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Beauty With Attitude

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    Newly crowned Miss Missouri, Erin O'Flaherty, is breaking ground as the first-ever openly gay Miss America contestant.
    O'Flaherty, 23, was crowned as the Show Me State's representative to the national pageant on Saturday, and is the first openly gay woman to hold the title, said Ann Jolly, chairman of the board of the Miss Missouri Scholarship Organization.
    In an interview with the Associated Press, O'Flaherty said that she came out at 18, competed openly and knew that there was a possibility that she could be making history with her win.
    "I'm on cloud nine really just to be Miss Missouri," she told the AP. "I don't know that I intended to be the first, but I am. So I'm very excited about it."
    O'Flaherty sent her first official tweet from the Miss Missouri Twitter account on Wednesday, writing, "Hey there! Erin here, officially signing in as Miss MO 2016. So excited to serve this amazing state."

    Hey there! Erin here, officially signing in as Miss MO 2016. So excited to serve this amazing state 💕

    The clothing store owner, whose pageant platform is suicide prevention, also told the AP that she hopes to reach out to the LGBT community during her time as Miss Missouri, but added that it won't be the only focus of her reign.
    "My focus of my year isn't going to be that I'm gay," O'Flaherty explained. "It's certainly a big part of who I am, and I will be promoting it and raising awareness for the LGBT community. But also there will be many appearances that I do that have nothing to do with that."
    Source:, 6/23/2016

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  • 06/26/16--12:50: New Bolivian Queens for 2016

  • Antonella Moscatelli, 20, representing Santa Cruz was crowned Miss Bolivia Universe 2016 at Hotel Toborochi in Santa Cruz on June 25th. She will now compete in 2016 Miss Universe pageant whose date and venue have not been confirmed.

    Five other titles were awarded to the following finalists:

    Khaterine Añasgo Miss International Bolivia 2016 
    Yessenia Barrientos  - Miss Supranational Bolivia 2016 
    Eliana Villegas - Miss Earth Bolivia 2016 
     Julia Méndez - Miss Bikini Bolivia 2016
    Estefanía Senzano - Miss Grand Bolivia 2016  

    All five will compete in their respective international competition.

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    Swimsuits at the Miss Teen USA pageant are officially dead in the water. The organization is ending the swimsuit portion of the beauty pageant and replacing it with an athletic wear competition, a spokesperson confirmed to CNN.

    The news was first reported by USA Today.

    It's a nod to a more modern approach in an era where there are gender empowerment videos and commercial campaigns including Always' #LikeAGirl aimed at highlighting equality among the sexes.

    "This decision reflects an important cultural shift we're all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same," Miss Universe president Paula Shugartwrote in a memo to the pageant's state directors. "Our hope is that this decision will help all of Miss Teen USA's fans recognize these young women for the strong, inspiring individuals they are."

    Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe are all owned by WME/IMG after Donald Trump sold the organization following his remarks about Mexicans caused a falling out with NBC Universal and Univision.

    Beauty pageants have long been the target of ire and viewed as both archaic and demeaning to women.

    In a column written last year for The Guardian writer Jessica Valenti said, "The notion that beauty pageants are anything more than an opportunity to ogle gorgeous, scantily-clad women and pit them against each has long been debunked."

    "Despite long-standing claims that pageants like Miss America are a major source of scholarships for young women, the truth is that they offer only a fraction of the money that they claim they do," Valenti wrote. "Women who participate are also much more likely to spend money than make money on the endeavor -- the cost of dresses, hair and makeup, entrance fees and more are the responsibility of the contestants alone."

    The Miss World pageant ended its swimsuit competition in 2014.

    Source: CNN Money, June 29, 2016

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  • 06/30/16--19:34: Miss Universe Ukraine 2016

  • Alyona Spodynyuk, 18, was crowned Miss Ukraine Universe 2016 at the Grand Fairmont Kyiv Hotel in in Kiev on June 28. She will now compete in the next edition of Miss Universe pageant whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed.

    The 1st vice-miss was Yulia Gershun and the 2nd vice-miss was Julia Zakharova.

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         The national beauty who won the beauty contest “Miss Iraq 2015,” Shaymaa Qasim, participated in the demonstrations held in Baghdad in support of the victims who were killed in the latest terrorist attack in the capital which claimed more than 290 lives.

         The demonstration, which was attended by several dozen people, began on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in the Karada district, where the attack occurred. The proceeding headed toward the Hadraa area where the government center is located.

         The demonstrators shouted slogans demanding the government to take urgent measures to ensure the safety and protection of civilians.

         In the published video and photos on social networks from the demonstration it can be seen that Shaymaa Qasim, who later suffered from tear gas dispersed by the security forces, was also taking part by in the protest.

    Source: Sputnik News, 7/7/72016

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    Audra Mari was crowned Miss World America 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Audra will now represented the United States in the 2016 Miss World pageant to be held in Washington, D.C. in December.

    The 1st runner-up is Shivali Patel of North Carolina and the 2nd runner-up is Sasha Perea of the District of Columbia. Audra also won the Interview segment, and she and Shivali shared the Top Model prize.

    Audra is best known for being first runner-up in Miss USA 2014, and first-runner-up in Miss Teen USA 2011. She hails from North Dakota.

    Photos courtesy of Miss World America

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          Congratulations to Audra Mari for winning the Miss World America 2016 crown last July 8th at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. She will now have the right to represent the United States in Miss World 2016 pageant to be held in Washington, D.C. on December 20th. Audra will play host to over 100 contestants from all over the world. It will be the first time since 1991 that the United States will host Miss World. We are happy that Audra won; those of us who have followed Audra in her journey will recall that she was 1st runner-up at Miss Teen USA 2011 and then placed 1st runner-up again at Miss USA 2014. In both instances she represented her state of North Dakota. So when the news came out that she would compete in Miss World America 2016, many pageant fans were elated for her, but at the same time anxious. Why? Because of these nagging questions: "What if she places 1st runner-up again?" Or worse, "What if she doesn't place at all?" 

    Audra Mari and her court. From left to right: Michelle Pierrot (2nd runner-up), Shivali Patel (1st runner-up), Audra,  Sasha Perea (2nd runner-up), and Andrea Hightower (4th runner-up).


         Now, the buzz is that the pageant had been rigged 
    to guarantee Audra's victory!

    What is wrong with this picture? Why is the newly crowned 2016 winner wearing outgoing queen Victoria Mendoza's 2015 sash? Was this photo taken BEFORE Audra Mari was declared winner on stage? This photo is posted on Victoria Mendoza's Facebook page.

         A reliable source informed Critical Beauty that a Sharpie was used to modify the year "2015" to make it look "2016" because the organizers apparently had either failed to order a 2016 sash or that they had one but it went missing? Talk about shortsightedness. And don't be fooled by the crown; it was the same crown that Victoria had worn during her reign. 

         Let's get down to the nitty gritty. The names of the judges were not revealed on the official website or anywhere on social media. It seems that there were different judges for different events, and certain judges got to judge one or two events including the finals. Last year, there was a leader board that allowed the audience to see how the contestants progressed during the competition. It was not the case this year, thus, the lack of transparency in the scoring system. Two girls, Tarese Taylor from Baltimore and Tarynn Shelman from Houston, placed in the Top 12 even though neither one had won or placed in any of the seven challenge events (Beach Fashion, Sports & Fitness, Top Model, Beauty With A Purpose, Interview, Talent, Miss Photogenic). Meanwhile, Amara Berry from Providence, Rhode Island, who won the Beauty With A Purpose (BWAP) challenge - the most crucial and most important one and which bears the catchy slogan of the pageant - did not even make the Top 12. Go figure. 

         One of the front runners, Christina Denny, who had to relinquish her Miss Maryland USA 2016 title just to compete in MWA, was shockingly shut out of the top 5 (though she placed in the top 12). Denny was in tears and she reportedly walked out of the stage after the top 5 finalists were announced, although she returned to the stage after Audra's coronation. One wonders if the only reason Denny decided to compete was that Chris Wilmer, the pageant director, had wooed Denny to sign up by promising her the crown. It is also possible that Wilmer had used Denny to gain more publicity, or at least to add another one or two pretty girls to the roster because frankly, most of the girls this year looked mediocre and out of shape.

         Another front runner, Rachel White from Texas, who competed last year and placed 2nd runner-up, also failed to make the top 5 this year. 

         We did not learn about the identity of some of the judges until a day after the pageant. One of the judges turned out to be former Miss Botswana, Emma Wareus, who was first runner-up to Miss World 2010 Alexandria Mills. Other judges included Miss United States 2014 Elizabeth Safrit and her mother, Lynn Safrit, Mr. World America 2016 Alexander Ouellette, Joseph Han, Julia Nesheiwat, and Susan Robinson Day (I have absolutely no clue who these last three individuals are).

         It seems that one of the female judges failed to show sensitivity towards one of the contestants, Maude Gorman, whose platform was to end sexual violence. Immediately after the pageant, Gorman posted on her Facebook page this disturbing message, addressing the judge for being ignorant and insensitive about the seriousness of the topic. Gee, I wonder who that judge could be? Our source indicated that it was Emma Wareus who behaved rather oddly and asked strange questions to the girls. Incidentally, Gorman competed last year and won the Beauty With A Purpose award for her compelling platform. Gorman writes:


         Meanwhile, as Victoria Mendoza was doing her final walk, one of the contestants who failed to make the cut, Sameera Khan (a former Miss New Jersey United States 2015) disrupted the moment by making a political statement on stage. In a 14-second video clip - that she apparently recorded herself while holding her cellphone from a lower angle - she says: "I rise today in protest against corporate greed. Our democracy has been stolen, our voices have been silenced and plutocracy has taken over." Say what? 

         And who exactly is this Sameera Khan? Her Facebook page reveals that she was arrested at Democracy Spring protest last April, along with thousands of other protesters including celebrities. She is also a Muslim-American of Pakistani origin who supports Islamic supremacist and pro-Palestinian groups (which denounce Israel's right to exist) and a loud Bernie Sanders supporter (Sanders himself has made harsh anti-Israel sentiments). She once wrote an article published by News Impulse, a "non-corporate funded, independent news website" in which she vehemently criticizes the U.S. government in "fostering the incremental genocide of Palestinians since 1948" and preventing "the creation of a sovereign, Palestinian state, and manipulates the status quo so that Israel is not punished by the international community." She also blasted Senator Marco Rubio. It appears that her political opinions are nothing more than regurgitated ultra far-leftist talking points and that News Impulse is really an anti-America and anti-Israel propaganda machine disguised as a news website. Shouldn't the ideal beauty queen be apolitical and shouldn't she be promoting unity and mutual understanding wherever she is, wherever she goes - at least during her reign? Khan is doing exactly the opposite: she has been very divisive. You don't choose politics as your "Beauty With A Purpose" platform because it breeds division and merely alienates yourself from the others. A political revolution is never beautiful because it provokes heated arguments and potential violence. But if she is dead serious against plutocracy (a society governed by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens), then she should really be campaigning for Donald Trump who promises to create more jobs to improve the American standard of living and diminish poverty! LOL

         Oh, and by the way, this is the same gal who dissed the Miss Universe Organization for pretending "that they value both intelligence and physical beauty. But year after year, we see the five dumbest women in the country on stage."   Ouch! (Read more)

    The Islamic Crescent and Star replace the 50 Stars of the American flag.
    Could Sameera's real political agenda be the Islamization of the United States of America?

         I am amazed why the Miss World America organizers accepted Khan as one of the contestants without properly vetting her background, because her little soapbox drama on stage might have scared the living daylights out of the contestants and of the audience (especially the children). Not to mention the lack of security at the venue! And the pageant came on the heels of three successive tragic days when two black men and five police officers got shot and killed. Don't get me wrong; I admire beauty queens who have strong opinions about politics or other issues, but expressing your political opinion during a special moment is just plain rude and disrespectful. Express your political opinions off stage or when the pageant is over, but not when the outgoing queen is doing her farewell walk. Show some class and decorum! If you were in Victoria's position, would you want a fellow contestant disrupting your final walk? Ummm... I don't think so! 

         Anyway, Khan's absurd little spectacle is reminiscent of past ugly incidents in pageantry initiated by rabid feminists who despise pageants because they think that they exploit women and girls. However, Khan may have made history by being the first contestant to disrupt a pageant while videotaping herself. I wonder if she had been holding her cellphone during the entire competition. Though I admire her strong convictions, I strongly disapprove of her choice of moment to express them. No wonder she didn't even make the top 5 in the BWAP challenge.


    MWA Director Chris Wilmer with first runner-up Shivali Patel.
    From Shivali's Facebook Page
         From Sharpie-fixed sashes to questionable results, from lack of security to insensitive judges. What else was wrong? Disorganized events, changes made at the last minute, and inadequate meals (except for a handful of complimentary meals). The official website leaves something to be desired; there is no direct contact information, no information on the staff, no physical address - which should all be red flags to potential contestants. There was no biographical information posted on each of the contestant, which suggests inefficient or lack of administrative skills on the part of the organizers.  A People's Choice contest had been launched which required voters to pick their favorite by clicking on her photo and to donate any amount, but a day after the pageant all photos have been taken down, and no People's Choice winner was announced during the show. How much of the monies were collected and donated to a charitable cause (if they even have one), or was this just another one of the organizers' quick money-making schemes? No one will ever know... except the pageant director himself, Chris Wilmer.

         So is anyone attending Miss World 2016 in freezing Washington, D.C. this December?

    BY RAFA DELFIN, 7/10/2016


    July 12, 2016: Sameera Khan tweeted that she didn't interrupt Victoria Mendoza's final walk, but interrupted the host and Victoria's farewell speech. She also stated that she did not compete (Wikipedia states that she withdrew from the competition).

    And a former Miss Georgia Caribbean United States, Kristen Bandoo, refuted everything in my article, even though she herself was not one of the contestants:

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    Kalyn Chapman James, the first black woman to claim the title of Miss Alabama, has created a firestorm on her comments about the slaying of five police officers in Dallas last week.
    Chapman posted a video to Facebook last Sunday she could not "help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr." According to police, Micah Xavier Johnson killed five police officers during a Black Lives Matter rally in protest to the officer-involved shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.
    "I don't want to feel this way" James said in the video. "I don't feel sad for the officers who lost their lives ... I know that's not really my heart. I value human life. And I want to feel sad for them but I can't help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr."
    James later offered clarification and expressed condolences to the families of the slain officers.
    WPBT2, the Miami public television station where James works, announced it had placed her on administrative leave. The Miss Alabama Pageant has also issued a statement distancing itself from James' comments.
    "Kalyn Chapman James was Miss Alabama 23 years ago in 1993," according to the Miss Alabama statement. "The opinions she expressed are her own, and do not represent the viewpoint of the current Miss Alabama or the Miss Alabama Organization. We have nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for the men and women of law enforcement, and would never condone violence of any kind.'
    James, a native of Mobile and a UAB graduate, was the first African-American woman to win the Miss Alabama title, capturing the crown in 1993 as Miss Leeds. She performed a modern dance routine for her talent with a platform of improving education.
    She went on to Miss America 1994, where she placed in the top 10. She was succeeded as Miss Alabama by eventual Miss America winner Heather Whitestone. James remains the only Africa-American Miss Alabama in the pageant's history.
    The Kalyn Chapman James Scholarship, funded by James, awards $1,000 to the highest-scoring African-American participating in the Miss Alabama pageant.
    In a 2013 interview, James said she had grown up with one set of grandparents who were sharecroppers and another set who were small business owners. She said she shares those lessons now with her own children.
    "I took them to the Civil Rights Institute and the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. I watch any and all stories about our struggles and discuss it with them. I want them to know where they came from and the struggles their grandparents endured and the beautiful legacy of triumph we share. We continue to learn and grow together. It is so important that our young people are always reminded of the people who laid down their lives for our advancement and that the fight for true equality stills goes on," she said.
    James' resume includes working as spokesperson for the now-closed VisionLand theme park and as an ambassador for HealthSouth's "Go for it" roadshow, as well as a spokesmodel for the UPN Network and television journalist for Fox Sports Network's Behind the Game. In 2014, she was included in Legacy Miami magazine's list of 25 Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Leadership in 2014.
    She also worked on the MTV Video Music Awards, the Latin Video Music Awards, the Latin Billboard awards and appearances in Old Navy and Disney World commercials.

    Source: Leada Gore of, 7/12/2016

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    Contributed photo/Jerrell Trulove Caitlyn Cifuentes

    The former Miss Corpus Christi Latina winner who national officials disqualified based on her criminal record is trying to give her crown to the woman who came in third place.
    But the national pageant president said Caitlin Cifuentes can't do that and the organization already named the first runner up Miss Corpus Christi Latina.

    "The title belongs to the organization and (Cifuentes) doesn't have authority to pick and choose who she gives it to," president and founder Acirema Alayeto told the Caller-Times.

    Cifuentes took to Facebook on Thursday to announce her plans of giving the crown to second runner-up Marissa Ortiz. On Tuesday, Organization of Miss America Latina Inc. officials announced it would not recognize Cifuentes as the winner and gave the title to Valeria Barrera. Barrera is one of six contestants who filed a lawsuit against local pageant director Kayla Alvarez for allowing Cifuentes to compete. Alayeto told Barrera on Friday that the organization was sending her a new crown and sash and would arrange a crowning ceremony.

    "I am renouncing my crown to the SECOND runner up ... My reasoning is this, the first runner up cannot represent a pageant that she is suing. The second runner up is not involved and THAT is who I am passing the crown to. With love, The Queen of C.C.," Cifuentes posted.

    However, Cifuentes, who won the June 11 pageant, told the Caller-Times she hadn't yet told Ortiz or Alayeto about her intentions.

    Alayeto said she hasn't seen a situation like this.

    "It's ludicrous. I have never in my 30 plus years in the pageant industry heard a comment like that," Alayeto said.

    Alayeto said officials told the local director it's her duty to tell Cifuentes to return the crown and sash and to crown Barrera.

    "As far as I know that has not happened," Alayeto said.

    Alvarez, the local pageant director, did not immediately return calls Friday seeking comment.

    Pageant rules state contestants may not have criminal charges pending against them at the time of the contest. Cifuentes is on deferred adjudicated probation for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and probation for a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated case, according to court records. If she successfully completes the terms of her probation, she will avoid a conviction. However, if she violates the terms, her probation can be revoked and she can be convicted.

    Source:, 7/15/2016

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    Rohit Khandelwal (center), a 26-year-old model and business student from Hyderabad, India, was selected as the 2016 Mr. World in Southport, England on July 19th. He is the first man from India, and the first Asian to have won the coveted male beauty title. The first runner-up is Puerto Rico's Fernando Alvarez Soto (right) and the second runner-up is Mexico's Aldo Esparza Ramirez. Completing the Top Ten were the delegates from China, Poland, Scotland, England, Kenya, El Salvador and Brazil. 

    Khandelwal being congratulated by his predecessor, Nicklas Pedersen of Denmark.

    Photo credits: Mr. World Facebook page.

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    PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - Genesis Davila was Miss Florida USA 2017 for about a week.

    "DREAMING on a cloud," the 24-year-old Miss Miami Beach USA said on Instagram after she received the tiara.

    The Puerto Rican model fell hard from the cloud Friday morning. Grant Gravitt, executive producer of the Miss Florida USA pageant, told Local 10 News that she won't be wearing the tiara any longer.
    Davila, who competed with 64 other women last Saturday for the title, is accused of violating pageant regulations.
    "We have a zero-tolerance policy on rules," Gravitt told Local 10's Shyann Malone. "Whether it's something major or minor, it's all about keeping an equal and level playing field. Unfortunately, our title holder sought an unfair competitive advantage, and that's just not acceptable in our system."
    Gravitt said Davila used professional stylists to help with her hair and makeup in her private room, which is a violation of pageant rules.
    "She made a poor life choice," Gravitt said.
    Gravitt said pageant organizers received multiple complaints from contestants, and there were also eyewitnesses.
    "We finally had substantial proof to link her and her vendors to her room on an evening which they were not allowed," Gravitt said.
    Although Gravitt didn't specifically say what proof he had, he said Davila's social media accounts sealed her fate.
    "When one steps out of line, it's not fair to the other 64, and I couldn't look at the other 64 in the eye knowing that I had substantial proof to say, unfortunately, she sought an unfair advantage," Gravitt said.
    The announcement automatically makes the runner-up -- Miss Sunny Isles Beach USA Linette de Los Santos -- the new Miss Florida USA 2017.
     De Los Santos is a Nova Southeastern University law school student born in the Dominican Republic.
    "They always tell you if the winner cannot fulfill her duties then the first runner-up would assume the title," De Los Santos said. "But you never really think that's going to happen, especially so close."
    Genesis Davila hired professional makeup artist Ilde Goncalves while
    competing in Miss Florida USA 2017 pageant.

    Makeup artist Luis Enrique Pina, who was unaware of the pageant's decision when he spoke to Local 10 News, described Davila as responsible and punctual.
    "She is elegant and has a beautiful figure and she walks like a panther," Pina said about her performance on the catwalk. "She has a great future ahead of her."
    At 5-foot and 10 inches tall, Davila is a model with Front Management and was also crowned Miss World Puerto Rico in 2014.
    Davila had dreams of one day being crowned Miss Universe, but with the pageant's decision, those dreams were cut short. 
    "This is not a good day for either the pageant or this poor lady," Gravitt said. "We wish her no harm. We wish her no ill-will. She made a bad choice, but she's a very good kid, and we wish her the best in her career."
    Davila and her lawyers were scheduled to meet with Gravitt to surrender the crown late Friday afternoon. Davila was a no-show. Her lawyers did show up and promised to fight for Davila to keep the crown.
    "She's still a queen," attorney Mayra Joll said. "She's still Miss Florida. She's still Miss Florida USA. Justice is going to be served. ... It's becoming very popular to decrown queens after what happened with Miss Universe."
    Gravitt said it is a simple case of breaking the rules and the decision will not be reversed.
    De Los Santos will represent Florida in the 2017 Miss USA pageant, which is the official qualifier for the Miss Universe pageant.
    Pageant producers are now deciding whether to edit the program to include the changing of the crown. The pageant airs Saturday at 9 p.m. on Local 10.

    Source:, 7/22/2016

    Genesis Davila was crowned Miss Florida USA 2017 just five days ago by
    her predecessor Brie Gabrielle.

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    India's Mohit Singh reacts to victory 

    Mohit Singh, a 26-year-old engineer from India,  won the Mister United Continents 2016 title during the finals held on July 22 at the Tanghalang Pasigueno in Pasig City, Philippines. Singh had also won the Online Popularity Award. His court includes 1st runner-up Mark Redfearn of the United Kingdom, 2nd runner-up Vu Hoang Tuan of Vietnam, 3rd runner-up Nyi Htay Win of  Myanmar,   4th runner-up Peter Jovic of Thailand, and 5th runner-up Kian Ching of Borneo-Malaysia who also won Best in Advocacy Video.

    Singh's victory occurred four days after his compatriot Rohit Khanderwal won Mr. World 2016 in Southport, England.
    Nguyen Hoang Tuan & Mohit Singh
    This is the second edition of the pageant. This year, the organizers added the Master division for contestants between 31 and 42 years of age. And the lucky winner is Nguyen Hoang Tuan of  Vietnam who was named Master United Continents 2016. 

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  • 07/24/16--20:12: Miss World Bahamas 2016

  • Ashley Hamilton, a 23-year-old six-footer representing Long Island, was crowned Miss World Bahamas 2016 at Melia Nassau Beach on July 24th. She will now represent the Bahamas in the 2016 Miss World pageant to be held in Washington, D.C. on December 20th. 

    The first runner-up is Pischia Adderly, Miss Paradise Island, and the second runner-up is Rotalya Williams, Miss Cat Island. Ten young women competed in this year's edition of the annual pageant.


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    The lawyers for dethroned Miss Florida USA 2017 Genesis Davila are preparing a $3 million lawsuit against the Hollywood-based beauty pageant after organizers this week refused to reinstate her.

    Davila’s lawyers gave pageant organizer TelAir until 4:30 p.m. Monday or face a lawsuit.

    The deadline came and went, and TelAir boss Grant Gravitt handed the crown to Miss Sunny Isles Beach Linette De Los Santos because, he claimed, Davila cheated.

    And now, Miami Beach beauty queen Davila appears to be angling for a legal showdown.

    “She could get at least $3 million in damages for this,” said Mayra Joli, a lawyer who has been involved in the case early on when the pageant allegedly accused Davila of not being an American citizen. “I’m an immigration lawyer, so I helped when they accused her of not being an American citizen. I managed opening the pageant’s eyes to the fact that Puerto Rico, where Genesis was born, is in the United States.

    “But by making her look bad for other things, the pageant libeled her and slandered her and did things that could come back to haunt her in her modeling career for years.”

    There’s no doubt the judges crowned Davila Miss Florida USA July 16 at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.

    What happened next is strange and symptomatic of the competitiveness of beauty pageants where, like Miss Florida USA, the winner gets an endorsements and appearances package worth at least $100,000.

    TelAir’s Gravitt said he started looking a little harder at Davila after he received “30 to 40 complaints” from other contestants and their family members about her after her big win.

    “I get two or three (complaints), and it’s a fluke,” Gravitt says. “But I get 10 or more, it’s a fire.”

    The complaints, he says, ranged from the fact Davila was spotted in the hotel lobby past midnight, a no-no for pageant beauties, to the possibility she used a makeup artist to get ready, another no-no.

    In time, Gravitt says, he received two Instagram photos that appeared to indicate Davila received make-up help.

    “The rules say a contestant must apply her own makeup, including doing her nails,” Gravitt said.

    Gravitt said Davila was pushed aside before she signed the one-year Miss USA Florida endorsement contract and ticket to the Miss USA pageant.

    “As far as we’re concerned, she was never really Miss Florida USA since she never signed on the dotted line,” Gravitt says. “Those are the rules, too.”

    As for the threats of a lawsuit, Gravitt says it’s just sour grapes on the part of Davila and her advisers.

    “Do you realize her lawyer Joli is a volunteer for the Miss America pagent?” Gravitt says. “They’re our arch-rivals, and there’s no doubt Ms. Joli wants to embarrass us.

    “In the end of the day, they (Davila and her reps) asked us to look the other way simply because she is pretty,” Gravitt said. “We deal with a lot of pretty women, and we don’t look the other way.”

    By Jose Lambiet

    Source: The Miami Herald, July 27, 2016

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    Karlie Hay, 18-year-old teen queen from Texas, beat out 50 other contestants to win the title of Miss Teen USA 2016. Hay was crowned winner of the competition on Saturday, at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event, hosted by former Miss USA Olivia Jordan and Vine star Cody Johns was live streamed on the organization's website. 
    Hay's court includes first runner-up Emily Wakeman of North Carolina, second runner-up Marly Stokes of South Carolina, third runner-up Erin Snow of Alabama, and fourth runner-up Carissa Morrow of Nevada. Completing the top 15 were the delegates from California, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, Delaware, Vermont, South Dakota and Tennessee.
    Erin Snow was crowned photogenic winner, and Malia Cruz of Rhode Island won Miss Congeniality.
    Hay, who plans to attend in Texas A&M University, hopes to use her newfound fame to serve as an advocate of the effects of alcoholism and drug abuse. According to her bio on the Miss Teen USA website, "her own childhood experiences have engendered great empathy for children growing up in unstable environments and for the families of alcoholics."
    The Tomball, Texas native also enjoys being a regular teen, serving as varsity cheer capitan, yearbook editor, and photographer at her high school. Hay performed well in all aspects of the competition, including personality, evening wear, and activewear.
    The recent Tomball high school grad stunned in a floor-length yellow gown, reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast's Belle.  

    This was the first year the competition included an active wear portion, replacing the former swimsuit competition. The contestants wore Tapout X Goldsheep Activewear, the official training apparel of the WWE. 
    Total Divas star Eva Marie was on the competition's judging panel, along with former Miss Teen USA Hilary Cruz, Style Studio founder Keylee Sanders, former Miss USA Lu Parker and musician Savannah Keyes.
    Hay is the third woman from Texas to be crowned Miss Teen USA. Christie Lee Woods won in 1996 and Danielle Doty in 2011.

    Photos: Miss Universe Organization

    Source:, 7/30/2016

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    Genesis Davila at press conference regarding lawsuit filed on behalf for having been dethroned of her Miss Florida title.

    The ugly turn at the Miss Florida USA pageant could mean a battle to show real damages for dethroned beauty queen Génesis Dávila.
    Dávila filed a $15 million defamation suit against pageant organizers Monday. An accompanying motion for emergency temporary injunction seeks to bar her removal.
    But first, she'll have to prove irreparable harm beyond monetary redress.
    "That's where the rubber's going to meet the road on the injunction hearing," her attorney, Richard Wolfe of Wolfe Law in Miami, said. "Being a Miss Florida winner and Miss USA contestant is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the value of which cannot be measured in dollars."
    Dávila sued pageant organizers Tel-Air Interests Inc., Grant Gravitt Jr. and IMG Universe L.P. She claimed they stripped her of the crown, then "embarked on a false, malicious and defamatory public-smearing campaign" to justify their actions in ousting her to cinch a business relationship with a pageant trainer, whose clients she defeated.
    Her suit gained national attention within hours — a potential disadvantage in her court fight.
    "An argument can be made that she lacks any real damages, in that the controversy ... will make her more of a household name than an uneventful pageantry win," said Stroock & Stroock & Lavan partner James Sammataro, who is not involved in the litigation. "Ariadna Gutiérrez, Miss Colombia and Miss Universe, until the crown was awkwardly removed from her head on live national television, and Vanessa Williams, who was forced to resign her Miss America title due to a photoshoot in 'Penthouse', would arguably be the first to admit that getting publicly defrocked propelled their marketability."
    Dávila paid $1,350 to compete in the Miss Florida USA pageant after winning the Miss Miami Beach contest.

    Genesis Davila walks with Charles Jones, managing partner, CJones & Associates, Davila's publist, after press conference regarding lawsuit filed on behalf of Davila for having been dethroned of her Miss Florida title. Behind is Jenny Patriazia, her coach and life mentor.

    Miss Florida USA organizers have not responded to the suit, but Gravitt, the event's director, fired back on social media with posts suggesting Dávila flouted contest rules requiring participants to fix their own hair and makeup. He shared Dávila's social media photos, purportedly showing her with professional beauticians on pageant day.
    Wolfe said Gravitt altered the photos, cropping out a date stamp that shows Dávila posted them days earlier.
    An affidavit by immigration attorney Mayra Joli depicts Gravitt as a man intent on strong-arming Dávila out of the crown. It claims Gravitt first insisted Puerto Rican-born Dávila was disqualified for lack of U.S. citizenship, then ambushed her with a surprise news conference where she was supposed to resign or face cheating allegations.
    Dávila included among her exhibits a letter to pageant organizers, written after Gravitt's purported threats. The letter outlines her personal battle with chronic depression and anxiety.
    Dávila stated in the letter that she'd hoped to inspire a public conversation about mental illness and shape philanthropic efforts.
    "It's an interesting issue. How can a person be a competitive beauty queen when living with depression and anxiety?" asked Matthew Dietz, litigation director of Disability Independence Group Inc. in Miami. "Part of the role of a beauty queen, unfortunately, is also to present an image, a mask of happiness that fits with the perception."
    But the letter could bolster Dávila's case if it builds sympathy and fortifies her claims of being unfairly targeted.
    "Absent proof of special animus, the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim fails to resonate," Sammataro said.

    Source: Daily Business Review, 8/2/2016

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    Karlie Hay (center) was crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 on Saturday.

    Miss Teen USA winner Karlie Hay will be allowed to keep her crown after tweets that included racist language were discovered on her private Twitter account.
    Hay, 18, from Tomball, Texas, won the Miss Teen USA competition Saturday night prompting an outcry online regarding the tweets, some of which allegedly included the n-word. Following the uproar, Hay made her Twitter account private, preventing unapproved users from seeing her archive. Meanwhile, screengrabs of the tweets with her photo and handle spread across the Web. Hay responded to the controversy through her Instagram account and in a series of tweets from her new handle @RealMissTXQueen writing, “I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for. Through hard work, education and thanks in large part to the sisterhood that I have come to know through pageants, I am proud to say that I am today a better person.”
    Several years ago, I had many personal struggles and found myself in a place that is not representative of who I am as a person...
    I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for. Through hard work...
    The Miss Universe Organization, which oversees the Miss Teen USA pageant, issued a statement distancing itself from the racist language attributed to Hay, saying it “is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization.” However, the organization does not plan to revoke Hay’s crown, writing that they “are committed to supporting her continued growth.”
    But the Internet has refused to back down. Critics are claiming that the tweets on Hay’s account are evidence of systemic racism in the pageant world. Model and social media personality Chrissy Teigen mocked a photo of the top five Miss Teen USA finalists — all of them white and blond.
    The finalists included Hay, Miss South Carolina Marley Stokes, Miss North Carolina Emily Wakeman, Miss Alabama Erin Snow, and Miss Nevada Carissa Morrow.
    Kamie Crawford, a TV host and 2010 Miss Teen USA winner, also took issue with the tweets.
    I can take the  top 5 being an all white, all blonde top 5. What I can't take is - why didn't the winner clean up her page? 🤔🤔🤔
    The Miss Universe Organization is owned by WME-IMG who purchased it from Donald Trump in September after NBC and Univision refused to broadcast the competition citing concerns over Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants.

    Source: The Boston Globe, 8/2/2016

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          The United States National Pageants 2016 took place on August 4 at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada. Eight new winners were crowned, each representing a specific category: Little Miss United States (ages 8-9), Miss Pre-Teen United States (ages 10-12), Miss Jr. Teen United States (ages 13-15), Miss Teen United States (ages 16-19), Miss United States (ages 20-29), Ms. United States (ages 20-29, unmarried, must have previously been married and/or had children), Mrs. United States (21 & up - married, may have children), and Ms. Woman United States (30 & up - unmarried, may or may not have previously been married or had children). 

          Here are the new 2016 titleholders:

    Miss United States 2016 is Alayah Benavidez from Texas. 

    Miss Teen United States 2016 is Mary George from Virginia 

    Miss Jr. Teen United States 2016 is Britney Barnhart from Nevada. 

    Ms. United States 2016 is Mee-Ladie Delgado from Florida

    Mrs. United States 2016 is Ashley Stremme from North Carolina
    Photo credit: Rachel Juillerat/Facebook

    Miss Pre-Teen United States 2016 is Kendall Bear from Nevada
    Photo Credit: United States National Pageants

    Little Miss United States 2016 is Angel Guerrero representing Polynesia
    Photo Credit: United States National Pageants

    Mrs. United States 2016 Ashley Stremme with Isabella Ilacqua, the founder of the
    Mrs. United States pageant. Photo Credit: United States National Pageants

    All eight new titleholders posed for a group photo a day after the pageant. 
    Photo credit: Goodwin Photography

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    Shakira Martin used her beauty queen crown as a platform to spread her personal gospel: love life.

    The former Miss Jamaica Universe used her platform and notoriety to encourage others with sickle cell anemia to get out of their homes and into the sunshine, her mother Andrea Hall said.
    "If you live a dead life, what was the purpose of being alive?" were words Ms. Martin lived by, according to her mother.
    Ms. Martin, of Plantation, died Wednesday at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines from blood clots on both lungs, complications of the sickle cell anemia she had since birth. She was 30.
    "She was never a slave to the disease, she was very proud, very resilient, she lived her life to the fullest," said Hall, of Plantation. "Nothing was impossible for her, she never allowed anything to stop her from trying. She was very funny, friendly, loved music, loved Beyonce."
    Hall learned she and her husband were both carriers of sickle anemia when she was pregnant. Doctors told her there was a 25 percent chance the baby would be born with the disease and encouraged her to have an abortion.
    "That was not an option for me at all," Hall said. "The drive [of being OK] has so much to do with who you are."
    Ms. Martin was born June 1, 1986, in Brooklyn. Her family moved to South Florida in 1989. Throughout her life, she vacationed in her mother's homeland of Jamaica, where the food and culture drew her back year after year.
    Ms. Martin graduated from Nova High School in 2004 and attended Broward College. She worked as a teacher at a daycare and entered a beauty pageant in Miami in 2010. She came in second.
    A friend urged her to enter the Miss Jamaica Universe pageant. Just for fun, Ms. Martin did the following year, and she won.
    "Who knew?" said Hall.
    Ms. Martin gave motivational talks throughout Jamaica, encouraging others "just to get out of bed," Hall said.
    Having a Miss Jamaica with sickle cell "became intriguing to people, she beat the odds, she achieved things people [didn't] think you can," Hall said.
    During her reign in 2011, Ms. Martin held a toy drive to collect 400 toys and distribute them to sick children at a Jamaican hospital.
    After she broke her hip in three places because of deteriorating bones, she put on her heels to crown her successor as Miss Jamaica Universe.
    Earlier this year, Ms. Martin, whose nickname was "Shak," created Shak's Hope Fund to create awareness and education.
    Funeral arrangements are pending. A memorial service will follow in Jamaica. "That was her favorite place," Hall said. "She came back from Jamaica the day she died, she wasn't feeling well. [From the pictures during the trip], she was laughing like she never laughed."
    In addition to her mother, Ms. Martin is survived by her father Alphonso Martin, of England; and two brothers and one sister.

    Source: Sun Sentinel, Jamaica, 8/4/2016

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         International pageantry is shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Hugo Castellanos, who had acquired the Mexican franchise for Miss World just last May. Early online reports suggest that Castellanos was gunned down in his car early Sunday morning  (August 7, 2016) in Culiacán, Sinaloa, hours after he crowned Melissa Lizárraga as the new Miss Sinaloa. His death was announced on the Facebook page of Miss Mexico. The motive behind the killing is unknown pending investigation by the Mexican police. 

     Hugo Castellanos assists in the coronation of Melissa Lizárraga, 
    Miss Sinaloa 2016 / Photo: El Debate

    Castellanos's body was found face down in the back seat of his Grand Cherokee car. The rear doors were riddled with bullets. / Photo: El Debate

    Castellanos prepared many young women for Nuestra Belleza México including Ximena Navarette (left) who would later be crowned Miss Universe 2010. 
    Photo: El Debate


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