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Beauty With Attitude

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    Kazuo Okada, (L) chairman of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. and Shawn McClain, VP of Business Development and Marketing at the Miss Universe Organization, take part in the press launch of 65th annual Miss Universe competition to be held in the Philippines on January 30, 2017, during a news conference in Makati city, Metro Manila, Philippines November 16, 2016. 
     REUTERS/Erik De Castro

    Officials and organizers of the Miss Universe 2016 competition confirmed on Wednesday the next pageant will be held in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, in January 2017.

    Miss Universe Organization Vice President Shawn McClain signed contracts with Philippine sponsors led by former governor Chavit Singson who will invest $11 million into the event.

    Singson said he was glad to see the Miss Universe pageant "back home."

    McClain said the Miss Universe Organization wants to host the pageant in Manila again for its "energetic" and "engaged" fan base.

    The live broadcast of the competition draws 500 million viewers worldwide, including many from the Philippines, according to McClain.

    The Philippines was the first Asian country to host the annual competition in 1974 and again held the pageant in 1994.

    Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach

    Filipina beauty queen Pia Wurtzbach holds the Miss Universe crown from 2015.

    (Reporting by Reuters TV in Manila; Editing by David Gregorio)

    Source: Reuters, 11/16/2016

    Shawn McClain, VP of Business Development and Marketing of MUO (far right),
    toasts with the representatives of private sectors that will provide financial
    backing for the hosting of the 65th edition of Miss Universe pageant.
    Photo credit: OPMB Worldwide

    ***Side Note: I called the Miss Universe Organization early this afternoon to get clarification about the 65th edition of the pageant. I was transferred to the voicemail of MUO Public Relations Director, Jackie Shahinian, to whom I had previously sent two e-mails that remained unanswered (I also sent one to MUO President Paula Shugart). I left a voicemail message for Jackie to call me back. In my e-mails I had asked when MUO would send out a press release confirming the date and the venue of the next pageant. That was a week ago. I find it odd that MUO has not posted an official announcement, even though the current Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach has been telling the world via her social media that the 65th edition will indeed be held in the Philippines on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. Usually, I rely on MUO's official press release to confirm everything, and I was not about to make any travel arrangements to the Philippines without first verifying with MUO, especially when a rumor arose claiming that  the pageant would be cancelled

         Anyway, I am so relieved to know that the venue and date have been officially announced at today's press conference at the Makati Shangri-La. 

         And since Paula Shugart has not responded to my e-mails, and that she has not been visible lately in the last few months, I would guess that she has either resigned or has been dismissed from her position and that Shawn McClain has now taken her place. 

    - Rafa Delfin, 11/16/2016

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    Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach waves Philippine flag during her homecoming parade
     in / Efigenio Toledo IV, file

    DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Philippines News Agency) —The Philippines' hosting of the next prestigious Miss Universe pageant on Jan. 30, 2017 will be aired live on all TV networks at around 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., a tourism official said.
    Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary for Media Affairs Kat De Castro made this confirmation in a press conference in Davao City on Saturday urging those interested in seeing the pageant in the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena to “come early.”
    De Castro said that an inter-agency task force composed of the DOT, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Finance (DOF) was also formed to make sure the staging of the pageant runs smoothly.
    She noted that the DOTr and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will make sure that traffic is kept at the minimum during the pageant.
    “One of the orders of President (Rodrigo) Duterte is when we do the final show, people will not experience traffic because it’s happening on a Monday morning,” De Castro said.
    The pageant’s ancillary events will, meanwhile, be held in other parts of the country including Davao, Bicol, Cebu and Vigan. There will also be photoshoots done in Baguio, Palawan, Siargao, Tacloban and Iloilo.
    Last November 16, major partners signed an agreement to secure the hosting of the pageant in the Philippines.
    DOT earlier said that the private sector would shoulder production costs of the pageant, estimated at $11-15 million.
    The official host of the prestigious pageant will be the DOT and the group of former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis Chavit Singson, LCS Holdings, while its partners include Okada Manila, Solar Entertainment Inc. and SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc.
    The Philippines already hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1974 and 1994.

    Source:, 11/20/2016

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  • 11/26/16--20:20: India Wins Miss Globe 2016

  • Dimple Patel of India was crowned 2016 Miss Globe at the 25Expo City, Tirana,  Albania on November 25th. Forty young women from around the world competed in the 43rd edition of the pageant. Patel is the first woman from her country to win the title. She was crowned by outgoing queen Ann Colisof the Philippines

    Patel's court includes 1st runner-up Yenny Carrillo of Colombia and 2nd runner-up Kristiana Skurra of Albania. Completing the top 10 are the contestants from 

    South Africa, Kosovo, Philippines, Russia, Poland, Estonia, China and Thailand (Popular Vote). Miss Globe is produced by Deliart Association which is now based in Canada.


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    Photo: Courtesy of Shaima Qassem.
    Photo: Courtesy of Shaima Qassem.

         In an interview with Rudaw, Shaima Qassem, the Kurdish winner of Miss Iraq in 2015 expressed her regret for being crowned with the title as she claimed she did not receive any financial support from the Iraqi government or any other group to support her activities. She said she did her charity activities on her own.
         Qassem, 20, was born in the Kurdish oil rich city of Kirkuk. She was crowned Miss Iraq in January 2016 in Baghdad.

    Rudaw: You became Miss Iraq nearly a year ago, what have you done so far?

    Shaima Qassem: When I was crowned, I wanted to get involved in charity activities for refugees and children suffering from cancer. Every month, I provided necessities for children and food for the refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as well as chemotherapy for children suffering cancer at my own expense. I have also helped in elderly care houses.
    Have the government, officials, or Iraqi companies assisted you?

    No. I felt obliged to sell a house I owned in Kirkuk for $120,000 believing that I had responsibilities to hold. With this sum, I finished projects valued at $40,000. I sacrificed the house to people because before I was crowned I was a civil activist and knew how these people were living.
    Did your family agree with you selling your house? How is your economic situation?
    It is intermediate. However, my father agreed with me to sell the house to finish my projects since I became Miss Iraq due to the people. 
    You sold your own house and helped refugees and sick kids. Why was this not published in the media?

    I have done these projects for the sake of God, not social media or people. I do not have to hurt people by making advertisements and making myself rich out of these projects. 
    If I did not do these projects, I would be able to purchase a house in Baghdad with the money I received from selling the Kirkuk house. Now, I pay rent in Baghdad. I fled Kirkuk due to threats and cannot return.
    Has not the Iraqi government allotted a salary to you?

    No, just the culture minister recognized me as Miss Iraq on an international level.
    Have not you visited the Kurdistan Region to obtain help?

    I only visited Sulaimani. A businessman allotted a sum for us in order to take part in the Miss Earth Pageant. Some companies pledged to help me, but they did not fulfill their promises.
    Is there any plan to choose a new Miss Iraq? 
     Yes, it is supposed to take place in March of next year.

    What would you ask of the next Miss Iraq?

    I would like that a new winner will be chosen because the work is very difficult but I hope the troubles I went through she does not face. I call on the government to consider the next winner as she serves her country. I am ready to help her, too.
    What do you think the next Miss Iraq should focus on the most?

    Children, especially those infected with cancer.
    Do you have plans to nominate yourself for Miss World?

    I have already been accepted onto the Miss Earth Pageant competitions and I should go to the Philippines in December of 2017. But if I am not financially supported then I will not be able to make it.   (***We think she meant to say "Miss Universe Pageant")
    After you take off the crown, where are you going to stay?

    I will stay in Baghdad since I am a presenter on Mada Channel. 
    Has being in the pageant created any problems for your current job?

    I faced problems with the director of Miss Iraq as they tried to force me to disappear from the media, but I did not listen to them. I do not have contact with them now. 
    From what are you saying, it appears you regret becoming Miss Iraq. 

    Yes, because nobody helped me and I do not feel like I am the winner.
    Do you study?

    Yes, I am a student in the economics department at Isra College, which is a private college. 
    Do you work with Miss Kurdistan?

    How are you doing with social media?
    I am active on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and have some pages and accounts.

    Source:, 12/1/2016

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    Srinidhi Ramesh Shetty, 24, of India was crowned Miss Supranational 2016 during a live telecast  in Krynica Zdrój, Poland on December 2nd.  Shetty's victory marks her country's second crown in only two years. In 2014, her compatriot Asha Bhat was crowned the first Indian winner.  Shetty's court includes 1st runner-up Valeria Alejandra Vespoli Figuera of Venezuela, 2nd runner-up  Jaleesa Pigot of Suriname, 3rd runner-up Ornella Mariam Jayasiri Gunesekere of Sri Lanka, and 4th runner-up  Korinna Kocsis of Hungary.

    Completing the top 10 were the delegates from  Belarus, Indonesia, Myanmar, Poland and Slovakia. Rounding up the top 25 were the contestants from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Ukraine and Vietnam.

    Photo credit: Miss Supranational 

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    Diego Garcy, a 26-year-old graduate of Business Administration and professional model from Mexico, won the first edition of Mister Supranational contest held in Krynica, Sdroj in Poland on December 3rd. Garcy was crowned by the new Miss Supranational 2016 Srinidhi Shetty of India who had just competed the night before. 

    Garcy's court includes 1st runner-up Sergey Bindalov, 29, of Belarus whom many pageant fans had predicted as the winner; 2nd runner-up Jitesh Narush Thakur, 27, of India; 3rd runner-up Bruno Vanin, 27, of Brazil; and 4th runner-up Catalin Prinza, 27, of Romania.

     Diego Garcy

    Rounding up the top 10 were the delegates from Poland, Denmark, Panama, Japan, and Venezuela. Competing the top 20 were the contestants from Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Belgium, Czech Republic, Sweden, France, Malta, Spain, Slovia and the Philippines.

    Some of the top 20 semifinalists wear the colors of their nations during the "Boxers" segment

    The televised show lasted over 4 hours and featured all 36 of the contestants perform several dance routines from break dancing to waltz. On its official website, it says that "Mister Supranational aims to revolutionize the industry, being the first competition of this nature to have a super modern and high fashion television production." And that the idea is "to discover new talents for the modeling and television industries and to produce instant celebrities."

    The contest is run by the Panama-based World Beauty Association and produced by Nowa Scena, a global leader in event production.

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    Steve hosting Miss Universe on Dec. 20. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

    Steve Harvey is getting candid about his infamous Miss Universe blunder.
    Nearly one year after the TV host mistakenly announced the wrong winner of the beauty pageant, he's opening up about how uncomfortable the unfortunate situation was for him at the time.
    “It didn’t happen that quick,” Steve revealed during The Tonight Show on Monday, Dec. 5. “It wasn’t that quick. It was four minutes of pure hell.”

    The 59-year-old announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, as the winner, when it was really Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach. The falsity left both finalists and the audience noticeably in shock!
    “It was crazy, man, because, look, I’m a smart guy. I can read,” he told host Jimmy Fallon. “I read the teleprompter, but the guy in my ear said, ‘Read the next name,’ and the teleprompter just said, ‘And the new 2015 Miss Universe is,’ and the next he said was, ‘Read the next name now, now.’ I said, ‘Miss Colombia.’ Crowd goes crazy. He goes, ‘Great job, Steve.’ I go in the back four minutes later, I hear a lot of words that you can’t say on TV. ‘Explicit, explicit, explicit,’ and then he said, ‘We said the wrong name.’”
    “It was the most gut-wrenching walk I’ve ever had in my life,” he said of the moment he had to return to the stage and apologize for his inaccuracy. “I was brought up that way, man, to kind of just face whatever there is, so I went out and dealt with it.”
    However, it seems all is forgiven! Steve will host the 2016 Miss Universe pageant on Jan. 30.

    Source:, 12/7/2016

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    Miss Universe Organization (MUO) president Paula Shugart on Monday quashed possibilities that President Rodrigo Duterte would sit as a judge in the international beauty tilt in Manila next month.

    In a press conference in Makati with 12 Miss Universe candidates already in the country, Shugart reiterated the organization’s policy of not having any government official in the board of judges.

     “It’s very hard to be a government official and to be (a judge). We established the policy a long time ago. They have to be neutral,” Shugart said.

    The Department of Tourism earlier expressed optimism that the MUO would flex its rules and welcome Duterte’s participation in judging the pageant.

    “I think Miss Universe Organization is very much welcome to have him in the show. Apparently, it is a rule for the Miss Universe Organization not to have a judge from the host country but I think if it’s the President, I think they will make an exception to the rule,” DOT undersecretary Katherine De Castro said last week.

    But Tourism officials said they were hoping that the President would sit in and watch the pageant live even if he would not be a judge.

    The Miss Universe coronation night will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Jan. 30, 2017. YG/CBB/rga

    CROWN JEWELS  Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach shows off her crown encrusted with diamond, topaz and sapphire stones, and whose design was inspired by New York’s skyline. JILSON SECKLER TIU
    Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach will be handing off the crown to another beauty when Manila hosts the pageant in January 2017. Unfortunately, President Rodrigo Duterte will not be part of the board of judges that will choose the successor of Wurtzbach, according to Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016.  JILSON SECKLER TIU

    SOURCE: Lifestyle,, 12/12/2016

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    Miss Universe candidates take a ‘groupie’ withTourism Secretary Wanda Teo in Rizal Park yesterday.

    Get ready to shell out about P50,000 to see over 90 of the most beautiful women in the universe up close.
    Tickets for the 65th Miss Universe pageant coronation night will be available online starting Dec. 20, with prices ranging from $160 to $1,000, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced yesterday.
    In a press briefing in Makati City, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo revealed that fans could start buying tickets online through the Ticketnet website.    
    General admission tickets cost around $160 (approximately P8,000), while VIP tickets would more or less cost $1,000 (almost P50,000), Teo said. Prices for upper and lower box tickets have yet to be announced.
    Teo said only 200 tickets remain for the VIP section, as most of the seats have been reserved by the Miss Universe Organization (MUO). But she assured the public that many seats in other sections are still available.
    The announcement came amid speculations online on the ticket prices for the final event of the Miss Universe competition to be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 30, 2017.    
    “I have heard that some things have been put on the internet, but we don’t know where it came from,” MUO president Paula Shugart said.    
    Teo said the DOT is working on Miss Universe tour packages in response to demands from returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).    
    “We’re still fixing it because the packages will not only be Manila, but will also include Davao, Cebu, all the provinces – also, Legaspi and Palawan,” Teo said, referring to the provinces hosting the pageant’s ancillary events.
    “We will be submitting that soon (to the MUO). Before the end of the week, the packages will be ready,” she added.    
    Eleven candidates of the 2016 Miss Universe pageant are currently in the Philippines for a week of pre-pageant tours and activities. Most of the ladies said this was their first time to visit.
    Last Sunday, the candidates visited Siargao – the Philippines’ surfing capital – and said the beauty of the beaches and the locals’ warmth and hospitality awed them.     
    “We had a wonderful time. We went to Cloud 9 beach and it is probably one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to,” Miss USA Deshauna Barber said.    
    “It’s so beautiful it was like paradise. I’m definitely bringing my family back here,” Miss Malaysia Kiranmeet Kaur Baljeet Singh added.    
    For Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Tun, the warmth and friendliness of Filipinos were “overwhelming.”   
    “All the staff and all the people in Siargao have warm hospitality, I had a pleasant time with them. I think (I gained) a lot of friends here. All the Filipino friends are very cute and warm. I was overwhelmed by their support to all of us,” she said.    
    Maxine Medina, the country’s bet for the Miss Universe crown, said this is just a taste of what’s in store for the contestants in January.
    “I’m very proud that the girls are happy to see the place and that is just a preview of what is going to happen next. So, we’re very excited,” the Filipina contender said.
    The candidates toured Intramuros yesterday and are set to be in Oslob, Cebu today.    
    Reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said seeing the new batch of candidates “brings back a lot of memories.”    
    “I remember the days when I used to be a candidate for Miss Universe and my advice is, ‘Girls, enjoy it because it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’ And I’m not going to lie, I miss it. I miss being Miss Philippines, but I’ll definitely miss being Miss Universe as well,” Wurtzbach said.    
    Meanwhile, Shugart promised a “unique” Miss Universe competition next January.    
     Wurtzbach to donate to Caritas
    Meanwhile, the reigning Miss Universe pledged yesterday to donate bags and shoes to the first celebrity bazaar organized by Caritas Manila.   
    The 27-year-old Wurtzbach met yesterday morning with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who also heads Caritas Internationalis, at his residence in Intramuros, Manila.
    During their meeting that lasted for more than an hour, Wurtzbach reportedly promised to donate rubber shoes, formal shoes, gowns and other personal items to the church organization’s first “Celebrity Pre-Loved Luxury Sale” set on Dec. 13 and 14 at the Glorietta 5 Atrium, Ayala Center in Makati City.
    The beauty queen said the pageant organization would also donate to Caritas Manila the proceeds from last Friday’s charity fashion gala called “A Royal Affair.” 
    “We are all doing this just out of pure love and good faith and asking for nothing in return but just give back because we feel very blessed,” said Wurtzbach. “Of course, it’s timely because it’s the holiday season as well. So, let us give without expecting anything in return.”
    Tagle thanked Wurtzbach for her generosity that would benefit the poor.
    “Miss Pia, you are a towering figure. We look up to you… We are here for one purpose and it is to serve our brothers and sisters with no other motivation but love, caritas. We are happy that a person like you and other celebrities, if we might use that word, are offering whatever you could to support, especially the young people in need of education,” Tagle said.
    The Manila prelate afterwards gave Wurtzbach his personal rosary that Pope Francis had given him.
    Caritas Manila executive director Fr. Anton Pascual said the church group hopes to raise P2 million for the education of its 5,000 Youth Servant Leadership and Education Program (YSLEP) beneficiaries, who are currently taking college courses and vocational technology education. 
    “This is our way of helping the poor and give them a good future. We believe that education is the great social equalizer,” Pascual said. With Evelyn Macairan
    Source:, 12/13/2016

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    Anastasia Lin, Canada’s Miss World entrant, spoke out about murky, government-sanctioned organ transplant programs in China. CreditPablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

    Anastasia Lin, the Miss World contestant whose advocacy for victims of human right abuses in China has infuriated Beijing, appears to have regained her voice.
    On Wednesday evening, pageant organizers gave Ms. Lin, a Chinese-born Canadian, the green light to speak to the news media, ending a three-week standoff in Washington that had drawn unflattering attention to a storied beauty pageant that has become increasingly dependent on Chinese corporate sponsors.
    According to friends and relatives of Ms. Lin’s, employees of the British-owned beauty pageant had warned her that she would be ejected from the competition if she spoke publicly about murky, government-sanctioned transplant programs that human rights advocates say rely heavily on the organs of murdered prisoners of conscience.
    China has denied the allegations, saying that organ donations in the country are voluntary.
    In a brief phone interview, Ms. Lin, 26, declined to discuss whether she had been silenced and praised the Miss World Organization for allowing her to compete in the finals, which will be televised Sunday night and are expected to draw a global audience of one billion. “To their credit, they did give me this platform, and I’m able to speak freely now,” she said.
    She also said the pageant’s executive director, Julia Morley, had given her permission to attend the premiere of a feature film, “The Bleeding Edge,” that stars Ms. Lin and seeks to dramatize the cruelties of what human rights advocates describe as Chinese government-run programs that harvest the organs of prisoners.
    In an emailed statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Morley said she had never barred Ms. Lin from the premiere, which is scheduled for Wednesday night in Washington. The event is sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an organization with obvious enmity for China’s authoritarian government.
    Last year, China blocked Ms. Lin from attending the Miss World finals in Sanya, the southern Chinese resort city that has hosted the finals a half-dozen times since 2003. She said pageant officials had made little effort to intervene on her behalf, but they allowed her to retain the Miss Canada title for another year, paving the way for her participation in the 2016 finals.
    Ms. Lin sought to focus the interview on her project, which aims to raise awareness about Beijing’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that is banned in China. Adherents face imprisonment, and those who refuse to renounce the movement are often subjected to torture.
    Ms. Lin and other critics of the Chinese government say Falun Gong practitioners who die in custody are unwilling providers of organs for the nation’s lucrative transplant industry. “China does not have a viable voluntary transplant system, so someone has to die,” she said. “It’s not like the organs grow on plants.”
    She has few illusions that her awareness campaign will make it past China’s strict censors, but she said her appearance in the finals might inspire others willing to stand up to the authorities.
    During a visit to Taiwan this year, she described running into a tour group from mainland China. She was stunned, she said, when a number of people recognized her and then asked to be photographed by her side.
    “Despite 60 years of censorship, people don’t believe everything they hear on the news,” she said, referring to Chinese reports over the past year that have sought to demonize her. “I may end up standing in the last row this year, but if they are able to see me, I hope people will be encouraged.”
    Source: The New York Times, 12/14/2016

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    After his major -- and majorly embarrassing -- flub from the 2015 ceremony, Steve Harvey is hoping for some redemption: The comedian has been confirmed to return to emcee the 2016 Miss Universe pageant, set to take place in January.
    For those who were living under an internet-free rock at the time, Harvey made the biggest mistake a pageant host can make back in December 2015 when he announced the wrong winner for the Miss Universe title. The comedian accidentally said that Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, was the 2015 champ, when she was in fact the first runner-up to the real winner, Miss Phillippines, Pia Wurtzbach. Gutiérrez was given the crown, sash, and a giant bouquet of flowers before the mistake was realized.
    A sheepish Harvey had to return to the stage, interrupt Gutiérrez's celebration, and announce to the crowd that he had read the wrong name. He held up his cue cards as proof of his mistake, and immediately owned the error, telling the audience, "I will take responsibility for this. It was my mistake ... horrible mistake."
    Despite that drama -- and all the public ridicule, and even death threats, that followed his blunder -- Harvey remained a good sport about the error, and the show's producers even publicly backed him, stating at the time that they'd love to have him back. Looks like they decided to make good on that promise.
    The Miss Universe 2016 pageant will take place in the Phillippines on January 29, 2017. We're betting Harvey will bring some extra reading glasses with him this time around.
    Source: MovieFone, 12/15/2016

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       Alicia Aylies, Miss Guyane, has been crowned Miss France 2017. She is 18 years old, and a first-year law student. She makes history by being crowned as the first Miss France from a French overseas territory located in South America. 

       Vaea Ferrand, Miss Tahiti, was runner-up, with Morgane Thérésine, Miss Guadeloupe, second-runner-up. Justine Kamara (Miss Lorraine) came fourth.

       The competition was held at the Montpellier exhibition centre, as the jury and the public found a successor for Miss France 2016 Iris Mittenaere, with live coverage on TF1. Jean-Pierre Foucault hosted the ceremony for the 22nd time.

       Thirty regional winners were selected during the past year to compete for the title of Miss France 2017. Twelve had been preselected by the jury, this year chaired by actress Arielle Dombasle, who replaces Jean-Paul Gaultier.

       These 12 were Meggy Pyaneeandee (Miss Île-de-France), Ambre Nguyen (Miss Réunion), Esther Houdement (Miss Normandie), Axelle Bonnemaison (Miss Aquitaine), Alicia Aylies (Miss Guyane), Aurore Kichenin (Miss Languedoc-Roussillon), Morgane Thérésine (Miss Guadeloupe), Claire Godard (Miss Alsace), Justine Kamara (Miss Lorraine), Maurane Bouazza (Miss Bretagne), Myrtille Cauchefer (Miss Picardie), and Vaea Ferrand (Miss Tahiti). The public were then invited to select the top five.

       Miss Île de France had topped the general knowledge quiz in an earlier session, while Miss Languedoc-Roussillon had probably the greatest amount of applause when the top 12 were announced.

    The top five—all brunettes—were Alicia Aylies (Miss Guyane), Aurore Kichenin (Miss Languedoc-Roussillon), Vaea Ferrand (Miss Tahiti), Justine Kamara (Miss Lorraine), and Morgane Thérésine (Miss Guadeloupe).

       Other jury members were actress Ingrid Chauvin, comedienne Michèle Bernier, Miss France 2010 Malika Ménard, musician Amir, filmmaker Christophe Barratier and Olympic gold medallist Tony Yoka.

       Through the evening, the contestants paraded in costumes recalling The Nutcracker, tuxedo dresses in a penguin-themed sequence, Christmas-themed swimwear, Frozen cosplay dresses, Christmas outfits, outfits with giant Christmas decorations seemingly inspired by the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, white ball gowns, and, sticking to the past earlier in the evening, bikinis.

       There had been one incident during the night, reports Paris Match: Miss Mayotte, Naïma Madi Mahadali, was hospitalized due to a fall after the penguin-themed parade, and appeared with a bandaged right foot when the top 12 were announced.

       Traditionally, 40 per cent of the viewing audience watches the live telecast on TF1. Former Miss France (2002) Sylvie Tellier remains the president of the competition.

    Source:, 12/17/2016

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    Stephanie Del Valle, 19, of Puerto Rico was crowned Miss World 2016 on December 18 at the Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland, USA. She was crowned by her predecessor, Mireia Lalaguna of Spain. Del Valle is the second woman from her country to win the coveted title, which was initially won by Wilnelia Merced in 1975. 

    Del Valle's court includes 1st runner-up Yaritza Reyes, 23, of the Dominican Republic and 2nd runner-up Natasha Mannuela, 22, of Indonesia. The remaining two finalists were Catriona Gray, 22, of the Philippines and Evelyn Njambi Thungu, 22, of Kenya.

    Completing the top 10 were the delegates from Belgium, Brazil, China, Korea and the United States. Mongolia, which won the People's Choice, became the 11th semi-finalist. Rounding up the top 20 were the delegates from Australia, Cook Islands, France, Ghana, Hungary, India, Japan, Slovakia and Thailand.

    Heavy favorite Catriona Gray of the Philippines, shows her disappointment for not winning the crown. Earlier, she had won the Multimedia Award which automatically fast-tracked her to the top 20. The other awardees who made the top 20 were Jing Kong of China (Top Model), Indonesia (Beauty With A Purpose), Natalia Short of Cook Islands (Sports) and Bayartsetseg Altangerel of Mongolia (Talent).

    Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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    Najah Ghamrawi was crowned Miss Lebanon Emigrant Australia last July. 
    (Photo: Facebook)

    A Sydney beauty queen caught in a police drugs bust is set to lose her title after organizers launched an investigation.
    Miss Lebanon Emigrant Australia - Najah Ghamrawi - was arrested after a chase by police officers who spotted her driving a high performance Volkswagen Golf erratically through Bankstown last month.
    She was forced to pull over in Derribong, Street, Villawood, when a tyre burst and was questioned at the scene along with her 20-year-old male passenger.
    It is alleged officers seized 22 grams of the drug ice and a large sum of cash from the man.
    The pair were arrested and taken to Bankstown police station where the man was charged with drug offences and bailed to appear at Bankstown Local Court on February 22.

    Ghamrawi, 18, was fined more than $1350 for a number of driving offences including not wearing a seatbelt, negligent driving, not complying with high performance car restrictions and not displaying P-plates. The beauty queen was not charged with drug offences.

    Hiam Yazbeck, from the events company that organizes the Miss Lebanon Emigrant Australia pageant, told its legal team was investigating the incident and if the facts were verified Ghamrawi would be stripped of her title.

    Pageant representatives had been attempting to contact Ghamrawi by phone and email but she had not returned their calls.

    Miss Yazbeck said the incident involving the beauty queen was "definitely not" the image they wanted to present to the world.

    She said the investigation was under way and would be reporting back to the event's organisation committee within a few days.

    The committee would then decide whether to take Ghamrawi's crown from her.

    Source:, 1/3/2017

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  • 01/04/17--20:40: End Of The Year Review 2016
  • Pageantry in 2016: Creating Safe Spaces For Marginalized Belles, Redefining Beauty, And Filling The Void Left By Trump


    TRANSFORMING ISRAEL:  The first ever pageant in the Middle East for transwomen took place in Israel on May 26, 2016. Ta’alin Abu Hanna, a 21-year-old Catholic Arab from Nazareth, was crowned Miss Trans Israel 2016. The pageant was organized by  Israela Stephanie Levwho said living as a transwoman in Israel had been “terrible” in the past, but that now things were improving. “Definitely we are achieving, enlightening the people to accept and empower transsexuals,” she told the Associated Press. The fact that a transgender pageant can take place in Israel proves that the country is the most liberal and tolerant place in the entire Middle East.



    FAKIH'S HABIBI:  Former Miss USA Rima Fakih married Lebanese-American music producer Wassim Salibiin Lebanon on May 15, 2016. The beauty queen’s husband, Salibi, 35, was recently recognized by Billboard magazine for being one of the most influential music producers under the age of 40. Fakih, born a Muslim, converted to Christianity a month before her wedding. Rima came to fame after winning the national Miss USA pageant in 2010, when she became the first Muslim and Arab woman to be crowned Miss USA after competing in the pageant – which at the time had been owned by current US presidential hopeful Donald Trump.



    52 REASONS TO WEAR SHERRI HILL:  The Miss Universe Organization along with the fashion agency Sherri Hill decided to make a competition online where different women from all the US competed. Finally, 10 women were selected by a panel of judges, and these 10 finalists were revealed on May 10, 2016. The winner between these 10 candidates competed as "Miss 52 USA" in the Miss USA 2016 pageant on June 5, 2016. The winner - who is supposed to be a woman who best embodies Miss USA based on originality, personality and a web interview -  was announced on May 18, 2016 and it was Alexandra Miller from Oklahoma City. Miller was 1st runner-up to Olivia Jordan in the Miss Oklahoma USA 2015 pageant. Some pageant fans think that the "Miss 52 USA" contest was just a marketing ploy to promote Sherri Hill gown collection. Miller failed to place in the Miss USA 2015 contest which was won by Deshauna Barber from the District of Columbia.


    TRANSFORMING TEEN:  The Miss Universe Organization decided to scrap the swimsuit portion of the Miss Teen USA pageant and to replace it with an athletic wear competition. "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 presidentPaula Shugart wrote 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." Michael Antinoro of IMG, the talent agency that bought the Miss Universe Organization including Miss Teen USA, said that the switch is aimed at "highlighting a healthy lifestyle" for younger viewers.



    The newly crowned Miss Teen USA Karlie Hay was able to retain her crown despite controversy that erupted after the discovery of tweets wherein the pageant winner repeatedly used a racial slur.  Social media users discovered the tweets where Karlie Hay, 18, hours after she won her crown on July 30, 2016.  In the tweets, Hay is shown using the “N-word” multiple times. Her Twitter account has since been made private, but users captured images of the tweets in 2013.  Hay issued an admission and apology via her Instagram account.  “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,” she wrote. “I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for." 
    Okay, fair enough. Next time, think before you click!



    SAPPHICALLY REGAL:  Erin O'Flahertybroke ground as the first-ever openly gay Miss America contestant. O'Flaherty, 23, was crowned as Miss Missouri 2016 on June 18 and is the first openly gay woman to hold the title. 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.  O'Flaherty first came out to her family at age 18. "It was really hard. But ultimately I knew I had to do it," she told USA Today. O'Flaherty failed to place in the pageant which was won by Savvy Shields of Arkansas.


    MUCH ADO ABOUT MACHADO:  Alicia Machado says it took her many years to get over get over the abuse she suffered at the hands of Donald Trumpwhen she was crowned Miss Universe in 1996. “He made me feel small,” she told ThinkProgress in Spanish. “He threatened me, treated me rudely. He called me ‘Ms. Housekeeping’ in front of his friends.” Trump, then the owner of the beauty pageant, publicly mocked Machado for gaining weight and forced her to exercise in front of TV cameras. She said she was depressed and suffered from an eating disorder for several years as a result. “He hates girls,” she said. “He considers girls to be less. We have another status, to him.” Machado has lived in the U.S. for nearly 20 years now, and has a seven-year-old daughter who is a U.S. citizen. But she didn’t consider becoming a citizen herself until several months ago, when Trump became the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
    “It was like a great monster reappearing in my life,” she said. “In the beginning, I thought there was no way this loco will ever win. But after the primaries I realized I need to vote. I can’t invite my community to step up if I won’t do it myself.”

    Alas, Trump won the U.S. presidential elections. Poor Alicia. Don't expect Trump to invite you to his presidential inauguration! lol


    HOLY BOOTY! Brazil's Miss Bumbum 2016 beauty pageant sparked anger after bikini-clad contestants posed for a recreation of the iconic religious painting The Last Supper - with the woman with the 'sexiest' bottom playing Jesus. In the photo, eight hopefuls in the popular 'rear of the year' contest are portrayed as Christ and his disciples on the night before his crucifixion in a scene that has offended many in the deeply Catholic country. Religious leaders branded the remake of the Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece 'deeply disrespectful' while even Brazil's religious intolerance commission waded in to the debate as anger over the picture grew. And even the women competing for the 'best bottom' title last night expressed dismay at being made to pose for the controversial scene, with one claiming she had 'asked forgiveness from God for a great sin'. After a public vote, the 27 contestants, each representing a Brazilian state, are whittled down to 15 who then battle it out in a live final on November 9. Daiana Fegueredo, representing the state of Ceara, was chosen to play Jesus in the photo as her bottom received the most number of phone votes, making her the front-runner in the race for the coveted title. Will she be riding an ass as she enters Jerusalem during Palm Sunday like Jesus did? lol



    A Somali-American teenager became the first contestant to wear a hijab and burkini during the Miss Minnesota USA pageant over the weekend. Halima Aden, 19, competed against 45 women for the Miss Minnesota USA 2016 pageant held on November 26. Aden, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp and moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota as a child, wore her hijab throughout the pageant, as well as a burkini during the swimwear competition of the event. The St. Cloud State University student placed in the top 15 of the pageant but unfortunately didn’t make it into the top 5. Aden's participation marks the first time that a major "secular" pageant has bent its rules to accommodate the religious sensitivities of applicants, or perhaps its way of extending the definition of beauty as to include fully-clad women. Anyway, we think it's all about political correctness and making everyone feel good about themselves, even at the expense of critical thought and judgment.




    HIGH-MAINTENANCE GAL:  On October 25, 2015,  Anea Garcia - representing the Dominican Republic (she was second runner-up in Miss USA 2014 representing Rhode Island) was crowned Miss Grand International 2015  in Bangkok, Thailand. However, on March 24, 2016, the Miss Grand International Organization  (MGI), on its official Facebook page, posted that Anea Garcia has been relieved of her duties as Miss Grand International because "due to unable to fulfill and follow the contractual agreement with Miss Grand International" and that her 1st runner-up, Claire Parker, has taken over the duties of the titleholder. Global Beauties published a statement written by MGI's Vice-President Teresa Chaivisut which seems to imply that Anea was fired because "she has also become very demanding, always asking for things which were not promised or part of the contact she signed, including bringing her grandmother to Bangkok, to live with her. She demanded for additional services which truly made no sense."



    CAMERA-SHY:  Kristhielee Caride was crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 on November 12, 2015. On 17 March 2016, MUPR CEO Desiree Lowry announced on national television that Caride had been stripped of her title after a controversial interview between Caride and Venezuelan entertainment reporter Patricia Vargas. According to the Miss Universe Puerto Rico Organization, the reason of her dismissal is that she was both rude and arrogant to a journalist during a televised interview, refusing to participate in camera. She had also missed multiple public appearances scheduled by the organization for varying reasons. As a result, Caride was subsequently replaced by her first runner-up  Brenda Jiménez Azaria who will now represent Puerto Rico at the next edition of Miss Universe pageant to be held in the Philippines.


    NOT CAMERA-SHY: Miss Great Britain 2016,Zara Holland, was stripped of her title after having sex on ITV2 reality show Love Island. Beauty pageant organizers said they had “no problem with sex” but said they could not condone Holland’s relationship with 24-year-old scaffolder Alex BowenThe scandalous episode of the show, watched by around a million viewers last June, featured the two in bed together and what one insider described as a “look of delight” on Bowen’s face. Although no explicit scenes were shown, it was readily apparent what had happened from comments that were featured in the following night’s programme.
    Love Island presenter Caroline Flackcriticized the decision, saying Holland was a “very sweet girl. What even is Miss GB? Are we living in the dark ages?”
    In a statement, Miss Great Britain organizers said they had taken the decision with “deep regret”. “We pride ourselves on promoting the positivity of pageants in modern society and this includes the promotion of a strong, positive female role model in our winners,” they said. “The feedback we have received from pageant insiders and members of the general public is such that we cannot promote Zara as a positive role model moving forward.
    “We wholly understand that everyone makes mistakes, but Zara, as an ambassador for Miss Great Britain, simply did not uphold the responsibility expected of the title.”


     SAVING HER IMAGE: Miss Florida USA 2017 Genesis Davila has been stripped of her crown just days after winning it on July 16. The 24-year-old Puerto Rican-American stunner was dethroned after being accused of violating rules, according to Grant Gravitt, executive producer of the pageant. "We have a zero-tolerance policy on rules," Gravitt explained. "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." According to Gravitt, Davila was axed after she used professional hair and makeup artists. The organization was informed of Davila’s decision to use pros following complaints from fellow contestants. Davila's first runner-up Linette De Los Santos has since been crowned Miss Florida USA 2017 in place of Davila. A week after her dethronement, Davila sued the pageant organizers for $15 million over claims they defamed her image. A reliable source informed Critical Beauty that Davila settled out of court for an undisclosed amount and that Gravitt has been dismissed as Florida's state director.



    GIVE HER THE MONEY: Sharlene Radlein, who was crowned Miss Universe Jamaica 2015, was dethroned following a lawsuit against the franchise owners which she had filed on July 20, 2016. Radlein alleged that the defendants were in breach of an agreement to award her a prize package valued at more than $2 million, and in further breach by not paying over the cash award portion of the prize that was due since January. The franchise owners claim that Radlein failed to be in Jamaica for at least 21 days per month; even though Radlein was born and raised in Jamaica, she is a permanent U.S. resident. "It is disingenuous to claim that my absence from the island at times was in breach of the contract when I was specifically told when I enquired about activities that no appearances could be secured for me [is] because, in their words, 'no one wanted me'," she said.



    FROZEN FAT:  Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir, the Icelandic contestant in Miss Grand International 2016 pageant, left the competition in protest after being told by the owner that she was too fat, and should skip meals to lose weight if she wanted to win. Jónsdóttir claimed that she was told to lose weight on the orders of the pageant owner, Thai TV presenter Nawat ItsaragrisilThe controversy recalls Donald Trump’s treatment of beauty queen Alicia Machado, who was the first Miss Universe winner after Trump bought that pageant franchise, but later became the subject of Trump’s ridicule. He ordered her to do sit-ups and paraded her working out in front of journalists. Jónsdóttir told the Iceland Monitor, “If the owner of the contest really wants me to lose weight and doesn’t like me the way I am, then he doesn’t deserve to have me... Yes, my shoulders are a bit broader than the other girls, but that is because I was a member of the Icelandic national athletics team and I am proud of that. “Of course, I don’t take these comments to heart, but to do my best then hear this… Personally, I think I’m fine as I am.”



    AND SHE GETS TO KEEP THE CROWN!  In July, Miss Universe Honduras Sirey Morán was stripped of her crown due to allegations of violence.  According to Sirey, Carlos Rivera, the director of Carimaxx, invited her over for a discussion at his New York City residence. In a statement to newspaper El Heraldo, the beauty queen claims that she went to his home to discuss her participation in an event that he hadn't authorized — and things quickly went downhill. She says that Carlos and another male physically and verbally attacked her while trying to take her cell phone, after realizing she had been recording their conversation. In an announcement, the organization claimed that she had not complied with her contract, according to LatinTimes.  The beauty queen and pageant executives didn't see eye-to-eye when it came to what events and functions she was attending. Morán hired lawyer Joe Tacopina, whose office told TMZ, "The Miss Universe Organization and Sirey have resolved all previous conflicts concerning her title." He added, "Sirey looks forward to representing Miss Honduras at the Miss Universe competition in the Philippines on January 30th." When the disagreement happened between both parties, Sirey issued the following statement to E! News: "It is very unfortunate this has happened and I am very disappointed and hurt, violence is never the answer."  



    AND SHE GETS TO SPEAK AGAIN!  Anastasia Lin, the Miss World 2016 contestant from Canada whose advocacy for victims of human right abuses in China has infuriated Beijing, was finally allowed by the pageant organizers to speak to the news media, ending a three-week standoff in Washington, DC (where the pageant was taking place) that had drawn unflattering attention to a celebrated beauty pageant that has become increasingly dependent on Chinese corporate sponsors. According to friends and relatives of Lin’s, employees of the British-owned beauty pageant had warned her that she would be ejected from the competition if she spoke publicly about murky, government-sanctioned transplant programs that human rights advocates say rely heavily on the organs of murdered prisoners of conscience.
    China has denied the allegations, saying that organ donations in the country are voluntary.
    In a brief phone interview, Lin, 26, declined to discuss whether she had been silenced and praised the Miss World Organization for allowing her to compete in the finals held on December 18. “To their credit, they did give me this platform, and I’m able to speak freely now,” she said. Lin failed to make the cut, despite a politically touchy "Beauty With A Purpose" platform. Lin was initially supposed to compete in Miss World 2015 pageant held in China, but she was barred from entering the country due to her anti-Chinese government politics. 


    Pageantry lost several of its brightest stars in 2016


    Yolande Betbeze Fox, a convent-educated Alabamian who defied convention, and set new standards, by refusing to tour the country as Miss America of 1951 in revealing bathing suits, died on February 22 in Washington. She was 87. By the time Ms. Fox won her title on Sept. 9, 1950, in Atlantic City, pageant officials, trying to calibrate propriety and sex appeal amid changing mores, had already decided to stop crowning Miss America while she was wearing a swimsuit. That pageant staple had been confined to the swimsuit competition, an event Ms. Fox — Ms. Betbeze at the time — had already won. She began her reign in a gown. But given that the swimsuit competition’s chief sponsor, Catalina, manufactured swimwear, Ms. Fox was still expected to model bathing suits as the reigning Miss America. What the organizers did not expect was her response. “Yolande declared, ‘I’m an opera singer, not a pinup!’ and refused posing in a bathing suit again,” according to her official biography on the pageant’s website. As a result, Catalina withdrew as the pageant sponsor and began the rival Miss USA contest.



    Cara McCollum, who won the Miss New Jersey pageant in 2013 and participated in the Miss America competition, died on Febuary 24 - one week after she was critically injured in a car crash. The Princeton graduate was driving her Ford Mustang convertible when the car spun out of control. Before she died, Cara made the selfless decision to donate her organs.


    Charlotte Sheffield passed away on April 15, according to her daughter Tammy who posted the sad news on Charlotte's official Facebook page. She had been battling leukemia but contracted a rare pneumonia which further debilitated her. Charlotte represented Utah at the Miss USA 1957 pageant which was originally won by Leona Gageof Maryland, however, Leona was stripped of her title days later during the 1957 Miss Universe pageant when it was revealed that she was 18, married, and a mother of two children. Charlotte was not able to compete in Miss Universe 1957, but was sent to Miss World 1957 but did not place.  (Photo credit: owner of the photograph)



    Susana Djuim from Venezuela, who was crowned Miss World 1955, passed away Saturday, June 18, 2016. She was 79. The cause of death was stroke.  Susana was the first Latin American and first Venezuela to win the Miss World crown. She was born in Aragua de Barcelo in the state of Anzoategui on August 11, 1936. She remained active by conducting a radio program called "De todo a tono con Susana" in Isla de Margarita and she was preparing notes for her new topic, “La vuelta al mundo en 80 años” ("Return to World in 80 Years") in reference to her 80th birthday which would be included in her radio show. 



    International pageantry was terribly shocked and saddened by the tragic death ofHugo Castellanos, who had acquired the Mexican franchise for Miss World just last May. 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 authorities have not revealed any link between the two events, although beauty pageants in Mexico have long had a connection to the drug world. Abductions and murders are not uncommon in the state of Sinaloa, the birthplace of Mexico's infamous drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.



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    Candidates in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant pose for a group photo last December. Rodge Cultura, ABS-CBN News

    Arlene Brosas, a representative of the Filipino feminist group Gabriela, on Wednesday opposed the hosting of the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines, calling it an objectification of women and a cover-up of the country’s societal problems.

    In a prepared statement read during a press conference, Brosas said the hosting was a “manipulative and deceptive tool that projects an image of peace and stability to cover up the creeping influence of fascist repression of poor women’s rising protests.”

    Brosas said the beauty pageant is an “expensive exercise to lull the people and the international audience into a false sense of wellbeing and celebration” amid problems in society such as unfair trade relations and the plunder of natural resources in the countries the beauty queens represent.

    Brosas said the militant women’s party-list group opposes any form of pageants and festival that objectify women.

    “Gabriela opposes pageants and other festivals that exploit women and as these are tools to commodify women and use the competitions to promote commercial use of women’s image in marketing products and services on a globalization-oriented trade regime,” Brosas said.

    Brosas said this year’s hosting of the Miss Universe pageant is “yet another attempt to package the Philippines as a lurid tourist destination for cheap, easily exploitable women.”

    She said the Philippines should not join such pageants.

    “Malinaw ang stand ng Gabriela na kung ito ay makakapang-abuso sa mga kababaihan, hindi dapat natin sinasalihan (Our stand is clear that if the pageant is abusive to women, we should not be joining these),” Brosas said.

    Brosas said the late beauty queen Maita Gomez, who won the Miss Philippines-World title in 1967 and represented the country in the Miss World tilt that year, even joined Gabriela in picketing the 1994 Miss Universe pageant in Manila and slammed then President Fidel Ramos as a “world class pimp.”

    The Miss Universe coronation night will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Jan. 30, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Philippine time.

    The beauty queens are also set to visit the cities of Vigan, Cebu, Baguio and Davao.
    The Philippines first hosted the pageant in 1974 and again in 1994. This is the third time the country is hosting the pageant.

    he Philippines won the title in 2015 albeit a controversial one after its host Steve Harvey wrongfully crowned Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez.

    Gutierrez had to be decrowned on live telecast to give way to the rightful queen the Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.

    Wurtzbach is the third Filipina to win the title, ending a title drought of 42 years for the Philippines. Wurtzbach during her reign pushed for her advocacy of promoting awareness about HIV.

    The Philippines last took home the crown in 1973, courtesy of Margie Moran. It was a short wait after the victory of Gloria Diaz in 1969.

    The Philippines’ bet this year is Maxine Medina, who promised a back-to-back victory for the country. 

    Source:  The Inquirer, 1/11/2017


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    Miss Universe Governor’s Ball was attended by several cabinet secretaries, senators, mayors, 
    and A-list celebrities on Monday night, January 16. (PNA)

    With less than two weeks left until the next Miss Universe is crowned on January 30, pageant host country Philippines gave at least 86 candidates a taste of Filipino hospitality in a welcome dinner attended by several cabinet secretaries, senators, mayors, and A-list celebrities in a Governor’s Ball Monday night. 

    The Governor’s Ball, held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, was named after former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson of the pageant host committee, LCS Group of Companies. Singson, in his opening remarks, mentioned how it took the Philippines 22 years to bring the prestigious pageant back to its shores. “Tonight we officially mark the opening of the 65th Miss Universe competition. The long haul to bring the pageant back to the Philippines has ended. We have succeeded,” Singson said. 

    Singson also thanked the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) for the opportunity and blessing “to show the world the generosity of the Filipino spirit and the richness of culture.” He, meanwhile, expressed hope that even after the pageant, the candidates and their fans and supporters would visit the Philippines again. “To many of you, we know this is your first visit to the Philippines and hope that you return again and again to visit our spectacular beaches and other tourist spots,” the former governor said. 

    Reigning Miss Universe-Philippines Pia Wurtzbach, in an interview, expressed excitement in finally being able to meet the candidates from different countries. “I can’t wait to meet them, hear their stories, hear about their experience and I look forward to making more friends,” Wurtzbach said. Wurtzbach arrived the SMX Convention center accompanied by Singson.

    Former Miss Universe-Philippines Gloria Diaz (1969), in a separate interview, said that the Philippine hosting of Miss Universe was an opportunity to showcase the “good side” of the Philippines amid negative news. Diaz added she was also excited to finally meet Philippine bet Maxine Medina. Asked if she was looking at a back-to-back win, Diaz said that it was a “once in a million chance” but possible. The 65-year-old former beauty queen, meanwhile, urged Medina and other candidates to just enjoy the pageant whether they win or lose. 

    Officials present were Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello, boxer-senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Metro Manila mayors led by Manila Mayor and former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Also present were members of the MUO led by president Paula Shugart, former Miss Universe-Philippines Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran, and other beauty queens and title holders. Celebrities and other members from the high society present were actress Gretchen Barreto, Gwen Zamora, San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang, Philippine Airlines Chair and chief executive officer Lucio Tan, among others. Performers present were singersRadha, Jed Madela, Frenchie Dy, and Jona Viray, among others. (PNA)

    Source: Sunstar, Philippines, 1/17/2017


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    Miss Colombia got bashed by netizens for her alleged sarcastic comments on local food while Miss Italy passed out during pre-pageant activities for Miss Universe 2016 beauty pageant on-going in Manila.
    Miss Colombia Andrea Tovar drew flak about the hotel food giveaways in viral video that has been picked up by pageant fans.
    On Facebook, Tovar’s words were translated this way: “… and little translucent and hallucinogen oranges. Look at that, It’s all orange. And what do you think my dears, I’m speaking like a Mexican… What are those fattening filths? Look at this.”

    On her Instagram post, Tovar said that she loves sweets. Google translated her post in English: “Some delicious junk food (you have to tell the mind what is not so that it is not tempting) I love sweets and more chocolates. Thank you love.”
    Tovar has reportedly apologized for allegedly belittling the complimentary gifts from a hotel in the Philippines.
    But it appeared that Tovar has no ill-feelings about the Philippines when she arrived in the country over the weekend despite the mistake in the announcement of winner last year.
    “I love the Philippines. It’s a big opportunity to be here in this amazing country. I am so excited for the pageant!
    And I want to know your culture, including your food,” she told reporters upon her arrival.

    It would be recalled that last year, television host Steve Harvey announced that Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez won as Miss Universe when in fact it was Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
    Wurtzbach has earlier appealed to pageant fans to stop bashing the candidates.
    Tovar also took part in the Miss Universe 2016 parade held in Baguio City yesterday morning.
    Aside from Miss Colombia, other candidates in Baguio were delegates from Australia, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Albania, Aruba, Barbados, France, Guam, Haiti, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Korea, Kosovo, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, US Virgin Islands, Denmark, Finland, Canada, and Japan.

    Miss Italy faints

    Last Monday night, Sophia Sergio fainted during the Governor’s Ball at the SMX Convention Center.
    Sergio started to get dizzy during the traditional “Parade of Nations” segment of the program.
    The Italian beauty queen was immediately assisted and alert staff members gave her water for rehdyration.
    Sergio recovered and joined the other candidates at the dinner table.
    Reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurrzbach will relinquish her crown at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City on Jan. 30 starting at 8 a.m.

    Source: Tempo, Philippines, 1/19/2017

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    CHANGE IS COMING TO MISS U. The Miss Universe Organization changes its competition rules ahead of the 2016 coronation night. File photo shows Olivia Jordan, Ariadna Gutierrez, and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach as Top 3 Finalists during the 2015 Miss Universe coronation night. Photo courtesy of HO/The Miss Universe Organization

    MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe is changing its format.
    WME/IMG, the world's biggest talent and entertainment agency, purchased the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA Pageants from Donald Trump last year. However, the pageant was set to be held too close to the time of acquisition that the agency could not implement the changes.
    Pageant fans have reason to be concerned over the development because it lessens the chance of their country competing at the live finals.
    Between 2003 and 2015, a Top 15 was selected. The “Fan Vote” winner earned the 16th spot from 2011 to 2013.
    According to the updated Miss Universe website, this year, the preliminary competition determines a Top 12, instead of a Top 15.
    The coronation night will start with the Top 12 pre-determined by the judges during the preliminary round.
    From the Top 12, the Top 9 are determined by averaging the scores of the judges and the fans' votes after the swimsuit segment.
    The Top 6 are then determined by averaging the judges' and fans' votes after the evening gown segment.
    Last year, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach was part of the Top 5 and participated in the question and answer (Q&A) round then. She then answered another question as part of the Top 3.
    This year, there will only be one Q&A round. The Top 6 will participate in the Q&A round, while the Top 3 will only get a "Final Look" from the judges and fans.
    "During the last stage of the competition, the judges and home viewers are asked to make a decision based on their overall performance through the Final Look. Rather than score, this segment is ranked, meaning the judges and home viewers base their vote on who they think should win the title," reads the news rules posted in the site.
    This new 12-9-6-3 format relieves the pressure of having to undergo a second round of questions in the Top 3 where so many great beauties faltered in the past. The candidates must really shine and do their best during the Top 6 Interview Round in order to secure a place. It is in this round that candidates can gain ground. There are no second chances.
    The Top 3 Final Look eliminates the chances that a front runner messes up her answer or that a dark horse overtakes the competition with an impressive answer. The new owner believes that this format will help produce the type of winner who would best represent the brand.
    On January 30, 2017, we will see how this new format affects the results of the 65th edition of the Miss Universe pageant. 
    Source:, 1/20/2017

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    Former titleholder Sushmita Sen is set to return to the Philippines after 23 years, to serve as one of the judges during the 65th Miss Universe pageant at the end of the month.
    Sen expressed her excitement in a post on social media site Instagram, where she said she is “getting ready with a dancing heart” to return to the Philippines, where she was named Miss Universe in 1994.
    She was the first Indian to win the crown.
    “I am so excited, emotional and looking forward to returning home to the Philippines after 23 years. It’s where it all began. Life comes full circle from winning Miss Universe to having owned its Indian Franchise to now…returning back to Manila this time as a judge,” she wrote.
    After relinquishing the Miss Universe title to her successor, she went on to become an award-winning Bollywood actress in India.
    Earlier in January, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said that there will be no Filipinos in the roster of judges for the Miss Universe 2016 pageant, and that all judges will be chosen by the Miss Universe Organization.
    While not informed of the whole roster, she said that some of the judges are former beauty queens.
    To be hosted by American game show host Steve Harvey and model Ashley Graham, the Miss Universe coronation night will be held on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
    Social media personality Bretman Rock on Friday revealed that he will be host of the pageant’s red carpet special.
    Watch the 65th Miss Universe coronation live on ABS-CBN Channel 2 on January 30, 2017 Monday 8 a.m. (Manila time)
    Source: ABS-CBN, 1/21/2017

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