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Beauty With Attitude

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    Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres is expected to arrive in Manila for the Miss Universe 2016 beauty pageant.
    Torres, now based in Los Angeles with her two sons from ex-husband Marc Anthony, made this posted on Instagram: “I may not be there yet, But I’m closer than I was yesterday.”
    It is not yet known if Torres will play a part in the pageant.
    Nonetheless, she has been open about missing the Philippines, as one of her “throwback” Instagram posts shows.
    The Puerto Rican beauty queen is expected to make a comeback in Philippine showbiz.
    In December, she announced on Instagram that she has returned to the Manila Genesis management agency of Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano, wife of Gary Valenciano.
    Angeli Valenciano similarly confirmed via Instagram that Torres had sought to return under her wing.
    Torres, the 1993 titleholder, crowned Sushmita Sen at the Miss Universe 1994 pageant held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on May 20.
    Sen is also set to return to the country as judge in the Philippine restaging of the pageant.

    After the 1994 pageant, Torres landed a career in Philippine showbiz, appearing in local films and television and captured the hearts of Filipinos with her charm and talents.
    She was romantically linked to actor, Aga Muhlach, who is now married to Charlene Gonzales, a finalist on Miss Universe 1994 pageant.
    Torres then returned to Puerto Rico, where she became a recording artist. In 2005, she appeared in the popular American soap opera,  “The Young and the Restless.”
    The beauty queen was married to pop Latin superstar Marc Anthony in 2000 but separated in 2002 and 2003, until they ultimately divorced in 2004. 

    Source: Manila Bulletin, 1/22/2017 
    Photo credits: Dayanara Torres' Instagram

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    Help your favorite candidates enter the Top 12 of the Miss Universe competition on Monday, January 30.
    The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) yesterday invited pageant fans around the world to vote for one of the contestants in the Miss Universe competition to help her make it into the semifinals.

    GLAM AND FAN — Miss Brazil Raissa Santana (left) blows a kiss in the air as she obliges to a ‘groufie’ with a fan of the 65th Miss Universe contest during a pre-pageant event in Pasay City last Monday. The coronation night takes place on January 30 at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Francis R. Malasig/EPA|Manila Bulletin)
    GLAM AND FAN — Miss Brazil Raissa Santana (left) blows a kiss in the air as she obliges to a ‘groufie’ with a fan of the 65th Miss Universe contest during a pre-pageant event in Pasay City last Monday. The coronation night takes place on January 30 at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Francis R. Malasig/EPA|Manila Bulletin)
    The fan voting period started last Monday, Jan. 23, and it will end on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 8 a.m.
    There are four ways to vote: 1. Download the Miss U App from the iTunes or Google Play stores, log in using Facebook, Twitter, or email authentication, and follow the instructions to vote. There is a limit of 10 votes per account per day via this method during the voting period. Click on the “Cast Your Vote” button for your votes to be counted.
    2. Visit, log-in using Facebook, Twitter, or email authentication, and follow the instructions to vote. There is a limit of 10 votes per account per day via this method during the voting period. Click on the “Cast Your Vote” button for your votes to be counted.
    3. Submit a tweet or a retweet with #MissUniverse and a contestant specific hashtag announced on the Website. You must have a public Twitter account for your tweets and retweets to be counted.
    4. Download the Vodi App from the iTunes or Google Play stores, log in using Facebook, Twitter, or email authentication, and follow the instructions to vote. There is a limit of 10 votes per account per day via this method during the voting period.
    Only votes that comply with the instructions and the voting rules and procedures will be counted. Do not use any third-party services to vote on your behalf.
    US beauties in town
    Miss Universe 2015 second runner-up Olivia Jordan and Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez arrived in Manila last Monday for the Miss Universe 2016 contest. They will shoot behind-the-scenes coverage of the beauty pageant through the social media assets of Smart, the official wireless service provider of the 65th Miss Universe pageant.
    “Hello Manila! Just arrived and ready to explore with Olivia! I can’t believe we are here to watch Miss Universe,” said Sanchez on Instagram.
    “Twice the #MissUSA love coming your way #Philippines,” said Jordan.
    Jordan and Sanchez are also here to cheer for Miss USA Deshauna Barber and for reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines.
    “It has been a joy to watch Pia during her reign. She has inspired me so much. I have been lucky to know her because she is so inspirational and kind and she has been an incredible Miss Universe. The next one will have big shoes to fill! It’s nice to come back year later and just cheer for Pia,” said Jordan.
    “I would love to work in the Philippines. As you probably know, I’m an actress and a model and there’s great acting and modeling in the Philippines. I would love to extend this trip into a longer one or come back again and be able to see more of the islands. PLDT and Smart have been generous to bring us here. We’re just so excited to post updates about the pageant on our Facebook Live and our other social media accounts and I hope you will follow us,” she added.
    Sanchez said: “We will make sure you get glimpses and behind-the-scenes as we plan to go to the rehearsals and see the girls.”
    On Miss Universe host Steve Harvey, Jordan said: “Steve Harvey, if you need help reading that card, I can be his assistant on stage because I remember helping and telling Pia that she won last year,  so it would be lucky for me to tell someone again (that she won Miss Universe).”

    Source: Manila Bulletin, 1/25/2017

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    Getty Images

    It's that time of the year again!
    The competition is on for Miss Universe 2017, and ET's rounded up everything you need to know ahead of the highly anticipated international beauty pageant on Sunday.
    When is the pageant, and where can fans watch?: The 65th Miss Universe Competition will air live from the Philippines on Sunday, Jan. 29, starting at 7 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
    Who is hosting?: Despite his famous fail during the December 2015 pageant -- in which he mistakenly crowned runner-up Miss Colombia (Ariadna Gutierrez) as the new Miss Universe over actual first place winner Miss Philippines (Pia Wurtzbach) -- Steve Harvey is back to host the three-hour event, with Ashley Graham serving as backstage host.
    Who is judging?: Dayanara Torres, former Miss Universe from Puerto Rico; Sushmita Sen, first ever Miss Universe from India; Leila Lopes, first Miss Universe from Angola; Mickey Boardman, editorial director of PAPER magazine; Cynthia Bailey, founder of The Bailey Agency School of Fashion; and Francine LeFrak, Tony award-winning producer, social entrepreneur and women’s empowerment activist.
    Is anyone performing?: Yes! Legendary R&B group Boyz II Men will be taking the stage, as well as GRAMMY nominee Flo Rida.
    Who is competing from the USA?: This year's Miss USA is Washington, D.C. native Deshauna Barber, who is the first woman actively serving in the US Army Reserve to win the title.

    Who will take home the crown?: ET predicts it will be a tough competition between the 86 women from countries across the globe, but fans should keep their eyes on Miss Thailand (Chalita Suansane), Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar), Miss Philippines (Maxine Medina), Miss Brazil (Raissa Santana), Miss Venezuela (Mariam Habach) and Miss USA.
    Do fans have any say on who should win?: Yes! Now through Saturday, fans can vote up to 10 times per day for their favorite contestant and help her earn a spot in the Top 12. Head to for more details!
    Photo: Miss Universe Organization
    Best Instagram accounts to follow: In addition to all the Miss Universe content we'll be covering right here on, be sure to follow along on our social accounts, @etnow on Twitter and @entertainmenttonight on Instagram. For more up-to-the-minute updates, Instagram accounts @roadtomissusa and @pageantplanet never fail to impress us!
    As we patiently wait to see who will be crowned this year's winner, watch the video below to hear more on Harvey's hosting snafu.

    WATCH: Steve Harvey Explains How He Mistakenly Announced the Wrong Winner of Miss Universe
    Source: ET Online, 1/27/2019

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    A 23-year-old dental student from France won the Miss Universe crown Monday in the annual pageant held in the Philippines, saying her triumph will make the beauty contest more popular in Europe and help her efforts to put more underprivileged children in school. This is the second time in the history of the competition that the pageant skipped the entire year, following the 2014 pageant which was held in January 2015. 
    Iris Mittenaere from Lille city in northern France buried her face in her hands in shock and joy as the outgoing winner from the Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, crowned her and the crowd erupted in cheers at the packed Mall of Asia Arena by Manila Bay.

    Miss Haiti, Raquel Pelissier, a 25-year-old survivor of the devastating 2010 earthquake that destroyed her hometown, was named first runner-up, while Miss Colombia, 23-year-old industrial designer and photographer Andrea Tovar, was second runner-up.
    The top finalists hailed from Kenya, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Panama, Colombia, Philippines, Canada, Brazil, France, Haiti, Thailand and the USA. The pageant changed its format this year; it had 12 instead of 13 finalists, and counted online votes from the Miss Universe app and Twitter.
    "I think France and Europe really need a Miss Universe," Mittenaere said in a post-pageant news conference when asked how her countrymen would receive her victory, the first by a French woman in more than 60 years.
    The beauty contest has not been as popular in France as in other countries, she said, but "French people will love it now and every year they will be watching Miss Universe."
    "I'm very proud to bring this crown to Europe," she said.
    Mittenaere said she would focus during her reign on helping all children, especially girls, attend school.
    Pellissier said surviving Haiti's quake, which officials in her country estimated killed more than 300,000 people and displaced more than 1.5 million others, and her pageant success underscored her rise from adversity because she "chose to be a very positive person and learned a great lesson from it."
    "If I am here today, it is because I am living my dreams," said Pelissier, who is studying for a master's degree in optometry research.
    Eighty-six candidates vied in this year's pageant, which was formerly owned by Donald TrumpThis was the first time Sierra Leone entered the competition and was represented by Hawa Kamara, 2013 Miss West Africa. Miss Canada, Siera Bearchell, also made headlines for taking on trolls who body-shamed her for her size.
    As he closed the ceremony, American comedian host Steve Harvey declared, "I got it right," referring in jest to his mistaken announcement of Miss Colombia as the winner in last year's pageant in Las Vegas. He was roundly criticized for the embarrassing error.
    "One thing I learned in life, when you make a mistake, you gotta keep on moving forward man, that's all," Harvey said.
    In her farewell remarks as the outgoing winner, a smiling Wurtzbach thanked Harvey for making her "the most popular Miss Universe." Harvey, laughing, thanked her for making him the most famous Miss Universe host.
    Judges initially selected a dozen candidates, with a 13th picked through online balloting involving 100 million votes worldwide.
    Source: CNN/FoxNews, 1/30/2017

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    PHOTO: New York Daily News

    MANILA – One of the judges of the 65th Miss Universe pageant shared her thoughts on why Miss Venezuela Mariam Habach, considered a frontrunner in the beauty contest, did not make it to the Top 13.
    In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Mario Dumaual and Dyan Castillejo, social entrepreneur Francine LeFrak said they thought Habach lacked confidence during the preliminary interviews.
    “I found her to be a little less confident with the interview process,” she said. 
    Nevertheless, LeFrak said she finds Habach beautiful. “I mean, she is gorgeous!” she said.
    LeFrak went on to explain why she likes the eventual winner of the pageant, Iris Mittenaere of France.
    “She had a quiet strength about her. She wasn’t nervous, while the two others were quite nervous,” she said, referring to first runner-up Raquel Pelissier of Haiti and second runner-up Andrea Tovar of Colombia. 
    “She had a certain self-confidence that I thought demonstrated that ‘it’ quality,” she added. 
    Pageant fans and experts were shocked when Habach was not called in the Top 13 of the 65th Miss Universe pageant held in Manila on Monday. The Venezuelan beauty queen previously received a lot of positive comments for her outstanding performance in the preliminary competition. 
    Shortly after the competition, Habach took to social media to share her sentiments, saying in Spanish that the result was not what she expected as she has done her best throughout the competition.
    Habach said she will continue to work hard toward her goals and expressed her gratitude to her Filipino and Venezuelan fans.
    Source: ABS-CBN, 1/3/12017

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    Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere with Filipino staff at the Philippine Consulate in New York City

    Newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere of France said that the Philippines will always be in her heart, referring to the country as her “second home.”
    Uploading a photo taken at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) just before she left Manila last Thursday afternoon, the beauty queen said: “Last hour in my second home… Philippines forever in my heart. Mahal ko kayo.”
    Miss Universe left for New York where she will start her reign.
    At the airport, Mittenaere hardly stopped waving at the Filipino fans who took photos of her with their cellphones.
    The headquarters of the Miss Universe Organization is located in New York City. Mittenaere will share a flat with reigning Miss USA Deshauna Barber and Miss Teen USA in the Big Apple.
    Mittenaere, 24, won the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant held at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City January 30. She bested 85 other candidates for the prestigious title.
    The Miss Universe prize package includes: A year-long salary as Miss Universe; luxury accommodations in a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign, including living expenses; a one-year supply of hair care products and tools from Farouk Systems, the makers of CHI Haircare; a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry Shoes & Accessories; a personalized face chart and products from MAC Cosmetics;
    Personal services, including membership to Gravity Fitness @ Le Parker Meridien Hotel and hair services from John Barrett Salon; a modeling portfolio by leading fashion photographers; dermatology and skincare services; a professional health and nutrition consultation; dental services;
    Professional representation by The Miss Universe Organization; extensive travel representing sponsors and charitable partners; access to various events including casting opportunities, movie premiers, screenings, Broadway shows and launch parties; and personal appearance wardrobe and styling by the official Miss Universe Organization fashion stylist.
    Meanwhile, the Daily Entertainment News website revealed that Mittenaere is currently in a relationship with a hunky doctor identified as Matthieu Declercq.
    “I have someone in my life who supported me,” said Mittenaere after she was crowned Miss France in December, 2015.
    But the couple has been very discrete about their relationship because the rules of the Miss France committee states that the beauty queen is not allowed to appear with her boyfriend in public.
    Last year, Declerq revealed in an interview that he was not afraid of not seeing much of his girlfriend. He added that he is proud of her, the report added.
    The report also said that Declercq, who is very supportive of his girlfriend, watched the Miss Universe 2016 pageant in Manila.
    In a related development, former Governor Chavit Singson of Ilocos Sur said that his group invested some US$15 million (P675 million) for staging the third Miss Universe pageant here.
    Singson, head of the LCS Group of Companies, which brought the pageant to Manila, said: “Ang gastos namin mga $15 million pero sulit na sulit yun dahil I consider it as an investment.   Lugi lang tayo kung walang turista pero I’m sure, pinag-uusapan na tayo sa buong mundo (We spent about $15 million but that was all worth it and I consider that an investment. We will lose if we have no tourists, but I’m sure we are being talked about around the world).
    Singson also said 10 Miss Universe candidates are still here enjoying their trip to the Philippines.
    Source: Manila Bulletin, 2/4/2017

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    STRIPPED: Christina has lost her Miss Denmark crown

    Gorgeous Christina Mikkelsen, 24, became caught up in a criminal investigation after her former flame, Teodorin Obiang, was accused of money laundering.
    Now, the organisers of the Face of Denmark have stripped Christina of her crown after competing in Miss Universe 2016, citing the investigation as the main reason.
    As well as his super yacht, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, an Aston Martin and a Bugatti were also seized from Mr Obiang as part of a long-term investigation.
    Mr Obiang, who is the vice president of Equitorial Guinea, has been the subject of a long-term investigation over claims he has spent Government money on himself.
    But Christina's dismissal comes after she accused the "Face of Denmark" organizers of trying to force her to lose weight.
    Despite sporting a toned look and weighting only 8st 5lbs, she claims bosses told her to lose more than a stone before the Miss Universe beauty pageant.
    INVESTIGATION: Christina has been caught up in the fraud probe involving Teodorin Obiang (right),
    the Vice-President of Equatorial Guinea

    But John Paul Hamilton de Voss who was associated with Miss Denmark claims he only meant to ask her to lose eight pounds.
    Taking to Facebook, Christina thanked her fans for their support during the investigation.
    She wrote: "Hi everyone. I gotta admit the last few days have been overwhelming. I just wanna take the time to say thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your sweet messages.
    "A big thank you to and especially My family, without them I wouldn't be able to get through the last few months. I regret absolutely nothing, even though I obviously had to lose my title and crown to speak my mind [sic]."
    "We grow throughout their lives, and I must say that I have learned so much here lately. No one should ever tell us we're not good enough. We are good enough just as we are."
    Daily Star Online has contacted Christina and the Face of Denmark competition for their response.
    Source: Daily Star, UK, 2/8/2017
    FACE OF DENMARK: Christina was told to lose weight by organisers

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          Christina Mikkelsen, who was stripped off her title as Miss Universe Denmark 2016 just a few days after competing in the 65th edition of Miss Universe pageant held in Manila, Philippines last January 30th, took to Facebook to express her sentiments regarding her dethronement, accusing both John Paul Hamilton and Anders de Voss, co-directors of Face of Denmark (the agency that sends Danish representatives to various international pageants), of verbally mistreating and threatening her because she had refused to comply with their demands to lose more weight before competing in Miss Universe. However, Hamilton and De Voss dethroned Mikkelsen, citing as excuse that she had "links to a criminal organization" after her ex-boyfriend Teodorin Obiang - the son of an African dictator - has $100 million yacht seized in Swiss money laundering probe. Mikkelsen claims that she and Obiang had already broken up before she won her national title.

         According to Mikkelsen, Hamilton had sent her a number of inappropriate and "unpleasant" messages to her while she was in the Philippines. She claims that ever since she won her national title, Hamilton had already begun to speak ill of the other participants. He also started writing to her in "a very strange way." One day he wrote: "You are so beautiful. You can win it all." The other day he wrote: "You have not a chance in Miss Universe," says the Danish beauty queen. She also accused Hamilton of telling her to lose eight kilograms before a pageant. Hamilton acknowledges that he did send a message that she should lose weight, but that he meant to say 8 pounds, which is slightly less than half 8 kilograms.

         Meanwhile, John Paul Hamilton, former co-director of Face of Denmark posted the following statement on its Facebook page on February 10 explaining his side of the story:
    Hello, When Christina Mikkelsen entered our national pageant Face of Denmark we were made aware that she had previously dated Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue. At that point in time they were not dating anymore and there weren’t any allegations against him or Christina. Christina won the title Miss Universe Denmark and went to represent Denmark in the Philippines. Ever since the beginning she has been very determined and goal oriented, which we in Face of Denmark found very positive in this very competitive environment of international beauty pageants and she did the best she could, I am sure. Just prior to her return to Denmark we were notified about some allegations on money laundering concerning her ex-boyfriend Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue. Being part of money laundering is of course a breach of our agreement but allegations are just allegations until the opposite has been proven by the court and at that point the allegations were all about her ex-boyfriends possible actions. Furthermore, she had already represented Denmark at Miss Universe, which is of course the main activity according to our contract with our representatives/titleholders so we had no intentions of dethroning her and we definitely did not want to create any negative media coverage on her at that point, it served no point and for her sake we wanted to keep all media focus away from her in case the rumours of allegations should become more than that. However, when she then came back to Denmark we were informed that the allegations were now also concerning her actions. Furthermore, we received information that she planned to do a media coverage on TV with hard criticism of the Danish pageant organisation just days before it was public news with her ex-boyfriend. Due to the sudden hard media coverage on her own part, we felt obliged to dethrone her in order to show the world that our organisation of course does not support the actions behind the allegations and that she has in several other points acted in breach with our contract. So unfortunately that was the path we felt obliged to take and we hope that everything will soon be sorted out in Christinas favor. Regards, John Paul Hamilton, former national co-director

         So there you go, readers! We believe that both parties raised legitimate points but that their respective reputation has also been tarnished to a certain degree. We hope that both parties come to a viable settlement soon.

    Happier Times

    Christina Mikkelsen (center) with national director Anders De Voss (left) and now former 
    co national-director John Paul Hamilton (right)

    Photos courtesy of John Paul Hamilton

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    Manila, Philippines – January 30, 2017– Iris Mittinaere, a 24-year-old dental student from Lille, France, was crowned Miss Universe 2016 at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines. The telecast aired live on FOX for the second year in a row. The telecast started at 8 AM on Monday, January 30, to benefit U.S. televiewers who watched it during primetime at 8 PM on Sunday night, January 29.

         Mittenaere was crowned by outgoing queen Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. Mittenaere's victory was the first by a French contestant in more than 60 years. "I think France and Europe really need a Miss Universe" after failing to win the crown for so long, she said at a post-pageant news conference when she was asked how her countrymen would receive her victory. The contest has not been as popular in France as in other countries, she said, but "French people will love it now and every year they will be watching Miss Universe. I'm very proud to bring this crown to Europe," she said.

         Emmy Award winner Steve Harvey hosted the three-hour event with backstage commentary from "body activist" and top model Ashley Graham. Grammy-award entertainers Flo Rida and Boyz II Men provided the entertainment. 

        The panel of judges included former Miss Universe winners Sushmita Sen (1994), Dayanara Torres (1993) and Leila Lopes (2011); Mickey Boardman, editorial director for Paper magazine; Francine LeFrak, theatrical, television, and film producer and  founder of nonprofit named Same Sky; and Cynthia Bailey, actress, model and Real Housewives of Atlanta star. 

         Eighty-six countries were represented in the 65th edition of the pageant which skipped an entire year (2016) for the second time in its history (the 2014 pageant was held on January 25, 2015 in Doral, Florida). 

    Final Results:

    First Runner-Up:  Haiti, Raquel Pelissier

    Second Runner-Up: Colombia, Andrea Tovar

    Top Three: Colombia, Andrea Tovar;  France, Iris Mittenaere; Haiti, Raquel Pelissier

    Top Six:  Colombia, Andrea Tovar;  France, Iris Mittenaere; Haiti, Raquel Pelissier; Kenya, Mary Esther Were; Philippines, Maxine Medina;  Thailand, Chalita Suansane.

    Top Nine:  Colombia, Andrea Tovar;  France, Iris Mittenaere; Haiti, Raquel Pelissier; Kenya, Mary Esther Were; Philippines, Maxine Medina;  Thailand, Chalita Suansane; Canada, Siera Bearchall; Mexico, Kristal Silva; USA, Deshauna Barber.

    Top Thirteen: Colombia, Andrea Tovar;  France, Iris Mittenaere; Haiti, Raquel Pelissier; Kenya, Mary Esther Were; Philippines, Maxine Medina;  Thailand, Chalita Suansane; Canada, Siera Bearchall; Mexico, Kristal Silva; USA, Deshauna Barber; Brazil, Raissa Santana; Indonesia, Kezia Warouw; Panama, Keity Drennan; Valeria Piazza, Peru.

    (Top 9 Online Favorites: Thailand, Philippines, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, USA, Panama).

    Best National Costume: Myanmar, Htet Htet Htun. She wowed the crowd with her amazing puppet-theater inspired costume that truly paid homage to her country's culture. 

    At the after party event held at the Okada Manila Hotel, two other special awards were presented respectively to Jenny Kim of Korea (Miss Congeniality) and Lindita Idrizi of Albania (Miss Photogenic).

    The Golden Girls

     Misses Philippines, Kenya and Thailand were eliminated after the Top 6 question round, which left Misses Colombia, France and Haiti (all wearing gold gowns) 
    as the remaining Top 3:


    Immediately after the Top 3 Final Question round, the official results were announced: an anxious Miss Colombia was declared 2nd runner-up, which left Miss Haiti and Miss France as the last two women standing:


    Finally, host Steve Harvey declares Miss France as Miss Universe and Miss Haiti 
    as 1st runner-up: 



    The Bad Stuff

    The opening number, or lack thereof. It reminds me of  the 1998 opening when it lacked its most important quality - its international touch which is usually realized when the contestants proudly introduce themselves in their colorful national costumes. This year's candidates have been reduced to plain mute beauties who only gained their speech if they were selected as semi-finalists. No name introductions. The contestants had to sashay to the front of the stage wearing different outfits by dress sponsor Sherri Hill (some of which were hideous or outdated); everything felt rushed, and before a girl could even reach the front, the following girl was already being called. One girl, Miss New Zealand, was literally speed-walking!

    Steve Harvey has a five-year contract to host Miss Universe. This is his second year - which means that
    he could recycle his Pia-Ariadna jokes for the next three years. Heaven help us! Lol

      Lack of Filipino cultural significance. To think that the pageant was held in the pageant-craziest country in the world, there was no hint - not even a minimum - of Philippine culture visible on stage. Compare this year's edition with the two times that the Philippines had hosted the pageant (1974, 1994) during which some of the best aspects of Philippine culture were showcased during the telecast (i.e. the world-famous Bayanihan Dance Troupe, the majestic Banaue Rice Terraces, the beautiful sandy white beaches of Boracay and El Nido, the mysterious Taal volcano, the abundant flora and fauna, and much more.) But we didn't see any of that on stage, except for a pre-taped video of Pia giving backstage host Ashley Graham a little tour of Bohol which is famous for its chocolate hills and the  Philippine tarsier.  Another pre-taped video showed some of the contestants trying out a Philippine delicacy called "balut" (a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten from the shell).  

    The swimsuit and evening gown presentations in groups of three. Keeping up with the theme of rush, there's nothing more irritating than being subjected to a swift look at each of the semifinalist in their swimsuits and evening gowns. Compared to the 2015 competition where the semifinalists had an average of 25 seconds of airtime to strut their stuff and allowed viewers to have an ample look at each girl, the average time was drastically cut down to 10 seconds in 2016/2017. Also, Steve Harvey failed to catch up with the fast pace of the competition, having announced Mexico and Brazil twice.


    Not so special stage design. Which is basically similar to the one in 2015 held in Las Vegas, with gigantic LED screens that featured uninteresting graphics which had nothing to do with Filipino culture. When the pageant was held in Thailand (2005), Vietnam (2008), Bahamas (2009, Brazil (2011), and Russia (2013), the stage design incorporated local colors and motif. 


    Oh, the disproportionate timing. Compared to the 2015 competition where a pre-taped video of each semifinalist was immediately shown after her name was called, each semifinalist this year was asked a bio-related question on stage by Steve Harvey. Some of the girls enjoyed more airtime than others, especially Kenya whose airtime lasted nearly two minutes, compared to Indonesia's with a little under a minute.

    Those ugly Chinese Laundry tippy toe shoes. Tippy toe shoes are fine with swimsuits on a state or even on a national level, but not on the international stage. Why? Because not everyone appreciates exposed toes which also divert some attention away from the face. To me, tippy toe shoes are sandals with high heels; they are not as sophisticated or sexy as covered toes heels, though they are a tad better than clear, 7-inch stripper heels! Chinese Laundry has been the official footwear sponsor of Miss Universe/Miss USA since 2011, and I still have to see them supply the contestants with better shoes that don't look cheap and whose straps do not break. Miss Kenya's look during the intros would have been perfect had she worn a pair of Louboutin heels or anything close to it, and not a pair of cream-colored strapped platform shoes (below center) which were visible a mile away.


    Please stop with the political questions already! Don't get me wrong. I am all for asking political questions during the Q & A segment, as long as they are relevant to the contestant's country's politics or are universal in scope, but asking Miss Kenya about her concerns on Donald Trump's presidency is like asking Miss USA about her concerns on Uhuru Kenyatta's presidency. Like who cares? Even though Miss Kenya's response lacked depth and substance, she nevertheless delivered decently. You can't say exactly the same with Miss Philippines who had her question translated in Filipino (as she had requested) but answered in English without making any sense whatsoever. In the 2015 edition, the top 5 questions had been tailored specifically for each finalist - which was fair because it allowed all of them to mentally prepare their respective answers in advance without stressing about it.  Why did the writers scrap this element this year? No one really knows why. Oh, and did anyone notice that Philippines was randomly picked as the first to be asked, just like in 2015? Was this co-incidence or was it scripted?

    The three-hour long show could have been shortened to two-hours if the producers had greatly reduced the generous time allotted to Steve Harvey jokes (one or two jokes is tolerable, but more than two is insufferable). They could also have totally eliminated the chat segments of several contestants discussing different perceptions of beauty and cyber-bullying - two topics that disinterest the truly serious beauty pageant fan who just wants to see a great, superficial beauty pageant show. Imagine all that useless waste of airtime that could have been used to select two more semifinalists.

    A somber-looking Miss Venezuela Mariam Habach who was looking down at the floor, anxiously waiting for her name to be called as one of the Top 13 semifinalists. Why do I dislike this scene? Because it illustrates Mariam's lack of self-confidence - which is rare for Venezuelan contestants who are usually known for their absolute confidence and fierce competitiveness. But during the 3-week long pageant in the Philippines, Mariam had earned the reputation for being arrogant and condescending - which irked the MUO staff. No one wants to work with a bitchy diva who will destroy all the plump positive publicity that Pia Wurtzbach had brought to the pageant.


    It's all in the script. After the thirteen semifinalists left the stage to prepare for the evening gown competition, a production crew member grabbed Canada's plump delegate Siera Bearchall for what appeared to be an impromptu chat with backstage host Ashley Graham. I really think that the only reason Canada had placed is just so IMG could further promote their idea of "diverse beauty" while using Bearchall as their unofficial spokesperson. Now the question is, will IMG even sign her up as a house model the way they did with Pia Wurtzbach?  

    Fake excitement?

    Shocking exclusions. I was hoping for Brazil and Panama to have advanced to the top 9, instead of Canada and USA. Brazil would have certainly given Colombia a run for her money, and Panama's beautiful face and perfect swimsuit body would have rivaled that of France. 

    Where were Gloria and Margie? When the pageant was held in the Philippines in 1974 and 1994, the country's two former Miss Universe winners were introduced and acknowledged like national heroes. In fact, Gloria Diaz and Margie (Margarita) Moran even greeted the televiewers during the opening of the 1994 telecast and assisted in the coronation of the winner. This year, they were completely ignored, which now explains the reason Margie wrote a scathing piece rebuking MUO for dissing her and Gloria but also for placing them in unfavorable seats in the arena: "the extreme side of the stage closest to the backstage, next to the seat reserved for Vice President Leni Robredo, putting her an even shorter distance from the restrooms." Seriously, which idiot or idiots from MUO (or perhaps the local organizers) had arranged to place two iconic beauty queens closest to the backstage so they could hardly be seen? Margie writes, "From where we were, no way could we be caught on camera, no matter how much we stretched our necks. The focus was on the politicians and sponsors seated behind the judges." Pathetic.

    Gloria Diaz (left) and Margie Moran (right) left in the dust. (


     The Good Stuff

    Pia Wurtzbach doing her final walk wearing a luminous cobalt blue strapless ball gown by Filipino designer Michael Cinco! To me, this gown was an absolute show-stopper and will be considered as one of the most striking dresses ever worn by an outgoing queen:



    Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Htun winning the national costume award.  Her costume represents, according to her, "princess figures of traditional Burmese puppetry." Any contestant who is able to wear a culturally rich costume that weighs "approximately 40 kilograms" (about 88 lbs.) deserves significant airtime, and that's exactly what she got. Good for her!


    Even though they were not introduced during the show, it was a delight to know that several MUO titleholders were in the audience, like Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan, Miss Universe 2005 Nathalie Glebova, and Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez:



    Be the change you want to see. The original Miss Universe creed - which was recited by the outgoing titleholder after crowning her successor - goes as follows: "We, the young women of the universe, believe people everywhere are seeking peace, tolerance and mutual understanding. We pledge to spread this message in every way we can, wherever we go." The creed, which was recited for several decades until it was abolished in 1986, summarized the true mission of the pageant. After this abolition, the pageant remained without a viable new creed, despite the fact that the contestants were still seeking peace, tolerance and mutual understanding in every way they could and wherever they went. Then when the pageant began actively affiliating itself with various charitable causes, its goal was no longer limited to just spreading peace and goodwill; nowadays, the titleholder is given the opportunity to promote any cause that is dear to her heart (i.e. anti-bullying, anti-body-shaming, scientific research, anti-racism, anti-sexism, etc.). To those of us who have been following Miss Universe for so long, we may agree or disagree that the pageant has undergone many changes and sometimes not for the best. But we can all agree that despite these changes, Miss Universe has never fallen short as far as empowering women from different social, ethnic, economic, educational and cultural backgrounds is concerned - and this makes Miss Universe #ConfidentlyBeautiful to the max.


    by Rafa Delfin, 2/19/2017

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    Pageants are known for wanting complete perfection from their contestants. This year, the Miss Australia pageant has a contestant in a wheelchair, showing just how perfect women of all kinds can be.
    Justine Clark, 26, became the first contestant to compete in the Miss World Australia pageant in a wheelchair.

    Although she didn’t win, she could still progress to the nationwide final through the Beauty with a Purpose campaign, which raises money for local charities. If Clark raises the most money, she can wheel across the national stage.
    Clark is just happy she got to compete and show young girls that even though she’s in a wheelchair, she can do anything.
    “For somebody in a wheelchair to be able to compete is a big thing,” Clark said to The Advertiser, a local Australian newspaper. “I really hope it sends a message that no matter what your race, size or disability — whatever makes you different -— you are beautiful.”
    Clarke has been in a wheelchair for two years but won’t reveal what happened to render her disabled, according to The Advertiser. “I don’t really want to go in to what happened, but I want to be a role model and empower young women,” she said.
    Source:, 2/25/2017

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    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Former Miss America Nina Davuluri will speak as part of International Women's Week 6:30 p.m. Thursday (March 9) in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse. The event is free and open to the public.
    Davuluri will speak about "Promoting a Platform of Inclusion: Achieve Your Dreams by Embracing Your Identity."
    The presentation highlights the importance of understanding our own multiple identities and the identities of those around us, developing skills to communicate effectively across difference, addressing stereotypes and misinformation and building a more inclusive community.
    Messages about culture, socially constructed beauty standards and identity created and/or strengthened by media representations, as well as the impact of social media on society and cultural norms, also will be discussed.
    Davuluri is a multi-lingual, Indian-American who graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science.
    During her year of service as Miss America in 2014, she logged 250,000 miles traveling across the country to address an array of audiences on her platform: “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency.” As part of her consciousness-raising efforts on behalf of diversity, she also launched a social media campaign, Circles of Unity, to encourage constructive and civil dialogue on diversity issues. More information about her can be found here.
    The event is sponsored by Office of the Provost Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center, LGBTQ Center, Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue Student Government, International Programs, Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence, ADVANCE-Purdue and the Center for Faculty Success, South Asian Student Alliance, Asian American Studies Program, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Purdue University Asian American Association and the Asian Student Union Board.
    Also as part of International Women’s Week, the Purdue Asian American Association will host Sarah Crulcich, leader of the Ideal Asian Body Campaign 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday (March 7) in the Recitation Building, Room 103. She will speak on "Body Image: An Asian American Perspective." The conversation will explore how stereotypes about body image impact people, specifically women, in Asian American communities. The event is free and open to the public. 

    Source:, 3/6/2017

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    Elizabeth Safrit represented the United States in Miss World 2015 pageant where she placed 2nd runner-up.
    Credit: Facebook

    ORLANDO, FL, MARCH 8, 2017 - Former Miss World Second Runner-Up, Ms. Elizabeth Safrit and Dr. Lynne Scott Safrit, have accepted the license for ownership of the United States franchise for Miss World. The mother-daughter team will be leading the official United States preliminary to Miss World, newly re-named America’s Miss World, effective immediately, as co-National Directors.

    The pageant will be held this summer in Orlando, F.L., with more details to come regarding venue and production. The reigning Miss World, Stephanie Del Valle of Puerto Rico, is visiting Orlando this week to tour the city and assist in the announcement of the host location.

    The new leaders are also introducing the Americas Miss World Foundation, a charitable organization (IRS Charitable status pending). The Foundation strives to embody the philanthropic spirit of Miss World’s Beauty with a Purpose program by raising awareness and funds for various charitable causes across the country. The Organization will feature a charity gala during the week of the National Final in Orlando to raise money for the foundation, which will then be donated to aid the project of the Beauty with a Purpose competition winner, as well as a National charity to be announced soon. “This pageant will be different in that the focus on philanthropy will be not only be expected of the contestants, but of the organization itself,” said Ms. Elizabeth Safrit. “We want the organization to make a positive impact on the United States in more ways than just the stellar young women who participate in the program.”

    Elizabeth Safrit is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Public Relations and Cooperate Communication from Georgetown University. Elizabeth represented the United States at Miss World in 2014, where she placed second runner-up to Miss World. Elizabeth became a tourism ambassador following her placement at Miss World, traveling to over 30 countries. Safrit also served as a spokesperson for numerous American companies and charities, including American Airlines, Rock the Vote, and Save the Children US. Elizabeth recently accepted the “Titleholder of the Year” award from Prestige Pageantry Awards.

    Dr. Lynne Scott Safrit served as the President of Castle & Cooke North Carolina for over 30 years where she oversaw the development of the North Carolina Research Campus. Dr. Safrit graduated Cum Laude with a BA from Catawba College, received an MA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and earned a Doctorate of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Safrit was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the most prestigious award in the state of North Carolina, by Governor Pat McCrory in 2016.

    “It is with great honor that we accept leadership of Miss World in the United States”, said Elizabeth Safrit. “Having experienced Miss World firsthand, I can attest to the value of the organization with the platform that Miss World gives women to embrace new cultures and experiences, all while encouraging them to purse higher achievement. Never have I been in the presence of so many accomplished women in one place as I am every year at Miss World; the competition features women who are doctors, lawyers, athletes, and Ivy League students. Miss World is a true celebration of women around the world.”

    This announcement comes following the annual Miss World competition being held in the United States for the first time in history in December 2016. “Our biggest priority is positioning Miss World as the strongest advocate for the young women of the United States by providing them with a stellar outlet to showcase their talents and achievements,” Dr. Safrit said.

    About Miss World
    Miss World is the oldest and largest international pageant in the world. Miss World was established in London, England in 1951, making this the 67th year of Miss World competitions. The organization received international acclaim when it eliminated the swimsuit portion of the competition in 2014, choosing to focus instead on more progressive competitions designed to celebrate the many attributes of women around the world.

    Miss World is held annually with representatives from over 130 countries worldwide.The winner of Miss World is determined by accumulative scores of “fast track events”, which are designed to test the candidates’ fitness, talent, modeling skill, public speaking, social media interaction, and philanthropic endeavors.These fast track events include: Sports,Top Model, Talent, Multimedia, Interview, and Beauty with a Purpose.

    The Miss World final is one of the world’s most watched annual events, with a worldwide viewing audience of over 1 billion people. Miss World is televised every year in the United States on E! Entertainment. Miss World’s fan base is widespread, boasting 3 million likes on Facebook.

    About America’s Miss World
    The America’s Miss World Organization holds an annual competition to identify young American women who exemplify beauty, talent, intelligence and compassion. It aims to create and empower role models who will serve as ambassadors to charity, enrich the perception of beauty, and enhance a new strength, energy and spirit for the advancement of women, while positively impacting their communities. The winner of America’s Miss World represents the United States at Miss World and will compete in the international final alongside women from over 130 countries. Notable representatives include Halle Berry and Lynda Carter.

    For more information about Miss World and America’s Miss World, visit and

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    Tatiana says she has conducted herself with utmost professionalism as Miss Malaysia World 2016.
    Picture by Malay Mail  

    PETALING JAYA, March 8 — Tatiana Kumar, who was stripped of her Miss Malaysia World title on Monday, has denied she breached the pageant organiser’s code of conduct. 
    She said the decision of the pageant’s national director Datuk Anna Lim to terminate her agreement with her company, Meridian Surf Sdn Bhd, after she won the title last August, was unjustifiable. 
    “The termination of the agreement and the removal of my title are wrongful and wholly unjustified as I have certainly not breached the agreement or any so-called code of conduct,” Tatiana, 18, said in a statement. 
    “More importantly, the allegations made against me are false and unacceptable. I am upset and disappointed with the allegations as I have conducted myself with utmost professionalism as Miss Malaysia World 2016.”
    Tatiana said she was seeking legal redress and she had been advised not to make any more public statements.
    Lim on Monday said Tatiana, had among others, offended one of her sponsors at the pageant’s finale in the United States in December by refusing to wear its garments. She also said Tatiana had disregarded her advice. 
    Lim said yesterday Tatiana had also embarrassed her on her Facebook page by giving the impression her company failed to pay for her air tickets for the grand finale. 
    She said Tatiana had posted a thank you note on Facebook to Tourism Malaysia and her father for sponsoring her business class ticket, which generated criticisms about Lim when her company was going to pay for her economy class fare.
    “I am upset and ashamed by the posts on her Facebook page,” said Lim, who also said she had engaged a lawyer on the matter. 
    After Tatiana was stripped of the title, Lim had announced Shweta Sekhon, the first runner-up, as the new Miss Malaysia World 2016. 

    Tatiana was stripped of her crown for ‘offensive’ comments online. — Instagram screengrabTatiana was stripped of her crown for ‘offensive’ comments online. — Instagram screengrab

    Source: The Malay Mail Online, 3/8/2017


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     Denisse Franco, 18, from Culiácan in the state of Sinaloa, was crowned Nuestra Belleza Mexico 2017 on March 11, 2017. She will represent Mexico in the next edition of Miss Universe pageant.

    If for any reason Franco fails to compete in Miss Universe, she will be replaced by Citlaly Higuera of the state of Tamaulipas who came in second.

     Karla Berúmen of Aguascalientes came in third.

    PHOTO CREDITS: Facebook, Nuestra Belleza Mexico

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    The new Miss Universe, 23-year-old Iris Mittenaere, declared Friday proud to "represent France a little" in the world, on her first trip to her country since she was crowned in the Philippines and before meeting François Hollande on Saturday.

    "I am honored to meet him because, although I am not president, I feel like representing a little bit of France on my scale, like him!" she said during a press conference at the Hotel Marignan in Paris on Friday.

    "I had missed it: my family, the croissants, French gastronomy and even speaking French!", The young woman said, "very, very happy" to finally come back to France.

    Her "only anguish" concerned the reception of the French. "I said to myself," How are they going to receive me? Are they going to be happy? But I was better received than I had thought, "she said.

    Present for a week in French territory, Mittenaere displays a busy schedule, between media tour and reunion with her family. After the press conference at the Hotel Marignan, she had dinner with her family.

    She must spend a few days in Lille, her home town, where the public can come to meet her on Sunday, at a grand parade, starting at 11:00 AM.

    As for her future, Iris Mittenaere is "still asking questions". "I always want to be a dentist of course," says the young woman who was in 5th year of dental surgery before becoming Miss France.

    But "I always told myself that I could do everything, so I want to try everything to see if I'm gifted." Cinema, modeling, television: it excludes nothing except singing. "I am the only one, with my mother, to think that I sing well!", joked the young beauty queen.

    Crowned as the 65th Miss Universe on January 30 in the Philippines, Iris Mittenaere had previously been elected Miss France and Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais 2016.

    Source: Associated Press, France, 3/17/2017

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    Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere was warmly received by her compatriots during her homecoming in her native France that started last Thursday, March 16. She has met with French president Francois Hollande, and was mobbed by photographers and adoring fans at her homecoming parade last Sunday, March 19, in Lille. 


    After her reunion in Paris with her mother, Iris reunited with her grandmother in Lille. On Instagram, the beauty queen posted a nice shot of her hugging her beloved grandmother  whom she nicknamed Mamé affectionately. 

    In an interview with TV Mag , Iris Mittenaere explained why she was so upset when she found her grandmother.  "I had not seen her since I left for M
    anila. I was extremely moved to see her again. She did not want me to win because I was going to be away from her. She was too cute!" So it was a relief for her grandmother who was able to see her granddaughter who had promised to visit her regularly .


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  • 03/23/17--20:02: Miss Colombia 2017


     Laura González Ospina, 22, was crowned  Señorita Colombia 2017 (Miss Colombia 2017) on March 20 at Las Americas Convention Center in her hometown of Cartagena. She will now compete in the next edition of Miss Universe pageant.  The second place or "Virreina" position went to Vanessa Pulgarín, 25, from Antioquia who earned the title of Miss Colombia International 2017 and will compete in Miss International 2017 in Japan later this year. The First Princess position went to Jennifer Hernandez of Santander, the Second Princess is Vanessa Dominguez of Bogota, and the Third Princess is Maria Fernanda Betancourt of Magdalena.

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  • 03/26/17--19:13: Miss South Africa 2017

  • Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, a 21-year-old business student, was crowned Miss South Africa 2017 on March 26 at the Sun City Superbowl. She is expected to compete in either Miss World or Miss Universe pageant (whichever comes first) later this year. 

    The First Princess is Adè van Heerden (left) and the Second Princess is Boipelo Mabe (right). Priyeshka Lutchman and Shané Naidoo completed the Top 5

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  • 03/31/17--19:27: Puteri Indonesia 2017


    Bunga Jelitha Ibrani, a 25-year-old professional model, entrepreneur and communications student representing DKI Jakarta, was crowned Puteri Indonesia 2017 in Jakarta on March 31st. She will represent Indonesia in the next edition of Miss Universe pageant whose date and venue have yet to be announced.

    The first runner-up is Lilliana Kevin, 21, who will compete in the Miss International 2017 to be held later this year in Japan. The second runner-up is Karina Nadila Niab, 24 who will compete in Miss Supranational 2017 in Poland sometime in December.

    A new title, Miss Grand International Indonesia, was awarded to 23-year-old Dea Goesti Rizkita Koswara. She will compete in Miss Grand International 2017 pageant to be held in Vietnam on October 25th. She will attempt to win a back-to-back crown for Indonesia.


     Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere attended the pageant as a special guest, while former Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova sat as judge. Natalie was supposed to attend the 2005 pageant but was unable to come due to travel advisory from her native country, Canada.

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    New mayor Kaiane Lopez broke records yesterday as both Gibraltar’s youngest and the first Miss World to be a mayor.

    The 30-year old former beauty queen crowned Miss World 2009 is also Gibraltar’s third female to take on the role of mayor.

    In her honour Miss World Chairwoman Julia Morley attended the ceremony and donated $10,000 on behalf of the ‘Beauty with a purpose’ campaign to Gibraltar for children in need.
    Mrs Morley told the Chronicle she plans on visiting the Rock in the coming months to work further with the former Miss World and new Mayor.

    Yesterday outgoing Mayor Adolfo Canepa passed on the mayoral medallion to Mrs Lopez at an Investiture Ceremony held at the City Hall, marking the start of her tenure.

    John Gonçalves now takes over Mrs Lopez position as Deputy Mayor.

    “You were Miss Gibraltar, you were Miss World and now you are Mrs Mayor,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo at the ceremony which was attended by the Governor Lieutenant General Edward Davis.

    “When Kaiane Aldorino became Miss World she was someone who carried the dreams of Gibraltarians around the world. She became a free woman of Gibraltar and she has Gibraltar’s medallion of honour, our highest civic distinction. Therefore asking her to become mayor was something that the house was able to do unanimously,” he said.
    Mr Picardo thanked Mr Canepa for his work as Mayor and welcomed Mrs Lopez and Mr Gonçalves into their new roles.

    In her own address the new Mayor Kaiane Lopez spoke of how grateful she was to have been given this opportunity.

    “Having served as deputy mayor for the last few years I have witnessed the hard work and dedication required to fulfil this role. I would therefore like to thank our former mayors for all they have contributed to the significance to the mayoralty,” she said.

    “They are all truly an inspiration.”

    Source: Gibraltar Chronicle, 4/5/2017

    Related articles: 

    Former Miss World becomes youngest ever Gibraltar mayor and declares: ‘We are British and always will be'
    Ex-Miss World Kaiane Lopez officially becomes Gibraltar’s new Mayor

    Kaiane Aldorino as Miss World 2009

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