoy shopping for things that make me feel great. I look forward to getting dolled up but I do not take it too seriously.  Beauty can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. We must have other interests in life, and not be so consumed in something so temporary and superficial.

    DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM MAN (OR IF YOU'RE GAY, DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM WOMAN). 

         My dream man is someone who is incredibly funny, kind, ambitious, athletic and smart. I want someone to grow with me and next to me, not someone who has to lead me or be led.  I love intelligence and humor. These are incredibly attractive qualities for me. If you can make me laugh and you can have an educated conversation with me, you've won my heart. I am also a driven woman, so I like a man with ambition, who sets big dreams and achieves them. Lastly, I am an athletic person, and I love to be active. My dream man would be someone who would love to go on a run with me or a hike, then come home and watch movies together on the couch and relax. I love a good balance!

    IF YOU COULD GO ON A BLIND DATE WITH ANY MAN (OR WOMAN), WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

         If I could go on a blind date with anyone, I would pick Chris Hemsworth as my celebrity blind date. That is if he was single. He is tall, masculine, has a great sense of humor and is so family oriented. I feel like THOR and I would be a great match. And we do have matching hair!

    IF YOU HAD TO BE ANOTHER WOMAN FOR ONE WEEK, WHICH WOMAN WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE AND WHY?

         I would have to pick two: The Queen of Jordan, Rainia al-Abdullah and actress Sandra Bullock. I would choose the Queen of Jordan because she is a smart, brilliant, captivating  woman and one of the most selfless leaders in the world. Her passion in life is working with disadvantaged children, as is mine. I would love to spend a day in her shoes, and be able to experience what it's like being a queen, a business leader, a women's rights activist and an advocate for public health and education.
       
         My second choice is Sandra Bullock. She is America's sweetheart and someone I truly adore and admire. My friends always tell me that when I am a mom, I will be just like Sandra Bullock in the Blind Side. Haha! Sandra is beautiful, talented, witty, and compassionate. She is a celebrity, yet still comes off as the girl next door. She is a loving mother to her adopted son and has a passion for helping others. Her humanitarian efforts are innumerable, yet she is humble and stays true to herself. I love that she never boasts about her community work and donations. She is a fantastic role model. Both of these women are inspirational, and I try to look at them for motivation in my daily life. 

    HAVE YOU EVER HAD COSMETIC SURGERY OR ANY OTHER ALTERATION TO YOUR APPEARANCE? 

         Although I've never had any cosmetic surgery, I do support people altering their physical attributes in order to find personal happiness and fulfillment.  If you are unsatisfied with your physical appearance and it is affecting your confidence level, then I feel you should have the freedom to change your look. It is your body, and your life, so do what makes you content. 


    WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT PAGEANTS LIKE MISS VENEZUELA PROMOTING COSMETIC SURGERY SO MUCH? IS THAT A POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE EXAMPLE FOR YOUNG WOMEN?

         At this time in my life, I choose not to have plastic surgery.  As a titleholder and woman, I want to set a positive example for young women all around the world to allow them the choice to embrace their own unique beauty. I take that responsibility very seriously. We should learn to accept our flaws and imperfections and realize everyone is uniquely beautiful. What truly matters is your character and the person you are on the inside. I want my fans to love me for me, flaws and all.

    DO YOU THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE A CERTAIN AGE WHEN PEOPLE ARE FORCED TO RETIRE?

         I do not think there should be an age when you are forced to retire. That is because I do not think aging is a universal cycle for every person. My grandfather was a practicing orthopedic surgeon until he passed away the age of 80 years old. He never retired and I am so thankful that he was allowed to do what he loved to do every single day of his life. As long as they are competent to do their job, I do not think there should be age restrictions placed on when someone should retire. 

    IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WAS TERMINALLY ILL AND IN AGONY AND ASKED YOUR TO HELP THEM DIE, HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE IT?

         I would not “handle it,” I would let nature take its course. Then again, I have never been in a position where a loved one was in agonizing, excruciating pain and was asking for my help to end their suffering. It is a very difficult situation, but I do believe that God should be the only one to end a life. I would be by my loved one's side, every step of the way, but I would not extend my involvement to expedite the process. 

    SOME STATES STILL PRACTICE THE DEATH PENALTY AS PUNISHMENT FOR HORRENDOUS CRIMES. DO YOU THINK THAT IT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED? WHY OR WHY NOT?

         I do think the death penalty should be abolished. I do not think anyone should have the right to terminate or end someone else's life. The death penalty seems like an easy escape for many of these criminals. I do not think that it is as appropriate a punishment as life in prison, and can often make these criminals martyrs for their causes. Life in prison can often be considered a fate worse than death. Therefore, I do not support the use of the death penalty as a form of punishment. 

    COMPARED TO THE 1950s-1970s, WOMEN TODAY HAVE MORE OPTIONS IN TERMS OF THEIR PERSONAL CHOICES AND PERSONAL LIVES. DESPITE THESE OPTIONS, WHY DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE MISS USA?

         I do not think you have to choose one or the other; I want to do it all! I have a thriving professional career, and I am competing to be Miss USA. In a sense, Miss USA is an icon for young professional women everywhere. I think that the ideal woman to represent our country as Miss USA and Miss Universe is one that is constantly breaking stereotypes, and expected roles. Miss USA should be the example for everyone to look up to in every facet of life. She is a model, a career woman, a humanitarian. She is funny, sexy, smart and kind. That is what the ideal Miss USA should embody. That is why the Miss Universe Organization gives these multi-talented, educated, compassionate women the opportunity to show the world that they are the full package! I choose this path because I think Miss USA is the ultimate great example for women everywhere, and I want to be a part of that example.




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    Thank you, Lizzy, for granting us this interview 
    and we wish you the best of luck in Miss USA 2015!



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    PHOTOGRAPHY BY JM RECTO RANADA

    Seventeen young men from four corners of the world competed in the first Mister United Continents pageant which was held at the Tanghalang Pasigeño in Pasig City, Philippines on Friday, May 29th. Kamel Raad, a 28-year old fitness model from Beirut, Lebanon, was elected as the first winner by a distinguished panel consisting of 15 judges. In the photo above, Raad (carrying the Lebanese flag) is flanked by his court that includes (L-R): 5th runner up Dheeraj Sharma of India, 2nd runner up Kristian Diaz of Canada, 1st runner up Bobbi Teguh of Indonesia, 3rd runner-up Antonio Chimbanda of Angola, and 4th runner up Nguyen Quang Huan of Vietnam.

    Completing the top 12 were: Aldo Mecani of Albania, Michael Catayas of Australia, Lionel Mcintosh of the Bahamas, Larry Taveras of the Dominican Republic, Robert Davis of Guam and  Reynaldo Cataluña of the Philippines. The pageant is owned and produced by Blue Circle Events & Management. To see photos from the event, visit the official Facebook page of Mister United Continents.



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