After weeks of competition, CAO XUÂN TÁI of VIETNAM was crowned MAN OF THE WORLD 2018 held at the Fil-Oil Flying V Arena in San Juan City, Philippines. He bested 26 others after going through rounds of preliminary and final rounds of competition last July 14, 2018.
Full list of winners:
Man of the World 2018 – Vietnam, Cao Xuân Tái
First Runner-up – Philippines, Clint Karkliñs
Second Runner-up – Malta, Bjorn Camilleri
Third Runner-up – Czech Republic, Ondrej Valenta
Fourth Runner-up – Thailand, Natapol AOn
Iran (Best in Talent)
Philippines (World’s Choice Award)
Best in National Costume – Philippines
Man of the World Congeniality – Philippines
Man of the World Personality – Singapore
Man of the World Photogenic – Ethiopia
Best in Swimwear – Mongolia
Best in Resorts Wear – Czech Republic
Man of the World Talent – Iran
World’s Choice – Philippines
Best in Casual Wear – Vietnam
Best in Formal Wear – Thailand
Fashion of the World – India
Man of the World Best in Advocacy – Myanmar
Mister Highland Bali Villas Resort and Spa – Philippines
“We are happy and we look forward to working with the new winner this year,” mentions PEPPS President Carlo Morris Galang. “We also thank our Man of the World 2017 Mustafa Elizali for a very memorable year. We wish him the best in the future.”
Man of the World 2018 will be the first to wear the new custom crown designed by PEPPS officer JP Anonuevo. The crown, made of brass and plated in gold, features the symbol for the advocacy of Man of the World through 5 torches that mean passion and knowledge. The crown is further adorned by jade, tanzanites, and clear quartz.
Twenty seven candidates from all over the world competed in the second edition of the pageant.
Dario Duque (center). representing the United States of America, won the Mister Global 2018 competition in Bangkok on July 22nd. The pageant was originally to take place on July 21st but was postponed due to "unforeseen circumstances," according to the Mister Global Organization. However, a rumor was milling around on social media claiming that two contestants had failed to return to the host hotel the night before.
Duque's court includes 1st runner-up Ahmed Lasheen of Egypt, 2nd runner-up Jakub Kucner of Poland, 3rd runner-up Dwayne Geldenhuis of South Africa and 4th runner-up, Staporn Moollisan of Thailand. Completing the top 16 were the contestants from Venezuela,Brazil, Albania, Dominican Republic, Germany, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Korea, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Steve Harvey interviews Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters at Miss Universe 2017 pageant Paul Buck/Shutterstock
Miss Universe is heading to Bangkok, Thailand, for the 2018 competition with Steve Harvey returning as host. The 2018 Miss Universe competition will air in the U.S. on Sunday, December 16 (7-10 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on Fox. This will be Harvey’s fourth time hosting the pageant, following his infamous snafu in the 2015 pageant, in which he misread the card and announced Miss Colombia as the winner instead of actual winner Miss Philippines. He returned as host in 2016, telling the Miss Universe Organization that he wanted to personally apologize to the Filipinos for the incident. He also hosted the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, which crowned Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa as the winner. Harvey also is host of syndicated daytime talk show Steve, Little Big Shotson NBC andCelebrity Family Feudon ABC.
Over the pageant’s 67-year history, Bangkok has hosted Miss Universe in 1992 and 2005, with representatives of Thailand capturing the crown twice in 1965 and 1988.
Former Miss Universes, from left, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (2017), Apasra Hongsakula (1965) and Natalie Glebova (2005) attended Tuesday’s announcement that the pageant will return to Thailand this year.
Thailand is getting used to being in the world spotlight. After last month’s dramatic cave rescue in Chiang Rai, it’s preparing to host the 2018 Miss Universe pageant. And the competition to be held in Bangkok in December will feature the first transgender contestant in the pageant’s nearly seven-decade history – Angela Ponce of Spain.The Miss Universe Organisation amended its rules in 2012 to allow transgender people to compete. It’s left to each nation to adopt the progressive rule or not, but Spain this year became the first country to crown a transgender contestant as Miss Universe Spain.
.Miss Universe’s first transgender contestant, Angela Ponce from Spain, will vie in Bangkok with 90 other women for the grand title. Photo/AFP
Despite Thailand’s reputation as an LGBT-friendly country, the Miss Thailand Universe Organisation has not adopted the new rule. The reasons aren’t clear, but it’s possible that the organisers didn’t wish to detract from the popular Miss Tiffany’s Universe and Miss International Queen contests in which Thai transgender women have participated for years. Thailand was chosen as host for the 67th edition of the Miss Universe pageant over the Philippines, Japan and China. We’re good at it – this will be the third time the pageant has been held here. In return, tourism in Thailand and its capital are expected to get a multimillion-baht boost, and segments of the television industry will benefit too. Paula Mary Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organisation, held a press conference at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre on Tuesday, thanking the government for agreeing to host. She announced the venue as Impact Arena and set the date for December 17. “The Miss Universe contest has come here every 13 years,” she pointed out. “Thailand hosted the contest in 1992 and 2005, so 13 is a lucky number!” The United States, where the organisation is based, has hosted the pageant more than any other country, including last year in Las Vegas. The Philippines had the honour the year before.
Sharing the news, from left, were Miss Universe Organisation president Paula Mary Shugart, Tourism and
Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat and Tanawat Wansom of TW Investment Group.
Tourism and Sport Minister Weerasak Kowsurat assured the press that everyone involved in its return to Thailand would be safe and able to fully enjoy its hospitality and rich culture. “We chose Thailand because we have a lot of fans here,” Shugart added. “The contestants from 2005 are still talking about it.” The woman who won that edition, [Canadian] Natalie Glebova, ended up moving here,” she laughed. “That tells you a lot about Thailand and its people.” Shugart introduced Tanawat Wansom of TW Investment Group, which has sole proprietorship over the 67th competition. “We’ve spent more than Bt1 billion to bring about this spectacular contest,” he told The Nation Weekend, adding that the final round will be starting very early at Impact on December 17 – at 7am – so it can be broadcast live to the US on the Fox Channel for primetime there. The feed will also be going out to 170 other countries, he said. Steve Harvey, an American comedian, will reprise his perennial role as emcee. Tanawat has commissioned Somchai “Tee Matching” Suthanont of Tee Entertainment Co, who was also responsible for the dramatic 2005 pageant held at the Sofitel Centara Grand.
The contestants will be arriving in early November to be steeped in Thai culture while touring the country. They’ll learn to weave silk, carve baskets, string floral garlands and cook local dishes. “We hope to make this a really memorable show, featuring charming elements of Thai culture along with a high-tech presentation,” Tanawat said. And Miss Universe’s first opportunity to address the gender issue is sure to give the event a fresh dimension. “This year, we will meet Miss Universe’s first transgender contestant, Angela Ponce from Spain,” Tanawat noted. “I think this will open a new chapter for the pageant in Thailand.” Weerasak pointed out that during the month leading up to the pageant, more than 6,000 people involved with it – including a media army – would be roaming around Thailand. “It’s a great opportunity to promote Thai culture and boost the economy of our secondary cities,” he said. “We’ll be supporting cultural and tourism facilities for this special event.” Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha remarked that the pageant would send out a “positive image” of the Kingdom. Shugart said the contestants would all become “ambassadors for Thailand”.
Former Miss Universes, from left, DemiLeigh NelPeters (2017), Apasra Hongsakula (1965) and Natalie Glebova (2005) attended Tuesday’s announcement that the pageant will return to Thailand this year.
Thailand has two Miss Universes of its own – Apasra Hongsakula, who won in 1965, and Porntip Nakhirunkanok (Bui Simon), crowned in 1988. This year Sophida Kanchanarin will vie for the country’s third title. Shugart said the event was about women “coming together and doing their best to support each other”, but while in Thailand the contestants would also be visiting the disabled, the elderly and underprivileged children. “It’s not about the television show – it’s about the experiences,” she said. “All of the young women that come here, whether they win or not, their lives afterward will not be the same. They will remember this for the rest of their lives and so will their families, friends and the thousands of other people that come.” Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa confirmed that. She said at the press conference that she’d learned a great deal about the world in her travels. “Miss Universe has completely changed my life,” Nel-Peters told The Nation Weekend. “I’m more dedicated to my country. I’ve grown so much personally and emotionally. I have so much more confidence in the future as a woman. And Miss Universe gave me a global platform to speak about the things I’m passionate about, things I care about, a chance to make a meaningful difference in changing the world.”
Nel-Peters is another big fan of Thailand, having celebrated her 21st birthday on Krabi two years ago, downing as much green curry and sticky rice with mango as she could. “Thailand has so much beautiful nature and culture and the women are so beautiful too,” she said. “I’ve never seen so many people so happy and calm as Thai women. No matter how busy or stressed they are, they remain very patient.”
Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America board of trustees, called those opposing her leadership and the recent decision to drop the swimsuit competition 'a noisy minority.' Now, 11 former Miss Americas have banded together to call for her immediate resignation. (Ben Gabbe | Getty Images)
The drama surrounding the upcoming Miss Americapageant shows no signs of coming to a resolution.
With just four weeks left before the 2019 pageant gets underway in Atlantic City, a group of former titleholders have issued a letter calling for the immediate resignation of Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America board of trustees, along with pageant CEO Regina Hopper.
"We insist that our current Chairwoman and CEO resign now, not after September 9 (the date of the pageant)," the letter says, adding that the message is "not meant to be a personal attack on any one individual."
Unrest has consumed the pageant community in the wake of the decision to eliminate the swimsuit competition, but critics say problems with the pageant's current leaders surpass bikinis.
In June, Carlson, Miss America 1989, announced that Miss America would no longer be judging contestants -- she now calls them "candidates" -- on physical appearance. Those competing for the crown would not be required to wear bathing suits and heels.
Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell Maxwell, shared the letter on Instagram Thursday. The message was addressed to "faithful stakeholders," the Miss America State Titleholders Association, volunteers and Miss America 2018, Cara Mund.
The letter, signed by 11 former Miss Americas, agrees with Carlson's wish, as expressed in a recent interview with the Associated Press, that the Miss America community "come together and have a healing process," but says contestants and volunteers find it hard to trust Hopper and Carlson.
The message addresses "the loss of your elected board members" and the resignation of staff from the Atlantic City-based Miss America Organization this summer.
"We continue to read newspaper articles that are not representing the organization in the best light," the letter says. "None of the other MAO leaders have lost so many board members and staff in such a short time."
The former Miss Americas say that following an email scandal that resulted in the exit of the former CEO and chairman of the board in December, they were given the opportunity to install "our very own sisters." Former titleholders assumed temporary co-chair roles on the board. From there, Carlson was supposed to head up a national search to find a new CEO.
"We did not get that," the letter says, referring to the appointment of Hopper as CEO.
"Instead, she (Carlson) selected the sole candidate for board consideration and together they have taken the organization in a direction that we do not condone."
The letter also asks that the Miss America Organization issue an apology to state and local titleholders, volunteers and sponsors "if anything was done purposefully or unintentionally to divide our program."
The group that signed the letter includes two Miss Americas from New Jersey -- Suzette Charles, who served several weeks as Miss America 1984 after Vanessa Williams resigned over a nude photo scandal, and Kate Shindle, Miss America 1998, who resigned from the Miss America board this summer. Charles, a former Miss New Jersey, hails from Mays Landing and Shindle (who won as Miss Illinois) grew up in Brigantine and Moorestown.
The other signees are Marjorie Vincent-Tripp, Miss America 1991, who recently resigned from her post as chairwoman of the Miss America Foundation's board of trustees (that's the scholarship arm of the pageant); Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, Miss America 2012, who recently resigned from the board of the Miss America Organization; Carolyn SappDaniels, Miss America 1992; Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America 1995; Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999; Angela Baraquio Grey, Miss America 2001; Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004; and Caressa Cameron-Jackson, Miss America 2010.
This letter follows a petition signed by 22 state pageant directors -- including Sally Johnston, executive director of the New Jersey pageant -- that called for Carlson and Hopper's resignation, along with the resignation of the entire Miss America board.
Those criticizing Carlson and Hopper's leadership say the rift has much to do with the way the swimsuit decision was made.
"'Miss America 2.0' is simply a title for the same old tactics of obfuscation and fear-based governance," the petition read, referring to efforts to rebrand the pageant. Changes have also been made to the evening gown part of competition (instead of just walking down the runway in gowns, contestants are invited to wear other types of outfits and will talk about their social impact initiatives, or platforms).
Critics say that volunteers, former titleholders and the Miss America board, which voted on the issue, had been told that ABC would not air the pageant unless swimsuits were no longer part of the picture. But Carlson and Hopper say they never made the claim.
"It is patently false to allege that Miss America claimed that the elimination of the swimsuit competition was a prerequisite to airing the telecast on ABC," the Miss America Organization said in a statement. "In fact, the Miss America Organization had confirmation from ABC in January, months before the swimsuit issue was voted upon, that it would air the Miss America Competition on September 9, 2018."
This is the pageant's last year of a three-year contract with the network. It's also the last year of a three-year contract with the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, through which the pageant secured $4.3 million for the coming pageant, which begins with preliminary competition on Sept. 5.
"There were, however, extensive production company and creative partner negotiations in which the elimination of swimsuit was noted as a prerequisite to partner with MAO," the statement continued.
Jennifer Vaden Barth, a former Miss North Carolina and one of the former board members, told the Associated Press that Hopper and Carlson said "sponsors and networks will not come" if the swimsuit portion was still in effect.
"We do not accept the inaccurate words about the sponsors and swimsuit competition," reads the letter from the 11 Miss Americas.
But this isn't the only group of former Miss Americas to speak out. Directly after the state director petition circulated in July, 30 former Miss Americas signed a letter of support for Carlson, Hopper and the leadership.
Hopper and Carlson have characterized the opposition as Miss America devotees who are resistant to necessary change and reluctant to see swimsuit struts relegated to the past. In her recent interview with the Associated Press, Carlson, a former Fox News host, labeled those who have called for her resignation "a noisy minority."
Cantrell Maxwell has since used the hashtag #noisyminority as a point of pride.
"Just because you have a voice doesn't mean your particular opinion gets accepted," Hopper said in the same story, referring to the dissenting state directors. "States are licensees. If I'm a McDonald's licensee and the corporate office decides, 'We're going to serve chocolate French fries' and I'm sitting here saying, 'I don't want to serve chocolate French fries,' well, you're going to serve chocolate French fries."
The letter from the 11 former Miss Americas said the "hope is to unite in collaboration and lift the ideals of Miss America up higher than it has ever been before."
Carlson became chairwoman of the Miss America board in January after the email scandal that caused the ouster of Haskell, the former CEO. When Haskell and other executives were pushed out after his emails were leaked, showing misogynistic and body-shaming language in his correspondence with pageant staff, Carlson headed up an effort to stock the board with former titleholders. Regina Hopper, Miss Arkansas 1983, came on board as CEO of the Miss America Organization in May, and Vincent-Tripp was named chairwoman of the Miss America Foundation's board of trustees.
But the new leadership structure began to crack not long after the announcement of the swimsuit decision. Two board members -- Vaden Barth and Valerie Crooker Clemens, a former Miss Maine -- said they were pushed out, while Carlson said they departed because their contracts were temporary. Then, two other board members -- Shindle and Fleiss -- also resigned.
In July, Vincent-Tripp became the latest executive to resign.
Carlson sued former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment in 2016. The following year, Carlson, the author of "Be Fierce," a book about sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace, became a prominent voice in the emerging #MeToomovement. But critics have accused Carlson of using the momentum of #MeToo and leveraging her status to push the swimsuit change.
Carlson has denied this, saying that dropping the swimsuits will help update the pageant and make it more inclusive. One goal, she said, was to make the competition more attractive to potential participants. Past feedback had indicated that for some, the swimsuit portion was a major barrier to entry, she said.
But current and former contestants, including Dunlap and Cantrell Maxwell, have spoken out in support of the swimsuit competition. If Carlson and Hopper took a poll of state pageant directors, contestants, volunteers and former titleholders about getting rid of the swimsuit portion, "they would have gotten a resounding 'no'" Cantrell Maxwell, 23, told NJ Advance Media in July.
"On another point, it's like, we need to at least get thorough September so we can have a competition," she said.
Cara Mund, the reigning Miss America, just wrote a scathing letter to former winners of the pageant, claiming she has been “silenced” and bullied by executives at the organization, according to reports by The Associated Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She sent the letter Friday, three weeks before the next Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, where she will pass down her crown and title to the next winner.
"Let me be blunt: I strongly believe that my voice is not heard nor wanted by our current leadership; nor do they have any interest in knowing who I am and how my experiences relate to positioning the organization for the future," Mund, 24, reportedly wrote. She accused Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America organization, and Regina Hopper, its CEO, of “disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion.” Neither Carlson, Hopper, nor the Miss America organization have commented on Mund’s claims. You can read the full letter at Philly.com.
Cara Mund / Pinterest
Mund’s letter comes after a year of controversies within the pageant. Back in December, The Huffington Post reported the then-CEO of Miss America used sexist and fat-shaming language in internal emails. That led executives and board members to resign, and Carlson, who won the title in 1989, to take over as chair. Back in March, Mund told Cosmopolitan.com she had faith in the women who were newly in charge. “Miss America is here to stay, and it’s going to be better than ever,” she said. “Stronger than ever. And more relevant than ever too.” But in her letter, she claims she was often kept out of the spotlight as a spokesperson for the organization in favor of Carlson.
This June, the organization announced it would cut the swimsuit portion of the competition and stop judging candidates based on outward appearances, focusing more on an interactive portion with the judges instead. That received a mixed responsefrom former pageant winners. According to the New York Post, disagreements over the swimsuit policy and other internal issues also led four board members to leave after only a few months.
Earlier this month, Mund spoke vaguely about a turbulent year as Miss America in an interview with The Press of Atlantic City. “It’s been a tough year,” Mund said. “There have been a lot of things I can’t control. It’s felt I wasn’t always heard or utilized or appreciated.” At that point, the Miss America Organization responded with a statement to the newspaper, also noting Mund had the chance to run her own social media accounts and express her opinions:
“While this has been a different year than any Miss America could have ever expected, MAO has worked to provide [Mund] a platform from which she can build her future. Every Miss America has ups and downs during their year as the experience is challenging and rewarding at the same time. MAO is proud of the work Cara has accomplished this year and how she has represented the scholarship principles of the program.”
Now, in her letter, Mund claims the Miss America Organization punished her for giving that interview by cutting her goodbye speech to 30 seconds and limiting what she could wear. “If you want Miss America to be relevant, then the leadership needs to understand she is not a wind-up toy who they can power up to spit out the meaningless words that are put into her mouth, and then put back on the shelf until it’s time to do it again,” Mund reportedly wrote in her letter.
Gretchen Carlson, who serves as the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors and won the crown herself in 1989, says she was “incredibly sad and heartbroken” when she read current Miss America Cara Mund’spublic letter Friday morning stating Carlson had “silenced,” “marginalized” and “bullied” her.
“I want to be clear that as a proponent of women my entire life, I have never bullied Cara Mund,” Carlson tells PEOPLE exclusively. “We have supported Cara for her entire year and we will continue to support her. It’s just disappointing that she chose to air her grievance publicly and not privately.”
In Mund’s letter, posted three weeks before the scheduled Miss America telecast in Atlantic City on Sept. 9, Mund, who hails from North Dakota, accused Carlson and Regina Hopper, the organization’s CEO, of “disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion.”
Carlson joined the board of directors in December after the then-CEO reportedly used sexist and fat-shaming language in internal emails that led to several executives and board members resigning. She says she took on the volunteer role in January in hopes of making it more inclusive, relevant and empowering to women. “I have been putting all of my energy and countless hours into moving this organization forward,” she says. In 2017, Carlson wrote the book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Backinspired by the many women who reached out to her after she reached a $20 million settlement in her sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes in 2016.
One of the new initiatives put forward by Carlson is the elimination of the famous swimsuit competition in an attempt to downplay the importance of physical appearance alone. Mund states that during a recent Good Morning America appearance discussing the changes, she was told that “GMA only wanted Gretchen on the segment,” adding, “I served as my own advocate and asked if I could attend” despite not getting any airtime.
But Carlson, 52, says this was not the case. “We brought her to New York the day before and provided her with media training. We asked Cara to come to the studio because we thought by chance, even at the last minute, they would maybe include her.” Ultimately, ABC decided to go with a singular interview with Carlson. “There were so many interview requests that day,” says Carlson. “Cara did all the entertainment shows and a lot of radio and print interviews.”
Carlson, who says she plans to reach out to Mund shortly, says she can sympathize with Mund’s comments about this being a challenging year.
“It’s the toughest job you will ever have,” Carlson says of being Miss America. “Every Miss America could tell you if they wanted to about the ups and downs of their year. I could. But you realize as more time passes what an amazing opportunity you have been given to serve as a role model and an ambassador for our country and to make a difference.”
The 6th edition of Miss Diva 2018 took place on August 31 at NSCI Club, Mumbai. The beauty pageant witnessed 19 contestants competing for the competition. And Nehal Chudasama from Mumbai was crowned Miss Diva 2018. The 21-year-old will now represent India at the 67th Miss Universe pageant to be held in Bangkok, Thailand on December 16, 2018. Shraddha Shashidhar, Miss Universe India 2017 crowned Nehal as her successor. Aditi Hundia is declared first runner-up and will represent India at Miss Supranational 2018 and Roshni Sheoran was the second runner-up. They beat Hannah Reji Koshy and Lavina Israni in the top-five finalists. Nehal is 21 years old from Mumbai. She is a freelance fitness consultant, anchor and a model. She is currently studying to become IPS officer. Her life goal is to become Miss Universe. Her favourite food is Biryani. Her favourite feature is her body. Miss Universe India 2017, Shraddha Shashidhar crowned Nehal as her successor. Source: Latestly.com, 8/31/2018
THE PAGEANT WORLD is mourning the loss of one of the most beloved beauty queens of all time, CHELSI SMITH, Miss Universe 1995. According to information posted on Facebook on September 8, 2018 by her mother, Mary D. Trimble, Chelsi had been suffering from a long illness (reportedly liver cancer).
Shanna Moakler, who became Miss USA 1995 after Chelsi was crowned Miss Universe 1995, posted a touching tribute to the beloved beauty queen:
I was totally shocked upon hearing her untimely passing. Her positive, witty, and humorous postings on her Facebook page hardly reflected the condition of a woman - who was still in her prime at 45 - suffering from a fatal disease. Like many of her fans who anxiously waited for her next Facebook post, I started wondering why she had stopped posting since mid-July. It was so uncharacteristic of her. Chelsi friended me on Facebook on February 10, 2014. At first, I hesitated accepting her friend request because I was not sure whether I was dealing with an impostor or the real deal. I sent her a private message asking if she was the real Chelsi Smith and she quickly shot with "Haha! It's me sweets "I knew there and then that it was the real thing! I had always wanted to be friends with Chelsi - if not in real life, at least online. Chelsi was actually the first Miss Universe to have befriended me - and I was so thrilled that I would finally get to know her. She even started following Critical Beauty on Twitter. And I added her as a member to the Critical Beauty group on Facebook where she posted regularly. There is a reason Chelsi had won Miss Congeniality twice - at Miss USA and at Miss Universe: she was the epitome of warmth, ebullience, and pure unconditional love. She loved everyone - even some of her harshest critics like myself. I remember "fighting" with her over the issue of ideal weight for winning Miss Universe. We also debated gun control. In her rebuttals, she was neither confrontational nor egotistical. On the contrary, she always remained calm and gracious. And she would always end with a "love you!" or "hugs." Then one day, she posted a YouTube link to a sizzle reel for a reality show which never materialized. The title of the reel is "The Reconstruction of former Miss Universe Chelsi Smith (Years 2009-2010)." The title swiftly piqued my interest: what is there to reconstruct about Chelsi Smith? She was Miss Universe, for Pete's sake! She had everything - beauty, talent, fame, and adoring fans. But something was missing: post-pageant luck. At 28, a failed marriage led to an ugly divorce. She gained 70 pounds. Her singing career never really took off. Her acting career was limited to insignificant bit parts. The face that could launch a thousand ships was essentially ignored by beauty-oriented magazines, even by the Miss Universe Organization who never invited her to judge. She became depressed, as past childhood issues returned to haunt her: bigotry due to her biracial identity, her father's schizophrenia, and a mother who abandoned her. Watch:
We all have issues. We all have stories to tell. Chelsi's story may not be unique to itself, but it is remarkably relevant, universally poignant. We cannot help except lend pity to a tortured soul who, heroically, has consoled other tortured souls - online or in person. After a year of chatting online, I finally met Chelsi in person in Miami Beach during the 63rd edition of Miss Universe held on January 25, 2015. Another beautiful soul, world-renowned fashion designer and pageant coach, Joey Galon, actually introduced me to her. My friend Héctor Joaquín Colón-González - who had never met Chelsi before either - decided to join Joey and Chelsi at a restaurant where the pair had just finished dining.
As soon as Chelsi saw me, she rushed to give me the biggest and warmest hug, coupled with a nice peck on the cheek. She made me feel... well... like some sort of royalty. She gave the same treatment to Héctor who quickly fell for her infectious vivaciousness. Later that night, we found ourselves cracking jokes, imitating silly pageant walks and poses, mocking dumb pageant contestants, and having a blast at a gay bar. One pageant fan, who was totally oblivious of the queen's presence, shrieked with joy when I introduced him to her. "Oh, my God! You're Chelsi Smith! I love you!!!" Two other guys recognized her and greeted her. Chelsi couldn't help but be amused by the attention she was getting from her gays.
I recall Chelsi's proposal for a get-together in April 2015 to celebrate her 20th coronation anniversary as Miss USA 1995. Two months had elapsed but nothing occurred - at least not to my knowledge. On March 18, 2015, she sent me a private message on Facebook: Miss you, Rafa! Muah!On April 25, 2015, she messaged Héctor and me: Missin my boys She sent me another note on July 20, 2015 asking me if I knew the date and venue of Miss Universe 2015 and I said no. She replied, Btw I MISS YOU!!!!!
Her last private message to me was on April 9, 2016: Sending LOVE!!!
We lost touch with each other after this note.
I wanted to think that she was doing okay, that she had gotten her groove back, that perhaps she had become too busy with new projects. I was missing her presence on social media. My news feed had been un-Chelsified.
Until yesterday afternoon.
Chelsi has reappeared on my news feed. But it is no longer she. It is her beautiful, warm, congenial soul speaking through her infinite number of friends, fans, and loved ones.
All of a sudden, the universe has gotten critically bigger, critically more beautiful, and critically much brighter.
Chelsi is here to stay. With us. In our minds, in our dreams, in our hearts.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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) .
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
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.
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
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."
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.
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."
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)
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.
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.
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.