Mayra Dias, representing the state of Amazonas, was crowned Miss Brasil Be Emotion 2018 in Rio de Janeiro last Saturday, May 26. The journalist defeated 26 other young women from all over Brazil for the coveted crown. The other top three finalists included Teresa Santos from Ceará, and Maria Isabel from Bahia. Dias will now represent Brazil in the next edition of Miss Universe who date and venue have yet to be confirmed.
Two new South Africans queen were crowned during the 60th edition of Miss South Africa pageant on May 27, 2018 at the Sun Arena. Tamaryn Green was crowned as Miss Universe Africa 2018 and she will represent her country at Miss Universe 2018 whose date and venue have not been announced. Thulisa Keyi was declared as the winner of Miss World South Africa 2018 title and will now represent South Africa at Miss World 2018 later this year in China. Completing the top five were Karishma Ramdev, Noxolo Ndebele and Thandokazi Mfundisi.
BRINIQUE GIBSON, a 22-year old beauty representing New Providence, was crowned Miss World Bahamas 2018 in the Imperial Ballroom of the Atlantis Paradise Island on Sunday, May 27. She was crowned by her predecessor Geena Thompson. Gibson will now represent the Bahamas in Miss World 2018 pageant to be held in Sanya, China on December 8. Gibson's court includes 1st Princess Serena Greene from Grand Bahama and 2nd Princess Shelly Elisee from the University of the Bahamas who advanced to the top 6 via online voting. Rounding up the top 6 were Angel Cartwright of Long Island, Angel Culmer of Andros, and Chinasa Outten of Balmoral Island.
CREDIT: MISS BAHAMAS ORGANIZATION
Ten young women competed in this year's national pageant. The remaining contestants were Alexis Denoye of Abaco, Alexis Sawyer of Crystal Cay, Desire Edwards of Ragged Island, and Caitlyn Walker of San Salvador.
The show was hosted by Jerome Sawyer, Vice-President of Media Relations of MBO (Miss Bahamas Organization) and by Leslia Brice, Bahamian pageant veteran and fashion model. Backstage commentating was conducted by popular Puerto Rican TV personality, Héctor Joaquín Colón González. The social media correspondents were Shenique Miller and Pischia Adderley. Entertainment was provided by musical artists Lady E, Julien Believe, and Angelique Sabrina. The show was live streamed on Facebook and nationally televised.
The panel of judges included E. Jay Saunders, chairman of the Turks & Caicos Aviation Civil Aviation Authority; Ashley Hamilton, Miss World Bahamas 2016; Grace Fontecha, the legendary beauty queen maker from Puerto Rico who appears in Guinness Book of World Records for training back to back Miss Universe winners (2008, 2009) from Venezuela; K. Darren Turnquest, counseling psychologist and motivational speaker; Carlos Ramirez, musical and pageant show producer from Puerto Rico; and yours truly, Rafa Delfin, director of Critical Beauty.
The contestants were judged primarily on three categories: interviews, swimsuit, and evening gown. Last Saturday, the contestants underwent rigorous one-on-one interviews with the judges, followed by a closed-door scrutiny in their swimsuits. Special awards were distributed Sunday night to the following recipients: University of the Bahamas (Best in Swimsuit, Spirit Award, Top Model), New Providence (Miss Amity, Multi-Media, People's Choice, Fashionista), Long Island (Aliv Challenge Video, Sportswoman, Best Costume, Miss Popularity), Ragged Island (Beauty With a Purpose), and Andros (Miss Photogenic, Miss Critical Beauty Bahamas).
This was the third time for me to judge the Miss Bahamas pageant, and I have to say that the production has become bigger and better, as well as the sponsorship and prize package. A big thank you to MBO President Michelle Malcolm for being a gracious host. Initially, she had assigned me as a social media correspondent but due to the high-caliber quality of this year's contestants, she reassigned me to judge instead. I think she made the right decision! The Bahamas has selected a strong contender for Miss World this year!
Left: With the beautiful new queen. Right: With MBO President Michelle Malcolm.
Miss America is scrapping its swimsuit competition and will no longer judge contestants based on physical appearance, the organization announced Tuesday. "We are no longer a pageant," Gretchen Carlson, the first former Miss America to be named chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization, said on "GMA.""We are a competition."
In place of the swimsuit portion of the competition, Miss America contestants will now take part in a live interactive session with the judges, according to the organization.
The contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be asked to demonstrate their passion, intelligence and overall understanding of the job of Miss America.
The organization is also getting rid of the evening gown portion of the competition and instead asking contestants to wear attire that makes them feel confident and expresses their personal style. The contestants will also discuss how they will advance their chosen causes, called "social impact initiatives" by the Miss America Organization.
"We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,’ so guess what, you don’t have to do that anymore," Carlson said. "Who doesn’t want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person from the inside of your soul."
She continued, "That’s what we’re judging them on now."
In addition to being crowned Miss America in 1989, Carlson has more recently been an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual harassment and a champion of the #MeToo movement. In 2016, she settled a lawsuit against former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who stepped down from his role after mounting pressure from additional employees with similar accusations.
"We are now open, inclusive and transparent and I want to inspire thousands of young people across this country to come and be a part of our program," she said. "We want you and we want to celebrate your accomplishments and your talents and then we want to hand you scholarships."
Carlson is now part of an all-female leadership team at Miss America.
"This is a new beginning and change can sometimes be difficult but I know a lot about change," she said. "My life has worked in mysterious ways. I never thought I’d be the chairwoman of the Miss America Organization, but here I am and we’re moving it forward and we’re evolving in this cultural revolution."
The 2019 Miss America Competition airs live on ABC on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 9 p.m. EST.
Andrea Toscano, representing the state of Colima, won the first edition of Mexicana Universal pageant. She will now represent Mexico in the next edition of Miss Universe whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed. She was crowned by Lupita Jones, the national director and franchise owner. The selection for Mexico's representative for Miss Universe was for several years conducted by Nuestra Belleza Mexico Organization run by Jones, but Jones changed the name to Mexicana Universal.
Jones with Toscano / Photo: Mexicana Universal Facebook
New Aruba queens for 2018 were crowned on June 7. In the photo above, from left to right: Miss Aruba Reina Internacional de Cafe 2018 - Hannah Arends - 21; Miss Aruba World 2018 - Nurianne Arias -23; Miss Universe Aruba 2018 - Kimberly Julsing - 20; and Miss Aruba Hispanoamerica 2018 - Raquel Reeberg - 25.
Kimberly Julsing - Miss Aruba Universe 2018 - will compete in the next edition of Miss Universe whose venue and date have not been confirmed.
Nurianne Arias - Miss Aruba World 2018 - will compete in Miss World 2018 to be held in Sanya, China in December.
Raquel Reeberg - Miss Aruba Hispanoamerica 2018 - will compete in Reina Hispanoamericana 2018 pageant to be held in Bolivia sometime in November.
Hannah Arends - Miss Aruba Internacional del Cafe 2018 - will compete in Reinado Internacional del Café 2019 which will take place in Manizales, Colombia in January 2019.
Thank you to Karl Genser for providing this information.
FILE- In this Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, Gretchen Carlson participates in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss her book "Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Back Your Power" at AOL Studios in New York. Carlson, former Fox News Channel anchor and 1989 Miss America, has been named chairwoman of the Miss America Organization's board of directors, the organization announced Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
The Miss America Organization announced Friday another change to the board of trustees, as two former state titleholders resign.
Less than six months after establishing a board of directors comprised of former Miss Americas, state titleholders and state executive directors, the Miss America Organization made changes to the annually televised scholarship competition, eliminating the swimsuit competition, with the hopes of re-branding Miss America. As "Miss America 2.0" has been launched, three new board members have been elected.
Dr. Shelley Robertson, author Mary Jane Clark and Dr. Debbye Turner Bell were announced as the newly elected members of the Miss America Organization's board or trustees. Robertson and Clark are the first two directors brought on since the beginning of the year from outside of the organization. Turner Bell, former Miss America 1990, joins the board, led by the woman who crowned her Miss America, MAO chairwoman Gretchen Carlson.
The new board members have had extensive careers in journalism, corporate business and non-profit governance.
"I am thrilled that Shelley, Mary Jane and Debbye are joining us to execute on the mission of Miss America, preparing great women for the world and preparing the world for great women," Carlson said in a news release.
Jennifer Vaden Barth and Valerie Crooker Clemens resigned from the Board of Trustees last week and were removed from the Miss America website's Board of Directors page. Both were former state titleholders and were elected to the board in February.
In December 2017, emails between former CEO and chairman Sam Haskell and members of the Miss America board that taunted, body-shamed and used vulgar language to talk about past Miss Americas were released. A collective of former Miss Americas and state titleholders called for their immediate resignations. At the beginning of the year, Carlson was announced to the organization's leadership. Several changes to bylaws were voted on and created and the nine member board of trustees was established.
According to Miss America Organization President and CEO Regina Hopper, the board positions held by the two Miss America State Titleholder Association representatives were "interim in nature", after helping to establish new changes to the national competition.
"The two MASTA board members were brought on to help in the re-envision and re-branding. Once that was done board determined process, those people would step aside," said Hopper.
At the beginning of the year, the Miss America Organization consulted several marketing firms, as well as their own "stakeholders" on how to modernize the nearly 100-year-old pageant. The stakeholders include former Miss America, former state titleholders and state competition organizers. The MAO consistently emphasized the importance of having women who directly benefited from the competitions contributing to the changes.
"The insights provided by the two interim MASTA representatives was vital in making sure this stakeholder group had a voice in the mission and vision for Miss America 2.0. Now that this work is complete, they will be relinquishing those seats. I hope you will join me in thanking Jennifer Vaden Barth and Valerie Crooker Clemens, for their service to this organization" Carlson said in a statement. Barth and Clemens will continue to serve as liaisons to the board to assist with this year's competition.
The two board positions held by former state executive directors Ashley Bird and Jessie Ward Bennett are also interim positions, but they will retain their positions until changes to the state competitions under the new organization guidelines are finalized.
Hopper also said the MAO Board of Trustees is functioning as a member organization and can review the at the end of their fiscal year in March.
The Miss America Organization hopes to introduce the new competition guidelines at the Miss America 2019 contestant orientation in July. Miss America 2019 will be held in Atlantic City and broadcast on ABC networks on Sept 9, 2018.
Angela Ponce, 26, representing Sevilla, has just made Spanish pageant history tonight by being the first transgender woman to be crowned Miss Universe Spain 2018. She will also be the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe 2018 pageant which will be held later this year. Miss Universe began accepting transgender contestants in 2012 when the pageant was still owned by now American president, Donald Trump.
Ponce beat 20 other contestants from all over Spain. She was crowned by outgoing queen, Sofia del Prado who made the top 10 in Miss Universe 2018 won by South Africa's Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.
BANGKOK — This year’s Miss Universe Thailand went to a finance student who studied in Las Vegas – and not everyone is pleased about it.
Sophida “Ning” Kanchanarin, was crowned Miss Universe Thailand on Saturday night, but many fans cried foul on alleged favoritism for her wealth as she bested Thai-Indian Paveena Singh, who had been an online favourite to win in the weeks prior to the contest. “Next year, just pick rich people with good education to win. You don’t need to go to the effort of holding a pageant anymore. It’s bothering the eyes of millions of audience members. Even the Miss Elephant pageant is more fun,” commented Facebook user Thanakan Phetchaananya. Sophida graduated with a finance degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and was a manager at TMB Bank. Her profile includes winning a President’s Education Awards Program medal from President Barack Obama in 2013, awarded to about 3 million students. Her father, Tavatchai Kanchanarin, was a doctor at Phramongkutklao Hospital. Her victory won her 1 million baht in cash and the right to represent the country at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant. After her win, Sophida fans commended her for her perceived academic achievements and intelligence. A commentby Adisak Toffy Charoenrod showed her reading an issue of Time magazine on a plane and writing notes at a pageant meeting while other contestants used their phones.
One of the most stalwart defenders of Sophida’s crown is Chalita “Namtarn”Suansane, Miss Universe Thailand 2016.
“Beauty isn’t just on the outside. The judges’ decision is final. They must have seen something in her. You’re in the real world too, don’t just judge people on their outward appearance. Give her a chance to prove herself,” Chalita wrote Sunday in response to a disparaging comment posted to her Instagram about Sophita.
Asked about the pros and cons of the acceptance of plastic surgery, Sophida said“the benefits of plastic surgery is giving you confidence because our outer appearance is more beautiful,” adding that it could however prove dangerous if not researched properly and that “everyone can be beautiful in their own way, too.”
The first runner-up went to Thitaree Kasorn, who won 500,000 baht. Three contestants placed second-runner up: Valentina Giardullo, Palita Puttharassu and Paveena.
Paveena was a fan favorite. In a June 26 post on the official Miss Universe Thailand Facebook page, a photo of Paveena in a bikini gained 21,000 likes – far outshining Sophida’s 2,700, Hitaree’s and Valentina’s 4,000 and Palita’s 2,600.
Paveena graduated in Russian Studies from the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Thammasat University.
Facebook uses Phatchanida Mint said she cheered for Paveena because “Veena tries harder than anyone. Her family isn’t ready to completely support her,” adding that she lost weight from 80 kilograms, saved money, practiced walking on the catwalk.
“Not everyone has the means to be compared against someone who finished school overseas with their parents supporting them,” Phatchanida wrote.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Former Miss America winners and state pageant officials are split over the leadership and direction of the organization, which was rocked by a 2017 email scandal that led to the resignations of its top leaders.
Representatives from 22 state pageants have signed a petition calling for the resignations of the new Miss America board, including Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and President and CEO Regina Hopper, The Press of Atlantic City reported Saturday.
But in a letter to the newspaper, 30 former Miss Americas said they "fully support" Carlson, Miss America 1989, and the board members "who are and have been working tirelessly to move our program forward."
The Miss America organization is regrouping after a December scandal in which emails surfaced showing that CEO Sam Haskell and others mocked winners' intelligence, looks and sex lives. Haskell resigned Dec. 23, followed by board members.
The shake-up at the organization has resulted in the top three positions being held by women, and the new leaders have begun making changes. The swimsuit competition has been dropped and in the evening-wear portion contestants will be allowed to wear something other than a gown if they want. The talent portion of the contest will remain.
The petition from the state pageant officials expressed a vote of "no confidence" in the Miss America Organization's board of trustees. It cited a lack of transparency and adherence to best practices, The Press said.
"As dedicated members of our state and local communities who lend our reputations, financial support and voluntary efforts to facilitate (the Miss America organization's) long and powerful mission of empowering women to stand up and speak out, we find ourselves needing to use our own voices of leadership to express our profound disappointment regarding what, in our view, is the failed leadership of the entire MAO Board of Trustees," the petition said.
The former Miss Americas said in their letter Saturday that "We hope the voices of our majority can and will be heard."
Hopper told The Press on Friday that "there are always those who disagree with or find it hard to accept change." She said the organization welcomes "those who want to move forward and be a part of a revitalized program dedicated to providing scholarships and opportunities to all young women."
Suzette Charles, Miss America 1984, said "things have begun to unravel" in the organization.
"There's been a lot of dismay with (Carlson's) leadership," she said. "We thought she would regard this program with reverence and keep this tradition alive."
The nationally televised Miss America broadcast is set for Sept. 9 on ABC
Participants in the 2018 Miss America competition on September 10, 2017, in Atlantic City.
(CNN) Just a month after a momentous change, and a year after a scandal shook the Miss America Organization to its core, there's more trouble in its ranks.
This week, a group of 22 state pageants signed a petition calling for the resignation of the organization's entire board of trustees. This includes chairwoman Gretchen Carlson, who was just appointed to the position in January.
According to the petition, obtained by The Press of Atlantic City, representatives from the 22 state pageants aren't convinced by the organization's new direction, and want more accountability at the top.
"The recent ouster of two duly elected Trustees, followed by the resignations of two elected Miss Americas from the nine-member Board, have underscored our grave concerns regarding the direction in which MAO is headed, its financial viability, and the expected exercise of all duties attendant to each Trustee as required by law," the petition reads.
"We were promised transparency, competence, and adherence to best practices and good governance. The current Trustees and identified staff member have both individually and collectively failed to deliver on those promises and commitments. In our opinion their leadership has demonstrated that 'Miss America 2.0' is simply a new title for the same old tactics of obfuscation and fear-based governance."
The petition also calls for the resignation of the organization's president and CEO, Regina Hopper. Both Carlson and Hopper are former Miss America champions.
Gretchen Carlson, the current Chairwoman of the Miss America Organization Board of Trustees.
Then, in early June, the Miss America Organization announced it was scrapping the iconic swimsuit portion of the competition in an effort to refocus the pageant's overall message.
"We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That's huge," Carlson said at the time. But later that month, "Miss America 2.0" took a hit when some reshuffling of board members caused internal controversy.
That, in turn, led to the current rift among some of the organization's most important faces.
"On behalf of the Miss America Organization, in any transition, there are are always those who disagree with or find it hard to accept change. We welcome those who want to move forward and be a part of a revitalized program dedicated to providing scholarships and opportunities to all young women," she said.
Dee-Ann Rogers from Anguilla has been crowned Miss Universe Great Britain 2018 at the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre, Newport on Saturday night of 14th July 2018.
About 40 beauties from Wales, Scotland, and England took part in this mega national beauty contest.
Dee-Ann will represent Great Britain at the world’s most prestigious beauty pageant, Miss Universe 2018.
Dee-Ann’s full name is Dee-Ann Kentish Rogers. She is from Anguilla. Dee-Ann has a degree in Law from the University of Birmingham. She is an Athlete and she competed twice in Commonwealth Games.
She also is the reigning queen of the Miss Anguilla beauty pageant.
Before her participation at the Miss Universe Great Britain, Dee-Ann had said
“As many would know, I won the Miss Anguilla Pageant in 2017. Shortly thereafter, I set my sights on the Miss Universe Great Britain stage. That, for me, was an opportunity to advance the Miss Anguilla Pageant as well as to advance Anguilla on an international stage.
After weeks of competition, CAO XUÂN TÁI of VIETNAM was crowned MAN OF THE WORLD 2018 held at the Fil-Oil Flying V Arena in San Juan City, Philippines. He bested 26 others after going through rounds of preliminary and final rounds of competition last July 14, 2018.
Full list of winners:
Man of the World 2018 – Vietnam, Cao Xuân Tái
First Runner-up – Philippines, Clint Karkliñs
Second Runner-up – Malta, Bjorn Camilleri
Third Runner-up – Czech Republic, Ondrej Valenta
Fourth Runner-up – Thailand, Natapol AOn
Iran (Best in Talent)
Philippines (World’s Choice Award)
Best in National Costume – Philippines
Man of the World Congeniality – Philippines
Man of the World Personality – Singapore
Man of the World Photogenic – Ethiopia
Best in Swimwear – Mongolia
Best in Resorts Wear – Czech Republic
Man of the World Talent – Iran
World’s Choice – Philippines
Best in Casual Wear – Vietnam
Best in Formal Wear – Thailand
Fashion of the World – India
Man of the World Best in Advocacy – Myanmar
Mister Highland Bali Villas Resort and Spa – Philippines
“We are happy and we look forward to working with the new winner this year,” mentions PEPPS President Carlo Morris Galang. “We also thank our Man of the World 2017 Mustafa Elizali for a very memorable year. We wish him the best in the future.”
Man of the World 2018 will be the first to wear the new custom crown designed by PEPPS officer JP Anonuevo. The crown, made of brass and plated in gold, features the symbol for the advocacy of Man of the World through 5 torches that mean passion and knowledge. The crown is further adorned by jade, tanzanites, and clear quartz.
Twenty seven candidates from all over the world competed in the second edition of the pageant.
Dario Duque (center). representing the United States of America, won the Mister Global 2018 competition in Bangkok on July 22nd. The pageant was originally to take place on July 21st but was postponed due to "unforeseen circumstances," according to the Mister Global Organization. However, a rumor was milling around on social media claiming that two contestants had failed to return to the host hotel the night before.
Duque's court includes 1st runner-up Ahmed Lasheen of Egypt, 2nd runner-up Jakub Kucner of Poland, 3rd runner-up Dwayne Geldenhuis of South Africa and 4th runner-up, Staporn Moollisan of Thailand. Completing the top 16 were the contestants from Venezuela,Brazil, Albania, Dominican Republic, Germany, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Korea, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Steve Harvey interviews Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters at Miss Universe 2017 pageant Paul Buck/Shutterstock
Miss Universe is heading to Bangkok, Thailand, for the 2018 competition with Steve Harvey returning as host. The 2018 Miss Universe competition will air in the U.S. on Sunday, December 16 (7-10 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on Fox. This will be Harvey’s fourth time hosting the pageant, following his infamous snafu in the 2015 pageant, in which he misread the card and announced Miss Colombia as the winner instead of actual winner Miss Philippines. He returned as host in 2016, telling the Miss Universe Organization that he wanted to personally apologize to the Filipinos for the incident. He also hosted the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, which crowned Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa as the winner. Harvey also is host of syndicated daytime talk show Steve, Little Big Shotson NBC andCelebrity Family Feudon ABC.
Over the pageant’s 67-year history, Bangkok has hosted Miss Universe in 1992 and 2005, with representatives of Thailand capturing the crown twice in 1965 and 1988.
Former Miss Universes, from left, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (2017), Apasra Hongsakula (1965) and Natalie Glebova (2005) attended Tuesday’s announcement that the pageant will return to Thailand this year.
Thailand is getting used to being in the world spotlight. After last month’s dramatic cave rescue in Chiang Rai, it’s preparing to host the 2018 Miss Universe pageant. And the competition to be held in Bangkok in December will feature the first transgender contestant in the pageant’s nearly seven-decade history – Angela Ponce of Spain.The Miss Universe Organisation amended its rules in 2012 to allow transgender people to compete. It’s left to each nation to adopt the progressive rule or not, but Spain this year became the first country to crown a transgender contestant as Miss Universe Spain.
.Miss Universe’s first transgender contestant, Angela Ponce from Spain, will vie in Bangkok with 90 other women for the grand title. Photo/AFP
Despite Thailand’s reputation as an LGBT-friendly country, the Miss Thailand Universe Organisation has not adopted the new rule. The reasons aren’t clear, but it’s possible that the organisers didn’t wish to detract from the popular Miss Tiffany’s Universe and Miss International Queen contests in which Thai transgender women have participated for years. Thailand was chosen as host for the 67th edition of the Miss Universe pageant over the Philippines, Japan and China. We’re good at it – this will be the third time the pageant has been held here. In return, tourism in Thailand and its capital are expected to get a multimillion-baht boost, and segments of the television industry will benefit too. Paula Mary Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organisation, held a press conference at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre on Tuesday, thanking the government for agreeing to host. She announced the venue as Impact Arena and set the date for December 17. “The Miss Universe contest has come here every 13 years,” she pointed out. “Thailand hosted the contest in 1992 and 2005, so 13 is a lucky number!” The United States, where the organisation is based, has hosted the pageant more than any other country, including last year in Las Vegas. The Philippines had the honour the year before.
Sharing the news, from left, were Miss Universe Organisation president Paula Mary Shugart, Tourism and
Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat and Tanawat Wansom of TW Investment Group.
Tourism and Sport Minister Weerasak Kowsurat assured the press that everyone involved in its return to Thailand would be safe and able to fully enjoy its hospitality and rich culture. “We chose Thailand because we have a lot of fans here,” Shugart added. “The contestants from 2005 are still talking about it.” The woman who won that edition, [Canadian] Natalie Glebova, ended up moving here,” she laughed. “That tells you a lot about Thailand and its people.” Shugart introduced Tanawat Wansom of TW Investment Group, which has sole proprietorship over the 67th competition. “We’ve spent more than Bt1 billion to bring about this spectacular contest,” he told The Nation Weekend, adding that the final round will be starting very early at Impact on December 17 – at 7am – so it can be broadcast live to the US on the Fox Channel for primetime there. The feed will also be going out to 170 other countries, he said. Steve Harvey, an American comedian, will reprise his perennial role as emcee. Tanawat has commissioned Somchai “Tee Matching” Suthanont of Tee Entertainment Co, who was also responsible for the dramatic 2005 pageant held at the Sofitel Centara Grand.
The contestants will be arriving in early November to be steeped in Thai culture while touring the country. They’ll learn to weave silk, carve baskets, string floral garlands and cook local dishes. “We hope to make this a really memorable show, featuring charming elements of Thai culture along with a high-tech presentation,” Tanawat said. And Miss Universe’s first opportunity to address the gender issue is sure to give the event a fresh dimension. “This year, we will meet Miss Universe’s first transgender contestant, Angela Ponce from Spain,” Tanawat noted. “I think this will open a new chapter for the pageant in Thailand.” Weerasak pointed out that during the month leading up to the pageant, more than 6,000 people involved with it – including a media army – would be roaming around Thailand. “It’s a great opportunity to promote Thai culture and boost the economy of our secondary cities,” he said. “We’ll be supporting cultural and tourism facilities for this special event.” Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha remarked that the pageant would send out a “positive image” of the Kingdom. Shugart said the contestants would all become “ambassadors for Thailand”.
Former Miss Universes, from left, DemiLeigh NelPeters (2017), Apasra Hongsakula (1965) and Natalie Glebova (2005) attended Tuesday’s announcement that the pageant will return to Thailand this year.
Thailand has two Miss Universes of its own – Apasra Hongsakula, who won in 1965, and Porntip Nakhirunkanok (Bui Simon), crowned in 1988. This year Sophida Kanchanarin will vie for the country’s third title. Shugart said the event was about women “coming together and doing their best to support each other”, but while in Thailand the contestants would also be visiting the disabled, the elderly and underprivileged children. “It’s not about the television show – it’s about the experiences,” she said. “All of the young women that come here, whether they win or not, their lives afterward will not be the same. They will remember this for the rest of their lives and so will their families, friends and the thousands of other people that come.” Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa confirmed that. She said at the press conference that she’d learned a great deal about the world in her travels. “Miss Universe has completely changed my life,” Nel-Peters told The Nation Weekend. “I’m more dedicated to my country. I’ve grown so much personally and emotionally. I have so much more confidence in the future as a woman. And Miss Universe gave me a global platform to speak about the things I’m passionate about, things I care about, a chance to make a meaningful difference in changing the world.”
Nel-Peters is another big fan of Thailand, having celebrated her 21st birthday on Krabi two years ago, downing as much green curry and sticky rice with mango as she could. “Thailand has so much beautiful nature and culture and the women are so beautiful too,” she said. “I’ve never seen so many people so happy and calm as Thai women. No matter how busy or stressed they are, they remain very patient.”
Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America board of trustees, called those opposing her leadership and the recent decision to drop the swimsuit competition 'a noisy minority.' Now, 11 former Miss Americas have banded together to call for her immediate resignation. (Ben Gabbe | Getty Images)
The drama surrounding the upcoming Miss Americapageant shows no signs of coming to a resolution.
With just four weeks left before the 2019 pageant gets underway in Atlantic City, a group of former titleholders have issued a letter calling for the immediate resignation of Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America board of trustees, along with pageant CEO Regina Hopper.
"We insist that our current Chairwoman and CEO resign now, not after September 9 (the date of the pageant)," the letter says, adding that the message is "not meant to be a personal attack on any one individual."
Unrest has consumed the pageant community in the wake of the decision to eliminate the swimsuit competition, but critics say problems with the pageant's current leaders surpass bikinis.
In June, Carlson, Miss America 1989, announced that Miss America would no longer be judging contestants -- she now calls them "candidates" -- on physical appearance. Those competing for the crown would not be required to wear bathing suits and heels.
Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell Maxwell, shared the letter on Instagram Thursday. The message was addressed to "faithful stakeholders," the Miss America State Titleholders Association, volunteers and Miss America 2018, Cara Mund.
The letter, signed by 11 former Miss Americas, agrees with Carlson's wish, as expressed in a recent interview with the Associated Press, that the Miss America community "come together and have a healing process," but says contestants and volunteers find it hard to trust Hopper and Carlson.
The message addresses "the loss of your elected board members" and the resignation of staff from the Atlantic City-based Miss America Organization this summer.
"We continue to read newspaper articles that are not representing the organization in the best light," the letter says. "None of the other MAO leaders have lost so many board members and staff in such a short time."
The former Miss Americas say that following an email scandal that resulted in the exit of the former CEO and chairman of the board in December, they were given the opportunity to install "our very own sisters." Former titleholders assumed temporary co-chair roles on the board. From there, Carlson was supposed to head up a national search to find a new CEO.
"We did not get that," the letter says, referring to the appointment of Hopper as CEO.
"Instead, she (Carlson) selected the sole candidate for board consideration and together they have taken the organization in a direction that we do not condone."
The letter also asks that the Miss America Organization issue an apology to state and local titleholders, volunteers and sponsors "if anything was done purposefully or unintentionally to divide our program."
The group that signed the letter includes two Miss Americas from New Jersey -- Suzette Charles, who served several weeks as Miss America 1984 after Vanessa Williams resigned over a nude photo scandal, and Kate Shindle, Miss America 1998, who resigned from the Miss America board this summer. Charles, a former Miss New Jersey, hails from Mays Landing and Shindle (who won as Miss Illinois) grew up in Brigantine and Moorestown.
The other signees are Marjorie Vincent-Tripp, Miss America 1991, who recently resigned from her post as chairwoman of the Miss America Foundation's board of trustees (that's the scholarship arm of the pageant); Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, Miss America 2012, who recently resigned from the board of the Miss America Organization; Carolyn SappDaniels, Miss America 1992; Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America 1995; Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999; Angela Baraquio Grey, Miss America 2001; Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004; and Caressa Cameron-Jackson, Miss America 2010.
This letter follows a petition signed by 22 state pageant directors -- including Sally Johnston, executive director of the New Jersey pageant -- that called for Carlson and Hopper's resignation, along with the resignation of the entire Miss America board.
Those criticizing Carlson and Hopper's leadership say the rift has much to do with the way the swimsuit decision was made.
"'Miss America 2.0' is simply a title for the same old tactics of obfuscation and fear-based governance," the petition read, referring to efforts to rebrand the pageant. Changes have also been made to the evening gown part of competition (instead of just walking down the runway in gowns, contestants are invited to wear other types of outfits and will talk about their social impact initiatives, or platforms).
Critics say that volunteers, former titleholders and the Miss America board, which voted on the issue, had been told that ABC would not air the pageant unless swimsuits were no longer part of the picture. But Carlson and Hopper say they never made the claim.
"It is patently false to allege that Miss America claimed that the elimination of the swimsuit competition was a prerequisite to airing the telecast on ABC," the Miss America Organization said in a statement. "In fact, the Miss America Organization had confirmation from ABC in January, months before the swimsuit issue was voted upon, that it would air the Miss America Competition on September 9, 2018."
This is the pageant's last year of a three-year contract with the network. It's also the last year of a three-year contract with the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, through which the pageant secured $4.3 million for the coming pageant, which begins with preliminary competition on Sept. 5.
"There were, however, extensive production company and creative partner negotiations in which the elimination of swimsuit was noted as a prerequisite to partner with MAO," the statement continued.
Jennifer Vaden Barth, a former Miss North Carolina and one of the former board members, told the Associated Press that Hopper and Carlson said "sponsors and networks will not come" if the swimsuit portion was still in effect.
"We do not accept the inaccurate words about the sponsors and swimsuit competition," reads the letter from the 11 Miss Americas.
But this isn't the only group of former Miss Americas to speak out. Directly after the state director petition circulated in July, 30 former Miss Americas signed a letter of support for Carlson, Hopper and the leadership.
Hopper and Carlson have characterized the opposition as Miss America devotees who are resistant to necessary change and reluctant to see swimsuit struts relegated to the past. In her recent interview with the Associated Press, Carlson, a former Fox News host, labeled those who have called for her resignation "a noisy minority."
Cantrell Maxwell has since used the hashtag #noisyminority as a point of pride.
"Just because you have a voice doesn't mean your particular opinion gets accepted," Hopper said in the same story, referring to the dissenting state directors. "States are licensees. If I'm a McDonald's licensee and the corporate office decides, 'We're going to serve chocolate French fries' and I'm sitting here saying, 'I don't want to serve chocolate French fries,' well, you're going to serve chocolate French fries."
The letter from the 11 former Miss Americas said the "hope is to unite in collaboration and lift the ideals of Miss America up higher than it has ever been before."
Carlson became chairwoman of the Miss America board in January after the email scandal that caused the ouster of Haskell, the former CEO. When Haskell and other executives were pushed out after his emails were leaked, showing misogynistic and body-shaming language in his correspondence with pageant staff, Carlson headed up an effort to stock the board with former titleholders. Regina Hopper, Miss Arkansas 1983, came on board as CEO of the Miss America Organization in May, and Vincent-Tripp was named chairwoman of the Miss America Foundation's board of trustees.
But the new leadership structure began to crack not long after the announcement of the swimsuit decision. Two board members -- Vaden Barth and Valerie Crooker Clemens, a former Miss Maine -- said they were pushed out, while Carlson said they departed because their contracts were temporary. Then, two other board members -- Shindle and Fleiss -- also resigned.
In July, Vincent-Tripp became the latest executive to resign.
Carlson sued former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment in 2016. The following year, Carlson, the author of "Be Fierce," a book about sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace, became a prominent voice in the emerging #MeToomovement. But critics have accused Carlson of using the momentum of #MeToo and leveraging her status to push the swimsuit change.
Carlson has denied this, saying that dropping the swimsuits will help update the pageant and make it more inclusive. One goal, she said, was to make the competition more attractive to potential participants. Past feedback had indicated that for some, the swimsuit portion was a major barrier to entry, she said.
But current and former contestants, including Dunlap and Cantrell Maxwell, have spoken out in support of the swimsuit competition. If Carlson and Hopper took a poll of state pageant directors, contestants, volunteers and former titleholders about getting rid of the swimsuit portion, "they would have gotten a resounding 'no'" Cantrell Maxwell, 23, told NJ Advance Media in July.
"On another point, it's like, we need to at least get thorough September so we can have a competition," she said.
Cara Mund, the reigning Miss America, just wrote a scathing letter to former winners of the pageant, claiming she has been “silenced” and bullied by executives at the organization, according to reports by The Associated Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She sent the letter Friday, three weeks before the next Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, where she will pass down her crown and title to the next winner.
"Let me be blunt: I strongly believe that my voice is not heard nor wanted by our current leadership; nor do they have any interest in knowing who I am and how my experiences relate to positioning the organization for the future," Mund, 24, reportedly wrote. She accused Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America organization, and Regina Hopper, its CEO, of “disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion.” Neither Carlson, Hopper, nor the Miss America organization have commented on Mund’s claims. You can read the full letter at Philly.com.
Cara Mund / Pinterest
Mund’s letter comes after a year of controversies within the pageant. Back in December, The Huffington Post reported the then-CEO of Miss America used sexist and fat-shaming language in internal emails. That led executives and board members to resign, and Carlson, who won the title in 1989, to take over as chair. Back in March, Mund told Cosmopolitan.com she had faith in the women who were newly in charge. “Miss America is here to stay, and it’s going to be better than ever,” she said. “Stronger than ever. And more relevant than ever too.” But in her letter, she claims she was often kept out of the spotlight as a spokesperson for the organization in favor of Carlson.
This June, the organization announced it would cut the swimsuit portion of the competition and stop judging candidates based on outward appearances, focusing more on an interactive portion with the judges instead. That received a mixed responsefrom former pageant winners. According to the New York Post, disagreements over the swimsuit policy and other internal issues also led four board members to leave after only a few months.
Earlier this month, Mund spoke vaguely about a turbulent year as Miss America in an interview with The Press of Atlantic City. “It’s been a tough year,” Mund said. “There have been a lot of things I can’t control. It’s felt I wasn’t always heard or utilized or appreciated.” At that point, the Miss America Organization responded with a statement to the newspaper, also noting Mund had the chance to run her own social media accounts and express her opinions:
“While this has been a different year than any Miss America could have ever expected, MAO has worked to provide [Mund] a platform from which she can build her future. Every Miss America has ups and downs during their year as the experience is challenging and rewarding at the same time. MAO is proud of the work Cara has accomplished this year and how she has represented the scholarship principles of the program.”
Now, in her letter, Mund claims the Miss America Organization punished her for giving that interview by cutting her goodbye speech to 30 seconds and limiting what she could wear. “If you want Miss America to be relevant, then the leadership needs to understand she is not a wind-up toy who they can power up to spit out the meaningless words that are put into her mouth, and then put back on the shelf until it’s time to do it again,” Mund reportedly wrote in her letter.
Gretchen Carlson, who serves as the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors and won the crown herself in 1989, says she was “incredibly sad and heartbroken” when she read current Miss America Cara Mund’spublic letter Friday morning stating Carlson had “silenced,” “marginalized” and “bullied” her.
“I want to be clear that as a proponent of women my entire life, I have never bullied Cara Mund,” Carlson tells PEOPLE exclusively. “We have supported Cara for her entire year and we will continue to support her. It’s just disappointing that she chose to air her grievance publicly and not privately.”
In Mund’s letter, posted three weeks before the scheduled Miss America telecast in Atlantic City on Sept. 9, Mund, who hails from North Dakota, accused Carlson and Regina Hopper, the organization’s CEO, of “disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion.”
Carlson joined the board of directors in December after the then-CEO reportedly used sexist and fat-shaming language in internal emails that led to several executives and board members resigning. She says she took on the volunteer role in January in hopes of making it more inclusive, relevant and empowering to women. “I have been putting all of my energy and countless hours into moving this organization forward,” she says. In 2017, Carlson wrote the book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Backinspired by the many women who reached out to her after she reached a $20 million settlement in her sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes in 2016.
One of the new initiatives put forward by Carlson is the elimination of the famous swimsuit competition in an attempt to downplay the importance of physical appearance alone. Mund states that during a recent Good Morning America appearance discussing the changes, she was told that “GMA only wanted Gretchen on the segment,” adding, “I served as my own advocate and asked if I could attend” despite not getting any airtime.
But Carlson, 52, says this was not the case. “We brought her to New York the day before and provided her with media training. We asked Cara to come to the studio because we thought by chance, even at the last minute, they would maybe include her.” Ultimately, ABC decided to go with a singular interview with Carlson. “There were so many interview requests that day,” says Carlson. “Cara did all the entertainment shows and a lot of radio and print interviews.”
Carlson, who says she plans to reach out to Mund shortly, says she can sympathize with Mund’s comments about this being a challenging year.
“It’s the toughest job you will ever have,” Carlson says of being Miss America. “Every Miss America could tell you if they wanted to about the ups and downs of their year. I could. But you realize as more time passes what an amazing opportunity you have been given to serve as a role model and an ambassador for our country and to make a difference.”
The 6th edition of Miss Diva 2018 took place on August 31 at NSCI Club, Mumbai. The beauty pageant witnessed 19 contestants competing for the competition. And Nehal Chudasama from Mumbai was crowned Miss Diva 2018. The 21-year-old will now represent India at the 67th Miss Universe pageant to be held in Bangkok, Thailand on December 16, 2018. Shraddha Shashidhar, Miss Universe India 2017 crowned Nehal as her successor. Aditi Hundia is declared first runner-up and will represent India at Miss Supranational 2018 and Roshni Sheoran was the second runner-up. They beat Hannah Reji Koshy and Lavina Israni in the top-five finalists. Nehal is 21 years old from Mumbai. She is a freelance fitness consultant, anchor and a model. She is currently studying to become IPS officer. Her life goal is to become Miss Universe. Her favourite food is Biryani. Her favourite feature is her body. Miss Universe India 2017, Shraddha Shashidhar crowned Nehal as her successor. Source: Latestly.com, 8/31/2018
THE PAGEANT WORLD is mourning the loss of one of the most beloved beauty queens of all time, CHELSI SMITH, Miss Universe 1995. According to information posted on Facebook on September 8, 2018 by her mother, Mary D. Trimble, Chelsi had been suffering from a long illness (reportedly liver cancer).
Shanna Moakler, who became Miss USA 1995 after Chelsi was crowned Miss Universe 1995, posted a touching tribute to the beloved beauty queen:
I was totally shocked upon hearing her untimely passing. Her positive, witty, and humorous postings on her Facebook page hardly reflected the condition of a woman - who was still in her prime at 45 - suffering from a fatal disease. Like many of her fans who anxiously waited for her next Facebook post, I started wondering why she had stopped posting since mid-July. It was so uncharacteristic of her. Chelsi friended me on Facebook on February 10, 2014. At first, I hesitated accepting her friend request because I was not sure whether I was dealing with an impostor or the real deal. I sent her a private message asking if she was the real Chelsi Smith and she quickly shot with "Haha! It's me sweets "I knew there and then that it was the real thing! I had always wanted to be friends with Chelsi - if not in real life, at least online. Chelsi was actually the first Miss Universe to have befriended me - and I was so thrilled that I would finally get to know her. She even started following Critical Beauty on Twitter. And I added her as a member to the Critical Beauty group on Facebook where she posted regularly. There is a reason Chelsi had won Miss Congeniality twice - at Miss USA and at Miss Universe: she was the epitome of warmth, ebullience, and pure unconditional love. She loved everyone - even some of her harshest critics like myself. I remember "fighting" with her over the issue of ideal weight for winning Miss Universe. We also debated gun control. In her rebuttals, she was neither confrontational nor egotistical. On the contrary, she always remained calm and gracious. And she would always end with a "love you!" or "hugs." Then one day, she posted a YouTube link to a sizzle reel for a reality show which never materialized. The title of the reel is "The Reconstruction of former Miss Universe Chelsi Smith (Years 2009-2010)." The title swiftly piqued my interest: what is there to reconstruct about Chelsi Smith? She was Miss Universe, for Pete's sake! She had everything - beauty, talent, fame, and adoring fans. But something was missing: post-pageant luck. At 28, a failed marriage led to an ugly divorce. She gained 70 pounds. Her singing career never really took off. Her acting career was limited to insignificant bit parts. The face that could launch a thousand ships was essentially ignored by beauty-oriented magazines, even by the Miss Universe Organization who never invited her to judge. She became depressed, as past childhood issues returned to haunt her: bigotry due to her biracial identity, her father's schizophrenia, and a mother who abandoned her. Watch:
We all have issues. We all have stories to tell. Chelsi's story may not be unique to itself, but it is remarkably relevant, universally poignant. We cannot help except lend pity to a tortured soul who, heroically, has consoled other tortured souls - online or in person. After a year of chatting online, I finally met Chelsi in person in Miami Beach during the 63rd edition of Miss Universe held on January 25, 2015. Another beautiful soul, world-renowned fashion designer and pageant coach, Joey Galon, actually introduced me to her. My friend Héctor Joaquín Colón-González - who had never met Chelsi before either - decided to join Joey and Chelsi at a restaurant where the pair had just finished dining.
As soon as Chelsi saw me, she rushed to give me the biggest and warmest hug, coupled with a nice peck on the cheek. She made me feel... well... like some sort of royalty. She gave the same treatment to Héctor who quickly fell for her infectious vivaciousness. Later that night, we found ourselves cracking jokes, imitating silly pageant walks and poses, mocking dumb pageant contestants, and having a blast at a gay bar. One pageant fan, who was totally oblivious of the queen's presence, shrieked with joy when I introduced him to her. "Oh, my God! You're Chelsi Smith! I love you!!!" Two other guys recognized her and greeted her. Chelsi couldn't help but be amused by the attention she was getting from her gays.
I recall Chelsi's proposal for a get-together in April 2015 to celebrate her 20th coronation anniversary as Miss USA 1995. Two months had elapsed but nothing occurred - at least not to my knowledge. On March 18, 2015, she sent me a private message on Facebook: Miss you, Rafa! Muah!On April 25, 2015, she messaged Héctor and me: Missin my boys She sent me another note on July 20, 2015 asking me if I knew the date and venue of Miss Universe 2015 and I said no. She replied, Btw I MISS YOU!!!!!
Her last private message to me was on April 9, 2016: Sending LOVE!!!
We lost touch with each other after this note.
I wanted to think that she was doing okay, that she had gotten her groove back, that perhaps she had become too busy with new projects. I was missing her presence on social media. My news feed had been un-Chelsified.
Until yesterday afternoon.
Chelsi has reappeared on my news feed. But it is no longer she. It is her beautiful, warm, congenial soul speaking through her infinite number of friends, fans, and loved ones.
All of a sudden, the universe has gotten critically bigger, critically more beautiful, and critically much brighter.
Chelsi is here to stay. With us. In our minds, in our dreams, in our hearts.
And the crown goes to... Miss New York Nia Franklin.
She edged out her 50 fellow competitors Sunday night in Atlantic City.
After being crowned, Franklin expressed her gratitude.
"I'm feeling really blessed right now," she said. "I want to thank God because without him I wouldn't be standing here. It took a lot of perseverance to get here, and I just want to thank my beautiful family for coming, my mom and my dad, who's a survivor of cancer, and I love him so much. I want to thank all of my sisters behind me. We've had a wonderful week together, and I love each and every one of you."
During the competition, Franklin offered herself as an example when asked how she would promote a healthy body image.
"I would start by sharing my story," she said. "I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school and there was only 5 percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin.
"But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was," she continued, "and that's what I would encourage women to do – young girls to do is find who they are."
She also explained how being Miss New York prepared her for her next job as Miss America.
"I have New York grit," said Franklin. "I have moved over five times because of subletting in New York. It can be a little difficult because of the pricey rent, but I've overcome that. And also, as a New Yorker, I understand what it takes to work hard. I came up on a Lincoln Center fellowship because I'm an artist, and I'm really excited to just share my platform my social impact advocating for the arts and make sure all students have access to a quality education."
For her talent, Franklin sang "Quando m'en vo'" from the opera "La Boheme," dazzling Twitter with her vocal talent and a gleaming, strapless dress.
Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei was the evening's first runner-up, Miss Louisiana Holli' Conway the second runner-up. Miss Florida Taylor Tyson was awarded third runner-up, while Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras was named the fourth runner-up.
The other contestants rounding out the Top 15 were: Miss Minnesota Michaelene Karlen, Miss District of Columbia Allison Farris, Miss Colorado Ellery Jones, Miss Idaho Nina Forest, Miss Wisconsin Tianna Vanderhei, Miss Indiana Lydia Tremaine, Miss Washington Danamarie McNichol, Miss Nebraska Jessica Shultis, Miss Oklahoma Ashley Thompson and Miss Alabama Callie Walker.
Reigning Miss America Cara Mund was on-hand to crown Franklin. Mund has been at the center of a the organization's latest controversy. In August, she lashed out at the organization's CEO, Regina Hopper, and chair, Gretchen Carlson, in a five-page letter addressing her "Miss America Sisters." She claimed the leaders "silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis."
Mund appeared on "Today" Friday, and though she did not address Carlson by name, said those in charge should be replaced.
“I do think with the lack of confidence there does need to be a leadership change and I think it comes from more than one (individual)," she said. "I think it’s just the culture in general."
Carlson denied Mund's claims in a statement shared to Twitter a few days after the letter's release, which conveyed she was "surprised and saddened beyond words."
"I also want to be clear that I have never bullied or silenced you," her statement read.
Miss America 2019 Nia Imani Franklin is mobbed from after she was crowned at Boardwalk Hall.(Photo: THOMAS P. COSTELLO, Asbury Park Press via USA TODAY NETWORK)
NEW YORK (AP) — The Miss America ceremony subtracted the swimsuit competition for the first time in its 98-year history, and subtracted one million television viewers, too.
The Nielsen company said 4.34 million people watched the annual ceremony on ABC Sunday, down 19 percent from the 5.35 million viewers last year. Declining viewership has been a consistent trend for the pageant over the past few years.
With Miss America now under the leadership of former Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson, the swimsuits were left behind. Instead, they were replaced by onstage interviews where contestants talked about President Trump, the NFL player protests and other topics.
Yet the decision has been the subject of criticism. Minutes before the nationally televised broadcast began, a comedian warming up the crowd mentioned there would be no swimsuit competition, drawing loud boos from the audience.
It was the pageant's lowest viewership since 2009, when it was shown on cable's TLC channel and reached only 3.54 million people. It returned to broadcast TV on ABC in 2011, and its audience has gotten as high as 8.6 million in 2013.
New Yorker Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America on Sunday.
Viewership has declined steadily in recent years, from 7.1 million in 2015, to 6.29 million in 2016 and last year's 5.35 million.
Buoyed by two NFL games, NBC won the week in prime-time, averaging 9.3 million viewers. CBS had 3.8 million, Fox had 3.52 million, ABC had 3.45 million, Univision had 1.32 million, ION had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.25 million and the CW had 740,000.
ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.57 million viewers. Fox News Channel had 2.26 million, MSNBC had 1.99 million, USA had 1.38 million and HGTV had 1.35 million.
ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.5 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.9 million.
For the week of Sept. 3-9, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Chicago at Green Bay, NBC, 22.12 million; NFL Football: Atlanta at Philadelphia, NBC, 19.03 million; "NFL Pre-Kick Show" (Thursday), NBC, 15.61 million; "NFL Pre-Kick Show" (Sunday), NBC, 15.41 million; "NFL Weather Delay," NBC, 12.76 million; "The OT," Fox, 12.33 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.7 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 10.46 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 9.89 million; "NFL Opening Kick-off Show, NBC, 8.73 million.
Kiara Liz Ortega, 24, representing the municipality of Rincón, was crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2018 Saturday night at San Juan's Centro de Bellas Artes. She was crowned by her predecessor Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2017 Danna Hernández. Ortega will now represent Puerto Rico at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant to be held on December 16 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The first runner-up is Alejandra Pagán of Vega Baja and the second runner-up is Alexandra Porrata of Ponce. This is the first edition of Miss Universe Puerto Rico under its new director, Denise Quiñones who herself was Miss Universe 2001.