Musical Performers for Miss USA 2012 announced

New York, NY- May 30, 2012—NBCDonald J. Trump and Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, announce today that international multi-platinum recording artist & producer, Akon, and American pop band,Cobra Starship, will be the musical performers for the 61ST Annual MISS USA® Competition, which will be broadcast live from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 3 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

With 45 Billboard Hot 10 songs and over 300 guest appearances with megastars such as Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga, Akon is one of the most popular artists in music today. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of the smash hit single "Locked Up", from his debut album “Trouble.” His second album, "Konvicted" received three Grammy Award nominations. During the telecast, he will perform “America’s Most Wanted” from his upcoming album, “Stadium,” during the “Final Look” portion featuring the Top Five Finalists. 

Although it may seem like its only just begun for Cobra Starship, the band has been touring for several years with “Night Shades” being the New York group’s fourth album. The group’s first single, “You Make Me Feel” off of “Night Shades” has been certified double platinum and broken the Top 10 at both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top 40 Pop Charts. The bands follow up single “#1Nite” is currently at pop radio outlets nationwide and a new video will be released in the coming weeks. Cobra Starship will perform a special medley that includes both “#1Nite” and “You Make Me Feel” during the swimsuit portion. 

Akon and Cobra Starship join an exciting talent line-up that already includes Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic as hosts of the telecast as well as Kelly Osbourne and Jeannie Mai as commentators. Throughout the Miss USA competition, each contestant representing the 50 United States and the District of Columbia competes in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. The telecast concludes with Miss USA 2011, Alyssa Campanella, crowning her successor.

Fans have also been able to vote their favorite contestant into the semifinals at the 2012 MISS USA® Competition. Voting is taking place now through June 2 by logging on to www.missusa.com or www.NBC.com. Finally, for the first time ever, the organization announced that fans can ask a Final Question via twitter by using #AskMissUSA beginning today and during the two-hour telecast. One lucky fan’s question will be read to a Top Five finalist during the interview portion.

SOURCE: Miss Universe Organization


The politics of beauty pageants in Lebanon and the Arab world

To think of holding a beauty pageant in the Arab world, in the mold of Miss America or Miss USA, especially in today’s unstable political environment, would be considered an insult to those who think ending dictatorships is much more important than holding a beauty pageants.

Not for Lebanon however, the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism has held Miss Lebanon Emigrant competition in Dearborn on May 24 where the winner will compete for the title of Miss Lebanon Emigrant, and Miss Lebanon later in the year.

From a western perspective, beauty pageants represent a development in how western societies view women and beauty as powerful means of communication to change public perceptions and stereotypes.

In developed western societies with highly complex economies, communication often means that looks are very important in how the message is formulated, delivered and presented. Such factors can sometimes make all the difference between success and failure in business or careers or politics.
In the Arab World, the art of public relations and effective communication is still in its infancy. Communication often times is presented as a set of sacred facts or absolute truths that are expected to override any other consideration. In this communication model, there is no spin of facts and no dressing up of arguments and no sugarcoating of words. Communication is often blunt and relies on the emotive use of language. Facts are presented meticulously clinical regardless of their perception or impact.

In the West, however, facts are presented with a spin that creates a perception which in turn becomes a reality regardless of what the original facts looked like. For the Arab societies, their modern world is a world that was created and invented by the West. Almost everything from education, to entertainment, to medicine, to travel to communication is one way or another western. It is almost impossible; moreover, to escape the dominant western globalized culture while at the same time maintain traditional value system.

“Beauty pageants can be an effective communication method that Arab world and Islam should accept and endorse.” said Palestinian- American syndicated columnist and radio host Ray Hanania.

“Beauty pageants have a powerful ability to change the way the West looks at the Arab People and Islam as a religion.”

From a conservative Islamic perspective, however, not everyone agrees with Hanania’s argument. Beauty pageants especially that it includes wearing swimsuits and an evening wear in public would fly in the face of religion that calls on women to maintain virtuous lifestyle including dressing modestly.
Muslim women, in addition, are not supposed to wear revealing clothing in public. Islamic religion and Arabic culture consider such clothing to be inappropriate, disrespectful and harmful to the woman’s reputation. 

But that’s not always the case even with Muslim women in Muslim societies or Muslims of the West.

Competing for Miss Canada title last month, were several Muslim women who originally came from Jordan, Egypt, Syria and an Iranian who won the title, While Muslim Lebanese-American Rima Faqih (photo) won the Miss USA title in 2010. 

Addressing the question of contradiction between her faith and her winning the title that included showing her body in public, Faqih said on her website that her family is not a strict Muslim family, rather, “spiritual Muslims.”

Faqih who emigrated to U.S. from Lebanon in 1993 has made a lot of people especially in her native country proud when she won the Miss USA crown. Fakih’s luck, however, appears to have run out when she was arrested late last year for drunken driving in Highland Park Michigan. She is currently pursuing a career in wrestling.

Meanwhile, Michigan-based Lebanese-American attorney Joumana Kayrouz agrees with Hanania on the importance of beauty pageants for different reasons however. Kayrouz, who is also the president of Miss Lebanon Emigrant organization, sees no contradiction between beauty pageants and moral values especially those of her home country Lebanon.
Kayrouz sees beauty pageants as part of Lebanon’s uniqueness and as being a “special country” in the region which unlike its neighbors has been the leading or “avant- garde” of culture, music, fashion, computers, and beauty according to Kayrouz.

As to why Lebanon is a “special country” and liberal in a generally conservative region and why is it endowed with such cosmopolitan traits that other Arab countries seemingly lacking, Kayrouz argues that it was because of “Christianity.”

“Lebanon has been historically a predominantly Christian country, and since Christianity does not prohibit women from wearing swimsuits or showing their bodies in public, Lebanese women were able to compete freely in beauty pageants and show their beauty without religious or societal prohibitions that are normally associated with Muslim societies.”

Other factors that made Lebanon the way it is today according to Kayrouz, included being a former French colony which had a positive influence on Lebanon.
For Kayrouz, beauty pageants events are an opportunity for the Lebanese community to show Americans “Lebanese brains and beauty.” Besides their” brains and beauty”, Lebanese Americans are perhaps the most successful of all Arab Americans in terms of being thoroughly assimilated in the American culture.

Lebanese, especially Christians are generally the only Arab Americans to have served in the U.S. congress, mayors, and governors and in Hollywood. It is these involvements that gave the “Lebanese” label and brand its insulation from the negative stereotype that is normally associated with the word “Arab” or “Muslim” In America.

Thanks to its “Christian” image, the strength of the Lebanese label in the West is generally positive and still endures even in the Arab world, particularly the Gulf States. A Christian Lebanese journalist told me last year that in the rich Gulf region, Christian Lebanese professionals are preferred over Palestinians, Egyptians and Syrians. The reasons for that, he argued, were because Christians Lebanese, being Christians, are viewed as conveniently western Arabic speakers without the political baggage that for example Palestinians, Syrians, or Egyptians allegedly have.

Despite its western pretentiousness, however, Lebanon is not a democratic country in the western sense and governing is based on the consensus of its militarized and feuding religious sects. In that respect, Lebanon is no different than any of its Arab and Muslim neighbors and very much Arab in its clannish culture and tribalism. But for Kayrouz and others, that’s not the case, Lebanon is decidedly Western and Christian.

When I asked her if she would define Lebanon as an Arab or Middle Eastern country, she disagreed; “Lebanon is a Lebanese country.” She said.

(Ali Younes is an Arab American writer and Journalist based in Washington D.C. He can be reached at : aliyounes98@gmail.com, and on twitter @clearali.)
SOURCE: English El Arabiya, 5/29/2012


Miss Philippines Earth 2012 crowned

Manila, Philippines – A 22-year-old freelance fashion model and de- signer who vowed to actively promote walking and take part in cleaning the environment was crowned Miss Earth Philippines 2012 in Pasay City last Sunday night.

Stephany Dianne Stefanowitz of Quezon City, who also is a singer, bested 46 other candidates in the environment-driven beauty contest. She will represent the Philippines in the 2012 Miss Earth beauty pageant to be held in Indonesia later this year.

The Miss Earth Philippines pageant is indeed lovelier the second time around for Stefanowitz who first competed in the same pageant two years ago. She placed in the Top 10.

In the final question and answer portion of the pageant, Stefanowitz was asked by judge actress-model Rachel Grant: “If you were a superhero, what power would you choose to have and how would you use it to save the Earth.”

Stefanowitz, who also won Best In Long Gown, answered: Defintely, I will use my power to clean-up the environment. My advocvacy is the preservation and conservation of our environment. It is essential for us to realize how our decision would affect us.”

Other winners of the night were Miss Tabuk City Glennifer Perido, Miss Philippines Air; Miss San Juan City Samantha Purvor, Miss Philippines Water; Miss Puerto Princesa City Thoreen Halvorsen, Miss Philippines Fire; and Miss Vigan City Mary Candice Ramos, Miss Philippines Eco-Tourism. Organizers said that the four elemental court of Stefanowitz were all equal winners.

Stefanowitz also vowed to be a strong leader and role model to educate, inform and spread awareness on environment conservation and preservation. “I believe this year is a time for positive change.
It’s time to put our foot down when it comes to conserving and preserving our natural resources.”

Asked about tips on the promotion of sustainable energy, she said: “Turn off your lights at home when not in use. Choose electric fan when it is not too warm instead of aircon. Walk!"

SOURCE: Tempo.com.ph, 5/29/2012


Miss Lebanon Emigrants 2012 crowned

DEARBORN - On Thursday May 24 Miss Lebanon Emigrants USA pageant was held at Greenfield Manor in Dearborn. Fourteen female contestants from all over the country participated in the pageant to represent Lebanon, including four from Dearborn and one from Dearborn Heights. The remaining contestants came from states that included New Jersey, Georgia, Florida, and Pennsylvania as well as three from Texas.

Some of the attendees at the event included 1972 Lebanese Miss Universe winner Georgina Rizk, who flew in from Lebanon to be an honorable guest. Alongside Rizk was her husband and singer Walid Toufic, who entertained the crowd of more than 600 by performing during the pageant. Another Lebanese singer in attendance was Ayman Zbib who also performed a few songs during the evening.

Fadi Aboud, the Lebanese Minister of Tourism and Antoine Chedid, the Lebanese Ambassador to the United States, were also in attendance. Joumana Kayrouz who just recently became the President of the Lebanon Emigrant USA pageant said that she was so thankful for all the supporters and organizers who helped make the event a success. 2011 Miss Lebanon Emigrants USA winner Krystelle Khoury was also in attendance, ready to pass her crown on to the next winner. 

“I want all of these girls to stand proud and represent our beautiful country that is Lebanon,” Khoury said.

The pageant included three different rounds where the contestants competed in swimsuits, evening gowns and caftans (traditional Moroccan attire). 

The winner of the event, which concluded late Thursday evening, was Pascal Abi-samra (above) of Texas. 

Abi-samra will move forward to the next step of the competition where she will compete with other young women from 35 countries on August 11, 2012 in Lebanon. The event will be held in the village of Dhour Shweir at Castle Assouf.

SOURCE: Arab American News, 5/25/2012

Miss Ghana 2012 launched

Inna Mariam Patty, the new franchise owner of Miss Ghana

The Banquet Hall of the State House on Tuesday May 22, witnessed yet another historic milestone in the life of the Miss Ghana beauty pageant, Ghana’s oldest pageant that seeks to reward the most beautiful and intelligent young lady in the country.
The launch of Miss Ghana 2012 had long been anticipated to be a successful one, and yes it was, as the standards were raised to the admiration of patrons.
Even more refreshing was the impressive array of society’s high and mighty, socialites and the glitterati who graced what has already been said to be a night that was worth it.
Perhaps if the opening comment by Julia Morley, Executive Chairwoman of the Miss World Organization, that she was stunned by the near class act put up by the organizers, is anything to go by, then Ghana’s name was really etched in history on Tuesday.
She graced the occasion together with Ivian Sarcos, Miss World 2011, Miss Puerto Rico 2011 and Miss England 2011.
Ghana hosted for the very first time, Ivian Sarcos, the 22-year-old winner of the 2011 edition of the most prestigious beauty pageant in the world, Miss World, which the Miss Ghana pageant is affiliated to.
Sarcos and her team were in Ghana from May 19 to 23 to support Stephanie Karikari, Miss Ghana 2010 and joint winner of last year’s Miss World Beauty with a Purpose, to launch her project, as well as to attend the launch of the 2012 edition of the Miss Ghana beauty pageant.
It was a night full of great fun, glitz and calculated glamour as every patron made the most of it.
CEO of Exclusive Events Ghana, Inna Mariam Patty, underscored the importance her outfit was attaching to this year’s event, and for which reason they were working hard to ensure a smooth run when it went full scale in the coming weeks.
When Patty announced the special prize packages that would constitute the bedrock of this year’s event, it was received with loud cheers, and got most of Ghana’s corporate community who had thronged the Hall, nodding in appreciation.
Kojo Antwi, Mr. Music Man and Sherifa Gunu entertained the audience with their various hit songs, stagecraft and dancing skills.

SOURCE: Ghanamma.com, 5/25/2012


Exclusive: Miss USA Judging Panel Revealed

What do two reality stars, a pop singer and fashion police host have in common?

They're all judges for the upcoming 2012 Miss USA Pageant in Las Vegas.

Sources close to the pageant tell toofab exclusively the following celebrities will comprise the judging panel:

Ali Fedotowsky -- former "Bachelorette"
Joe Jonas -- recording artist and member of The Jonas Brothers

Rob Kardashian -- "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" castmember and former "Dancing With the Stars" competitor

George Kotsiopoulous -- "Fashion Police" co-host

These four will join five other stars in deciding the fate of one young woman. The winner of the Miss USA pageant goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.

The Miss USA pageant airs live June 3, 2012 on NBC. 

SOURCE: Miss Universe Organization, 5/23/2012


Celebrity Apprentice winner Arsenio Hall to judge Miss USA 2012

Arsenio Hall and Donald Trump

Pageant officials confirmed that Arsenio Hall, who was the winner on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” on Sunday night, will be a judge at the pageant as his first assignment for The Donald, who owns the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA events. The remaining judges will be named next week.

In all, there are two weeks of events and festivities leading to the 61st annual pageant Sunday, June 3, at Planet Hollywood’s Theater for the Performing Arts and airing on NBC. The contestants checked in over the weekend at Planet Hollywood, and Miss Nevada Jade Kelsall was the first to register and lead the way. All 51 of the beauties will be here by Wednesday when talk-show titan Jerry Springer, guest hosting at “The Price Is Right Live” at Bally’s, officially welcomes them.

During the ceremony with Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, and David Hoenemeyer, regional president of Planet Hollywood, reigning Miss America Alyssa Campanella will commemorate her year with a handprint ceremony.

SOURCE: By Robin Leach for The Las Vegas Sun, 5/21/2012

***"reigning Miss America Alyssa Campanella" Really? Robin Leach has been following Miss USA since time began and he can't even tell the difference between Miss USA and Miss America! Duh!

Rostro de México 2012 crowned

Rostro de México 2012 is a beauty pageant that selects young Mexican women between the ages of 18-26 to represent Mexico in several international pageants. The top winner is Laura Álvarez Damián (above) , 23, of Yucatan who will represent Mexico in Miss Tourism Queen International 2012 in China in December.  

Other titles were handed to the following finalists:
  • 2nd place -  Tamaulipas, Catalina Méndez - to Miss Tourism Queen International 2013
  • 3rd place -  Michoacán, Norma Valle, to Miss Humanity International 2013 
  • 4th place -  SinaloaGabriela Medina, to Miss Jade Universe 2013
  • 5th place -  OaxacaDaniela Ayala
  • 6th place - Jalisco, Karen Cornejo
  • 7th place - Baja California, Alexandra Iñiguez, to Miss Global International 2012 
  • 8th place - Guanajuato, Lilianne Aranda, to Miss Motors International 2012

SOURCE: Jesús Rábago

Heroic housewives — India's unlikely pageant event

Winner Jyoti Nagpal, 35, is greeted by friends as she is photographed backstage after the winner's announcement at the inaugural AAS Housewives Awards 2012 on 19th May 2012 in New Delhi, India. Photo by Suzanne Lee for The National

NEW DELHI - Dressed in designer saris, the six finalists stood on stage waiting with bated breath for the final question in a most unlikely pageant held in New Delhi on Saturday.

"In your opinion," a judge asked, "what is the merit of being a housewife?".

"She is a resource manager," announced Nisha Sharma, 37. "What she can manage with the limited resources given to her, how she runs a house, and how she hides the lapses in finances and makes do with what she has to present a brave face for her family to society, that is the merit of being a housewife."

The competition for India's first Housewives Award was understated but steeped in all things to do with home. Twelve women were singled out of an initial list of 100 women in a competition that aimed to underscore the importance of the role of housewife.

Mrs Sharma's answer did not win her the title nor the Tata Nano car, better known as the world's cheapest car, that went with first prize. The title went instead to Jyoti Nagpal, 35, from Punjab.

But Mrs Sharma, who came in second place, all but embodied the spirit of the pageant.

The Housewives Award honours the contributions of homemakers, often overlooked by society and dismissed for doing "nothing", said Varsha Goel, founder and president of Attitudinal Awareness in the Society, a non-profit organisation that works to change perceptions about women in India.

Mrs Goel teamed up with Dilbar Gothi, the metro editor of Nav Bharat Times, a Hindi-language daily based in Mumbai, to establish the award. They created an entry form with 100 questions and then urged housewives to apply.

"Who says she does nothing?" said Mr Gothi. "This event was created so children will never say their mothers are just housewives, that they do nothing."

A study by his newspaper estimated that on average, an Indian housewife's work is worth 40,000 rupees (Dh2,672) a month.

"Why start this award? A woman manages a house, she gives unconditional love to everyone around her and if you got someone else to do even half the work she did, you would have to pay her," said Mrs Goel.
"Housewives demand more respect."

More than 100 applicants were interviewed before the finals in New Delhi.

What probably won the crown for Mrs Nagpal was her answer to a question in Saturday's first round.

"What if your son brings home a cabaret dancer, and says, 'I have married her'?," the judges asked.

Mrs Nagpal replied: "No girl ever wants to be a cabaret dancer for her whole life. I would tell her, forget your old life. Now you live with us, according to my son's family values."

The crowd of more than 1,000 burst into applause.

Upon winning the award, a surprised Mrs Nagpal said: "I was so nervous that I said the first thing that came to mind."

Almost 10 years ago, Mrs Goel's sons, then 4 and 5 years old, also said the first thing that came to mind when asked by a teacher what their mother did.

"They said: Nothing. She is just a housewife," Mrs Goel recalled.

"My wife realised that even though she does so many things, she is not recognised. This award show is an answer to that question," said Mrs Goel's husband, Virendra Kumar Goel.

Seema Sharma, 34, from Delhi, said simply entering the contest had a positive effect. "Ever since I entered this contest, I see a different, new kind of respect in the eyes of my children," she said. "I used to look at my mother and think what an old-fashioned idea it is to be a housewife. "Now I can show society what I have been doing behind closed doors for so many years."

Mrs Sharma, who finished third in the Housewives Award contest and married at the age of 20, said she was surprised that she told the judges she would put her health concerns first before family members, so that she would be better able to take care of them.

It was tradition in India, but rarely admitted to by modern Indian housewives, that they must put their children and husband before themselves. Often they will refrain from eating until everyone has had their fill, then the women will eat what is left.

Sandhya Chaurasia, from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and who would only say that she was "47 plus", reflected on her decision to marry a man who is visually impaired, and who works as an interpreter at Delhi's international airport.

She met and married her husband in 1990, after answering an advertisement in the matrimonial classified section of a newspaper.

"There was a lot of opposition from my relatives," she said. "I initially wanted to be a teacher but I met him and I always wanted to marry for love and knew he would love me like no other."

She said she is often "talked down to" when she tells people: "I don't have a job."

"Their tone changes. They judge me."

SOURCE: The National, India, 5/22/2012

MUO President Paula Shugart on Gloria Allred: "There are laws all around the world that you have to respect."

Transgendered beauty queen Jenna Talackova watches a fellow contestant take to the stage in the Miss Universe Canada pageant in Toronto on Saturday May 19, 2012. Talackova sparked global attention when she was initially disqualified from the pageant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO - Transgender trailblazer Jenna Talackova lost her bid to become Miss Universe Canada over the weekend, but said Sunday that her history-making appearance has awarded her a much more meaningful role as a civil rights champion.

"I never thought I would be wearing (the) crown of an advocate and it feels really good, I feel very honoured," Talackova said one day after losing the Miss Universe Canada title to fellow Vancouverite Sahar Biniaz.
"I was training for eight months, I was very dedicated and all of a sudden I was disqualified and for something that was so unjust. And now I'm a heroine in a lot of people's eyes and it's just made me so humbled and I wake up pinching myself."

The Vancouver blond fell just outside the winner's circle Saturday night, when she was cut after making the Top 12.

Talackova said Sunday she was "a little bummed out" for a few seconds, but quickly put the race behind her and felt grateful for the chance to compete and raise awareness of gender inequality
Born Walter Talackova, the 23-year-old holistic nutrition student underwent sex change surgery four years ago. She was initially barred from competing until pageant owner Donald Trump said he would allow her to take part.

On Sunday, Talackova's high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred called on Trump to revoke any Miss Universe franchise that excludes transgender contestants.

"It's clear, it's simple: If they discriminate on account of gender identity they should not be allowed to have their candidate participate in the Miss Universe pageant worldwide," said Allred, who flew in from Los Angeles to support her client.

"Simple as that."

The Miss Universe Organization has said it would allow transgender competitors at any of its contests, but could not guarantee that local franchises would carry out the new policy.

Its president, Paula Shugart, said Allred's demands oversimplify the issue. 

"This is not her argument to decide," Shugart shot back from Las Vegas where she was preparing for the Miss USA contest June 3. "Last I heard she is a lawyer in the United States and she should know there are laws all around the world that you have to respect."

Shugart accused Allred of attempting to highjack the spotlight for personal publicity. She says Miss Universe tried to invite Talackova into Miss Universe Canada for more than a week before Allred held a press conference April 3 that criticized Trump's handling of the scandal.

"We have made a very, very big step here, we've made a step without Gloria Allred's involvement, we made a step before we even knew she was involved and if anything she has hindered the process," Shugart said.
"This is obviously something that is very, very new and we're really taking it on a day-by-day basis."

Despite the high-profile battle, Talackova said she's gained strength and self-esteem, even as criticism escalated when the pageant neared.

"It got pretty aggressive during these seven days but I was ready for it. My whole life I've had to put up with some sort of criticism and that's OK. I don't feel bad about it, I don't hold grudges against anybody," said Talackova, whose appearance onstage Saturday drew some boos from the audience.

"I feel electrified, I feel really great about everything, I wouldn't change anything."

Talackova said a documentary crew followed her backstage at the pageant, but couldn't say yet what the footage might be used for.

She said she's contemplating her next step — which includes modelling, acting and plans for a book.
"I'm turning my journals of six years into a self-help book so hopefully that will help a lot of people around the world. I'm definitely going to go into some film and modelling and hopefully that helps a lot of people, too."

Allred said Talackova has settled comfortably into being a role model. "She's become a civil rights pioneer and we're very proud of her. Even if she didn't win (Miss Universe Canada) she's still a winner in my book. She's still won in the important civil rights battle which, I think, is frankly even more important than the crown of Miss Universe Canada."

Talackova said she hopes the rest of the world will open more doors to transgender people and that she can inspire pageant hopefuls to follow their dreams. "All I can say is practice, embrace your individuality and give it your best shot," she said. "Because eventually one of us will win."

SOURCE: The Canadian Press, 5/20/12


Vanessa De Roide wins Nuestra Belleza Latina 2012

Vanessa De Roide, 24, from Puerto Rico was crowned the new Nuestra Belleza Latina on May 20th. The competition is based on a reality show that seeks to elect a spokesperson for Univision which produces the show. A pageant veteran, De Roide represented Puerto Rico in Miss Earth 2005 where she placed in Top 8. She also competed in Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2012 where she placed 1st runner-up.

2012 Paraguay queens crowned

Egny Eckert, 24 (photo, center), was crowned Miss Universe Paraguay 2012 on May 18th during a dinner show televised by Telefuturo at the Grand Salón of Sheraton Asunción Hotel. She will compete in Miss Universe 2012 in December in a venue that is still to be announced. Other titles were handed out: Miss World Paraguay to Fiorella Migliore, Miss International Paraguay to Nicole Huber, Miss Earth Paraguay to Alexandra Fretes, Miss Continente Americano to Liliana Santacruz, Miss Bikini International to Nadia Servián, and Miss Model of the World to Daisy Lezcano.

Miss World Guam 2012 crowned

Jeneva Bosko was crowned Miss Guam World 2012 Friday, May 18 at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort. Bosko will represent Guam at the Miss World 2012 pageant in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China on August 18th. Bosko's court includes 1st runner-up Tiara Joemae Guerrero Lizama, 2nd runner-up Feliciana Tiara Tainatongo, and 3rd runner-up Christiana Williams

Miss Universe Canada 2012 crowned

Sahar Biniaz (26) from Vancouver, B.C., was crowned Miss Universe Canada 2012 at the conclusion of the 10th anniversary of the pageant.
Sahar, who was born in India and raised in Iran, is now a proud Canadian citizen living in Vancouver.
She graduated with honors from Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles, in performing arts. Currently she is working as an actress in film and television.
Sahar will now represent Canada at the 2012 Miss Universe competition to be held in mid-December.
Official Results:
Miss Universe Canada 2012: Sahar Biniaz
1st runner-up: Adwoa Yamoah
2nd runner-up: Majd Soudi
3rd runner-up: Katie Starke
4th runner-up: Kesiah Papasin
Top 12 Semi Finalists:  Chelsea Bird, Dajana Radovanovic, Ines Kipre, Jenna Talackova, Maria Julia Nahri, Sarah Harrison and Suzette Hernandez
Top 20 Quarter Finalists: Casar Jacobson, Christine White, Diana Schoutsen, Kuyan Elliott, Lisa Wong, Mandi Gale, Marta Jablonska,  Vaughan Marr
Special Awards:
Miss Photogenic: Ela Mino
Revlon Professional Best Hair: Sahar Biniaz
Miss Congeniality: Jenna Talackova, Kylee Apers, Maria Julia Nahri, Maria Cecilia Nicolas (4-way tie)
The four Miss Congeniality joint-winners: Talakova, Apers, Nahri, Nicolas

The Top 5: Starke, Papasin, Soudi, Yamoah and Biniaz

SOURCE: Beauties of Canada, 5/20/2012


Miss World boss plans Fiji trip after fiasco

 The head of the Miss World beauty queen franchise says she plans to travel to Fiji "as soon as possible" to address the problems that turned last month's pageant in the island nation into a fiasco.

"Sadly I am aware of many problems that have occurred," wrote Julia Morley (above) in an email sent to The Associated Press on Friday. Morley, who co-chairs the organization from its London headquarters, said she wants to work with a "specially selected team," including this year's Miss World Fiji pageant director, to "find solutions" for future Fiji pageants.

The Fiji director, Andhy Blake, has been at the center of criticism after 16-year-old Torika Watters was crowned winner last month. First there were complaints Watters looked too Western to represent her country. Then, two weeks after the pageant, Watters was told she was too young to compete in the international competition in China.

The crown has been handed to the 24-year-old runner-up, Koini Vakaloloma.

This week, one of the six international judges said the judging was a sham because Blake pressured them into picking Watters as the winner.

In a post on the Miss World Fiji website Thursday, Blake acknowledged he had preselected Watters as a semifinalist and gave the judges his personal opinion that she should win, but denied that made the event a sham.

"Yes I selected her as a semifinalist," he wrote. "Yes I gave my opinions to the judges of who I saw fitting for the title, but no, I never juggled the results to allow this young woman to win. Torika Watters was selected because she impressed the international judges with her charm, personality, grace, maturity..."

Blake also wrote that he takes full responsibility for failing to check whether Watters' age made her ineligible to compete. He called it "an honest mistake."

Neither Blake nor Watters could be reached Friday. Watters earlier wrote on her Facebook page that she was trying to put the controversy behind her.

Morley said of Blake, "His heart is in the right place but with all the negativity and anger toward him, (it) has, in my opinion, overwhelmed him."

SOURCE: Associated Press, 5/18/2012


Kelly Osbourne and Jeannie Mai will serve as commentators in Miss USA 2012

Kelly Osbourne

Jeannie Mai

New York, NY- May 18, 2012—NBC, Donald J. Trump and Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, announce today that Kelly Osbourne of E!’s “Fashion Police” and Jeannie Mai of Style Network’s “How Do I Look?” will serve as commentators for the 61ST Annual MISS USA® Competition, which will be broadcast live from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 3 at 9 p.m. ET.

Kelly Osbourne is a television personality, singer, actress, author, fashion designer, model and currently one of the hosts of E!’s “Fashion Police.” During the telecast, she will serve as roving commentator giving the viewers access to moments backstage, the judges and contestants.

Jeannie Mai is a style expert and TV personality. She is most known for her work as the host of Style Network's "How Do I Look?” and has recently appeared as the Digital Fashionista on NBC's “Fashion Star.” Mai will provide skybox color commentary during the two-hour telecast.

Throughout the Miss USA competition, each contestant representing the 50 United States and the District of Columbia competes in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. The telecast concludes with Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella crowning her successor.

Fans have also been able to vote their favorite contestant into the semifinals at the 2012 MISS USA® Competition. Voting is taking place now through June 2 by logging on to www.missusa.com or www.NBC.com.
Tickets to the Miss USA Preliminary and Finals competitions at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com and at (800) 745-3000.


Miss Northern Ireland 2012 crowned

Tiffany Brien has been named Miss Northern Ireland 2012. The stunner from Holywood was crowned at a glittering ceremony at the Europa Hotel in Belfast last night. Meagan Green was placed second and Sarah Ennis was third.  Tiffany will now represent Northern Ireland at the Miss World final in China on Saturday August 18. She will compete against over 100 girls from round the world, including
Miss Ireland, Rebecca Maguire, who is from Belfast. 

SOURCE: Belfast Telegraph, 5/15/2012
Photo credit: Tiffany Brien Facebook page


Islamic organizations call off Miss Transvestite pageant in E. Kalimantan

Contestants in traditional dresses take part in Social Cultural Transvestite Queen
beauty pageant in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia, late Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010.

A Miss Transvestite pageant in Kutai Timur regency, East Kalimantan was postponed from its original schedule on Monday evening amid protests from several Islamic organizations in the region.

The contest, which was planned to feature transgender individuals wearing Javanese kebaya traditional attire, was originally scheduled to take place at the Buana Mekar building in North Sangatta, Kutai Timur, East Kalimantan at around 7:00 p.m.
The event’s organizing committee confirmed that 30 transgender individuals, with most of them working as beautician or street singers, were scheduled to participate.
Protests came from members of Indonesian Mosque Youth Communication Forum (BKPRMI) and several members of mass-based Muslim organization Muhammadiyah. (asa)

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post, 5/16/2012


Miss World Dominican Republic dethroned for being too old

     Television presenter Jenny Blanco (above) posted in her Twitter account yesterday that she will no longer represent the Dominican Republic in Miss World 2012 pageant because she's over the maximum age requirement of 24. She is 25 years old.

But when one door closes, another one opens. Blanco also tweeted that she is nevertheless very happy because Miss World chairwoman Julia Morley has invited her to co-host the event. 

Miss World Canada 2012 crowned

The new Miss World Canada is Tara Teng, 23, who was crowned May 13 at the River Rock Casino Resort in British Columbia. She will represent Canada in Miss World 2012 to be held in Ordos, 
Inner Mongolia, China in August.

Teng was Miss B.C. and Miss Canada in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
She has used her position to advocate for the victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, from developing nations to Canada. It was her strong stance and volunteerism that got the attention of judges in her previous pageants.

SOURCE: Vancouver Sun, 5/14/2013


Miss Universe Jamaica 2012 crowned


Chantal Zaky was crowned Miss Universe Jamaica 2012 on May 12. The beautiful Portland native who wore the sash Miss Matahari Furniture and Accessories won in spectacular style ahead of Racquel Jones (Miss Just Bet Limited) who was selected first runner-up and Sherece Cowan (Miss Caribbean Dreams) who placed as second runner-up. Zaky was crowned by the reigning Miss Universe Leila Lopes.
 Zaky will now compete in Miss Universe 2012 in December.

Miss Fiji deemed 'not Fijian enough' on Facebook, stripped of crown

A schoolgirl beauty queen was stripped of her crown after the decision to name her "Miss Fiji" sparked outrage on the basis that she doesn't look "native" enough.
Torika Watters (above), 16, a "kailoma" or person of mixed European/Fijian heritage, was chosen by the Miss World franchise last month, with a judging panel that included New Zealand model Rachel Hunter, once married to Rod Stewart.
After Watters was named, the Miss Fiji Facebook site had to delete hundreds of comments, saying "violent or racist comments will not be tolerated," Stuff.co.nz reported.
Among them was that Watters should have a "buiniga", the naturally-fuzzy hairstyle of the Pacific island nation, The London Telegraph reported.
Racial division is deep-seated in Fiji's social and political history, according to NewsCore.
Watters said she had originally been delighted to accept the title.
"I am proud of my identity as a Fijian and have never considered my people as racists."
Watters said Miss World Fiji pageant director Andhy Blake told her that according to the British-based Miss World organization, contestants had to be at least 16 years and 11 months at the time of the pageant.
Watters said this had not been the case when she was asked to enter, and she was now pulling out.
"I was worried about the lies, the deception, the lack of transparency and the lack of professionalism," she said in a statement, adding that she did not do anything "sneaky or wrong."
"I would like to state that I have had no involvement in any of this underhand process and that I have been blind to this entire drama going on behind the scenes," she said.
"I had no knowledge of any pre-selection or pre-judging."
One of the judges, Hupfeld Hoerder, reportedly told Mai Life magazine the result may have been pre-determined before the show.
Watters had not been in the top three, Hoerder said, but Blake said he wanted her "and that since he was the one who spent a lot of time with the girls, he knew who should be the one."
"Torika is the innocent one here. Through all this she's been victimized," Hoerder said.
Blake told the Fiji Times that the Miss World committee had been very happy with his work and "really that's a testament in itself". 

A runner-up, Koini Vakaloloma (above), 24, will now represent Fiji at the Miss World contest in Mongolia later in the year.
Vakaloloma is Fiji born and, according to the FijiLive website, is of Guajarati/French mix and speaks seven languages.
She was adopted by an indigenous Fijian family at birth.
"Being an ambassador for your country is not an easy task but it comes with responsibilities and more sacrifice," Vakaloloma said after Watters issued an angry statement.

SOURCE: GlobalPost.com, 5/13/2012
Related stories: