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Beauty With Attitude

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    Miss Universe winner Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach penned a message praising Miss Colombia after Steve Harvey mistakenly awarded her the crown during last Sunday’s telecast.

    “To Ariadna, you are an amazing woman and we are now bonded together forever by a unique experience,” she wrote to Ariadna Gutierrez on Miss Universe’s official Instagram page. “In the last 3 weeks we were together, I saw how strong and beautiful you are inside and out. You represented your country with honor and I know how proud everyone must be of you. Fate has a plan for you, and I’m excited to see what’s ahead.”

    She added, “And to all the fans who are still fighting about this…Please let’s all stop now. The Miss Universe Organization is about uniting empowered women from all over the world. Arguing and sending hateful messages to each other defeats the whole purpose. You believe in the message of Miss Universe and so do I.”

    Harvey named Gutierrez as Miss Universe, but after she was given the sash and crown he admitted that he goofed and Miss Philippines was actually the winner.
    Gutierrez previously shared her own message about the mix-up on Instagram, calling what happened “destiny.”

    “After the storm comes the calm,” she wrote, adding, “Your destiny is written for you. And my destiny was this.  I  was able to bring happiness to my country after becoming Miss Universe for only a couple of minutes… Today because of that COLOMBIA and the LATIN COMMUNITY are being talked about in every corner of the world.”

    missuniverse Wow. Words can't describe how grateful I am for this. It was quite a journey getting here with 3 attempts at winning Miss Philippines. Now, I finally got the best Christmas gift ever – and not just for me, for my country. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who believed in my potential and those who supported me from the beginning. To everyone who voted for me, especially to my fellow countrymen, thank you. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. To Ariadna, you are an amazing woman and we are now bonded together forever by a unique experience. In the last 3 weeks we were together, I saw how strong and beautiful you are inside and out. You represented your country with honor and I know how proud everyone must be of you. Fate has a plan for you, and I’m excited to see what’s ahead. And to all the fans who are still fighting about this…Please let's all stop now. The Miss Universe Organization is about uniting empowered women from all over the world. Arguing and sending hateful messages to each other defeats the whole purpose. You believe in the message of Miss Universe and so do I. Again, thank you for the love. I'm excited to begin my duties as Miss Universe and I wish everyone, all the contestants and all the supporters a great holiday with their loved ones. Happy Holidays and let's look forward to a great start to the new year! #🎄 #MissUniverse - Pia

    Harvey named Gutierrez as Miss Universe, but after she was given the sash and crown he admitted that he goofed and Miss Philippines was actually the winner.
    Gutierrez previously shared her own message about the mix-up on Instagram, calling what happened “destiny.”
    “After the storm comes the calm,” she wrote, adding, “Your destiny is written for you. And my destiny was this.  I  was able to bring happiness to my country after becoming Miss Universe for only a couple of minutes… Today because of that COLOMBIA and the LATIN COMMUNITY are being talked about in every corner of the world.” 

    gutierrezaryAfter the storm comes the calm. I want to thank each and everyone of you who have sent messages of support and strength. Every one of you has become an incredible human being in my book and I am the most fortunate and thankful for having the support not only from one country but from the whole entire world. Your destiny is written for you. And my destiny was this. I was able to bring happiness to my country after becoming Miss Universe for only a couple of minutes... Today because of that COLOMBIA and the LATIN COMMUNITY are being talked about in every corner of the world. I also want to congratulate the Philippines for their new Miss Universe 🙏🏼. The happiness that you must be feeling must be incredible. Life continues and in the future we will find out why things happen the way they happen. Thank you all for your LOVE SUPPORT and KINDNESS. ❤️

    SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly, 12/26/2015

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         Leren Mae Bautista of the Philippines won the title of Miss Tourism Queen of the Year 2015 on Thursday night, December 31, at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel and Spa Grand Ballroom in  MalaysiaRepresentatives of India, Iceland, Lithuania, and Uganda also won different titles.
    Here is the list of winners:
    • 5th place - Dream Girl of the Year International – Miss India
    • 4th place - Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan International – Miss Iceland
    • 3rd place - Miss Tourism Global International – Miss Lithuania
    • 2nd place - Miss Tourism Metropolitan International – Miss Uganda
    • 1st place - Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International – Miss Philippines

          Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International is an international event that honors women who uphold beauty, poise, and good moral character. The pageant was formerly called Miss Queen of the Year International. The first Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International was crowned in 1993. 

         Bautista's victory marks her country's six international crown for 2015, making the Philippines the most successful pageant performer of the year. The other Filipina winners include Pia Alonso Wurtzbach (Miss Universe 2015), Angelia Ong (Miss Earth 2015), Ann Lorraine Colis (Miss Globe 2015), Trixie Maristela (Miss International Queen 2015), and Cindy Madduma (Miss Scuba International 2015).


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    A shakey universe: Colombia's Paulina Vega was crowned the winner of the 63rd edition of Miss Universe pageant which was held in Doral, Florida on January 25, 2015. For the first time in its history, the pageant "skipped" a year due to unforeseen circumstances. However, pageant organizers touted the 63rd edition as "Miss Universe 2014" even though it took place in January 2015.  

    In spite of the unusual date move, the pageant was going well... until Miss Israel Doron Matalon took a selfie alongside Miss Lebanon Saly Greige which prompted a social media furor dubbed as "The Israeli-Lebanese Selfie War."

    TOP: Miss Israel takes a selfie with Misses Lebanon, Slovenia and Japan.
    BOTTOM: Miss Lebanon reposted the selfie on her Instagram but she cropped out Miss Israel.

    “Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel ([who] tried several times to have a photo with me),” Greige wrote on her Facebook. The green-eyed brunette begged fans back home for their continued support in spite of a photo that Matalon posted online that showed the two beauties of warring nations smiling side-by-side.
    Matalon responded: “Too bad you cannot put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country."

    Beauty & Censorship: Former Miss Turkey (2006) MervBüyüksaraç made headlines last February when an Istanbul prosecutor attempted to take her to court for "insulting" Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on her Instagram.  While the post has since been deleted, Hurriyet Daily News describes it as a satirical text titled The Master's Poem. It had originally appeared in the Turkish magazine Uykusuz, a satirical publication which prides itself on mocking the Turkish political establishment and Erdogan in particular. Buyuksarac was questioned by police about the poem. "I don't precisely recall the content I have shared on my Instagram account," she said, according to a report from Cihan news agency. "However, I might have taken excerpts from Twitter, other social media websites or the cartoon magazine Uykusuz.
    I shared it because it was funny to me," she added. "I did not intend to insult Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

    Scandal rocked Mister International: On his Facebook page dated February 7, 2015, Ecuador's national director Oscar Leopold Espinoza accused Alan Sim (right), the president of the Mister International Organization, of being a thief, as well as incriminating Korea's national director (whom he did not name). The 2014 pageant - which was won by policeman Neil Perez of the Philippines (left) - sailed smoothly despite controversies that culminated in the withdrawal of fifteen countries that could not participate due to the fact that the date had been pushed out three times (October 2014, December 2014, February 2015), and that they were not reimbursed by the Korean organizing committee for the airfares that they had purchased for the original date. Read here for details of the controversy.

    Soul-kiyaki, anyone? On March 12, Ariana Miyamoto made history by being crowned as the first biracial Miss Universe Japan. Ariana, who was born to a Japanese mother and an African-American father, was faced with harsh criticism on social media for not appearing too Japanese. Ariana proved her detractors wrong by placing in the Top 10 of Miss Universe 2015 pageant held on December 20 in Las Vegas.

    When your heart is in the wrong place: The brouhaha began when the eccentric president of  the Thailand-based Miss Grand International Organization (MGI), Nawat Itsaragirisl (left), posted on the official Facebook page of MGI on May 19, 2015 the following announcement - that he would take the current titleholder, Lees Garcia (center), and Miss Grand Kurdistan 2014 Dalia Hassan (right), 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?  Despite pleas from her concerned fans, national director, and family, Lees packed her suitcases and headed to the airport. Lees' mother commented that the trip "is nothing more than a transparent attempt of self-promotion, using a tragedy of historic proportions for selfish reasons." Luckily, no one from the MGI team got hurt, kidnapped, raped or beheaded by ISIS. However, MGI was demoted to a minor status by Missosology, the world's biggest and most popular pageant website, due to Nawat's alleged inappropriate business ethics.  

    She should know better:On June 10th, Emily Kachote was officially dethroned as Miss World Zimbabwe 2015 one of the local tabloids carried a story, which alleged that Emily Kachote’s nude photos had appeared on a WhatsApp group. The report came shortly after Kachote had confessed that she had once posed nude. Kachote was replaced by her 1st runner-up, Annie Grace Mutambu.

    Damn! She could have been Brazil's second Miss World:On June 27th, Ana Luisa Castro (Miss Sergipe) was crowned Miss World Brazil 2015, but she resigned two days later after it was discovered that she was in fact married. The Miss World pageant does not accept married women, so Castro was succeeded by her first runner-up Catharina Choi Nunes (Miss Ilhabela). 

    The Donald and Paulina Show (parental guidance is advised): On July 5th, real-estate magnate and U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump blasted at the reigning Miss Universe, Colombia's Paulina Vega, accusing her of being a "hypocrite" for criticizing him without giving up her award.

    "Miss Universe, Paulina Vega, criticized me for telling the truth about illegal immigration, but then said she would keep the crown-Hypocrite," Trump, who owns the pageant.

    According to the Associated Press, Vega said that Trump's controversial comments about Mexico were "hurtful and unfair" but she had no intention of giving up her crown "because the Miss Universe organization does meaningful social work in communities around the world." She was referring to comments made during Trump's June 16 campaign launch, in which he railed against Mexico for supposedly sending its "rapists" and drug runners to the US.

    "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," Trump said then, according to a transcript. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Trump's controversial comments provoked several organizations and celebrities to break ties with him. NBC and Univision decided to drop the Miss USA pageant, Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts stepped down from their co-hosting duties, Emitt Smith would no longer be judging the pageant and both Flo Rida and Latin singer J Balvin have pulled their appearances.

    Behind-the-scenes commentator Jeannie Mai stated that she would still be participating, telling People in a statement that while she doesn't condone Trump's statements, she "can't abandon" the women competing. However, a week later, Mai changed her mind and resigned from her post.

    “It’s been an interesting, tumultuous year, but I think we’ve emerged in an even better position,” says Paula Shugart, the president of the Miss Universe Organization and producer of the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants.

    I really, really, really, really, really, Reelzy like you: On July 12th,  cable Reelz Channel picked up the Miss USA 2015 pageant after being dropped by NBC and Univision following Trump's controversial comments on Mexico and illegal immigration. The broadcast instantly made Reelz a household name as not too many viewers knew that the cable channel even existed. Reelz CEO Stan Hubbard couldn't be happier: "Around 2.5 million people checked in for at least six minutes of the ceremonies over the course of two airings. We're not NBC, but we blew away numbers I thought we'd hit." 

    Who runs the world? Girls! On July 12th, Olivia Jordan of Oklahoma was crowned Miss USA 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For the first time in the history of the pageant, the entire judging panel consisted of former MUO titleholders: 5 Miss USAs, 3 Miss Universes, and 1 Miss Teen USA. It was definitely an historical moment, enhanced by a group picture taken of the former titleholders along with the newly crowned queen. 

    He's been Trumped... and dumped: On September 14th, Variety magazine reported that Donald Trump has sold the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants to WME/IMG for an undisclosed amount. WME/IMG had a previous relationship with the organization as producer of the three pageants.

    “Having worked closely with The Miss Universe Organization in the past, we understand the incredible potential of the events and the star-quality of the participants,” Mark Shapiro, Chief Content Officer for WME | IMG, said in a statement. “The global reach of The Miss Universe Organization and the content opportunities presented by the pageants make this a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio.”

    Trump also said in his announcement that he had “settled all lawsuits” with NBC, though he never in fact sued the network. A $500 million lawsuit against Univision, which canceled the Miss USA telecast ahead of NBC, remains pending.

    Sim-plifying Disaster: The first edition of World Beauty Queen pageant, which took place on a beach on August 22nd in Incheon, Korea, got off to a bad start, and we mean a really bad start.  A pageant insider who is based in Asia has informed Critical Beauty that the new pageant, co-organized by Alan Sim (owner of Mister International pageant who was involved in a scandal earlier this year) and Jung-Hoon Jun (Sim's business associate and the Korean national director for Mister International), is a fake pageant designed to make money by exploiting gullible contestants. The winner from Japan, Kazue Oshima, is actually 30 years old (even though the age limit is 26).  There were only 14 contestants (4 of whom had questionable background). Two contestants (Misses Australia and Estonia) rushed off the stage after the pageant because they were so disgusted by the results - which appear to have been rigged - among other things.  There were no African or Latin American delegates, and that the mother of Miss Indonesia was crying because the organizers treated the girls like prostitutes. The pageant received so much flak that we decided to award it the "WTF Pageant Of The Year". (Hmmm, for those of you who don't know what WTF stands for, just look for the definition in Wiktionary.) And if you missed our extensive exposé on this messy pageant, you can read it here.

    Quitters Never Win: Isabella Jedler Forsman, 19, Sweden's representative to Miss International 2015 pageant withdrew from the pageant a week after it began. According to the Swedish newspaper Expressen which published her story, Isabella said that the pageant was not what she had expected.  She claimed that when she got to Japan, she had to hand over all her personal information including passwords to social media. She also complained about the hectic schedule that included attending lectures, dinner parties and other events. She said that she felt like an escort sitting at a table with fifteen men and that she was obliged to be nice to them. Long days with little sleep caused her to be ill, and when she became ill, she chose not to join one of the planned events and she was scolded for it. She also said that she could not post pictures online and to express how she really felt about the competition, which she thought was "crap." She also recounted how she had sat through a long meeting with the Japanese police chief and three other officers who laughed at her and mistreated her, and refused to give her back her passport because she had a contract with the organization. Finally, the chief threw her passport on the table after a long conversation.

    Did Isabella think that the two-to-three-week long pageant would be a fun vacation? If she did, she thought wrong. And we think that her story is nothing but a piece of "crap."

    Lucky boy:Pradit Pradinunt, chairman of Mister Global Limited, issued an official statement on November 28 announcing that the current Mister Global Teen 2015, Daham Dias from Sri Lanka (right), would not be dethroned following the release of a controversial topless selfie of him lying next to a Thai "lady boy" (pre-op transgendered woman) and Christian Daniel Ortiz, the current Mister Universal Ambassador 2015 from Puerto Rico. The selfie was taken during a swimwear photoshot, and according to Pradinunt's statement, Dias had accepted the modeling job without Pradinunt's authorization, which is a violation of his contract with Pradinunt's pageant company. Dias is lucky to have a compassionate and reasonable boss, but the photo above will forever haunt him. Imagine what his own kids would say if they saw it: "Dad, is that mommy and Uncle Chris in the photo with you?" lol

    Beauty Without a Purpose:  Anastasia Lin won the Miss World Canada 2015 on May 16 and was to represent Canada at Miss World 2015 pageant to be held in China but was refused a visa by Chinese authorities after being declared "persona non grata." Analysts widely suspected the reason for refusal of entry to be due to her advocacy of human rights in China and choice of film roles. She also practices Falun Gong, a spiritual movement condemned by the Communist government of China. Lin is the only Miss World contestant who didn’t receive a visa application from the host country in time to take her place for the 2015 pageant’s opening rounds. The Miss World Organization's attitude toward the strong-willed Canadian beauty has been rather less supportive. When asked whether it would consider moving the 2015 program if China insisted on blackballing Lin, an MWO spokesperson sniffed: “If we cancel or move the show each time a visa was not granted for a contestant, then it would be impossible to plan the event.” Lin was barred from entering China on November 26 to take part in this year's pageant in Hainan. Hoping to benefit from Hainan province's special visa policy for Canadian nationals, Lin transited in Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific flight from Canada, but was not allowed to board her connecting flight to Sanya, Hainan. Chinese immigration officials gave no reason for their refusal. Can you say, "totalitarian regime?"

    Ting Wen-yin , Taiwan's representative at Miss Earth 2015 says she has been kicked out of the pageant during the weekend of November 21st for refusing to wear a sash that reads "Miss Chinese Taipei" instead of the "Miss Taiwan ROC" that she had been wearing. Wen-yin revealed on her Facebook page that she had been warned before she made her way to Vienna, Austria where the pageant was being held, of the possibility of political pressure from China. "I told them 30,000 times that Taiwan is Taiwan," a defiant Ting wrote. "I was born in Taiwan, my sash now says Taiwan, I represent Taiwan, and I'm going to use the name of Taiwan in appearing at this pageant. Their response to me was, 'change your sash or just leave'." She also blamed the organizers for failing to to provide lunch for contestants on two occasions, nor the time to buy their own lunch. Dinner was either some bread or some rather unappetizing pasta with tomato sauce. "Over the last three nights, we were shuffled from nightclub to nightclub, wearing beautiful clothes to talk and dance with men. I felt like a club hostess," she fumed. "So it might be a blessing in disguise that I'm out of this contest. We paid large sums of money to enter the contest, but we're treated little better than prisoners."

    Oh, well... life is not meant to be fair. But just in case Ting wants to enter another international pageant that will guarantee all her wishes, she may want to redesign her sash to say "MISS I WANT." lol 

    Miss Exaggeration: Nicole Harding, a 22-year-old pageant queen from New Zealand, traveled to the Philippines during the second week of November to compete in the inaugural Miss Pancontinental pageant, but was advised by a Filipino government official to leave amid safety and security concerns - including being at risk of human trafficking. Harding told that contestants were led to believe all costs, including accommodation in a five-star hotel, would be covered by the pageant but upon arriving in the Philippines, but instead they were forced to stay a night in a hotel room that resembled a ‘prison cell’ and guarded by armed gunmen and dogs. Harding said the hotel room was ‘crawling with bugs’ and had one double bed with a thin mattress on a concrete floor which was to be shared between three people. 

    The pageant's prelims were held in Cagayan de Oro, the capital city of the Misamis Oriental province in Mindanao. After their first night in the hotel the women flew to Cagayan de Oro, where they were moved to a different hotel that was not expecting their arrival. Their luggage, two pageant organizers and a photographer had been held at the previous hotel as the bill had not been paid. ‘We met with the Cagayan governor and he said it was not safe to be here, this place is more unsafe than Afghanistan,’ Harding told ‘He told us, where we were, they kidnap people and use them as sex slaves, it’s the number one place for human trafficking and we needed to get these girls out of here.’ The girls traveled back to Manila before making their way home. ‘I’m saddened that this has to come to an end as I have worked so hard to get here but with the lack of organisation, climate and security it is unsafe for me to be here any longer,’ Harding wrote on her Facebook page.

    Filipino authorities ordered investigations after it cast Cagayan de Oro city in bad light, and believed it showed signs of being scam. The pageant's chief organizer Meleen Miranda complained to police, blaming a local host for the fiasco. Meanwhile, the finals of the pageant went on smoothly, there were no kidnappings, no human trafficking, and no terrorist acts. Harding and a few other contestants, including the Pakistani owner of the pageant himself, Usman Aman, withdrew from the competition and missed all the fun! 


    The Miss Critical Fabulous 2015 Award goes to...

    The former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia seldom competes in international pageants and rarely catches the attention of pageant fans until Dunavka Trifunovska made a splash with her over-the-top poses at the Miss Grand International 2015 pageant held in Bangkok on October 25th.  We weren't sure whether Dunavka was high on something, was taking advantage of the pageant to make a name for herself (or perhaps a fool of herself), or sincerely thought that her bizarre poses would help her win the crown. Alas, she didn't even place, but she definitely became an instant "icon" of fabulosity on social media! 

    The Sorest Loser of the Year Award goes to... 

    ... Sheislane Hayalla, the first runner-up who snatched the crown off the winner of the Miss Amazonas 2015 contest on January 30th, refusing to accept her loss. is justifying her reaction by claiming her rival, Carol Toledo, bought the title.  “I wanted to express my disapproval of the actions shown in preparation of Miss Amazonas 2015. I don’t regret having protested,” she wrote in a message posted on her Facebook page.  “I wanted something clean and honest.” Hayalla initially hugged her opponent as the winner’s name was announced. Seconds later, as a woman adjusted the crown onto Toledo’s hair, Hayalla stepped forward to snatch the tiara violently from her head and throw it onto the stage before storming away while the crowd applauded.  Hayalla represented Brazil in Miss Globe International 2014 pageant, held in Baku, Azerbaijan, where she also was named first runner-up.

    The Critical Beauty Spirit Award goes to... 

    Amidst all the ugliness of war, beauty triumphs: For the first time since 1972, Iraq crowned its first beauty queen.  Shaymaa Abdelrahman, a tall, green-eyed 20-year-old from Iraq's multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, was crowned Miss Iraq 2015 on December 19.  "I'm very happy to see Iraq going forward," the new beauty queen told AFP as she tried to fend off a scrum of admirers hoping to clinch a selfie. "This event was huge and put a smile on the faces of the Iraqis," she said. Well, maybe most Iraqis. A few days after Abdelrahman was crowned, the Islamic terrorist group ISIS threatened to kidnap her if she did not join the group's ranks. But the feisty beauty queen dismisses her nemesis and pushes through with her main project which is educational support for children in IDP camps in Iraq. #YouGoGirl


    Universal Gaffe: Host Steve Harvey made a terrible blunder by announcing the wrong winner during the live telecast of the Miss Universe 2015 pageant at Planet Hollywood Theater & Casino in Las Vegas on December 20th.  Harvey accidentally announced that Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, was the new Miss Universe when the crown was really supposed to go to Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.  After he proclaimed Miss Colombia as the winner, there was "a lot of hell going on" in his ear piece. Throughout the press conference, Harvey owned up to his mistake, and also took to Twitter to say sorry to both pageant contestants. "I'd like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines for my huge mistake. I feel terrible," he wrote. "Secondly, I'd like to apologize to the viewers at that I disappointed as well. Again it was an honest mistake. I don't want to take away from this amazing night and pageant. As well as the wonderful contestants. They were all amazing."

    The announcement blunder caused an explosion of comments on social media, pitting Miss Colombia fans and Miss Philippines fans against each other. It also generated huge publicity for Miss Universe, for Harvey, for Wurtzbach, but most specially for the Sophia Vergara look-a-alike Gutierrez who will now be remembered forever as the beauty queen "humiliated" in front of millions of viewers. Even to this day, Gutierrez still believes she is the rightful winner. Four days after the pageant, Wurtzbach posted a touching note on her Facebook page: “To Ariadna, you are an amazing woman and we are now bonded together forever by a unique experience. In the last 3 weeks we were together, I saw how strong and beautiful you are inside and out. You represented your country with honor and I know how proud everyone must be of you. Fate has a plan for you, and I’m excited to see what’s ahead.” 


    P is for Prolific... and Philippines! The Philippines once again proved its pageant supremacy by conquering the globe, the earth, and the universe! Ann Lorraine Colis was crowned Miss Globe 2015 in Toronto on October 8. Then Angelia Ong gave the Philippines its first back-t0-back Miss Earth crown (and the third for the country) by winning Miss Earth 2015 in Vienna on December 5.  And Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach won the country's third Miss Universe crown on December 20. Other notable placements include Christi Lynn McGarry (1st runner-up, Miss Intercontinental 2015), Parul Shah (3rd runner-up, Miss Grand International 2015), Cindy Madduma (winner, Miss Scuba International 2015), Trixie Maristela (Miss International Queen 2015), and last but not least, Leren Bautista who was crowned Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2015 in Malaysia on December 31st. That's six international beauty titles for the Philippines! No other country has ever achieved such feat in one year, not even pageant powerhouse Venezuela. And that is why we crown the Philippines as the Country of the Year for the third consecutive year!


    Sylvia Hitchcock, Miss Universe 1967 from the United States,  lost her battle with cancer and passed away on August 16th. Sylvia had represented Alabama in the Miss USA 1967 pageant, and she became the third American to win the Miss Universe crown. 

    Damarys Ruiz 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 during the last week of May. None of her family had visited the hospital to identify her. Ruiz was 68 and died penniless. 

    The first Colombian to be crowned Miss Universe, a title she earned in 1958, died on December 2. She was 77. Luz Marina Zuluaga passed away at the apartment where she lived in the city's Palermo neighborhood. Zuluaga apparently fainted while in the company of friends at her apartment and that paramedics were unable to revive her.

    "It's very bad news ... that truly saddens us as well. She was not only an extraordinary (beauty) queen but also a great lady," the director of the Colombian National Beauty Pageant, Raimundo Angulo, told Blu Radio. A native of the city of Pereira, she finished first runner-up in the 1957 national contest. But after the winner was forced to resign her title because she had gotten married, Zuluaga went on to represent the Andean nation the next year at the 7th Miss Universe pageant in Long Beach, California, where she was awarded the crown.


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    Durban - Miss South Africa First Princess Refilwe Mthimunye, 24, was among Miss Universe contestants on stage when TV host and comedian Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner of the pageant.
    Harvey mistakenly announced during the live broadcast that Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez-Arevalo had won on December 20.
    The model walked around the stage with the crown for a few minutes before Harvey corrected his mistake and announced that the actual winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
    It was one of the most embarrassing and awkward moments that still has social media abuzz.
    Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, Mthimunye said when Harvey announced Miss Colombia all the contestants were shocked and confused because they had voted for Miss Philippines.
    “The contestants got to vote for who should take the crown, this is based on how she answered a question and on her personality. We had spent two weeks together and we knew each other. Most of the girls had voted for Miss Philippines. When the winner was announced the autocue machine we were looking at had the correct name, but Steve announced Miss Colombia. For a few seconds we kept quiet and looked at each other with shock because we knew who we had voted for,” she said.
    Mthimunye made it into the top 15.
    She said this would be her last pageant.
    Miss South Africa, Liesl Laurie, could not participate in Miss Universe as she was at the Miss World pageant.
    Mthimunye said the blunder robbed the winner of the happiness she deserved.
    “When Steve corrected his mistake, we were relieved, but it was still awkward because there was Miss Colombia heartbroken and trying to be strong and the actual Miss Universe not sure if she should be excited. She feared the crown would also be taken from her. I went to congratulate her because she really deserved it. I also had hope that maybe they made a mistake by eliminating me,” said Mthimunye.
    Claudia Henkel, Miss South Africa 2004 and Miss Universe 2005 contestant, said what happened was completely unacceptable.
    “My heart goes out to Miss Colombia…, I think when she got home everything came back and it hurt her, it is a feeling that she will never get rid of,” said Henkel.
    South African publicist, Melanie Ramjee, said: “It was the most spoken about event on social media for over a week. But I believe it was a genuine mistake on his part. It didn’t look rehearsed. Also the announcement card should have been printed separately as it usually is at these pageants.”

    Source: Sunday Tribune, South Africa, Jan. 3, 2015

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    Steve Harvey is finally sharing his side of the story after his Miss Universe mistake was seen around the world. In case you've been living under a rock, the comedian announced the wrong winner in the final moments of the annual pageant, forcing Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez to give up the crown to its rightful owner, Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach
    Harvey addressed 2015's most jaw-dropping TV moment on the first episode of his radio show in the new year. The "Family Feud" host gave a pretty comprehensive explanation of how the whole incident went down.
    © Ethan Miller via Getty Images LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 20: Host Steve Harvey (L) listens as Miss Philippines 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, answers a question during the interview portion of the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant at The Axis at Planet 

    "Immediately after it happened, they asked the pageant people to come to the press conference," Harvey recalled. "I wasn't scheduled to be at a press conference, so I went to the press conference and made all the apologies there," he said, adding, "Here's the situation: Now, when the mistake was made, when I said the wrong woman's name, I can only give information I had. No one knows, and that information is not in the teleprompter because you've got two women standing there. I read what was on the teleprompter, then I read what was on the card."The results card shown above has the name of the winner on the right side of the card in bold and the first and second runners-up on the left. "Colombia" is written above the first runner-up slot. "The difference being: On the card, it said first runner-up," Harvey further explained. "Now, what happened, how it got like that, how it was done, how it was worked on, that's neither here nor there. I said the name that was on the card. When I walked off, everything was cool … and then, after that, all hell broke loose."
    "All I heard was people say, 'That's the wrong name,'" he continued. "And all I hear is confusion backstage. Now I'm standing here in the wing, so what I did was, 'I gotta go fix it.' Now I got a guy in my ear going, 'We gotta do something! We gotta do something!'"
    Harvey already tweeted his apologies to Miss Colombia saying that he "feels" terrible" about his "huge mistake," but he felt the need to reiterate his feelings on the radio show. 
    "Did I make a mistake? Yes I did, wholeheartedly," he admitted. "And at this point in the game, I'm not in the finger-pointing business and rolling people under the bus. So, I did what I was trained to do by my father … You make a mistake and you own up to it. And I tried to fix it, I tried to fix it right there."
    Miss Colombia, who judge Perez Hilton labeled a "diva b--ch," was the one Harvey truly felt sorry for. Gutierrez recently opened up on Univision about her pageant experience.
    According to the New York Daily News, she said, "In four minutes they destroy your dreams. They throw it in a bag, and they throw it in the trash," adding, "I feel like it doesn't matter to them the feelings of a girl who has worked her whole life for a dream."
    "When I did it, it was horrible for Miss Colombia. And she's the only one I haven't had a chance to talk to," Harvey told his listeners. "I've had a chance to talk to Miss Philippines. I've talked to all the pageant people. I've talked to people backstage. Even me and the director had a long talk. But I haven't been able to reach out and talk to Miss Colombia. Now, have I tried? Yes. But haven't gotten a response."
    "I could've just stayed back there and said, 'Y'all fix it,'" Harvey continued. "I don't feel sorry for me. I don't feel sorry for the pageant, the pageant will now be bigger than it's ever been."
    Well, he's got that right. We can't stop watching his now famous blunder. It's just too damn good. 
    Source:, 1/5/2016

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    Press Release
    Baghdad, Baghdad Governorate, Iraq – 6 January, 2016

    In front of a packed audience, 20 year old Kurdish beauty from Kirkuk, Shaymaa Qasim Abdulrahman, was crowned MISS IRAQ 2015 at the Sheraton Grand Ishtar Hotel in Baghdad on 19th December 2015. The national beauty pageant was televised for the first time ever in Iraq on Al-Mada TV with a delayed broadcast on 24th December. 

    Shaymaa, who edged out 9 other beauties for the national title, is an undergraduate student of economics and management at a private college in the northern oil rich city of Kirkuk which is located in the governorate of the same name under partial occupation by ISIS since last year. 

    Farah Naseer Haddad, an 18 year-old student at British Institute from Baghdad, was declared the first runner-up (or Iraq's Maiden of Beauty) while 22 year-old stylist and software engineering student Suzan Amer from Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan won the second runner-up position (or Mesopotamian Princess). Rania Faisal of Baghdad won the special award of Miss Al-Mada.

    The event marked the return of Iraq's national beauty pageant for the first time since 1972 when it was last organized under a different title "Hasna'a Al-Iraq / Belle of Iraq" won by Wijdan Burhan who became the first Iraqi woman to represent the nation in Miss Universe 1972 pageant in Puerto Rico. Shaymaa not only earned the distinction of becoming the first woman to be crowned Miss Iraq but also the first Kurdish woman to hold Iraq's national beauty title.

    The broadcast of the grand finale was hosted by Mohammed Sabah and Manal Al-Motasm, host of morning show on Al-Mada, with backstage reporting by Ameer Alhasoon. The event featured performances from notable Iraqi singers - Ahmed Alhlaq, Haneen Haddad and Omar Khalid. Among the audience sat dignitaries from foreign embassies and representatives from Iraq's Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Antiquities including Iraqi House of Fashion.

    The panel of judges consisted of Senan Kamel (designer and organizer of Baghdad Fashion Show), Muhannad Al-Dulaimi (former deputy Minister of Culture of Iraq), Alaa Hussein (famous Iraqi actress), Ghanem Hameed (artist and director at National Theater of Iraq), Marwa Zeidan (beautician and owner of AVON Center) and finally, Ghada Al-Alamy (President of the Al-Mada Foundation for Media, Arts & Culture) who crowned the new Miss Iraq.

    The three hour national telecast featured pre-recorded activities which included castings in Erbil and Baghdad, visit to the ancient archaeological site of the Gardens of Babylon and Ishtar Gate near Hilla and an IDP camp in Baghdad. The finalists paraded in the official uniform during introduction, cocktail dresses for project presentation and evening gowns during the final Q&A by judges. The ceremony concluded with Ghada Al-Alamy, President of the Al-Mada Foundation for Media, Arts & Culture, crowning the new Miss Iraq. 

    The Miss Iraq 2015 pageant was presented by Al-Mada TV & Foundation for Media, Arts & Culture, Inanna Group, Qasr Al-Rawan Travel, FARMASI Cosmetics, Devine Fashion, Cristal Hospitality and Studio180.

    The Miss Iraq Organization, founded by Inanna Group, is an initiative of young Iraqi civil activists based in Baghdad. The organization owns the official rights to “MISS IRAQ” and “MR. IRAQ” events registered under no. 301/th & 302/th at the National Center of Copyrights and Related Rights under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq. 


    Official References:
    Official Facebook Page: Official Website: 
    Programme Page (Al-Mada TV)
    Direct Link to Final Show: (Part 1) (Part 2)


    For more information contact us at: , or send us a message at

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    Last December 20 at the Planet Hollywood Theater and Casino, millions of televiewers worldwide and members of the live audience witnessed what would go down in pageant history as the most confusing and most chaotic last 10 minutes of any Miss Universe telecast. Just minutes after host Steve Harvey announced that Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez had won Miss Universe 2015, he apologized and said that Miss Universe 2015 is actually Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Outgoing queen Paulina Vega had the unpleasant task of removing the crown from Ariadna's head and placing it on Pia's. Mixed emotions (joy, sadness, anger, bitterness, shock, surprise, hatred) ruled that evening as the whole world had just seen two beautiful young women instantly become the center of controversy of magnanimous proportion. The rest is history.


    Well, almost. After the first part of the Q & A portion, two finalists were eliminated from the top five - Miss France Flora Coquerel and Miss Australia Monika Radulovic. Both women answered their respective questions rather well and received warm applause from the audience. After the mistake was straightened up and all the confusion was over, the official placements showed Miss Philippines as the winner, followed by Miss Colombia, and then by Miss USA Olivia Jordan. The official final placement of Miss Australia and France was never announced.

    Until Miss France Flora Coquerel posted on her Instagram yesterday that she is actually the 3rd-runner-up, as evidenced by her selfie holding the "3RD RUNNER UP" trophy and kissing it. However... (scroll down)


    ... Miss Australia Monika Radulovic also posted on her Instagram that she is "3rd ru Miss Universe" - which generated cordial as well as not-so-cordial comments from pageant fans. Confused? Uhmmm... yes! Unless someone from the Miss Universe Organization was playing games and notified Australia that she was 3rd runner-up but handed the 3rd runner-up trophy to France instead. LOL!  

    As I write this article, Monika has not removed the "3rd ru Miss Universe" designation. Why should she? If she believes that she is the rightful 3rd runner-up, then let her be, with or without a 3rd runner-up trophy. Though imagine her disappointment when one day she receives a "4TH RUNNER UP" trophy and MUO sends her a "cease and desist" letter to change her Instagram designation to "4th ru Miss Universe". Then she would be obliged to apologize to her fans and then temporarily suffer from universal embarrassment. Oy vey! Or should it be Oz vey! 

     This mess could have been easily avoided if MUO had just kept the traditional placement of top five in ascending order and not played with confusing the viewers. But then again it could be a clever ploy to further engage fans in the crowning controversy by making them wonder about France and Australia's official placement - and driving fans to contact MUO and to follow and like the pageant's official social media sites. Thus, the more people talk about it, the more publicity for the pageant! Clever indeed. 

    Usually a day after the coronation, the Miss Universe website is quickly updated to show the photo of the winner with the title spread across the bottom of the photo, like this one from 2014:

    But none of that sort in 2015, which adds further to mystery - or perhaps just simple negligence in the part of the MUO staff. 

    So who do you really think should have been 3rd or 4th runner-up? Haha

    By Rafa Delfin, 1/12/2016

    Update: January 13, 2016

            It appears that a pageant fan, who is still disenchanted with the confusing placement of Miss France Flora Coquerel and Miss Australia Monika Radulovic, reached out to Monika via private message. This fan posted the screenshot of her chat with Monika on the Missosology forum. Monika explains her side of the story:

         So based on Monika's account, it appears that MUO screwed up in the distribution of the trophies. This is rather unusual about them because I've always believed that MUO is usually on top of everything, especially if it concerns the distribution of trophies and prizes. I am curious to see the paper that the top 5 finalists had signed, per Monika's narrative. And were there any witnesses to this signing? So she claims that she "was there first" - so I assume she signed next to the line that says "3rd runner-up" and then grabbed a trophy without checking if it was for the 3rd runner-up or 4th runner-up. But if she had signed next to the line that says "3rd runner-up," then that would mean that Flora must have signed next to the line that says "4th runner-up", but grabbed the "3rd runner-up" trophy anyway! LOL. So Flora goes back to her room and notices that she took the wrong trophy, but kept it anyway. This is all so bizarre. It feels like a "Twilight Zone" episode! Hahaha

         If the new owners of the pageant wish to make changes, then by all means do them - hopefully for the best. But please do not fix something that is not broken. I wish they had preserved the tradition of formally presenting the winner and the finalists during the press conference immediately following the coronation. Each of the runners-up would get her respective trophy and this would prevent any confusion at all. But more importantly, the finalists' dignity would remain intact.

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    SEATTLE - Pageant officials say Stormy Keffeler has resigned as Miss Washington USA, following controversy surrounding an April DUI arrest.
    Maureen Francisco, co-executive producer of Northwest Productions, works with Miss Washington USA. She posted the following on her Facebook page Thursday:
    "We can confirm the resignation of Stormy Keffeler as Miss Washington USA. Effective immediately, first runner-up Kelsey Schmidt will assume the title of Miss Washington USA 2016 and represent the state at the Miss USA event later this year. We wish Stormy well in her future endeavors."
    Keffeler is also involved in another police investigation. Inside a South Lake Union apartment last month, police allegedly found Keffeler and soccer star Marco Pappa. The former Seattle Sounders player was bloody with a stab wound to the abdomen, according to a law enforcement source.
    The source goes on to say Keffeler offered different explanations about what happened.
    Pappa was rushed from the apartment to the hospital where he underwent surgery. His story changed too, according to the source who says there have been no arrests and the case is still under investigation.
    It is a different police matter that has Keffeler under the microscope. A Seattle officer reports Keffeler was drunk and driving on two flat tires when she was pulled over and arrested in April. Her blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit, according to court documents.
    Francisco was there for Keffeler's crowning moment in October, but she did not know about the DUI arrest that happened months earlier.
    "I was not aware of this until somebody sent an email last week," said Francisco. "I know she is very remorseful. At this moment people want to know, will she remain Miss Washington USA or will there be a new Miss Washington USA."
    Repeated calls to Stormy Keffeler were not returned.
    Attempts to reach Marco Pappa were unsuccessful Wednesday. Pappa was recently traded to the Colorado Rapids. A team spokesperson said they had no comment.
    A DUI arrest could cost Miss Washington USA the title, but the April arrest is not the only police investigation she’s involved in.
    Source:, 1/14/2016

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    This is the first time the comedian has come face to face with Ariadna Gutierrez since his on-air flub.

    “I hope she’s forgiving,” Steve Harvey told the audience just moments before Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez joined him on stage.
    Harvey hadn’t seen Gutierrez since the 2015 Miss Universe pageant -- the night he made the mortifying mistake of identifying her as the pageant winner. Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach had actually won the crown. 
    “I want to make sure she’s OK,” the comedian said during the Tuesday episode of his show. “I really need to see her. I really, really do. I need her to hear it from me.”
    Fortunately for Harvey, Gutierrez isn't holding a grudge. 
    With tears in his eyes, Harvey told the beauty queen, “I just want to say how sorry I am. I’m beyond sorry for what happened that night.”
    Gutierrez, also visibly emotional, admitted that the whole ordeal had been “like a nightmare.” But, she told the host, “I’ve already moved on.”
    “I already forgave you the same night."
    The interview then took a turn for the more cheerful as Gutierrez began teasing Harvey.
    “You have to learn how to read cards because it was on the card,” she said. “You wanted me to win, you know?”
    Gutierrez also assuaged Harvey's fears of a potential lawsuit.
    “No, I never thought of suing you. That’s not me, that’s not who I am,” she said, adding with a laugh: “But a lot of lawyers wanted me to do that!”

    Source: The Huffington Post, January 19, 2016

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    Credit: Valerie Abou Chacra's Instagram 

    The 6,000 + members of the Critical Beauty Facebook Fan Page, along with the administrators, recently voted for the "Critical Bests" of 2015. Valerie Abou Chacra, who represented Lebanon in Miss World 2015 last December 19 in Sanya, China and placed in the top 5, has been selected as Miss Critical Beauty 2015, beating Clarissa Molina of the Dominican Republic (top 10 in Miss Universe 2015), Brittany Ann Payne of USA (Miss Earth Water 2015), and Jennifer Valle (1st runner-up, Miss International 2015). The four nominees represented each of the four biggest international pageants, and to qualify for this category, the contestant must not have won the pageant that she was competing in. 

    Credit: Miss World Organisation
    Credit: Valerie Abou Chacra's Instagram 

    The other "critical bests" for 2015 are as follows:

    MOST BEAUTIFUL WINNER – Miss Universe 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines

    BEST SET OF WINNERS for 2015 – Miss Earth 2015 Winners (Philippines, Australia, USA, Brazil)

    BEST SET OF SEMI-FINALISTS in 2015 – Miss Universe 2015 Top 15 Semifinalists

    MOST HANDSOME WINNER in 2015 – Pedro Mendes of Switzerland (Mister International 2015)  

    BEST PAGEANT OF 2015 – Miss Universe 2015

    BEST HOST COUNTRY in 2015 – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (Miss Universe 2015)

    BEST STAGE DESIGN of 2015 – Miss Universe 2015

    BEST HOSTS/PRESENTERS in 2015 – Oli Pettigrew and Joey Mead (Miss Earth 2015)

    BEST IN NATIONAL COSTUME for 2015 – Danielle Wong (Miss Earth Malaysia 2015)

    FACE OF THE YEAR 2015 – Valerie Abou Chacra of Lebanon (Miss World 2015 Top 5 Finalist)

    BEST ALL OVER THE CONTINENTS 2015 – Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines (Miss Universe 2015 Winner)

    BEST IN AFRICA 2015 – Eunice Onyango of Kenya (Miss International 2015 2nd Runner-up)

    BEST IN THE AMERICAS 2015 – Olivia Jordan of the USA (Miss Universe 2015 2nd Runner-up)

    BEST IN ASIA 2015 – Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines  (Miss Universe 2015 Winner)

    BEST IN EUROPE 2015 – Flora Coquerel of France (Miss Universe 2015 Top 5 Finalist)

    BEST IN OCEANIA 2015 – Monika Radulovic of Australia (Miss Universe 2015 Top 5 Finalist)

    BEST IN THE CARIBBEAN 2015 – Clarissa Molina of the Dominican Republic (Miss Universe Top 10 Finalist)

    OVER-ALL BEST NON-FINALIST in 2015 – Pham Thi Huong of Vietnam (in Miss Universe 2015)

    BEST NON-FINALIST for MISS UNIVERSE 2015 – Pham Thi Huong of Vietnam 
    BEST NON-FINALIST for MISS WORLD 2015 – Brynn Lovett of Malaysia
    BEST NON-FINALIST for MISS EARTH 2015 – Carmen Jaramillo of Panama
    BEST NON-FINALIST for MISS INTERNATIONAL 2015 – Linda Szunai of Hungary

    Congratulations to all the winners! 

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    MISS IRAQ 2015, Shaymaa Qasim, begins her year of activities with Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Antiquities of Iraq.

    21 Jan 2016 - Baghdad, Baghdad Governorate, Iraq
    The Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq, Fryad Rwandzi, officially welcomed the winner of Miss Iraq 2015, Shaymaa Qasim, in his office in Baghdad on Sunday, the 17th of January. 
    Shaymaa was escorted to the Minister's office by a delegation which consisted of the Deputy Minister of Culture of Iraq, Fawzi Al-Atroshi, members of Iraqi Fashion House and organizers of Miss Iraq. The Ministry recognized the importance of the national beauty pageant after the wide media coverage the event received and hence, invited the reigning Miss Iraq for a meeting with the honourable Minister.
    Deputy Minister Atroshi, formally opened the meeting with a declaration of the adoption of the Miss Iraq contest and its winner Shaymaa Qasim. The deputy Minister stated that the national beauty pageant was earlier granted the license of the intellectual property in addition to the support of the ministry so to push the winner forward in these challenging times.
    Minister Rwandzi insisted that beauty is not just that of the face and body but is also reflected in humanist actions. He stated that Miss Iraq will be assigned activities in the Ministry to help promote their projects. The Ministry also expressed its commitment to fully support Iraq's participation in Miss World and Miss Universe pageants.
    The honourable Minister commended the audacity of Miss Iraq and the organizers for holding the event in such difficult circumstances despite numerous threats by extremist elements, noting that such events are much needed to spread a culture of peace in order to reflect a new image of Iraq from what has been shattered by years of war and terrorism of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
    At the conclusion of the meeting, Miss Iraq Shaymaa Qasim expressed her happiness and was pleased with this meeting and the support she has received from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities of Iraq.
    Earlier this month, the new Miss Iraq was hosted by the Iraqi House of Culture and Kurdish Publication at the Ministry where she participated in a press conference and toured the new Kurdish section at the Iraqi House of Fashion.

    The first assignment by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities to Miss Iraq was with the Department of Cultural Relations. Shaymaa accompanied Mr. Falah Al-Ani, director general of Cultural Relations at the Ministry, for a visit to the southern governorate of Maysan where she spent a day with the children at the Abdul Ali Boys School in the city of Amarah and presented a prize for an international children's drawing contest to one of the students on behalf of the UNICEF.
    20 year old Kurdish beauty from Kirkuk, Shaymaa Qasim Abdulrahman, wascrowned MISS IRAQ 2015at the Sheraton Grand Ishtar Hotel in Baghdad on 19th December 2015. The national beauty pageant was televised for the first time ever in Iraq on Al-Mada TV with a delayed broadcast on 24th December. The event marked the return of Iraq's national beauty pageant for the first time since 1972.
    Miss Iraq is the only official national beauty pageant of Iraq recognized by the Government of Iraq through Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Antiquities and registered at the National Center of Copyrights & Protected Rights under the Ministry (registration No. 301/TH).

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    Pia carries the Philippine flag on a magnificent float resembling the Miss Universe crown

    Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was feted to her homecoming parade on Monday, January 25, in Manila, Philippines. The beauty queen, wearing her crown and a sea-green gown by Filipino fashion designer Albert Andrada, was met with loud cheers from the huge crowd everywhere the float took her. The parade started around 2:30 p.m. and wrapped up around 8:00 p.m. when Pia spoke at another press conference at the Araneta Coliseum.

    Here are excerpts from the parade:

     Rainbow Queen: Here's a beautiful shot by Pia's mentor, Jonas Gaffud, during the parade

    Pia waves to hundreds of her star-struck admirers

    Pia waves at the crowd during the last leg of the parade

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    Source:, January 28, 2016

    'FIRST WALK.' Pia Wurtzbach got her 'first walk' as Miss Universe with Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    'FIRST WALK.' Pia Wurtzbach got her 'first walk' as Miss Universe with Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    MANILA, Philippines - Pia Wurtzbach's grand homecoming ended with a special show at the Araneta Coliseum on Thursday, January 28.
    The coliseum was packed with supporters. While some wore crowns, others were in full Miss Universe costumes.
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Xian Lim and Miss Universe Philippines 2010 Venus Raj hosted the event.
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    VENUS RAJ. Miss Universe Philippines 2010 co-hosted with Xian Lim. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    VENUS RAJ. Miss Universe Philippines 2010 co-hosted with Xian Lim. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Erik Santos, Yeng Constantino, Gerphil Flores, and many more performed.

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    The former Miss Universe Philippines representatives made an appearance too. There were 4 decades of beauty queens present at the show, including Ariella Arida, Miriam Quiambao, Lia Andrea Ramos, Gionna Cabrera, Vida Doria, Dang Cecilio, Joyce Burton, and more.
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Pia made her grand entrance as Sam Milby and Piolo Pascual sang. After she entered, the two serenaded her.
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    The main events, though, were Pia's interview with Boy Abunda, and her "first walk" as Miss Universe 2015 onstage. She walked with Margarita "Margie" Moran, Miss Universe 1973.
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
    During coronation night in December 2015, Pia wasn't able to do her walk because host Steve Harvey announced the initially announced the wrong winner. Soon after Steve corrected himself, the live show was cut.
    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    This is the final event on Pia's homecoming itinerary. For Pia's first visit home since winning the crown, she made many courtesy calls to government offices, had a charity event, and a parade. –

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    Kiran Jassal, 20, was crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2016 at a gala finale held at the Palace of the Golden Horses in Seri Kembangan yesterday. She will now compete in Miss Universe 2016 pageant whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed. Dhivya Dhyana, 25, Lina Soong, 25, and Swarna Naidu, 18, were named the first, second and third runners up, respectively.

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     Cristal Silva, 23, representing the state of Tamaulipas, was crowned Nuestra Belleza Mexico 2016 on Sunday, January 31st. She will represent Mexico in Miss Universe 2016 pageant whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed. Her court includes 1st runner-up Irma Miranda of Sonora, 2nd runner-up Geraldine Ponce of Nayarit, 3rd runner-up Naomi Garza of Nuevo León, and 4th runner-up Yaris Cháidez of Yucatán.


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    Venezuelan actress and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado was named Mexico's new Mariachi Queen during a ceremony in the capital.
    The 39-year-old Machado said during her coronation on Saturday that mariachis had been a "constant" in her life.
    Machado said she once ran away from home and her father brought some mariachis to the house to cheer her up and keep her from running away again.
    The actress said mariachis had been a part of her life since then, performing at parties, birthdays and other events.
    Machado said that after living in Mexico for 20 years, she now felt "very honored" to be named Mariachi Queen.
    Mexico's mariachi organization started naming an annual Mariachi Queen more than 25 years ago. EFE
    Souce: Latino Fox News, Jan. 31, 2016

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    Miss Universe 2015 first runner-up Ariadna Gutierrez is stealing the spotlight once again after the Colombian beauty queen was criticized for her dress choice when she attended a White House event on Friday.

    Gutierrez was one of the delegates who accompanied Colombian President Juan Manual Santos during his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the future political relations between the two nations after signing the peace agreement with militant group, FARC, Latin Correspondent reported. The 22-year-old stunner was also joined by Miss Universe 2014 winner Paulina Vega.

    Gutierrez was one of the delegates who accompanied Colombian President Juan Manual Santos during his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the future political relations between the two nations after signing the peace agreement with militant group, FARC, Latin Correspondent reported. The 22-year-old stunner was also joined by Miss Universe 2014 winner Paulina Vega.
    While Vega was smartly dressed for the occasion with her white blouse, black pants and blazer ensemble, Gutierrez opted to wear a floor-length mauve Oscar dela Renta gown. Unfortunately, Colombian media weren't happy by her choice of gown, claiming her attire was inappropriate for a formal meeting between heads of state, ministers, senators and other officials.
    In addition, the press also claimed Gutierrez was "too overdressed" for the event. They even claimed the beauty queen looked like a "cake," and noted that the gown was more appropriate for a gala or red carpet event, according to Pulzo.
    Aside from Gutierrez and Vega, Santos' sons Martin and Esteban, actor John Leguizamo and journalist Luis Carlos Velez were also present during the event.
    Meanwhile, Gutierrez also recently made headlines when she reportedly received $135,000 (450 million pesos) for her interview with Steve Harvey that aired on Jan. 19. Her Tom Ford dress and shoes during the interview also raised some eyebrows because they cost more than $6,800 (23 million pesos) and $740 (2.5 million pesos), respectively.
    In other news, Gutierrez's Miss Universe rival and the pageant's 2015 winner Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines was recently spotted with a hot date during the fifth annual National Football League (NFL) Honors at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Saturday night.
    Wurtzbach was spotted on the red carpet with fellow Miss Universe candidate Olivia Jordan of the U.S.A., PhilStar Entertainment noted. She was also one of the presenters along with New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski at the NFL Honors awards.
    Aside from turning heads on the red carpet, the 26-year-old Miss Universe 2015 winner also charmed the audiences as a special correspondent for "Inside Edition's" coverage of the recently concluded "Super Bowl 50."
    "Super Bowl" host Levi's Stadium even posted a short clip featuring Wurtzbach and Jordan in the stands, GMA News Online revealed.
    "Hope you're enjoying the Levi's Stadium experience Miss Universe!" the Twitter post read.
    For Wurtzbach's "Super Bowl 50" experience, check out her Twitter account.

    Source: Latin Post, 2/9/2016

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    Betty Cantrell of Georgia was crowned Miss America 2016 last Sept. 13, 2015 in Atlantic City.

    There she is ... and she costs about $4 million more this time.
    A New Jersey redevelopment agency approved an $11.9 million deal Tuesday to keep the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City for the next three years.
    That's $4 million more than the previous three-year deal as the seaside gambling resort teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, the state threatens to seize control of its finances and some of its eight casinos hang on by a thread.
    The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved the contract with the Miss America Organization and Dick Clark Productions to keep the pageant on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, where it began back in 1921. The agency collects state-mandated casino payments and approves them for redevelopment projects designed to improve the city.
    The CRDA will make the payment toward the pageant's production costs. In addition to the national exposure the pageant's post-Labor Day finale generates, Atlantic City will also be prominently promoted during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and the Billboard Music Awards broadcasts over the next three years.
    The three-year pact with the pageant did not include the other broadcast partnerships.
    "It was very important to us that Miss America and Dick Clark promote Atlantic City as a destination resort," said John Palmieri, CRDA's executive director. "We didn't want to lose Miss America. We negotiated a contract we believe was a fair contract."
    The extra broadcast exposure was a key part of the deal for CRDA officials. The 2016 Billboard Music Awards to be broadcast on May 22 will promote Atlantic City when the reigning Miss America presents an award and touts the September pageant competition. Similar events will take place in the 2017 and 2018 awards shows.
    And live remote broadcasts from Atlantic City will be included in each of the next three New Year's Rockin' Eve broadcasts, including the name of the venue the concert is taking place in and that it is in Atlantic City.
    CRDA staff estimated the pageant directly supports more than 15,000 hours of employment from building trades to support staff. City officials say the pageant generates millions of dollars of economic activity in and around Atlantic City each September.
    They also note that an agency that promoted the resort to other parts of the country, the Atlantic City Alliance, is being eliminated as part of state-mandated austerity measures for the financially strapped city.
    The Miss America pageant began in Atlantic City as a way to extend the summer tourist season after Labor Day. It moved to Las Vegas for six years before returning to Atlantic City in 2013.
    Source: ABC News, 2/16/2016

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    Kezia Roslin Cikita Warouw, 24, from Manado, Sulawesi Utara was crowned Puteri Indonesia 2016 in Jakarta on Friday, February 19. She will now represent Indonesia in the 2016 Miss Universe pageant whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed.

    Kezia (center) poses with two other newly crowned queens: Felice Hwang (left) is the new Miss International Indonesia 2016 and will compete in Miss International 2016 pageant to be held in Japan later this year. Intan Aletrino (right) was crowned Miss Supranational Indonesia 2016 and will compete in Miss Supranational 2016 pageant to be held in Poland in December.

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    Cara McCollum, who won the Miss New Jersey pageant in 2013 and participated in the Miss America competition, died early Monday.  DONALD B. KRAVITZ/AP

    A 24-year-old beauty pageant champion and TV news anchor died Monday, one week after she was critically injured in a crash, her friends announced.

    Cara McCollum, who won the Miss New Jersey pageant in 2013 and participated in the Miss America competition, died at about 4:30 a.m., according to the Facebook page "Prayers for Cara," which has been posting updates about McCollum's condition.

    "Before she died, Cara made the selfless decision to donate her organs. At this very moment, she is saving lives," the group wrote.

    "Although it's not the miracle that we first envisioned, it's a miracle nonetheless. In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

    McCollum was critically injured Feb. 15 after losing control of her Ford Mustang along Route 55 in Salem County, state police said.

    McCollum — who wasn't wearing a seatbelt — was believed to have been driving too fast on the rain-slicked roadway when the crash occurred. Her car spun off the right side of the road and struck a number of trees before coming to rest at the bottom of an embankment.

    She was later transported to Cooper Health Systems, where she underwent surgery.

    Friends and relatives held out hope that McCollum would recover from her injuries, but her condition proved fatal.

    In addition to her pageant appearances, the 24-year-old also served as a TV news anchor
    at southern New Jersey’s SNJ Today. 

    The Arkansas native and Princeton University grad became a news anchor and spent about six months working at SNJ Today, a Millville-based news provider, following her pageant days.

    SNJ Today released a statement about McCollum's death Monday.

    "Cara showed warmth to everyone she met. She was a part of our news team family and we are gratified to have worked with her — even for such a short time," her SNJ co-workers said. "We will miss her terribly."

    McCollum is survived by her parents and brother, as well as boyfriend Keith Jones, an anchor at NBC station WCAU in Philadelphia. Following McCollum's death, Jones reflected on her life in a Facebook post, sharing images of the couple's happy times together.

    "Words fall short of describing the pain, but I'm eternally grateful and blessed for the time I spent with Cara," he wrote. "Her enormous heart enriched my life and changed me forever."

    Source: NY Daily News, February 22, 2016

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