3.10.2019

Miss Brazil 2019 Crowned



Júlia Horta, a 24-year-old journalist from Juíz de Fora, Minas Gerais, was crowned Miss Brazil 2019 on March 9, 2019. She will now represent Brazil in 2019 Miss Universe pageant whose date and venue have yet to be announced. Her court includes first runner-up  Luana Carvalho Lobo of Ceará and the second runner-up Bianca Dias of São Paulo. Rio Grande do Sul and Rio Grande do Norte were the other two finalists.


Photo credits: Miss Brasil Be Emotion

3.08.2019

New Indonesia Queens For 2019



The Puteri Indonesia 2019 pageant was held in Jakarta on March 8, 2019 and crowned three new Indonesia queens. In the photo above, from left to right: Jolene Marie Cholock Rotinsuku from Sulawesi Utara is Puteri Indonesia Lingkungan 2019 (Miss International Indonesia 2019) who will represent her country in Miss International 2019 pageant in Japan later this year; Frederika Alexis Cull from DKI Jakarta 1 is Puteri Indonesia 2019 (Miss Universe Indonesia 2019) and will compete in Miss Universe 2019 whose date and venue have yet to be confirmed; and Jesica Fitriana Martasari of Jawa Barat (Miss Supranational Indonesia 2019) who will compete in Miss Supranational 2019 in Poland in December.

The pageant was graced by the reigning major queens Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, Miss International 2018 Mariam Velasco, and Miss Supranational 2018 Valeria Vasquez. All three women were dressed in kebaya, the traditional Indonesian dress for women made of exquisite textiles.

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray looking regal in kebaya


3.07.2019

Lawsuit Against Miss America Organization Dismissed



Former Miss America trustee Jennifer Vaden Barth and West Virginia pageant director Leah Summers 
sit with attorney Paul Perkins on Friday while their lawsuit against the MAO was heard in court. 
AMANDA AUBLE / Staff Writer


A former board member of the Miss America Organization has voluntarily dismissed a lawsuit she and four former Miss America state licensees filed claiming the group’s new executives unlawfully took control of the MAO.
Jennifer Vaden Barth, a former MAO trustee, announced on social media Tuesday they did not have the funds to move the suit forward.
“At this juncture, I can do no more than what I’ve done. 
“This is a reflection of the meritless and misguided nature of her suit and her false and defamatory claims,” the MAO said in a statement. “MAO disagrees with Ms. Barth’s characterization of the dialogue regarding ending this lawsuit and is now assessing its next steps.”
The lawsuit, filed in January 2018, claimed MAO Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper orchestrated an “illegal and bad-faith takeover” of the MAO.
The civil lawsuit filed in Atlantic County was not seeking monetary reward, but rather changes to the organization’s structure and governance over the 51 state pageants.
Volunteers with the organization claimed there had been a lack of transparency over the MAO’s decision making, including the elimination of the swimsuit competition and revoking licenses from seven states, including the four named in the suit, West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
“I believe there is no real understanding or compassion for the countless volunteers who have dedicated years of service, let alone continually investing in and celebrating the goals and achievements of the exceptional young women who participate,” Vaden Barth said.
Vaden Barth said in her post that after a preliminary injunction hearing two months ago, the MAO put forth an offer to settle.
“I couldn’t accept what MAO offered because I believed it did not include any proposed changes that would ultimately improve the short- and long-term health of the organization,” she said.
Vaden Barth also claimed she put forth her own proposal to improve MAO governance and transparency but was rejected.
She said the proposal did not include changing the makeup of the board, but included suggestions such as that guidelines for board member voting be available to Miss America volunteers and stakeholders online. Vaden Barth said she also asked the MAO to consider amending current bylaws as well as state and Miss America contracts, “so that fair dealings would be explicit and articulated in every way.”
Vaden Barth posted on the GoFundMe page, which went toward securing representation by New Jersey-based law firm Kim & Bae P.C., that legal expenses cost $39,422 over five months for five plaintiffs and public relations cost $2,750.
The GoFundMe page had raised $43,517 toward a $100,000 goal as of Tuesday.
Vaden Barth recommended the $1,345 remaining balance be donated to a scholarship fund — possibly the Miss America Organization or Miss America’s Outstanding Teen — even though she said they had initially planned to use remaining funds for a new organization.
She plans to have an online survey distributed to contributors to make a decision on the donation.
The case was “dismissed without prejudice,” leaving open the opportunity for future litigation within the statute of limitations should the financial resources become available.
“We could bring back the claims, but I don’t anticipate that at this time,” Vaden Barth said.
She said her decision also ensures the MAO cannot silence detractors through other legal means, such as non-disparagement agreements or threats of future litigation.
“I am proud that we have spoken truth to power and that anyone who chooses to become involved with this program will at least know the truth thanks to the actions we have brought forth,” Vaden Barth said.
Miss New Jersey Pageant Executive Director David Holtzman, who was installed in December, said he interacted with the national leaders when he appealed to get New Jersey’s license back. He called the new leadership “refreshing.”
“I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “This organization’s trying to survive, but things like (the lawsuit) make it difficult.”
New Jersey, New York and Florida pageant organizations have had their licenses reinstated and new directors appointed after appeals.
Tennessee, Georgia and Pennsylvania had new licenses awarded to new, separate pageant entities, and West Virginia is looking to start a new one as well.
While Holtzman said he doesn’t believe his state organization was affected by the lawsuit, Vaden Barth doesn’t think it will be a quick change for volunteer efforts to follow the new leadership.
“I don’t think you’re gonna see something happen overnight one way or another. It won’t be like people snap and fall in line, but also, I don’t think it will be a mass exit from the organization. People are going to have to decide for themselves,” she said.
Source: Press of Atlantic City, 3/5/2019
 

2.24.2019

Vietnam Wins Mister International 2018


 Francesco Piscitelli - Trinh Bao - Walk-in Kwan

Mister International Trinh Bao of Vietnam (center) is flanked by first runner-up Francesco Piscitelli of Venezuela (left) and second runner-up Walk-in Kwan of Hong Kong. (Photo by ARMIN P. ADINA / Contributor)

MANILA, Philippines — Trinh Bao of Vietnam was proclaimed 2018 Mister International in ceremonies staged at One Esplanade at the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City, Sunday night.

Bao bested 38 other aspirants for the title in the 13th edition of the global competition for “distinctly handsome” men from around the world.

Sunday’s competition is still technically the 2018 edition even if it was already held in 2019.

Prime Events Productions Philippines (PEPPS) Foundation head Carlo Morris Galang, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said unforeseen problems with the original host country caused the delay. The international organizers opted to bring the contest to the Philippines, instead.

The first time the Philippines hosted the Mister International contest was in 2015, where the first Filipino winner Neil Perez relinquished his title.

The 2018 delegates participated in activities that ran for more than one week, some of them even visiting the province of Ilocos Norte.

Joining in the winners’ circle were first runner-up Francesco Piscitelli of Venezuela and second runner-up Walk-in Kwan of Hong Kong.

The Philippines’ Mark Kevin Baloaloa finished in the Top 5 along with Czech Republic's Jiri Kmonicek


Source: The Inquirer, Philippines, February 24, 2019

2.13.2019

Hong Kong Wins Miss Global 2018



Miss Global 2018 winners
Miss Global Sophia Ng (center) is flanked by her runners-up (from left) Seydina Allen, Amber Bernachi, Tamila Khodjaeva, and Pamela Lee Urbina. (Photo by ARMIN P. ADINA / Contributor)


MANILA, Philippines — Sophia Ng, a psychological therapist from Hong Kong, bested 40 other international delegates for the Miss Global 2018 crown in the pageant’s sixth edition.

The pageant staged its coronation ceremonies at the Newport Performing Arts Theater of Resorts World Manila in Pasay City on Monday night. The program ended past midnight on Tuesday.

This is the third edition of the global tilt to be held in the Philippines. It was previously hosted here in 2015 and 2016.

Pauline Sofia Laping, chief executive officer of the Miss Global Philippines organization, has just recently signed an agreement with the global team, which officially welcomed her to the international organizing committee.

While she said that her new role would make her even busier, “my commitment to the Miss Global Philippines family will stay the same. I will continue to make it better even if I have a bigger responsibility now,” she told the Inquirer.

She also revealed that the 2018 edition was moved to February 2019 because of internal issues regarding the ownership of the global pageant that needed to be resolved.

A person she declined to identify hacked the international organization’s online portals and claimed ownership of the global tilt.

After the issue was settled, the international organizers reached out to their global partners and were able to bring over 40 contestants to the 2018 competition.

Barbara Vitorelli, the 2017 winner from Brazil, relinquished her title to Ng.

Joining Ng in the winners’ circle were first runner-up Amber Bernachi of Canada, second runner-up Tamila Khodjaeva of Uzbekistan, third runner-up Seydina Allen of Haiti, and fourth runner-up Pamela Lee Urbina of the United States.


Source: The Inquirer, 2/12/2019 

2.06.2019

Uganda Launches 'Curvy’ Women’s Pageant ‘to promote tourism’

Curvaceous women as a product, is the latest
Curvaceous women as a product, is the latest attraction the ministry hopes to attract more tourists and increase revenue earnings. PHOTO BY GODFREY LUGAAJU 
By DORCUS MURUNGI
Kampala- The Ministry of Tourism has added curvy and sexy Ugandan women to the list of tourism products to attract tourists.
Unveiling the initiative in Kampala yesterday, the State minister for Tourism, Mr Godfrey Kiwanda, said a beauty pageant dubbed ‘Miss Curvy Uganda’ has been launched to select sexy curvaceous women and the finalists will be selected in June.
“We have naturally endowed nice looking women that are amazing to look at. Why don’t we use these people as a strategy to promote our tourism industry?” Mr Kiwanda wondered, pointing at “a sample” of beautiful women at the press conference yesterday.
The beauty queens in sleek and revealing clothes, kept moving around Mestil Hotel pool side as they took photos with the event organisers including Mr Kiwanda.
Top foreign exchange
Tourism is a top foreign exchange earner for Uganda and the country last year earned $1.4b (Shs5 trillion) from the sector, according to government statistics.
Most tourists visit Uganda to tour national parks for diverse wildlife species such as gorillas, birds and other animals. They also love viewing the River Nile, crater lakes and mountains, among others.
Curvaceous women as a product, is the latest attraction the ministry hopes to attract more tourists and increase revenue earnings.
Ms Ann Mungoma, the lead organiser for the beauty pageant, is optimistic that when these ladies flaunt their endowments, it will enhance the visibility and appreciation of Ugandan people.
“Miss Curvy is an event that will bring out the endowment of the real African woman. It is an exceptional event that will see young ladies showcase their beautiful curves and intellect,” said Ms Mungoma. Only those aged 18 and below 35 are eligible to participate, organisers said.
Asked if the pageant does not offend the conservative culture of Ugandan society, Mr Kiwanda said Uganda has long appreciated smaller bodied women as a hallmark of beauty and the curvy pageant is just another campaign aimed at appreciating beauty in diversity.
Ms Mungoma said since most pageants celebrate slenderness and pretty faces which are a more western way of defining beauty, most African women are uniquely built which does not make them any less attractive.
Under this campaign, the Tourism ministry officials will tell the various stories relating to the background of different shapes and curves that Ugandan beauties have as well as the different cultures that will be displayed by the contestants under the Tulambule (let’s explore) campaign.
REACTIONS
It is not the right approach but then when you look at social media, people post their pictures they get followers and many likes, so those followers could come to Uganda to tour. So curvy women could post on social media and get followers. Though there should have had better things to look at,” Ms Leilah Nakabira women activist and actress.
It is not the right approach but then when you look at social media, people post their pictures they get followers and many likes, so those followers could come to Uganda to tour. So curvy women could post on social media and get followers. Though there should have had better things to look at,” Ms Leilah Nakabira women activist and actress.
It is not the right approach. That is idolizing women as objects like how you look at objects that’s how they will look at women,” a woman activist from Bernic Woman.

Source: The Daily Monitor, Uganda, 2/6/2019

1.26.2019

Philippines Wins First Miss Intercontinental Crown



Hometown girl Karen Gallman, 26, made history by becoming the first woman from the Philippines to be crowned Miss Intercontinental during a festive coronation night at MOA Arena in Pasay City, Philippines last night. Gallman, who is half-Australian, impressed the judges with her overall performance. It was the pageant's 47th edition and the third time it was held in Asia (China hosted in 2004 and 2005).

During the Q & A round,  she was asked the question, "How do you define success?" She answered, "For me, success is not just about winning in life. It is about setting goals, achieving your dreams, working hard for everything you want, and always looking up to God and be thankful for everything. For me, that is success."



Gallman's court includes first runner-up Adriana Moya of Costa Rica, second runner-up Laura Longaurova of Slovak Rwpublic, third runner-up Hillary Hollman of Colombia, fourth runner-up Ngen Anh Le Au of Vietnam, and fifth runner-up Bella Lapso of Ethiopia. Apart from Vietnam who won the People's Choice Award which catapulted her to the top 6, the others automatically advanced to the top 5 after being named the top winner from their respective continents.

I watched the live stream of the pageant both on YouTube and on Facebook. Just a few comments. First, the introduction of the contestants was done hastily, which resulted in the contestants rushing on and off the stage. Second, the breaks in between segments were too long, averaging 10 minutes. Third, the co-hosts kept screaming to the top of their lungs instead of modulating their voices. Fourth, the president of the Miss Intercontinental Organization Detlef Tursies sat as a judge, which gave the impression that he had the final saying in selecting the winner. And fifth, the selection of continental winners left out several more outstanding contestants who deserved a placement. Overall, compared to past productions, this year's production was a slight upgrade.

By Rafa Delfin, 1/26/2019




1.25.2019

Former Miss Universe Gabriela Isler Returns To The Philippines For Charity Work


Venezuelan beauty queen Gabriela Isler this week returned to Coron for a charity mission in partnership with Cordaid. 
Gabriela, who was crowned Miss Universe in 2013, was one of the first to visit the area after it was hit by super typhoon Haiyan. She raised $250,000 for the people affected by the devastating storm through the Miss Universe Relief Foundation. 
“That first visit to Coron helped me appreciate, transform and realize my role in helping others through charity”, the beauty queen was quoted as saying in an official Cordaid news release. 
Cordaid, in partnership with the Miss Universe Relief Foundation, has helped improve water and environmental management in Malawig. They also provide support for alternate sources of livelihood like basket weaving using the local pandan plant.  
Source: GMA News, January 25, 2019

1.10.2019

Former Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters Is Engaged!





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!



PHOTO CREDITS: INSTAGRAM




12.31.2018

End Of The Year Review 2018

Pageantry in 2018: Civil War in Miss America, Miss Universe Accepts First Transgender Contestant, Miss World Exposed?



PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

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. 


PHOTO CREDIT: MISS AMERICA ORGANIZATION


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.
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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 Douglas is 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.

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PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM

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

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PHOTO CREDIT: MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION

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.  
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PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM

#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.

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PHOTO CREDIT: MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION

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? 
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PHOTO CREDIT: MISS UNIVERSE SPAIN

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.
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 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 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.”
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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.
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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.
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SCREENSHOT OF TEXT CHAT BETWEEN FELINE WONG XIN YI AND PAGEANT ORGANIZER


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. 
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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.
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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.

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PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK

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. 
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PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK


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. 

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PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK

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.

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PHOTO CREDIT: MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION

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.
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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.


PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK

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.
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PHOTO CREDIT: MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION
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)

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IN MEMORIAM


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
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CREDIT: MANHUNT INTERNATIONAL

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."
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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."
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 Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face 
in a perfect mirror.  - Rabindranath Tagore

By RAFA DELFIN, 12/31/12018