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Beauty With Attitude
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     And the crown goes to... Miss New York Nia Franklin. 
    She edged out her 50 fellow competitors Sunday night in Atlantic City. 
    After being crowned, Franklin expressed her gratitude.
    "I'm feeling really blessed right now," she said. "I want to thank God because without him I wouldn't be standing here. It took a lot of perseverance to get here, and I just want to thank my beautiful family for coming, my mom and my dad, who's a survivor of cancer, and I love him so much. I want to thank all of my sisters behind me. We've had a wonderful week together, and I love each and every one of you."
    During the competition, Franklin offered herself as an example when asked how she would promote a healthy body image.
    "I would start by sharing my story," she said. "I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school and there was only 5 percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin.
    "But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was," she continued, "and that's what I would encourage women to do – young girls to do is find who they are."
    She also explained how being Miss New York prepared her for her next job as Miss America.
    "I have New York grit," said Franklin. "I have moved over five times because of subletting in New York. It can be a little difficult because of the pricey rent, but I've overcome that. And also, as a New Yorker, I understand what it takes to work hard. I came up on a Lincoln Center fellowship because I'm an artist, and I'm really excited to just share my platform my social impact advocating for the arts and make sure all students have access to a quality education." 
    For her talent, Franklin sang "Quando m'en vo'" from the opera "La Boheme," dazzling Twitter with her vocal talent and a gleaming, strapless dress. 
    "Miss New York nailed the talent competition!" one person on the social media site exclaimed.
    Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei was the evening's first runner-up, Miss Louisiana Holli' Conway the second runner-up. Miss Florida Taylor Tyson was awarded third runner-up, while Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras was named the fourth runner-up. 
    The other contestants rounding out the Top 15 were: Miss Minnesota Michaelene Karlen, Miss District of Columbia Allison Farris, Miss Colorado Ellery Jones, Miss Idaho Nina Forest, Miss Wisconsin Tianna Vanderhei, Miss Indiana Lydia Tremaine, Miss Washington Danamarie McNichol, Miss Nebraska Jessica Shultis, Miss Oklahoma Ashley Thompson and Miss Alabama Callie Walker.
    Reigning Miss America Cara Mund was on-hand to crown Franklin. Mund has been at the center of a the organization's latest controversy. In August, she lashed out at the organization's CEO, Regina Hopper, and chair, Gretchen Carlson, in a five-page letter addressing her "Miss America Sisters." She claimed the leaders "silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis."
    Mund appeared on "Today" Friday, and though she did not address Carlson by name, said those in charge should be replaced.
    “I do think with the lack of confidence there does need to be a leadership change and I think it comes from more than one (individual)," she said. "I think it’s just the culture in general."
    Carlson denied Mund's claims in a statement shared to Twitter a few days after the letter's release, which conveyed she was "surprised and saddened beyond words." 
    "I also want to be clear that I have never bullied or silenced you," her statement read.
    Source: USA Today, 9/10/2018


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    Miss America 2019 Nia Imani Franklin is mobbed from after she was crowned at Boardwalk Hall.(Photo: THOMAS P. COSTELLO, Asbury Park Press via USA TODAY NETWORK)

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Miss America ceremony subtracted the swimsuit competition for the first time in its 98-year history, and subtracted one million television viewers, too.
    The Nielsen company said 4.34 million people watched the annual ceremony on ABC Sunday, down 19 percent from the 5.35 million viewers last year. Declining viewership has been a consistent trend for the pageant over the past few years.
    With Miss America now under the leadership of former Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson, the swimsuits were left behind. Instead, they were replaced by onstage interviews where contestants talked about President Trump, the NFL player protests and other topics.
    Yet the decision has been the subject of criticism. Minutes before the nationally televised broadcast began, a comedian warming up the crowd mentioned there would be no swimsuit competition, drawing loud boos from the audience.
    It was the pageant's lowest viewership since 2009, when it was shown on cable's TLC channel and reached only 3.54 million people. It returned to broadcast TV on ABC in 2011, and its audience has gotten as high as 8.6 million in 2013.
    New Yorker Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America on Sunday.
    Viewership has declined steadily in recent years, from 7.1 million in 2015, to 6.29 million in 2016 and last year's 5.35 million.
    Buoyed by two NFL games, NBC won the week in prime-time, averaging 9.3 million viewers. CBS had 3.8 million, Fox had 3.52 million, ABC had 3.45 million, Univision had 1.32 million, ION had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.25 million and the CW had 740,000.
    ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.57 million viewers. Fox News Channel had 2.26 million, MSNBC had 1.99 million, USA had 1.38 million and HGTV had 1.35 million.
    ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.5 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.9 million.
    For the week of Sept. 3-9, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Chicago at Green Bay, NBC, 22.12 million; NFL Football: Atlanta at Philadelphia, NBC, 19.03 million; "NFL Pre-Kick Show" (Thursday), NBC, 15.61 million; "NFL Pre-Kick Show" (Sunday), NBC, 15.41 million; "NFL Weather Delay," NBC, 12.76 million; "The OT," Fox, 12.33 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.7 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 10.46 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 9.89 million; "NFL Opening Kick-off Show, NBC, 8.73 million.
    Source: USA Today, 9/11/2018

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    Photo credit: El Nuevo Dia


    Kiara Liz Ortega, 24, representing the municipality of Rincón, was crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2018 Saturday night at San Juan's Centro de Bellas Artes. She was crowned by her predecessor Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2017 Danna Hernández. Ortega will now represent Puerto Rico at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant to be held on December 16 in Bangkok, Thailand.

     The first runner-up is Alejandra Pagán of Vega Baja and the second runner-up is Alexandra Porrata of Ponce. This is the first edition of Miss Universe Puerto Rico under its new director, Denise Quiñones who herself was Miss Universe 2001.


    Photo credit: Miss Universe Puerto Rico Facebook

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    Veronika Didusenko, who was recently named Miss Ukraine at the country's national beauty pageant, was stripped of her title after pageant officials learned that she lied about being a divorced mother in her application.
    Didusenko was crowned the winner of the Miss Ukraine pageant in the country's capital of Kiev on September 20. But her reign as queen didn't last long after the pageant committee decided that she was to be disqualified on Monday.
    The Miss Ukraine organization released a statement regarding the 23-year-old's disqualification which said, "In accordance with the Rules for conducting the National Beauty Contest Miss Ukraine, a person who wishes to take part in the National Beauty Contest 'Miss Ukraine' must comply, among other things, with the following requirements (valid for the period of the Contest): – not / was not married; – has no children."
    The pageant statement continued,  “The same requirements are indicated in the official form, which is contained in the unified rules and conditions of participation in Miss World contest 2018.”
    Source: Fox News, 9/26/2018

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  • 10/02/18--19:36: Miss Colombia 2018


  • Valeria Morales, 20, representing the department of  Valle del Cauca, was crowned Miss Colombia 2018 on September 30th during a special "Rumbo a Miss Universo 2018" ("Road To Miss Universe 2018). She will represent Colombia at Miss Universe 2018 to be held in Bangkok, Thailand on December 16.  Her court includes Virreina (Vice-Queen) or 1st runner-up Isabella Atehortua Zapata (Antioquia) and 2nd runner-Alma Beatriz Díaz Bonilla (Chocó) .


    Photo credits: Facebook

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    Hometown girl Miss Philippines, Sharifa Areef Mohammed Omar Akeel, was crowned Miss Asia Pacific International 2018 during the pageant's 50th anniversary at the Newport Performing Arts Theater,  Resorts World Manila on Thursday, October 4. 

    Akeel's court includes 1st runner-up Gabriela Palma of  Brazil, 2nd runner-up Melania Gonzales of Costa Rica,  3rd runner-up  Misheelt Narmandakh of Mongolia, , and 4th runner-up Mariani Nataly Chacon Angarita of  Venezuela. 



    PHOTO CREDITS: Miss Asia Pacific International Facebook


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  • 10/07/18--12:47: Miss World Philippines 2018



  • Katarina Rodriguez, 26, was crowned Miss World Philippines 2018 at SM Mall Asia Arena in Manila on Saturday, October 6. She will now represent the Philippines at Miss World 2018 pageant to be held in Sanya, China on December 8. Rodriguez is a pageant veteran; she was 1st runner-up at Miss Intercontinental 2017 pageant.


    At the same pageant, three other winners were crowned. Maureen Montagne, 25, was crowned Miss Eco Philippines 2018 and will compete in Miss Eco International 2018 pageant in Cairo, Egypt. Alyssa Muhlach Alvarez was crowned Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas 2018 and will compete in Reina Hispanoamericana 2018 in Bolivia. Kim-Lei Mugford is Miss Multinational Philippines 2018 and will compete in Miss Multinational 2018 pageant to be held in India. The First Princess is Chanel Morales and the Second Princess is Pearl Hung.

    Photo credit: GMA


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    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The other heel has dropped at the Miss America Organization, which had endured a revolt by dozens of states this summer against the national leadership of the pageant headed by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson.
    The crowning of the latest Miss America took place last month with the pageant's national leadership largely silent on the calls for their resignation from many states.
    But now the national organization is undertaking a purge of rebellious state officials, terminating the licenses of four states, threatening about 15 with probation — and thanking others whose officials stood by the national leadership in the first Miss America pageant without a swimsuit competition.
    States whose licenses are terminated must replace current leaders. They can request an appeal hearing from Miss America's executive committee.
    The Miss America Organization would not say how it decided which states to terminate and which to threaten with probation, issuing a statement to The Associated Press that read, in its entirety:
    "The process regarding Miss America state licensees is confidential."
    State officials say their dissatisfaction stemmed not from the elimination of swimsuits, but by the way Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper ran the organization since taking over in January.


    Georgia and West Virginia are among states that were notified in recent days that their state licenses are being terminated, Paul Perkins, a lawyer representing both states, told The Associated Press. And a Pennsylvania state pageant official, Chet Welch, confirmed his state has gotten a termination notice as well.
    One other state also has been terminated, according to state officials and a former national board member, but its officials did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday.
    Other states have been asked to explain — in writing — why they acted as they did in the run-up to the pageant.
    A state organization that has its license terminated can no longer claim to be affiliated with the Miss America Organization and must, among other things, turn over bank accounts with scholarship money to the national organization.
    Vaden Barth formed a GoFundMe account called the Miss America Organization Leadership Change Fund that has raised over $22,000 to help states defend themselves and advocate for new leadership at the top.
    When this year's pageant was held last month, 46 of the 51 state pageant organizations (the District of Columbia is included) had called on the two to resign, along with 23 former Miss Americas.


    It followed the release of a remarkable letter from the outgoing Miss America, Cara Mund, in which she said she had been marginalized and bullied by top pageant leaders. An investigation commissioned by the Miss America Organization found no evidence to back up that claim, but investigators did not interview Mund for the report, which was issued the day after the most recent pageant was held.
    Carlson, who was Miss America 1989, and Hopper depict the opposition as a "noisy minority" resistant to change, particularly one as large as the elimination of the pageant's swimsuit competition.
    But many state officials say their opposition is rooted in a lack of transparency and communication from national leaders, and does not involve the swimsuit decision.

    Source: USA Today, 10/8/2018

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    Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 20) — A photo with an Israeli fellow has cost a Lebanese beauty queen her title.
    Miss Earth Lebanon 2018 Salwa Akar had lost her title after posting a picture with her Israeli counterpart Dana Zerik on Facebook. The photo, which shows the two gesturing a peace sign with their hands, comes with the caption, "My advocacy is to help people find peace and love within themselves so they can love each others (sic) and become peaceful with our mother earth."
    Akar, later on, took down the post.
    The spokesperson of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday took to Twitter to react to the revocation of Akar's title. He also condemned "Lebanese apartheid."
    Miss Lebanon Salwa Akar who participates in the pageant had her title revoked today in Lebanon b/c she "dared" to take this photo w/ Miss Israel.

    Miss Israel Daza Zreik is an Israeli-Arab, who proudly represents her country.

    Lebanese apartheid must be condemned.
    204 people are talking about this
    In what seems to be an act of defiance, Akar posted on Instagram, saying she would "finish what I started with or without your support and love."

    Lebanon and Israel have been at war with each other for years now. In fact, people who hold Israeli-issued passports are prohibited to enter Lebanon. There are ongoing efforts to stop the conflict, but the two nations have still yet to sign a ceasefire agreement.
    The management of Miss Earth has yet to comment on the incident.
    The coronation night of the annual pageant will be held in the Philippines on November 3.
    Source: CNN Philippines, 10/20/2018

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  • 10/21/18--13:20: Miss Globe 2018



  • The 2018 edition of Miss Globe was held on October 21 at the Amfiteatri i Tiranës in Tirana, Albania. The lucky winner is Yu Yizhou of China. Her court includes:

    1st runner-up  -  Montana Lynette Farrah-Seaton, AUSTRALIA
    2nd runner-up  - Perihan Koz, TURKEY
    3rd runner-up  -  Rosa Fariello, ITALY
    4th runner-up  - Alba Bajrami, ALBANIA

    Completing the top 15 were the delegates from 
    Canada, Russia, Brazil, Vietnam, Myanmar, Estonia, France, Portugal, Philippines and Romania.

    Special Award Winners:

    MISS BEST NATIONAL COSTUME - Jasmeet Kaur Arneja, INDIA
    MISS GOLDEN GIRL - Valērija Mickēviča, LATVIA
    MISS TOURISM GLOBE - Paula González Falcón, SPAIN
    MISS DREAM GIRL - Michele Theresa Imperial Gumabao, PHILIPPINES
    MISS ELEGANCE - Yekaterina Sergeyevna Grudtsova, TATARSTAN
    MISS PASSION - Paola Sofía Tanguma Villarreal, MEXICO
    MISS PHOTOGENIC - Natalia Roczniak, POLAND
    MISS BIKINI - Alba Bajrami, ALBANIA
    MISS FRIENDSHIP - Paula González Falcón,  SPAIN
    MISS TALENT - Laurène Gildas Via, FRANCE

    Forty-five young women from all over the world competed in the Albanian-based pageant.

    Source: Miss Globe

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     Clara Sosa of Paraguay was crowned Miss Grand International 2018 on October 25 at The ONE Entertainment Park in Yangon, Myanmar. She is the first woman from her country to win the crown since the pageant began in 2012.  After hearing her country's name as the winner, Sosa was in state of shock, fainted, and fell on the stage floor while her first runner-up, Meenakshi Chaudhary from India, looked for help. 



    After being revived by the pageant staff, Sosa managed to regain her strength, be crowned, and do her victory walk. 


    Completing her royal court were (l-r):   3rd  Runner-Up Nicole Colón of Puerto Rico, 2nd runner-up Nadia Purwoko of Indonesia, 1st runner-up Meenakshi Chaudhary of India, and 4th runner-up Haruka Oda from Japan. 

    Sosa will be staying in Thailand for one year during her reign and taking her journey to over 15 countries around the world to promote the campaign  "Stop the War and Violence."

    Photo credit: Miss Grand International Facebook

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  • 11/03/18--12:57: Vietnam Wins Miss Earth 2018



  • Nguyen Phuong Khanh, a 23-year-old marketing student from Vietnam, was crowned Miss Earth 2018 on Satuday, November 3, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines. Nguyen is the first woman from Vietnam to win the pageant which is now in its eighteenth edition. 86 young women from all the world competed in the popular pageant whose mission is to promote the care and preservation of the planet Earth. 


    L-R: Mexico, Colombia, Vietnam, Austria

    Nguyen's court includes Miss Earth Air 2018 Melanie Mader of Austria, Miss Earth Water 2018  Valeria Ayos of Colombia, and Miss Earth Fire 2018 Melissa Flores of Mexico. Completing the top 8 were the delegates from Italy, Portugal, Philippines and Venezuela. Rounding up the top 18 were the delegates from Chile, Netherlands, Slovenia, South Africa, Brazil, Ghana, Japan, Montenegro, Nepal and Romania. 

    Nguyen was crowned by outgoing queen Karen Ibasco

    The show was broadcast worldwide and streamed live via Miss Earth's Facebook page and YouTube. James Deakin hosted for the second consecutive year.  Entertainment was provided by multi-awarded recording artist Brian McKnight

    The pageant was without any drama. Miss Venezuela Diana Silva collapsed backstage and was unable to join the rest of the Top 8 finalists. Her faint is reminiscent of Clara Sosa who fainted after she was crowned Miss Grand International 2018 last week. Allegedly, Silva was replaced by the next top scorer, Miss Vietnam.


    An Instagram photo shows Miss Venezuela Diana Silva (lying in a gurney) who recovered from her faint, surrounded by the Venezuelan team led by national director and former Miss Earth Alyz Heinrich (far left)







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    Photo credit: Instagram


    Nariman Battikha of Venezuela was crowned Reina Hispanoamericana 2018 on November 3 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Battikha is the seventh Venezuelan to win the crown.  Elected as the Virreina ("Vice-Queen") is Isabele Pandini Nogueira of Brazil.

    The list of runners-up include:
    1st runner-up - Mexico - Aranza Anaid Molina
    2nd runner-up - Paraguay - María Belén Alderete
    3rd runner-up - Bolivia - Marian Joyce Prado
    4th runner-up - Chile - Camila Ignacia Helfmann
    5th runner-up - Ecuador - Lisseth Naranjo Goya
    6th runner-up - Cuba - Gleidys Leyva Rodríguez
    7th runner-up  - Peru - Jessica McFarlane
    8th runner-up  - Europa Hispana - Daniela Santeliz Acosta

    The pageant, which began in 1991, seeks to promote Hispanic culture around the world. It was initially limited to countries where Spanish is spoken, but a few years ago it opened to countries with some Spanish influence and to Hispanic communities in the United States and Europe.

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    Miss Earth-Canada Jaime Yvonne Vandenberg, Miss Earth-England Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown, and Miss Earth-Guam Emma Mae Sheedy


    Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8) — Three candidates of Miss Earth 2018 bravely came forward to reveal their experiences of sexual harassment involving a sponsor during the international beauty pageant, which was recently concluded in the Philippines.

    Miss Earth Canada Jaime Yvonne Vandenberg, Miss Earth England Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown, and Miss Earth Guam Emma Mae Sheedy all shared how excited they were to compete and to enjoy the Philippines, but it was ruined by a pageant sponsor's alleged sexual requests.
    Vanderberg, who eventually withdrew from the competition, said the sponsor started harassing her on her second day in the country. She said the sponsor got her mobile number without her consent and kept calling her to ask for her hotel and room number.
    But it didn't stop there. The candidate said the unnamed sponsor offered her competition mileage if she grants him sexual favors.
    "He showed up to almost all of my events telling me he could take care of my needs and asked for sexual favours in exchange to get me further in the pageant. I was disgusted," Vandenberg wrote on her Instagram page on Wednesday.
     
    Miss Earth England Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown also attested to this.
    "I enjoyed 50% of my trip but the other 50% was over shadowed by feeling exploited, vulnerable, unnerved & sexually harassed as I was approached by a sponsor on many occasions who asked for sexual favours in exchange for the crown," she wrote on Instagram.
    All three candidates recalled their experience with the sponsor when they attended two sponsored events at the Manila Yacht Club.
    Miss Earth Guam Emma Mae Sheedy said the Filipino sponsor, whom she identified as Amado Cruz, ensured that the team managers and security personnel were separated in another room during the event at the yacht club. She said he grabbed her bare backside during the National Costume Competition, but told her not to tell anyone about it.
     
    Vandenberg said seven candidates left the event after they felt uncomfortable and unsafe in the sponsor's yacht. She added some candidates were even invited to go to the newly-rehabilitated Boracay.
    "At an event at the Manila Yacht Club he took all of the delegates in my group to his yacht and had some girls take sultry photos. Again, I was disgusted. Later in the pageant we had another sponsor event at the Manila Yacht Club and he was telling girls he could take them to Boracay, as long as we didn't tell any one. A group of us left to sit out side as we did not feel comfortable. He followed us outside and was upset we were not dancing with him. The team mangers laughed and told us to be nice," she wrote.
    Gyles-Brown recalled how she and the other women were harassed.
    "It was not only myself and Canada who were approached on this night but other delegates who I believe are going to come forward and tell their side of the story... Myself and Jaime removed ourselves from this uncomfortable environment and sat on the bus away from further exploitation," she said.
    CNN Philippines is trying to reach Cruz for comment.
    Officials of the Manila Yacht Club, where the incident supposedly took place, said Cruz is not a member and could have just been sponsored by a friend who happens to be part of the club.

    Allegations vs Miss Earth organizers

    All three candidates believe Miss Earth 2018 organizers did not act on their complaints.
    Vanderberg said that she was able to talk to Lorraine Schuck, the founder and executive vice president of the production that runs the pageant. She said it took weeks before the Carousel Productions addressed her concerns.
    "I went through almost two weeks of sexual harassment before anything was done about it," she said.
    Gyles-Brown said that when she mentioned the Manila Yacht Club incident to Miss Earth organizers, they only scoffed at her.
    "Myself and Canada approached Team Managers to express our disgust only to be laughed at. Another official attendee of the night told me not to cry as I would ruin my makeup! There was no respect or compassion shown to myself or Jamie. I felt traumatised by this experience and had many sleepless nights," she said.
    Gyles-Brown said she was told by Schuck that the sponsor would not be allowed near the candidates, but it did not happen.
    "The said sponsor in fact show up at a preliminary event and also attended the Coronation night," she said.
    Sheedy believes that more candidates over the years will come forward with their revelations against the said sponsor.
    Another allegation from Vanderberg was that Miss Earth organizers confiscated her passport on the first day of competition.
    "The organization had confiscated my passport on the first day and I felt like I couldn't leave. When the team managers went into my room and took things from my luggage without my permission, I had completely lost faith in the organization," she said.
    Vandenberg also explained her decision to withdraw from the competition before the coronation night on November 3.
    "I was so excited because I had been to the Philippines before and loved the country and the people; however, the experience with the pageant was not what I had expected. I left Miss Earth because I did not feel safe under their care," Vandenberg wrote.
    Shuck said they will ban the alleged sponsor from the pageant's next events.
    However, she questioned why the candidates aired their issues online even if they have already talked about it. 
    "Medyo na-blown out of proportion... Naiba. So ewan ko ba kung bakit umabot to sa social media, eh natapos na kami noong October 14 pa. So I really do not understand. So if they're saying na tuloy-tuloy pa din yung harassement na naramdaman nila, bakit hindi nila sinasabi sa team manager at sa police," she told CNN Philippines on Thursday. 
    Source: CNN Philippines, 11/9/2018


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    Mariem Velazco of Venezuela was crowned Miss International 2018 on Friday, November 9,  at Tokyo Dome City Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Mariem was crowned on her 20th birthday by the outgoing Miss International Kevin Lilliana of Indonesia. Her victory marks Venezuela's eighth Miss International crown. The finale lasted for over five hours.


     Velazco's court includes first runner-up Ahtisa Manalo of the Philippines, second runner-up Reabetswe Sechoaro of South Africa (who was also awarded Miss International Africa title), third runner-up Bianca Tirsin of Romania, and fourth runner-up Anabella Castro Sierra of Colombia. Completing the top 8 were the delegates from Ecuador, Spain and Japan. Rounding up the top 15 were the candidates from Australia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Paraguay, Thailand and Ukraine.


    Photo credit: Facebook


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    The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 17 December in Bangkok, Thailand

    Despite being crown Miss Universe Spain, Ángela Ponce still faces anti-trans backlash
    Ángela Ponce, Miss Universe Spain
















    Ángela Ponce of Spain became the first trans women to be crowned Miss Universe back in June. Despite this trailblazing win, Ponce is still the subject of anti-trans bigotry in the media and online.

    Ponce’s win

    ‘I have to win not just for me but for all the people in Spain and around the world so the situation changes. Not just for the LGBTI collective but for all of humanity. I’m not just another Miss Universe candidate who wants world peace; I have a very powerful message of tolerance, hope, respect, love for oneself and others. I want to do all this under the Spanish flag,’ Ponce told EL PAÍS fashion magazine S Moda after winning the title.
    At that time, though, Ponce didn’t seem to expect the harassment that would be thrown her way.

    Backlash

    Since her win, Ponce has been the topic of anti-trans media reports throughout Latin America. They have gone so far as to show childhood photos of Ponce, as well as photos of her without makeup. Numerous television programs in Mexico, Argentina, and Venezuela have spent hours on the subject of Ponce, debating whether or not she’s truly a woman.
    Twitter users added fuel to the fire by sharing memes questioning Ponce’s femininity and her right to compete in the pageant.
    Other Miss Universe contestants, both former and current, have also made comments about Ponce to the press.
    ‘They may call me old fashioned but I think there should be a competition, which already exists, for transgender people and another for girls,’ Vivian Sleiman, Miss Venezuela 2001, recently said.
    ‘I believe that a beauty pageant like Miss Universe is for women who are born women,’ echoed Valeria Morales, Miss Colombia. ‘And I believe that for her it will also be a disadvantage. And so we’ll have to respect it but not agree with it.’
    Morales will be competing against Ponce in this year’s Miss Universe pageant, taking place on 17 December in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Being the Bigger Person

    Despite all this hatred, Ponce remained strong and positive, seemingly taking the higher road.
    ‘I respect her [Morales] and I respect that that is her opinion, but I don’t want to go to Miss Universe with any prejudice against her or any other colleague,’ Ponce responded on Instagram.
    ‘My goal is to make people aware of my reality and to talk a little to the world about the lack of education on diversity. An important factor that without doubt leads to so much bullying, prejudice and violence. I ask for respect for both my fellow competitor Valeria Morales and for myself.’

    Source: Gay Star News, 11/25/2018

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    Vicent Llorach, 23, of Spain won the 2018 Manhunt International contest held on December 2 at QT Gold Coast Ballroom, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The runners-up are as follows:

    1st runner-up - Dale Maher, Australia
    2nd runner-up - Luca Derin, Netherlands 
    3rd runner-up - Jeff Langan, Philippines
    4th runner-up - Mai Tuan Anh, Vietnam


    Vicent Llorach also won the Best Commercial Model


    Completing the top 16 were the delegates from Belgium, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Nepal, Poland, Puerto Rico, Sweden and the United Kingdom. 35 countries were represented at the 19th edition of the contest.

    Photo credit: Manhunt International


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    Zahra Khanum poses in her Miss Singapore Universe 2018 costume on Thursday (Nov 29). 
    (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)


    SINGAPORE: The man behind Miss Universe Singapore’s controversial Trump-Kim Summit costume has spoken out in defence of his design, saying that he is “happy with the final result”.

    The national costume - designed by Mr Moe Kasim of Moephosis Concepts in collaboration with Miss Universe Singapore national director Nuraliza Osman - has drawn much reaction on social media since it was unveiled on Thursday (Nov 29), with some questioning how the design is representative of Singapore.

    Inspired by the historic summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June, the dress features an electric blue skirt that fans out to reveal a hidden surprise - a huge digital print depicting the historic handshake between Mr Trump and Mr Kim.

    Miss Universe Singapore representative Zahra Khanum will parade it at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant in Bangkok next month.

    Mr Kasim told Channel NewsAsia that he was instructed by organisers to “design something based on the Trump-Kim Summit”. “I naturally thought of world peace and the elements of it, hence, the design,” Mr Kasim said in an email interview.

    The Trump-Kim dress represents the third consecutive year he has designed Miss Singapore's national costume.

    Mr Kasim also admitted that he was “a little hesitant” when he first received word of the design theme. “Honestly, I was a little hesitant at first due to the political sensitivities behind it. But in the spirit of promoting world peace, friendship and unity, I accepted the challenge.”



    Mr Moe Kasim designed the costume using the historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore as inspiration. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)
     

    He added that he believed the organisers wanted to highlight “what was relevant, current and unique – something that was probably only going to happen once in our lifetime and in Singapore’s history”.

    “We accepted the design challenge in the spirit of supporting Singapore’s role in promoting world peace, friendship and unity,” Mr Kasim said.

    “This is just a representation of what Singapore stands for, which is world peace, and the fact that Singapore is reaching out to other countries to create positive relationships,” he added.

    Most of the criticisms surrounding the dress were centered around the choice of the Trump-Kim Summit as a design inspiration, the use of North Korea and US flags on a national costume representing Singapore, the absence of a Singapore flag, and the perceived inferior quality of the digital print.
     
    Mr Kasim said that among the challenges he faced while making the costume was the budget.

    “It was a challenge to design something based on an event. Even more so for something as controversial and contentious as this one,” Mr Kasim said.

    Designer Moe Kassim & Zahra Khanum

    “Budget was also another challenge. We had to make the best with what we have. I’m happy with the final result and I wish everyone will join me in cheering for Zahra at the finals now that the spotlight is on her, even from the international media,” he added.

    Mr Kasim also addressed comments by some who suggested that the Trump-Kim dress has similarities to Miss Turkey’s 2015 national costume, saying that any resemblances was a mere coincidence.

    “Honestly, I’ve never seen the 2015 dress until it was pointed out,” Mr Kasim said.

    “There has been thousands of costumes showcased over the years and it’s hard to keep track of them all. It’s purely a coincidence,” he said.

    The Miss Universe 2018 pageant will be held in Bangkok, Thailand on Dec 17.

    Source: Channel News Asia, Nov. 30, 2018

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    No more beauty queens in Oaxaca?

    Women's affairs secretary wants legislation to ban rewarding women for their sexual and physical appeal

    A Oaxaca politician is looking for support from state lawmakers in a bid to ban beauty pageants in the state.
    “The Women’s Affairs Secretariat joins the voices that demand a ban on beauty pageants in Oaxaca, [events] that objectify women, especially girls and teenagers,” Women’s Affairs Secretary Ana Vázquez Colmenares said.
    Vázquez explained that the “objectification” to which women are subjected to in such events doesn’t allow them to assume a full role in society, limiting them to becoming an object of pleasure.
    Legislation is required to prohibit granting prizes to the women with the most sexual and physical appeal, a parameter that should not be used to measure a woman’s worth, much less that of a girl, she said.
    Vázquez’s proposal also calls for sanctions that range from fines and reprimands to charges of human trafficking.
    The initiative is part of a broader plan designed to ensure respect for gender equality after a gender alert was issued for the state in early September.
    The gender alert mechanism was created in 2007 and is described by the federal government as “a set of emergency government actions to confront and eradicate violence” against women.
    The Oaxaca Women’s Affairs Secretariat also intends to install offices in the 570 municipalities of the state, with special attention to those governed by ancestral indigenous customs and traditions, a form of government known as usos y costumbres.
    Source: Milenio (sp), Dec. 2, 2018

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    Nia Franklin was crowned 2019 Miss America last October in Atlantic City. Photo credit: Miss America

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — There they go. Miss America state groups in three more states have had their licenses revoked by the Miss America Organization following a bitter, high-stakes clash between state pageants and the national leadership headed by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson.
    The Miss America Organization sent termination letters Friday to New Jersey, New York and Florida. The Associated Press obtained two of the letters, and confirmed with leaders of the third state that it, too, had been revoked.
    So far, the parent organization has sent termination letters to seven states, and leaders in an eighth state have resigned in protest.
    The latest targets included the pageant’s current and traditional home — New Jersey, whose Boardwalk Hall hosts it each year in Atlantic City — and the state that has produced four of the last six Miss Americas (New York), including the current Miss America, Nia Imani Franklin.
    Earlier this year, the Miss America Organization had moved against Georgia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, while Colorado’s leaders quit.
    The letter to Florida cites “the State Organization’s default under the Agreement,” but does not spell out what the violations were. The letter to New Jersey states that its agreement with the parent organization is not being renewed.
    States whose licenses are terminated can request an appeal hearing within 10 days from Miss America’s executive committee. After an appeal is heard, the Miss America Organization has the right to seek a new licensee.
    The Miss America Organization declined to discuss the shakeup. “The revocations are subject to a confidential appeal process and we are unable to comment on the status of the licensees or their leadership,” it said in a statement.
    They would not say whether any of the targeted state leadership groups has been replaced.
    The turmoil involves a revolt by dozens of states this summer against the national leadership of the pageant headed by Carlson.
    State officials say their dissatisfaction stems not from this year’s elimination of swimsuits, but by the way Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper have run the organization since taking over in January. Their biggest change was dropping the swimsuit competition and focusing more on the contestants’ platforms and talents in an attempt to make the pageant more relevant.
    But most state leadership groups chafed under the new national leaders, and even the outgoing Miss America, Cara Mund, released a remarkable letter in which she said she had been marginalized and bullied by top pageant leaders. An investigation commissioned by the Miss America Organization found no evidence to back up that claim, but investigators did not interview Mund for the report, which was issued on Sept. 10, the day after the 2018 pageant was held.
    Source: The Washington Post, Dec. 5, 2018

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     Valeria Vasquez waves to the crowd while holding her cash prize

      Puerto Rico's Valeria Vázquez Latorre was crowned Miss Supranational 2018 during the tenth anniversary edition of the pageant held at  Hala Sportowa Krynica-Zdrój in Krynica, Poland on Friday, December 7.  The 24-year-old beauty won over 71 contestants from around the world. Her court includes 1st runner-up Katrina Dimaranan representing the United States, 2nd runner-up Magdalena Bieńkowska of Poland, 3rd runner-up Wilda Octaviana Situngkirof Indonesia, and 4th runner-up Diana Romeroof Mexico.
    Dimaranan, a Filipino-American, competed in the Binibining Pilipinas 2012 pageant where she won the Bb. Pilipinas Tourism 2012 title. She was expected to compete in Miss Tourism Queen International 2012 but the pageant was cancelled. Six years later, she was appointed as Miss Supranational United States 2018 by Cecilio Asuncion, the CEO of Slay Model Management and new franchise holder for the United States.

    Rounding up the top 10 were the delegates from Romania, Brazil, Vietnam, Philippines,  and Venezuela. Completing the top 25 were the delegates from Belarus, Russia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Equatorial Guinea, Ukraine, Slovakia, India, Australia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Denmark, Colombia, and Myanmar.

    Photo credit: Raymond Saldana for Miss Supranational

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    Vanessa Ponce de León, a 26-year-old model from Mexico, was crowned Miss World 2018 on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan on Saturday, December 8. Ponce is the first woman from her country to win the coveted title. She was crowned by last year's winner, Manushi Chhillar from India. 

    Ponce de León has a degree in international business and volunteers for "Migrantes en el Camino". She is also on the board of directors of a rehab center for girls, according to the Miss World website.
    This year, the top five consisted of the winners of the Continental Queens category: Miss World Americas (Mexico), Miss World Africa (Uganda), Miss World Caribbean (Jamaica), Miss World Europe (Belarus) and Miss World Asia & Oceania (Thailand). However, after Mexico was selected as Miss World, the second placer in the Miss World Americas category, Panama's Solaris Barba was declared as the new continental queen for the Americas.
    Top five (L-R): Belarus, Jamaica, Mexico, Uganda, Thailand
    Rounding up the top 12 were the delegates from France, Martinique, Mauritius, Nepal, New Zealand, Panama and Scotland. Completing the top 30 included the delegates from ompared to previous years' announcement of results, besides the winner, only the first runner-up was announced - Thailand's  Nicolene Limsnukan. Miss Belarus Maria Vasilevich, Miss Jamaica Kadijah Robinson and Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo were also among the final five. This is eighth time that the Miss World pageant has been held in Sanya, which first hosted the event in 2003.
     Photo credit: Miss World Organization




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    Prathamesh Maulingkar, a 27-year-old football player and model from India won the Mister Supranational 2018 title during the third edition of the pageant that took place in Krynica-Zdrój, Poland. He bested 39 other finalists to clinch the title for India for the first time. He wins a cash prize amounting to 12,000 dollars.




    Maulingkar was sashed by Gabriel Correa Mister Supranational 2017 and he received the trophy from Miss Supranational 2018 Valeria Vazquez who herself was crowned the night before. The other top five finalists included 1st runner-up Mister Supranational Poland Jakub Kucner, 2nd runner-up Mister Supranational Brazil Samuel Costa, 3rd runner-up Mister Supranational Thailand Kevin Dasom, and 4th runner-up Mister Supranational Netherlands Ennio Fafieanie.


    Rounding up the top 10 were the delegates from Sri Lanka, Slovakia, Dominican Republic, United States and Norway. Completing the top 20 were the delegates from Puerto Rico, Philippines, Argentina, Malta, Czech Republic, Panama, Myanmar, Russia, Mexico and Spain. 


    Photo Credit: Mister Supranational


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          An anonymous individual created a Facebook page called "Exposing Miss World Contest" that aims to expose the corruption that has been plaguing the world's most popular pageant  The author/creator of the page claims to have worked with the Miss World Organization for decades. This author also tagged Steve Douglas on the page to elicit a reaction from Douglas, who is the son of Julia Morley, the pageant CEO who took over the organization after its founder, her husband Eric Morley, passed away in 2000.

         The author makes several allegations: Steve Douglas is a felon and sexual predator, MWO sued an American pageant organizer for infringing on the word "World," the winner is predetermined, Venezuela and India will never win again, Mexico's current win is political, and that the MWO has been engaging in charity fraud.

         Below is the screenshot of the page, followed by the posting in its entirety.





    Corruption at Miss World: EXPOSED
    Dear Delegates and National Directors, this is how you were conned by the international Miss World organisation. It was an organisation I have worked with for over two decades. Things that you wouldn’t know or never even heard of would be exposed here. You will be shocked that you can’t even deny the facts. These are things would have never heard of. There are receipts of proof. It is with a good conscience I cannot keep quiet, There needs to be an investigation in Fraud at Miss World.
    1. Son of Julia Morley
    Okay, so let me start with the SON OF JULIA MORLEY, (Stephen Douglas Morley). You may wonder why he goes by Steve Douglas and not Stephen Morley. Well, in the 80’s he went to jail for fraud. Stealing money in a scam. He was involved in sex trafficking also in the 90’s. Eric Morley never liked him. In fact, he was the black sheep of the family. Eric Morley never liked fraud. He was an honest man but Eric too would have went down with the #MeeTOO movement. He had sexual relations with women to work for him. One of which is a writer of a very popular pageant book that I refused to name. But if you are a true pageant fan, you would know whom I am speaking about. It was only until Eric died, Steven Morley became involved in the pageant. Today, he is the event planner of Miss World since 2003. Eric Morley would be monitoring the ladies on the internet when they arrive and giving Gem (as we called her) updates on behaviour, beauty.
    2. Why Alexandira Mills won over Emma Warreus?
    It is no secret Emma won Miss World 2010 for Botswana. However, Alexandria Mills won before she entered Miss World. In fact, Stephen Morley aka Steve Douglas had selected her from Elite Model Management. At that time, Elite Models sent delegates to the Miss World competition. She was seen as the most beautiful girl on the profiles. But why did Alexandria won? Why did they choose Alexandria? Here is the reason, MWO sued Miss Teen World director, Gaspar Cruz for copyright infringement on the word ‘world’. He won in the first attempt but MWO appealed and Gaspar Cruz lost! This was in (2010-2011). Miss World wanted to show their presence in the US and using the word 'world' is a copyright infringement. They even made a teen Miss World website showcasing all the teen contestants of Miss World 2010 class. That is the reason why up to today, MWO favours Emma more than Alexandria. Emma was the chaperone, visited more countries and did more interviews than Alexandria as Alexandria didn’t speak well… The director of Miss United States pageant (not related to MWO) Chris Wilmer helped the MWO because he wasn't on good terms with Gaspar. Three (3) years later he became the director of Miss World in the United States.
    3. Manipulations of Results
    Working with the organisation, I have been exposed to the inside secrets. You guys wouldn’t know this but MWO is a pack. The winner is predetermined. Hence no matter who answers the question the best would only get a runner up spot if she is lucky. There are tabulators but what those tabulators and the audience don’t know is how the results are manipulated throughout. Here is how! Julia Morley and Steven Douglas goes into a private room with the team. Mike Dixon, Donna Walsh (she goes by the name Donna Derby) and Andrew Minarik. They decide the results from monitoring the contestants for a month and suitable business transactions countries. Then every year, they will sit on the judging panel (all smiling). The other judges on the panel don’t even know this takes place as they think the results will be fair. Ksneia Sukhinova and Zang Zilin knows much about this. This is the reason why Aishwarya Rai and Giselle Laronde didn’t judged in 2014. Only certain Miss World are always allowed to judge because they do know the process. Ask yourself, why are the same judges are on the judging panel every year?
    4. Venezuela and India (Countries with the Most Miss World)
    These countries will not be crowned as Miss World until Julia Morley is no longer the president. 2018 was the last year for India winning under Julia Morley directorship. It doesn’t matter how strong a delegate is. MWO has recognised they need to give other countries a chance. And that some countries have never been crowned Miss World. They are giving new countries that are seen business wise a chance. Sorry India and Venezuela. Miss India 2018 was intentionally left out of the TOP 25 of Beauty with a Purpose for this reason. France is one of the options to win MW in the future.
    5. Mexico win was POLITICAL
    Miss Mexico 2018, Vanessa Ponce De Leon victory was a political move. She knew she had won Miss World as she was told by the team. Everything was a plan and she was a part of it. Vanessa knew about the Multimedia challenge before anyone. Since July. Hence she started on Mobstar (an app used for the contest) prior every other contestants. She wasn’t the one operating her Mobstar account. There were several people back in her country posting for her. Nepal became a threat for Vanessa. They led the Multimedia competition. A competition Vanessa thought she had. France win in the Top Model fast track was also determined beforehand. They tried to saved her as there wasn’t any other preliminary contest she could have done well in. As I said, France is geared towards winning in the future. This is because of a potential host country of Miss World and before Miss World 1953 from France dies. It is her dream to see France wearing the converted royal blue crown. Stephen Douglas Morley on the day for the Head to Head challenge (round two) told the judges that T&T would get in through the judges choice hence for the three (3) Miss World judges to choose Vanessa. Vanessa upon an invitation with Steve, Eric, Mike and Donna choose the remaining 13 contestants. Possible threats for her such as Australia, Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago (Oxford University Lawyer) were left out. Those three (3) countries should never send delegates to Miss World again. Hence you have seen girls that cannot speak well got in. Also, countries that are good business wise. Delegates were intentionally kept out.
    6. Millions for Charity FRAUD
    Julia has an offshore bank account in the Cayman Islands under her eldest son’s name Julien Morley with millions from charity. An investigation needs to be done for this. Please, please investigate. Money for sick children are being used for fraud. God don’t sleep!
    I know it is a bit long but stay tuned for PART 2
    Exposing Miss World official email and phone number (which isn't posted no way online) Email: missworld@missworld.com and phone contact +442078200111
















        *** Critical Beauty has reached out to the author/creator of the page who advised CB that more details about the claims would be provided soon. Stay tuned!

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    Miss USA is hearing it on social media about remarks she made regarding two Miss Universe pageant contestants on the Instagram account of another pageant queen.
    Sarah Rose Summers is getting slammed for comments caught on video about Miss Vietnam, H'Hen Nie, and Miss Cambodia, Sinat Rern, not understanding English.
    In a video captured by Miss Colombia Valeria Morales, Summers, 24, asks, and then answers, "What do you think of Miss Vietnam Nie?"
    Miss Vietnam H'Hen Nie
    Miss Vietnam H'Hen Nie




    "She's so cute and she pretends to know so much English, and then you ask her a question after having a whole conversation with her and she goes [smiles and nods]," Summers said, chuckling. She added, "She's adorable."
    Summers repeated her impression of Nie upon Morales' request.
    Later in the video, Summers expressed sympathy for Rern not knowing English.
    "Miss Cambodia is here and doesn't speak any English and not a single other person speaks her language. Can you imagine? [Miss Australia] Francesca [Hung] said 'that would be so isolating,' and I said, 'Yes, and just confusing all the time.' Poor Cambodia."
    Miss Cambodia Sinat Rern
    Miss Cambodia Sinat Rern
    Some on social media, however, did not agree with mom, and were quick to offer furious reactions to Summers' behavior.
    Others were upset not just at Summers' words and actions, but also at how she portrayed America on the global stage.
    Reps for Miss Universe declined Fox News' request for comment, but Summers spoke out after the backlash in a contrite statement on Instagram — accompanied by a photo of herself, Rern and Nie in a group hug with some other contestants.
    "@MissUniverse is an opportunity for women from around the world to learn about each other's cultures, life experiences, and views. We all come from different backgrounds and can grow alongside one another," she wrote.
    "In a moment where I intended to admire the courage of a few of my sisters, I said something that I now realize can be perceived as not respectful, and I apologize. My life, friendships, and career revolve around me being a compassionate and empathetic woman," she continued. "I would never intend to hurt another. I am grateful for opportunities to speak with Nat, Miss Cambodia, and H'Hen, Miss Vietnam, directly about this experience. These are the moments that matter most to me." 

    Souirce: FoxNews, December 13, 2018