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Beauty With Attitude
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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 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.


    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: 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

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    Miss Philippines Catriona Gray waves after being crowned Miss Universe during the final round of the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sun., Dec. 16, 2018 / REUTERS

    Bangkok — The Philippines'Catriona Gray was named Miss Universe 2018 in a competition concluding Monday in Bangkok, besting contestants from 93 other countries and delighting her home country.

    The 24-year-old Gray wore a sparkling red dress she said is inspired by a volcano in the Philippines as she was handed the crown to the delight of a roaring crowd that generally favored Southeast Asian contestants.

    She said she wore red because "when I was 13 my mom said she had a dream that I would win Miss Universe in a red dress." She said her mom cried when they saw each other after she won the competition.

    Gray edged out first runner-up Tamaryn Green of South Africa and third-place Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela. She succeeds Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa.

    Contestants selected for the top 5 are pictured during the final round of the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sun., Dec. 16, 2018. From L-R: Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutiérrez, Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green, Miss Philippines Catriona Gray, Miss Vietnam H'Hen Nie and Miss Puerto Rico Kiara Ortega. / REUTERS

    In the Philippines, pageants are a popular attraction, and Gray's countrymen cheered wildly and jumped for joy when she was declared the winner. Celebrations were especially buoyant in Oas town in the northeastern province of Albay, from which Gray's Filipina mother hails.

    The office of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was quick to congratulate the winner. Gray is the fourth Filipina to be named Miss Universe.

    "Ms. Gray truly made the entire Philippines proud when she sashayed on the global stage and showcased the genuine qualities defining a Filipina beauty: confidence, grace, intelligence and strength in the face of tough challenges," he said in a statement from the presidential palace. "In her success, Miss Philippines has shown to the world that women in our country have the ability to turn dreams into reality through passion, diligence, determination and hard work."

    An early round of questioning touched on the issue of drugs, where Duterte's aggressive 'war on drugs' has taken thousands of lives, many in what critics charge were extrajudicial executions. Duterte raised even more controversy when he recently joked that he smoked marijuana to deal with the busy schedule of meetings with other Asian leaders at a regional summit.

    Asked what she thought about legalizing marijuana, Gray said: "I'm for it being used for medical use, but not so for recreational use. Because I think if people will argue, then what about alcohol and cigarettes? Everything is good but in moderation."

    Miss Philippines Catriona Gray competes during the final round of the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sun., Dec. 16, 2018. / REUTERS

    This year's Miss Universe competition included the first-ever transgender contestant, Miss Spain Angela Ponce. She said in a video presentation that it was not important for her to win but was more important for her "to be here."

    One of the few controversies of this year's contest involved Miss United States Sarah Rose Summers seeming to mock contestants from Cambodia and Vietnam over their English language skills. Summers apologized.

    The finale was again hosted by Steve Harvey who infamously announced the wrong winner in the 2015 contest. Harvey joked briefly about the incident in exchanges with contestants and said "You all can't let that go" and "I'm still here."

    The theme of the 67th Miss Universe pageant was "Empowered Women" and was judged by seven women including former pageant winners, businesswomen, and a fashion designer.

    The contestants spent nearly a month in Thailand to compete in preliminary rounds wearing elaborate national costumes, visit famous tourist sites and even met the country's prime minister.

    Source: CBS News, December 17, 2018

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    Photo credit: Courrier-Picard

    Vaimalama Chaves, Miss Tahiti, has been crowned Miss France 2019, succeeding Maëva CouckeChaves is 23, and holds a master’s degree in management as well as qualifications in negotiation and customer relations.

    Besides Chaves, the other top 5 contestants were Lauralyne Demesnay, Miss Franche-Comté; Morgane Soucramanien, Miss Réunion; Aude Destour, Miss Limousin; and Ophély Mezino, Miss Guadeloupe.

    Mezino was named runner-up and Demesnay found herself in third place. Soucramanien and Destour were in fourth and fifth places.

    The event was held tonight at the Zénith de Lille, hosted again by Jean-Pierre Foucault and Sylvie Tellier.

    Thirty women aged between 18 and 24 vied for the title.

    Photo credit: Courrier-Picard

    Named into the top 12 by the judging panel were the regional winners from Guadeloupe, Provence, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Côte d’Azur, Réunion, Aquitaine, Lorraine, Tahiti, Franche-Comté, Île-de-France, Limousin and Langedoc-Roussillon.

    For the first time since its inception in 1920, Miss France had an all-female judging panel, headed by Line Renaud, with singer Jenifer, 2011 titleholder Laury Thilleman, comedienne Claudia Tagbo, dancer Alice Rennevand, actress Maud Baecker, and tennis player Caroline Garcia.

    The judges and the public nominated the top five, while phone and SMS voting from only the public determined the outcome of the top three places.

    The questions for the top five were also from the viewing public.

    As in previous years, there were themed segments, including Moulin Rouge, Bollywood, circus and superheroine parades. The swimsuit parade was nearly 10 minutes long. The eveningwear parade was a tribute to late French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour.

    Eight million viewers were expected to have watched the telecast live on TF1. Last year’s ratings showed at the telecast attracted 7·4 million viewers (a 37·1 per cent share), peaking at 8·8 million at the time of the crowning.

    Photo credit: TF1

    Source:, December 15, 2018

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    Bangkok, Thailand, December 17, 2018 – Catriona Gray, a 24-year-old model from the Philippines with a degree in music theory, was crowned Miss Universe 2018 at IMPACT Arena, Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand. The telecast aired live on FOX for the fourth year in a row.  However,  the show was not live streamed on Miss Universe's Facebook page, unlike last year. Thankfully, several pageant sites were able to do a Facebook live stream from the venue.

         The statuesque Gray was crowned by outgoing queen Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa. Gray's victory marks the fourth time that the Philippines has won the Miss Universe crown (Pia Wurtzbach won in 2015, Margarita Moran in 1973, and Gloria Diaz in 1969).  According to the Miss Universe website, "Catriona 
    is an HIV/AIDS advocate at Love Yourself PH, and volunteers as a Teacher's Assistant to the students of Young Focus NGO." 

         Gray is a pageant veteran. She is the first woman in her country to have won two major national titles: Miss World Philippines 2016 - which gave her the right to compete in Miss World 2016 where she placed in the top 5, and Miss Universe Philippines 2018 which eventually led her to win Miss Universe 2018.

         For the fourth straight year in a row, Emmy Award winner Steve Harvey hosted the three-hour event with backstage commentary from "body activist" and top model Ashley Graham, style expert Carson Kressley, and walking coach and model Lu Sierra. Three-time Grammy-award singer Ne-yo provided the entertainment. 

          For the first time in the history of the pageant, an all-female panel of judges was installed that included two former Miss Universe titleholders, Bui Simon/Porntip Nakhirunkanok (1988) and Michelle McLean (1992); Janaye Ingram, an American political organizer and Miss New Jersey USA 2004; 
    Monique Lhuillier, a Filipino-American fashion designer noted for her luxurious wedding gowns; Liliana Gil Valletta, a Colombian-American businesswoman and entrepreneur;  Iman Oubou, a Moroccan-American scientist and entrepreneur; and Richelle Singson-Michael, a Filipino businesswoman and architect.

          A record total of 94 countries were represented in the 67th edition of the pageant which was held for the third time in Thailand. The first time was in 1992 when Michelle McLean from Namibia was crowned, and the second time was in 2005 when Natalie Glebova from Canada was crowned. 

    Final Results:

    Miss Universe 2018: Philippines, Catriona Gray

    First Runner-Up:  South Africa, Tamaryn Green

    Second Runner-Up: Venezuela, Sthefany Gutierrez

    Top Three: Philippines, Catriona Gray; Tamaryn Green, South Africa; Sthefany Gutierrez, Venezuela

    Top Five:  
     Philippines, Catriona Gray; Tamaryn Green, South Africa; Sthefany Gutierrez, Venezuela; Kiara Ortega, Puerto Rico; H'Hen Niê, Vietnam

    Top Ten:  Philippines, Catriona Gray; Tamaryn Green, South Africa; Sthefany Gutierrez, Venezuela; Kiara Ortega, Puerto Rico; H'Hen Niê, Vietnam; Marta Stepien, Canada; Natalia Carvajal, Costa Rica; Akisha Albert, Curaçao; Manita Devkota, Nepal; Sophida Kanchanarin, Thailand.

    Top Twenty: Philippines, Catriona Gray; Tamaryn Green, South Africa; Sthefany Gutierrez, Venezuela; Kiara Ortega, Puerto Rico; H'Hen Niê, Vietnam; Marta Stepien, Canada; Natalia Carvajal, Costa Rica; Akisha Albert, Curaçao; Manita Devkota, Nepal; Sophida Kanchanarin, Thailand; Francesca Hung, Australia; Zoë Brunet, Belgium; Mayra Dias, Brazil; Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, Great Britain; Enikő Kecskès, Hungary; Sonia Fergina Citra, Indonesia; Grainne Gallanagh, Ireland; Emily Maddison, Jamaica; Magdalena Swat; Sarah Rose Summers, USA. 

    Best National CostumeOn-anong Homsombath from Laos wowed the audience when she took the stage with her lavishly ornate costume, which gave the appearance of three figures walking in a straight line. The figures were inspired by the Kinnaree, "a half-bird/half-woman that features in the country’s diverse Buddhist and ancient Hindu-influenced alongside various tribal and animist spiritual beliefs," according to Laotian Times (Dec. 17, 2018). Steve Harvey appeared quite impressed by the costume ("This is absolutely incredible!") and attempted to make a light joke about it, telling Homsombath if she has friends whom she considers as "dead weight... people hanging on... who don't pull their own weight." LOL. Homsombath couldn't help but be cheerful, adding that "this is the first year" that her country is competing in Miss Universe - which is false. Last year, Laos sent its first representative to the pageant,  Souphaphone Somvichith. Homsombath was runner-up to Somvichith in Miss Universe Laos 2017 pageant, and since no national pageant was held in 2018, Homsombath was appointed to be her country's representative in Miss Universe 2018.

    Miss Universe Laos's showstopping national costume. PHOTO: AFP

         It appears that MUO has done away with the Miss Photogenic or Miss Congeniality award for good, or it seems like it. This is the second consecutive year that a Miss Photogenic award has not been distributed. Either MUO is trying to cut corners, or that they would rather use the prize monies for miscellaneous expenses. 2015 was the last time that all three major awards (Best National Costume, Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality) were handed out. And since the national costume segment has become an extravagant spectacle all by itself, which has gotten even more exposure thanks to social media, it makes sense to keep this segment and to continue handing out the award. This segment also offers the most surprises, since many contestants would rather wait to reveal their costumes during the competition.

    THE TOP FIVE: After the Top 10 semifinalists competed in the swimsuit and evening gown competition, they were cut down to the top five: Venezuela, South Africa, Philippines, Vietnam, Puerto Rico. I wonder if the stage director purposely placed Philippines in the center because she was the only one who did not wear a silver gown. The competition just became even more intense when each finalist had to answer a different question. As usual, the questions centered around significant and relevant political issues. 

    Question: Canada recently joined Uruguay as the second nation in the world to make marijuana legal. What is your opinion on the regularization of marijuana? 

    Answer: I’m for it being used for medical use, but not so for recreational use. Because I think if people will argue then what about alcohol and cigarettes? Everything is good but in moderation. (I didn't think that her answer was strong at all. She could have elaborated on the advantages of medical use of marijuana, but bringing in alcohol and cigarettes to the discussion is irrelevant. One would think that she favors smoking even if done moderately.)

    Question: What would you say to someone who believes that pageants are archaic and against the feminist movement?

    Answer (via an interpreter): Nowadays, we live in an era which we have advanced greatly. Beauty pageants are not just about beauty, they’re about sensitivity and having a heart. And in beauty pageants, we can show that women like me can achieve any dream that we may have in the world. (This is a basic, safe answer that virtually all pageant girls recite. Nothing extraordinary about it.)

    South Africa
    Question: Do you think countries should limit the number of refugees allowed across their borders?

    Answer: I think that every country should have their own rules and regulations. But for a thriving society and for all of us to stand together, we have to understand that we are all human. And we are all more alike than we are not, so we should be open to loving each other, accepting each other, it doesn't matter where we come from. (She was trying to remain neutral with her response, but she ended up emphasizing humanitarianism over national sovereignty, thus resulting in an imbalanced response.)

    Puerto Rico
    Question: Hundreds of journalists across the world were jailed this year for writing stories that were critical of their governments. Why is Freedom of the Press important?

    Answer (via an interpreter): The press is there to inform us. Their job is to give us the news about what's happening to the world right now. They should have total freedom to be able to report exactly what's happening, without forgetting that they have to have sympathy because there are a lot of people that are suffering from different problems in the world. (The best answer of all, enhanced by a good delivery.)

    Question: The #MeToo movement has sparked a global conversation. In response, some have said the world has become too politically correct? Do you think the #MeToo movement has gone too far?

    Answer: I don’t think that it has gone too far. Protecting women and women’s right are the right things to do. Women need protections and rights. Thank you. (Her answer is rather vague and I don't think she knows what the #MeToo movement is all about).


          THE TOP THREE: Puerto Rico and Vietnam were eliminated after the Top 5 question round, which left Venezuela, South Africa and Philippines at the Top 3. All strong contenders coming from countries that have won the Miss Universe crown at least twice.

    Final Question"What is the most important lesson you've learned in your life, and how would you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?"


    Answer: I worked a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila. And the life there… it's poor, and it's very sad. And I've always taught myself to look for the beauty in it. To look in the beauty in the faces of the children, and to be grateful. And I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining, and to assess, where I could give something, where I could provide something, as a spokesperson, and if I could teach also people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster, and children would have a smile on their faces. (She nailed it. She learned that poverty brings sadness, and that she would apply this lesson as Miss Universe - branding! -  to serve as the voice for poor children. Her delivery also sounded genuinely sincere.)

    South Africa

    Answer: Throughout my life, I've been exposed to both those who are privileged and underprivileged. And what I’ve learned is that we are all human. We all want to be loved, we all want to belong, and we all want to be seen, so we should treat each other that way. Thank you. (I didn't sense any sincerity in her response which was generic and uninteresting. I would have placed her as second runner-up instead of Venezuela).


    Answer (via an interpreter): I grew up in a family filled with women and each one of them taught me something very important. But what I always remembered is that by working hard and chasing for our dreams, and by having courage and strength and willingness to achieve these dreams, we can achieve anything we want in this lifetime. And tonight I am proving this, I am here at Miss Universe. (Her answer was so much better than South Africa's because she referred to an actual personal experience that taught her whatever it takes to pursue her dreams. But her delivery sounded a bit calculated).


    After the Top 3 Final Question round, each top finalist had to sashay on stage for the final look while entertainer Ne-Yo sang his hit song, "Miss Independent."  Minutes later,  the official results were announced: a delighted Miss Venezuela was declared 2nd runner-up, which left Miss Philippines and Miss South Africa as the last two women standing. Finally, host Steve Harvey declares Philippines as Miss Universe and South Africa as 1st runner-up:  


    The opening number: When the pageant was held in Thailand back in 2005, the show was staged at the same venue, the IMPACT Arena. It looked big then, and it looked much bigger now. How so? Because the stage technicians added gigantic LED screens that magnified images flashing in the background. So even if you had the worst seat in the house, you could never miss what was being flashed on the humongous screen. The telecast began with a pre-recorded video showing a beautiful Thai dancer and all 94 contestants in a majestic Buddhist temple, while a feminine voice-over soothingly enunciated the opening words:

    Cut to a group of Thai drummers properly aligned on the X runway beating drums, while the camera glides to the center stage featuring Thai classical dancers and entertainer Ne-Yo singing his hit song, "Nights Like These."  I love this fusion of Thai rhythm and English lyrics, a perfect example of East Meets West concept. And the synchronized choreography between Ne-Yo and the dancers is equally delicious.


     Seconds later, the contestants enter the stage from the back and sashay down the long runway as the audience cheer them. Compared to last year when a feminine voice-over introduced each contestant on the stage, this year's self-introduction was done via a pre-recorded video for each geographical region. The girls simply uttered one word: the name of their countries. It's a three-hour show; how much trouble would it be to add their actual names and their ages?  

    The opening statements: A new element has been added this year. Each contestant who made the Top 20 had to deliver a brief opening statement that summarizes her platform or goal if she wins Miss Universe. By adding this element, MUO is attempting to convince critics who erroneously think that only the surface matters, and that there's nothing between the ears. This segment proves that all women are accomplished in their own right. 

    Great Britain's Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers wants to be remembered for being an advocate for victims of acid attacks and for equal pay. I would have wanted to see her advance in the top 10 because her statement sounded compelling and she spoke with so much conviction.

    The continental drift: After a rigorous preliminary competition where the contestants were judged in swimsuit, evening gown and interview, they were trimmed down to 20 semifinalists based on the region they came from, just like last year (although four more were added this year).  From Africa/Asia-Pacific region, the top five scorers included South Africa, Philippines, Vietnam, Nepal and Thailand. From Europe were Poland, Belgium, Hungary, Great Britain and Ireland. From the Americas were Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Canada and Jamaica. And the Wild Cards included USA, Venezuela, Indonesia, Brazil and Australia. I am not liking this selection format because I feel that the European girls were rather weak and flat compared to stronger girls from the Americas (Ecuador, El Salvador) and from Asia (India, Kyrgyzstan). Eventually, I would prefer that the judges focus on the girls themselves and not on the country that they represent. No more sash factor, please.

    The joke that won't go away: Steve Harvey returned to host Miss Universe for the fourth time. If he thought that his infamous gaffe from 2015 (announcing the wrong winner) would go away, well he thought wrong. While introducing the top 20, Harvey asked Miss Costa Rica Natalia Carvajal (who is a TV host in her country) for any tips for the night.  Carvajal teased: "I think you're doing good, the outfit is fine. The smile is always great. But I have to give you one advice just for the future, just in case. Come closer because I don't want anyone to hear. If they give you like a really, really important envelope, try to read carefully, okay?" As the crowd roared in laughter, Harvey replied: "Y'all just won't let it go, huh?"  Carvajal, who was not on my list of favorites, proved me wrong with her wit and personality. And with a strong top 20, she was smart to use humor to set her apart from the rest of the pack, and the judges took notice.

    Miss Costa Rica Natalia Carvajal's cute sense of humor surely helped her 
    to advance to the Top 10. CREDIT: MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION


    He's wearing the universe:  Host Steve Harvey boasted about his glittery jacket featuring featuring the names of all 94 countries represented in the pageant. How cool is that? 

    Designer Sherri Hill, one of the pageant's major sponsors, provided the dresses for the opening number and Top 20 interviews. Most of the dresses looked like they have been recycled to death. I would have wanted to have seen all 94 contestants dressed in identical Thai-inspired outfits instead. Kudos to Vietnam for sporting a two-piece ensemble (a cropped glittery long-sleeved top and a fabulous pair of trousers).


    Special Tribute: In 2015, the pageant paid a tribute to Miss Slovenia, Ana Haložan, who had to withdraw from the contest after suffering from an accident which occurred in Las Vegas for which she was hospitalized. She had suffered a seizure and part of her face was paralyzed. Even though she was unable to compete, she decided to stay in Las Vegas and was allowed to walk on stage during a live telecast. In 2017, Sarah Idan was recognized for being the first contestant from Iraq since Wijdan Burham El-Deen Sulyman competed in 1972. And in 2018, Angela Ponce of Spain makes Miss Universe history by becoming the first transgender contestant. In its goal to practice inclusivity, MUO decided in 2012 to accept transwomen, albeit with pressure from civil rights groups. Ponce strutted in the runway, removed her sash, and proudly raised it high like a flag. She received a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance, including from the judges. "I don't need to win Miss Universe. I just need to be here," she said after the competition. Watch the touching tribute to her:


    Jamaica's Jitters:  The Jamaican delegate Emily Maddison - cute as a button - was lucky to have gained a top 20 spot but the 19-year-old's luck was short-lived when she froze twice onstage while speaking about overcoming insecurities. She looked like a deer in the headlights. Her statement was: "I start my Miss Universe journey despite my insecurities. I know that… I actually start today to work on my insecurities… I know that I’ve realized that queen defines their own perfection. I know I have what it takes to inspire, relate and most importantly comfort young women across the world." Oh, well, let's hope she can help young women overcome their stage fright.  


     Thai Thighs: What made the swimsuit competition a joy to watch is that the 10 finalists were all wearing different swimsuit styles designed by a Thai princess. Two accessories complimented the attire: a pair of wings used by classical Thai dancers and a rainbow-colored chiffon cape. I love how Thai elements were incorporated in the segment which was ruled by Puerto Rico, Philippines and Vietnam.


     It's all about the gown,,, and the girl... and the Lava Walk:  The stunning gown worn by Miss Philippines Catriona Gray, designed by Mak Tumang, was inspired by the hot lava flowing out from the erupting MayonVolcano located in her home province of Albay. Mayon is noted for its near perfect cone. Can you say, "Wow?!!!"  I give this look a 9.5 only because I hate those nude stripper heels that accessorized the dress. I would think that her team could have designed a special pair of red heels to go with the gown, in the same way that they had designed a special pair of shoes to go with her amazing national costume. Other than that, Catriona ruled the runway with a glamorously sensual walk and magnanimous stage projection. And here's an interesting trivia: Catriona said that her mother had dreamed that her daughter would win Miss Universe in a red dress! How freaky is that?!!!

    During the preliminaries a few days earlier, Catriona's "slo-mo twirl" while competing in the swimsuit segment became an Internet sensation, even catching the attention of supermodel Tyra Banks who tweeted: "I mean... Pinoy power to the max!!!" After Catriona replied to Tyra with a combined crying and ecstatic emoticon, the supermodel replied back, “You did it! And that walk and confidence? I mean . . . next-level fierce!” 

     Catriona's outstanding trainers made sure that no stone was left unturned. She was the most prepared contestant, as evidenced by her nearly two-year training that has been thoroughly documented on her social media and that of her trainers. Never before has a pageant contestant made a series of videos explaining the inspiration behind her national costume. From the day she arrived in Bangkok looking like a Thai royalty, to the moment the Mikimoto crown was placed on her head, it was her destiny to win. The fiery lava-inspired gown was just one of many factors that made Catriona stand out from the other 93 contestants. Her sensual and "hot" Lava Walk (also inspired by the lava oozing out of the Mayon Volcano) has now become Catriona's signature walk and will always be associated with her. It even generated a mention in Vogue magazine.  Watch Catriona's full performance during the finals:

    Other gowns that caught my attention were those of Curaçao - who demonstrated classic and timeless elegance in her sequined silver gown. To quote color commentator and stylist Carson Kressley, "This is a high impact nude illusion look... and Curaçao, Cura-wow!"  Vietnam's long-sleeved and well-fitting gray silver gown enhances her curves and earthy complexion. Canada dazzled the crowd with a spectacular couture gown by Michael Cinco complimented by a five-tiered crinoline overskirt (she wore the same dress during the prelims without the overskirt).


    My predictions are getting worse: And I kid you not! I have been making pageant predictions for almost twenty years and I usually get more than half of my guesses right. But in the last three years, my predictions have gotten worse, and this year is the worst of all! Out of the 20 semifinalists that were actually called, only 10 from my list actually made the cut.  Unless you're a staff member of MUO who interacts with and observes every contestant  on a daily basis, there is simply no way for us pageant fans to know everything about the contestants - how they behave with the staff or with the other contestants, what they think about the pageant and their fellow contestants - unless it's posted online. 

    Before the advent of social media, we picked our favorites based on the bios, photos and videos on the Miss Universe website before and after the preliminaries. Now with the huge popularity of social media - and with everyone owning a smartphone that allows them to post countless selfies, YouTube/Instagram/Facebook/Twitter videos and comments in an instant - all that must now be taken into account when selecting your favorites. Pageant organizers are now realizing the power of social media, and even though it is an unwritten rule, they know that girls with huge social media following are also the most influential and useful in promoting the pageant's brand. But honestly, who had time to follow each of the 94 contestants and scrutinize every photo, video and comment that they post? Certainly not I! They would have to pay me to do that! LOL

    As usual, every year, there were a few surprises mostly from Europe: Ireland, Belgium, Hungary and Poland. None of these countries made my list. I thought they were weak and they took the places of four countries from other regions, like India, Ecuador, El Salvador and sensational Kyrgyzstan. And lastly, I would have removed USA (especially after she stirred up controversy when she seemed to mock Misses Vietnam and Cambodia for not speaking English - for which she later apologized) and replaced her with Kyrgyzstan whom I thought was phenomenal during the prelims. As much as I am fond of Sarah Rose Summers, she has become one of the most underwhelming U.S. representatives since Chelsea Cooley from 2005.

    Between color commentators Carson Kressley, walking coach Lu Sierra, and backstage host Ashley Graham, only Ashley included the Philippines on her top 3 list. During a backstage interview minutes before the evening gown competition, Ashley interviewed Catriona and told her that she was rooting for her to win. Do you think this interview was scripted? LOL

    Overall Rating: So from a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest), how would I rate the 2018 telecast? I would give it an 8 - two points higher than last year's. The production was outstanding and generously showcased Thai culture. A three-hour show is still too long, but it did give the girls plenty of air time to express themselves, which then gave the judges more time to assess the contestants' performance before a live audience. The huge X-shaped runway allowed for more circulation and visual interest. 

    If some feminist critics  still think that the pageant is outdated and regressive for women, then they think wrong. On its website it says, "The Miss Universe Organization is a company run by women for women, built on a foundation of inclusion and continues to be a celebration of diversity." The decision to install an all-female jury suggests that women will be judged by other women, and that women call the shost. Notice, too, that the color commentators hardly made references to a contestant's body, or height, or weight - issues that may be too sensitive to many women to talk about. Instead, they focused on the contestants' bios, choice of gown, communication skills, and runway walk.

      And more significantly, the contestants were given plenty of time to speak and to promote causes that are dear to their hearts. If this is not true feminism, then I don't know what is.

    #MissUniverse #ConfidentlyBeautiful

    By Rafa Delfin, 12/24/2018

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    Miss Congo emerged winner Thursday night at the 2018 Miss Africa beauty pageant and shortly after she won, her wig caught fire on stage.
    Dorcas Kasinde, 24, beat other contestants to win the crown. Miss Nigeria came second while Miss Zambia came third.
    As Miss Congo celebrated her victory and hugged her predecessor, her wig caught fire. Thankfully, Ebuka, the host, came to her rescue before more damage could be done.
    It is believed the fire was caused by the stage flame positioned at various corners on the stage but social media users have jokingly blamed the incident on Calabar witches.
    Watch the harrowing video:
    Source:, 12/28/2018

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  • 12/31/18--13:36: End Of The Year Review 2018
  • Pageantry in 2018: Civil War in Miss America, Miss Universe Accepts First Transgender Contestant, Miss World Exposed?


    THE BATTLE OF MISS AMERICAS  The beginning of 2018 saw Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989, being elected as the new chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors. It was the first time that a former winner has served as the leader of the nearly 100-year-old organization. The announcement comes days after three board members resigned and former Miss America titleholders, including 2013's Mallory Hagan, called for the organization's entire board of directors to be replaced following a leak of derogatory and sexist emails from CEO Sam Haskell and others.  But Carlson's leadership has so far proven to be chaotic and dismal. She decided to drop the swimsuit competition, which irked many loyal Miss America fans. Not long after the announcement of the swimsuit decision, two board members - Jennifer 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 - Kate Shindle and Laura Kaeppler Fleiss - also resigned. 


    A few weeks before relinquishing her crown, outgoing queen Cara Mund (above) released a five-page letter addressed to "Miss America Sisters" and obtained by USA Today in which she called out Carlson and Miss America CEO Regina Hopper and accused them of bullying, silencing and marginalizing her. Carlson denies that she ever bullied Mund, and because of such "false" allegations,  scholarships worth $75,000 were withdrawn by donors. On August 8, eleven former Miss Americas demanded Carlson and Hopper's resignation. Despite Carlson's attempts to redeem herself, she and Hopper are now being sued by a former board member and four states that have had their licenses terminated "illegally" by the Miss America Organization. The Nielsen ratings for the September 10th telecast proved to be dismal: viewership was down 19% from last year. It seems that neither Carlson nor Hopper will have a great start for 2019.

    Digging Its Own Grave?   On December 9, an anonymous individual created a Facebook page entitled, Exposing Miss World Contest, which 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 (MWO) 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 Douglasis a felon, Eric Morley is a 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 MWO has been engaging in charity fraud. The page garnered the attention not only of pageant fans who have always suspected something shady about MWO, but also of former contestants and national directors who feel deceived and exploited by MWO. Some pro-MWO individuals claim that the allegations are false and fabricated by a disgruntled former employee. It's interesting to note that the media have not reported the page and its contents, which makes you wonder if the allegations are nothing more but sordid rumors or fake news. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, new revelations have been posted by the anonymous author at the time this review was published. You be the judge if they're true or not.



    Osmel Sousa Retires:  Osmel Sousa, the indisputable beauty queen maker responsible for making Venezuela the most successful country in pageantry, announced in February that he decided to retire as president of the Miss Venezuela Organization (MVO) and he will continue to struggle and to work for a better country (whatever that means).  Sousa was rumored to have resigned due to unfounded allegations that he had pimped contestants to wealthy men to get sponsors. Due to the alleged corruption and prostitution scandals, the 2018 Miss Venezuela pageant was cancelled. MVO is now directed by former Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler



    Don't Judge Me. Select Me:  For the first time in the history of Miss USA pageant, an all-female jury (read: sexist) was installed and selected Sarah Rose Summers of Nebraska as the 2018 winner. And for the first time in the history of the pageant, the word "judge" was thrown out and replaced by "selection committee." For some reason, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) found the word "judge" rather unpleasant and trivial.  


    #WomenRuleTheUniverse:  Following Miss USA's footsteps, for the first time in the history of the pageant, Miss Universe has also decided to install an all-female jury to select the 2018 Miss Universe winner. And for the first time in a long time, these women judges (oops, I meant women "selectors") oversaw both the preliminary and final rounds of the competition. In the photo from left to right:  Liliana Gil Valletta, a Colombian-American businesswoman and entrepreneur;  Bui Simon/Porntip Nakhirunkanok, Miss Universe 1988; Monique Lhuillier, a Filipino-American fashion designer noted for her luxurious wedding gowns; Michelle McLean, Miss Universe 1992; Iman Oubou, a Moroccan-American scientist and entrepreneur;  Janaye Ingram, an American political organizer (Women's March) and Miss New Jersey USA 2004; and Richelle Singson-Michael, a Filipino businesswoman and architect. Miss Universe's decision to install an all-female jury reflects Miss America's earlier decision to install an all-female Board of Directors.



    Pinching Pennies: For the first time in the history of the Miss USA/Miss Teen USA pageants, the mother flagship (Miss Universe Organization) - under its new management by WME/IMG - decided to hold both pageants at the same venue and only three days apart from each other. One can only assume that the reason behind this concurrence was that MUO was trying to stretch its budget. While the Miss version was broadcasted live on TV via FOX, the Teen version had to settle with a live stream via Facebook.  Could Miss Teen USA be on its way out? 


    Herstory MadeAngela Ponce, 27, became the first transwoman to be crowned Miss Spain last June. She also became the first transwoman contestant to compete in Miss Universe which started accepting transgender contestants in 2012. Even though Ponce did not place or win, her presence is historically (or should we say, herstorically) significant as it contributes to the advancement of LGBTQ rights and further promoted inclusivity in pageantry. However, some critics claim that MUO was forced to accept transgender contestants due to pressure from human rights groups.

     Mr and Miss Albinism East Africa 2018 Emmanuel Silas Shedrack, 20, from Tanzania (seated) and Maryanne Muigai (seated right) and other finalists. Photo | Dennis Onsongo

    Redefining Beauty:   The common saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," seems to hold true for the organizers of the first Mr. and Miss Albinism East Africa pageant that took place on November 30 
    in Nairobi, Kenya. The event is groundbreaking as it celebrates people who were born with albinism, a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition that leads to a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light, according to the United Nations. People with the hereditary condition - commonly called "albinos" - have faced discrimination, violence and even murder. Albinos have been attacked or even killed in some African countries for their body parts because of a primitive belief that they possess magical powers. Some ignorant people also dig up graves in the misguided belief that albinos will bring wealth and good fortune. These beliefs have no place in a civilized and tolerant society.

    In America, there are countless special pageants that cater to contestants who otherwise would not qualify in traditional pageants. However, in the last decade or so, we have seen the likes of Miss USA and Miss America accepting contestants with disabilities (deaf, partially blind, mute, Parkinsons' disease, etc.). But no such contestant on a national level has ever participated in an international pageant (excluding the ones that are designed purposely for contestants with disabilities) - until Danish beauty 
    Celina Riel - a woman born with left forearm missing - reached the top 25 in Miss Supranational 2018 pageant in Poland on December 7. Not to be dismissed is Marina Kere who suffers from vitiligo (
     long-term skin condition characterized by patches of the skin losing their pigment) and became a contestant at Miss Universe New Zealand last August. Unfortunately, for Paulett Rosales, her story does not have a happy ending; Rosales flew thousands of miles to Malaysia to represent Panama in Miss Tourism International lnternational on December 21. After competing in three rounds, the organizers banned her from competing further because she has vitiligo, according to Panama America's Twitter account:

    Rosales was forced to stay in her room during the remainder of the pageant and took to her social media asking fans not to post bad things about her fellow Latina contestants who have been supportive of her. She also received love and support from Miss Universe Panama Rosa Iveth Montezuma who was competing in Miss Universe in Bangkok, Thailand. On her Instagram, Montezuma tagged Rosales with this comment (translated in English): “When we fall into stereotypes we can not see what is really beautiful, beauty is integral, it is the reflection of our hearts, in the 21st century we can not keep classifying people or deciding on the dreams of others, because it does not define you a condition, you define the desire of your heart. @ Paulettrosales.”

    Dethrone & Disqualify Her:  Pageantry wouldn't be as dramatic as soap operas if controversies and scandals did not occur. Take, for instance, the case of Veronica Didusenko who was crowned Miss Ukraine 2018 on September 20th. Pageant officials stripped her of her title after they found out that Didusenko was an unmarried mother of a 4-year-old boy. 

    Natalie Paweleck was crowned Mrs. Scotland World in September but was forced to give up her title after a topless photo of her resurfaced on the Internet. She accused the organizers of "body shaming." 

    Salwa Akar, Miss Earth Lebanon 2018, was stripped of her title after she posed for a photo with Miss Earth Israel 2018, Daza Zreik making peace sign with their hands, even though Zreik herself is a fellow Arab. The Miss Earth Lebanon organizers gave a statement saying that they, “categorically rejected the relationship with Israel."  Ofir Gendelman, the spokesperson of Benjamin Netanyanhu, the Prime Minister of Israel tweeted about the issue and condemns Lebanon for being an "apartheid" state.

    Juthamas Pothong, winner of the Miss Grand Thailand Lampang 2018 pageant, was disqualified for competing in another beauty pageant. Isn't there a word for this deed? Ahhh... it's called moonlighting! This directly violated the rules and policies of Miss Grand Thailand whose organizers banned Lampang from competing in any Miss Grand Thailand competition in any province and has been blacklisted forever.


    Feline Wong Xin Yi was crowned Miss Bikini Universe Singapore on September 15. Two weeks later, she turned to her social media to complain that she has not received her prizes. She even posted a screen shot of her private conversations with the pageant organizer. As a consequence, Wong was dethroned for violating the terms of the contract, one of which states that the titleholder should not be badmouthing the organizers behind their back.  Andrea Wong, a 20-year-old undergraduate, was announced the new winner and will represent Singapore in Miss Bikini Universe 2019. 

    Taylor Hamlin, 18, who was crowned the Maine Lobster Festival's Sea Goddess on August 1st, was forced to resign after "controversial" pictures from her private Instagram account were shown to the lobster festival leadership. In one photo, she was holding a vaping device called a Juul. In another picture, she is holding a joint. Since then, people involved in organizing the festival have received everything from mocking comments on Facebook to death threats.

    In October, Daniela Zivkov was stripped off her title as Miss Austria 2018 because she was making appearances scheduled by parties other than the one with whom she had signed her contract. She is the first titleholder to be dethroned in the history of Miss Austria.



    She is the dancing fainting queen: Seconds after hearing her country's name as the winner of Miss Grand International 2018 on October 25th, Clara Sosa of Paraguay was in state of shock, fainted, and fell on the stage floor while her first runner-up, Meenakshi Chaudhary from India, looked for help.  Eventually, first responders rushed to the stage to revive the new queen who managed to regain her strength, be crowned, and do her victory walk. 


    She's On Fire - LiterallyDorcas Kasindes, a 24-year-old model from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was crowned Miss Africa 2018 on December 27th. Seconds after she was announced as the winner, fireworks coming from the ceiling landed on her wig which caught fire. Her wig had probably been stylized with inflammable hair spray. After desperately trying to kill the fire, with the help of her runner-up and the emcee, the beauty queen managed to maintain her composure during her coronation. 



    In Hot Water:  In early October, Miss Colombia Valeria Morales (left), got in hot water with critics after she stated that she was not in favor of  pageants allowing transwomen contestants to compete - alluding to Angela Ponce (right), Miss Spain, who would be the first transwoman to compete in Miss Universe pageant. Morales later clarified that if Miss Universe accepts Ponce, then she would treat her "with respect and tolerance that a candidate deserves because she will be competing with me in the same contest." Neither women placed in the contes held in Bangkok, Thailand on December 17.



    Guyana national director Jyoti Hardat (left) with Miss Universe 2017 Iris Mittenaere 
    and the newly crowned Miss Universe Guyana 2017 Rafeiya Husain

    Country Non Grata:  In January, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) notified Jyoti Hardat, the director of Miss Universe Guyana, that Guyana is banned from competing  in 2018 and the next two years following the controversial coronation of Rafeiya Husain as Miss Universe Guyana 2017. A committee member revealed that after complaints were filed which indicated that Hardat had rigged the results of the 2017 contest, Hardat was fired. Disenchanted contestants complained of alleged mistreatment, sexual harassment, and disrespect by the organization.  Some also claimed that they did not receive their money’s worth from the US$2,500 registration fee that they were required to pay. Hardat said that the country is being barred because of the “nasty emails” and “death threats” sent to MUO (as well as to herself and Husain) in the ensuing controversy involving the selection of Husain. Hardat told MUO that she was no longer interested in the franchise. After the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, Husain took to social media to state that she received very little support from the national organization.

    Fair Distribution: Unlike in previous years when one country won at least two of the major beauty titles, 2018 saw winners from diverse nations. Miss Universe Catriona Gray is from the Philippines, Miss International Mariem Velasco is from Venezuela, Miss World Vanessa Ponce de Leon is from Mexico, Miss Earth Nguyễn Phương Khánh is from Vietnam, Miss Supranational Valeria Vasquez Latorre is from Puerto Rico, and Miss Grand International Clara Sosa is from Paraguay. The last four women have won their respective titles for their countries for the first time.


    Mexico has been competing in Miss World since 1963 and has almost won the crown three times when its candidates placed second (2005, 2009, 2017). Lady Luck - or should we say, MWO Chairwoman Julia Morley - finally favored the country when she chose Vanessa Ponce de Leon as the 2018 winner. Lupita Jones, a former Miss Universe, used to own the Mexican franchise for Miss World but lost it in 2016 to the Miss Mexico Organization. Lupita's dream of producing a Mexican Miss World under her directorship never materialized.

    Catriona Gray waves to the crowd after being crowned 
    Miss Universe 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand on December 17.

    COUNTRY OF THE YEAR:   For the 4th consecutive year, the Philippines has remained unbeatable in terms of pageant successes in 2018 - thus winning the title of "Country Of The Year" in pageantry.  The country won its fourth Miss Universe crown and its fifth Miss Asia Pacific International crown, numerous minor international titles (Miss Eco International, Miss Multinational, Miss Tourism Worldwide, Miss Landscapes International, Mr. Universe Tourism, Mr. Universal Ambassador, Mister Star Model Universe, Mister National Universe Ambassador), and several runners-up (Miss International, Miss Progress International, Manhunt International, Man Of The World, Men Universe Model, Miss Tourism International, Miss Cosmopolitan World, Face Of Beauty International), and semifinalists notably in Miss Globe, Miss Supranational, Mister Supranational, and Mister International. 

    Honorable Mention: Thailand (top 5 in Miss Universe, 1st runner-up in Miss World, top 8 in Miss International, finalist spot in Miss Tourism Worldwide, Miss Landscapes International, Mister Global, Man Of The World, Miss Tourism Queen International)



    On September 8, the pageant world was devastated by the untimely passing of Chelsi Smith, Miss USA & Miss Universe 1995 from Texas. The cause of death was liver cancer. Chelsi was only 45, having left this world too soon. Read my tribute to her


    Beauty pageant veteran and founder of the Manhunt International competition, Alex Liu, died on Jan 22. He was 57. According to a spokesman for his company, Exclusive Resources Marketing, he died of a heart attack in a taxi en route to Tan Tock Seng Hospital from his house in Toa Payoh at about 2 P.M. Described as "the godfather of beauty pageants in Singapore," Liu organised women's beauty pageants such as Miss Singapore Universe and Miss Chinatown after he set up Metromedia Marketing in 1984. Noticing an increase in men's products at a department store, he came up with the idea of the first male model contest in Singapore. He settled on the name "Manhunt" because it was catchy, and organised the debut edition with 16 contestants at a local disco in 1988. Entertainment lawyer Samuel Seowwho had known him for 15 years, says that Liu was "always very driven.""He was very proud that he had built up Manhunt into the world's largest male pageant."

    Donna Axum Whitworth, the first woman from Arkansas to win the Miss America crown in 1964, passed away on November 4 from complications from Parkinsons disease. She was 76. “She made everyone she met feel like they were the only person in the room,” said former Miss America and Fayetteville, Arkansas native Savvy Shields on a Facebook post. “She lived as a role model to everyone who knew her name, and inspired so many more."
     Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face 
    in a perfect mirror.  - Rabindranath Tagore

    By RAFA DELFIN, 12/31/12018

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    Former Miss Universe 2017 from South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, got engaged today to Tim Tebow, the former New York Jets quarterback and current New York Mets minor-leaguer. On her Instagram, the beauty queen posted a photo of Tibow proposing to her at his family farm outside of Jacksonville, Florida.

    According to People magazine:
    The couple strolled along the property, and stopped next to a small lake, where Tebow had installed an arbor and a specially made bench that was engraved with the date the couple first met.

    For about five minutes, Tebow and Nel-Peters talked about their relationship and its future in hushed tones before Tebow, 31, dropped to one knee. “Demi Leigh Nel-Peters, I love you,” he said. “Demi Leigh Nel-Peters, will you marry me?”

    As Nel-Peters said yes, Tebow slipped a 7.25-carat solitaire ring on her finger. “This ring is internally flawless,” he said. “Just like you.”

    Critical Beauty warmly congratulates the couple for their engagement and wishes them all the happiness in the world!