Miss Universe New Zealand dethroned: lacks proof of citizenship


The newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand said it was "sad and unfortunate" how she was awarded the title but is honoured to accept it.
Talia Bennett from Auckland's North Shore was yesterday awarded the title after original winner Avianca Bohm was unable to secure New Zealand citizenship.
South African born Bohm was given awarded the title in June despite not being a New Zealand citizen, and was given until today to gain citizenship.
The 22-year-old had hoped to fast-track the process ahead of the international Miss Universe pageant in December.
"To be asked by the Miss Universe New Zealand organisers to represent New Zealand at Miss Universe 2012 is a wonderful honour," Bennett says on Zeisha PR company's website, which is owned by a competition spokeswoman.
"It has been sad and unfortunate how events have unfolded and I am truly humbled in accepting my selection.
"I am looking forward with excitement to the once in a lifetime opportunity I have been given to represent my country on the world stage. I'm mindful of the very high standards set by past representatives and respectfully accept the challenge and responsibility I now have to my family, friends, supporters and the public to justify this significant honour."

Bennett was the first runner-up in the original pageant. She has a Bachelor of Property and is a qualified commercial property valuer, the website says.
The PR website speaks out in favour of Miss Universe New Zealand organiser Val Lott who claimed to have let Bohm enter the competition, but had told judges she couldn't win.
"It's not embarrassing for the competition," Lott is quoted on the website.
"It's embarrassing for the [head] judge, who should have taken on board what I said to him, It says that in their entry form. [Bohm] and I both had a clear understanding that she couldn't win."
Lott has repeatedly hung up when asked for comment on the controversy.
Head judge Jack Chan has denied that from the outset and said he won't be involved in the pageant again.

SOURCE: Stuff.co.nz, 8/1/2012


New Bahamas queens for 2012

Celeste Marshall (left), 19,  from Nassau, was crowned Miss Universe Bahamas during the live ceremony held at the Atlantis resort on July 29th. Celeste will represent the Bahamas during the Miss Universe competition to be held in a date yet to be announced. De’andra Bannister (right), 23, was crowned Miss World Bahamas 2012 and will head off to Bali, Indonesia  for Miss World 2013.

Elected Miss Supranational Bahamas 2012 is Deandra Harris, 21, who will compete in Miss Supranational 2012 finals in Sopot, Poland on September 15th.   

 Crowned Miss Intercontinental Bahamas 2012 is Irina Key, 19, who will represent the Bahamas in the Miss Intercontinental 2012 beauty event to be held in a date and place yet to be announced. 14 contestants competed in this year’s edition of the Miss Bahamas beauty pageant.







Miss World Portugal 2012 crowned

The new Miss República Portuguesa (Miss World Portugal) is Elisabele Rodrigues who was crowned on July 27 and will represent Portugal in Miss World 2013The 1st runner-up was Indira Ferreira, Miss International Portugal 2012.  The 2nd runner-up was Carmen Fernandes and crowned as the new Miss Tourism Queen Portugal. And 3rd runner-up Vanessa Henriques will represent Portugal in Miss Supranational 2012.

Miss Teen USA 2012 crowned


Logan West (center), 17, of Connecticut was crowned Miss Teen USA 2012 Saturday night at the Atlantis, Paradise Island, in the Bahamas. Her court includes (L-R): 4th runner-up Kendall Fein (Ohio), 2nd runner-up Courtney Pizzimenti (Michigan), 1st runner-up Elizabeth Sabatino (West Virginia), and 3rd runner-up Jessica Morgan (Oklahoma). Completing the top 16 were the delegates from Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. Vermont's Karsen Woods was chosen Miss Congeniality by her peers. A group of professional photographers selected Morgan as Miss Photogenic. The show was streamed live and was hosted by Colin Hornett and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce. West's victory marks the third time that Connecticut has placed in the pageant. Cynthia Schneck and Ashley Bickford were semifinalists in 1993 and 2002 respectively. It is also the first time that the state has won a national title since Marian Bergeron was crowned Miss America in 1933.

LOGAN WEST / Photo by Miss Universe Organization

Meet Randy Sanders


Randy Sanders is the president of Pageant Associates that directs the state pageants for Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia and Indiana. In the photo above, Randy is flanked by the Teen candidates from those states. Congratulations to Randy and his group for a job well done! 


Miss World 2012 pageant kicks off in Ordos

Contestants attend the opening ceremony of Miss World 2012, a beauty contest, in Ordos, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, July 24, 2012. Contestants from 125 countries and regions will compete in the event which lasts from July 24 to August 18. (Xinhua/Zhao Tingting)


New franchise owner Dean Ackin takes over Miss Trinidad & Tobago pageant

 Tribe CEO Dean Ackin poses with Anya Ayoung-Chee, Miss TNT 2008 and winner of 
Project Runway, Season 9. Photo: Sean Nero

Dean Ackin, chief executive officer of mas band Tribe is the new queen maker in town. On Thursday, he received and accepted documents from Miss Universe Inc, certifying the band as the new local franchise holder, and he immediately issued a call to the beautiful women of T&T interested in becoming a Miss T&T to prepare for the screening.

“The plan so far is to have both the casting and the finals in September this year. It may be the first week in September to host the casting and maybe the last week in September to host the final,” he said. The final of the Miss Universe 2012 is advertised for December, but the country and venue are yet to be decided.

Tribe was granted the rights following the submission of its impressive Carnival and corporate resumes, as well as recommendations from previous franchisees Peter Elias and Ian Lee. Lee, who is a Tribe associate, was the previous queen maker. But Tribe’s involvement in preparing a Miss T&T Universe for the world stage is not new.

Ackin once served on the adjudication panel to select a candidate, and his company Ultimate Events provided logistical support for the staging of previous pageants. Former Miss T&T Universe delegates La Toya Woods and Gabrielle Walcott wore Tribe costumes for the international pageant. Last year, Walcott placed sixth out of 86 delegates.

“It’s a triumph. I don’t want Tribe to be considered a band, but a brand. This is just one of the ways that Tribe as a brand will be stepping outside the boundary of Carnival to leverage its brand and good name and lend it to other ventures. “T&T has a rich history with regards to success in the Miss World and Miss Universe competitions. We have beautiful people in our land. For such a small nation we have Janelle “Penny” Commissiong Chow, Giselle La Ronde-West and Wendy Fitzwilliam.

Many of our other delegates have done very well,” Ackin said. He was of the belief that with the Miss T&T Universe franchise under the Tribe banner, challenges relating to sponsorship might no longer be an issue. Tribe, he said, intends to raise the level and standard of the competition and ultimately its image.

According to Ackin, “We have a wealth of experience in event management. We have a wealth experience in model management. We have the resources and talent in house. So it was an easy decision for us to make. Ackin said Tribe was ready to bring home another Miss Universe title.

SOURCE: The Guardian, Trinidad & Tobago, 7/22/2012

Miss Universe Sri Lanka 2012 crowned

Sabrina Herft was crowned as the new Siyatha Lux Miss Universe Sri Lanka 2012 on Sunday, July 22nd. She will now represent Sri Lanka at Miss Universe 2012 pageant in December. The runner-ups were Aushani Samarasinghe; Nicola Dabrera; and Luckme Perera. During the same contest, the Miss International Sri Lanka 2012 title was awarded to Madusha Mayadunne 
(Photo: M.A. Pushpa Kumara for Timesonline)


Beauty Pageant Spotlighting Conservative Women Strikes a Chord With Contestants

Beauty pageant contestant and coach Ginny Meerman is proud of her conservative beliefs and values. 
Yet, according to Meerman, pageant contestants across the country — including herself and the women she has coached — are being met by judges who are less than accepting of their conservative values, blackballing them from competitions and making conservative pageant participants afraid to speak their minds.

Instead of backing down and hiding her point of view, Meerman decided to take action: She launched the Miss Conservative U.S. Pageant earlier this month. It’s her attempt to allow conservative women of all ages to compete in a beauty contest in which they feel free to express their beliefs.  

“I wanted to provide a venue for women and young women to shine before everyone and then go out into the community and say, ‘I am a conservative. I am beautiful. We are the foundation and backbone of this country,’” Meerman said at the pageant. “America was built on conservatism, not liberalism, and here we are. Booyah!” 

Politics and Pageantry

Pageantry is one of the latest entities that politics has oozed its way into in today’s hyperpartisan

As an example of politics being injected into the pageant world, Meerman points to the 2009 incident when Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean received a score of zero for a response she gave on her opposition to same-sex marriage as the tipping point for conservative beauty contestants not being judged on their performance, but for their beliefs and convictions. 

“We are taught, and I teach these girls, that we are being judged not on our religious beliefs or our political beliefs, but we are being judged on how well we present ourselves,” Meerman said. “That’s what we’re supposed to be judged on. But more and more in past five years or so, I’ve seen that this entity is sort of being overtaken by the liberal movement and liberal-thinking people.” 

Meerman said other pageants group women based on race or religion and that her pageant, which groups women based on political beliefs, should be viewed similarly.

“I’m not trying to break it down by race, but there is the Miss Latino pageant, there is the Miss Black pageant, why can’t there be a pageant where conservative women and girls can gather and celebrate who they are and what they believe without fear of being ostracized?” Meerman asked. 

The Miss Universe Organization denies that there is any sort of bias toward any political viewpoints in its pageants. 

“The Miss Universe Organization instills in its titleholders the value of learning both sides of the debate and having respect for all opinions,” Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said in an email. “In an era when the general population is subjected only to sound bites and the vilification of individuals with differing opinions, we seek to promote thoughtful, civil discourse. We are proud of the Miss USA Pageant’s history of diversity and acceptance of all women regardless of their religious or political beliefs.”
She did not directly address Prejean’s score of zero for her same-sex marriage commentary.

Embracing the Differences

Meerman, a Maryland resident, held the inaugural Miss Conservative U.S. Pageant on July 7 in Dallas. About a dozen competitors showcased their beauty in patriotic-themed outfits and answered questions about their core conservative beliefs. 

Lindsay Sangalli, who won the Mrs. Conservative U.S. title, said this was the first beauty pageant she had competed in. Sangalli said she chose to be a competitor because it was a good platform to showcase the benefits of being a conservative woman in America.

“One side or size doesn’t fit all, and the liberal agenda isn’t for everyone,” Sangalli said. “The pageant sends out the message to women that being a conservative woman or young lady is a choice like any other. If it’s their choice, then they should embrace it, and the Conservative U.S. Pageant is the perfect place to showcase conservative women of all ages and to celebrate conservatism in America.”

Meerman said she has since received flak from others in the beauty pageant community on online message boards. 

“I’ve been slammed,” Meerman said. “It’s hilarious. I love it. Keep saying it. They re saying that I’m a racist, that I’m right of Hitler, that I am crazy, that I’m my own worst enemy because I did this.”

Despite the criticism, Meerman plans to continue the Miss Conservative U.S. Pageant and hopes it will grow both in size and name recognition. 

“I want to give conservative women — women with values that believe this country needs to return to its conservative roots — give them the opportunity to be out there front and center,” she said.

By Emily Cahn

SOURCE: Rollcall.com, 7/23/2012


Miss JR. Teen Conservative U.S. 2012 CASSIDY HUFFORD

Miss Teen Conservative U.S. 2012 PEBBLES ZELL

Miss Conservative U.S. 2012 RACHEL VONHERBULIS

Ms. Conservative U.S. 2012 LARA RHEA

Mrs. Conservative U.S. 2012 LINDSAY SANGALLI

Photo credit: Conservativeuspageant.com

Miss World 2012: Top model fashio show contestants are confirmed

From the Miss World website:

After the whirlwind auditions that took place to cast contestants for the Top Model catwalk show (taking place on August 12th) we can now reveal the 47 countries whose representatives will be walking the runway:

Angola Nigeria Kenya
Brazil Jamaica Lithuania
Argentina India Sri Lanka
Chile Ireland Guadeloupe
Bahamas Japan England
Bosnia & Herzegovina Philippines Thailand
Hong Kong, China Spain Guatemala
Austria Trinidad and Tobago Slovakia
Gabon Wales Turkey
Cote D’Ivoire Mexico Australia
Colombia Denmark South Sudan
Venezuela Israel Puerto Rico
Belize Mongolia Poland
Greece China PR Ukraine
Sweden Kazakhstan Bulgaria
Bermuda Suriname  

These lucky participants will be adorned in garments by Chinese luxury cashmere label, ERDOS 1436. (We've been lucky enough to have a preview and the clothes are beautiful beyond words!) The collection and curation of the show has been overseen by fashion authority and Creative Director of the brand, Graeme Black.


Miss World 2012: First round talent winners are announced

From the Miss World website:

As well as bringing singing and dancing skills to the Miss World group performances, contestants are given the chance to demonstrate their own unique talents in front of a panel of judges.

 Yes, the talent auditions have kicked off here in Ordos and those who make it through will get to showcase their skill at the Miss World talent show, which will take place on August 10th.

 It’s one of the most exciting elements of the whole festival and a great way for the contestants to catch the eye of the judges. It really highlights the richness and diversity that Miss World brings together.

 Previous years have seen contestants playing the accordion, performing magic tricks and one memorable performance of the traditional Chinese face-changing dance, Bian Lian.

 This year promises to be every bit as memorable and we have already been treated to some incredible performances. You’ll have to tune in on the 10th to find out just what is in store, but we can promise you completely unique vocal feats, some serious musical maestros and contestants dancing up a storm. Talk about a gifted group of women!

After the end of a hard day for the judges, the first contestants confirmed to have made it through to the next round are as follows:





US Virgin Islands

Czech Republic






St Kitts and Nevis








Dominican Republic


China: a pageant has to be repeated after ugly winners had been chosen

CHINA - The organizers of a beauty contest were involved in a national controversy because of the differences between the taste of the judges and  that of the public. 

After choosing the three most beautiful women of the city of Chongqing, people went crazy and went on to criticize the choice of the jury on the Internet. The commotion was such that the organizers had to choose three new winners to try to calm things down. 

"Since the three winners have generated so much criticism among bloggers and media in Chongqing, the committee decided to add a direct election and pick three winners," organizers told he newspaper South China Morning Post.  

After that, six women - three original winners and three others yet to be named - will represent Chongqing in a national beauty pageant that will select China's representatiive to the 53rd edition of Miss International pageant. 

Controversy erupted around the country after pictures were published of the three original winners.  Chinese social networks exploded with anger and harsh criticisms towards the results. 

"The right one [in the photo] should be the mother of the winner, who has gone to collect the prize in her place," said a a netizen in his microblog Weibo, while another disgusted netizen who lives in Chongqing, threatened to leave town "If that was the level of beauty of local women." 

After the controversy, one of the judges dmitted to "external pressures" in deciding the winners and acknowledged that judges had the final say in the decision. 

"As a judge, I am very disappointed by the selection of three winners, and I don't think they represent the image of women in Chongqing," said the man, who asked that his name be kept anonymous. 

Chongqing along the Yangtze River has a reputation for being the birthplace of beautiful women for the simple reason that it is a town with very few days of sunshine a year, and so the skin of its inhabitants is particularly white, which Chinese consider as a sign of beauty. 

Such is the fame of the Chonqjing residents. A few years ago the municipal government launched a survey among its citizens to determine what the main attraction of the town was, and the majority response was "its beautiful women."

Translated into English from the original Spanish. 

SOURCE: El Intransigente,  Argentina, 7/20/2012


Miss Oregon gives up crown over residency dispute

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Miss Oregon gave up her crown Thursday following questions about her residency.

KGW reported Rachel Berry (photo) will not be able to compete in the Miss America pageant next year. She was selected as Miss Oregon last month.

Pageant director Dana Phillips says Berry couldn't prove she had lived in Oregon long enough to qualify for the title. She previously lived in California.

"To compete for Miss America is a dream I have worked toward since I was young, but I accept this decision to do the right thing and relinquish this title," Berry, 24, said in a statement. "In the spirit of what Miss America stands for, I would not want to deprive another contestant of the opportunity to represent the beautiful State of Oregon at the Miss America Pageant."

Instead, the runner-up Nicole Mead, 24will compete in Las Vegas in the January pageant, KGW reported.

Pageant rules require contestants to live in Oregon for six months before competing in a local preliminary competition. Berry was crowned Miss Willamette Valley in April.

Last week, KATU questioned her eligibility for that pageant, noting she registered her vehicle and got an Oregon driver's just one month before the Miss Willamette Valley competition.

Phillips, the pageant director, told the station Berry provided a lease for a home outside Portland signed Jan. 1, 2012 — less than four months before the preliminary contest.

Berry denied wrongdoing. "I'm a person of integrity and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that," Berry told KATU last week.

SOURCE: Seattlepi.com, 7/19/2012


Miss Peru Universe 2012 apologizes for her homophobic remarks

(Foto: Félix Ingaruca / El Comercio)

In a message addressed to the general public, Miss Peru Universe 2012 Cindy Mejia regretted her controversial remarks to a local newspaper. 

"Regarding the interview that I gave to Perú 21 and the negative consequences that my response had when I was asked the question, 'What would you do if you had a homosexual son?'  I must say that it has not been at any moment my intention to affect or to offend the lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual community, as well as their families and friends, since they deserve my utmost respect and I appreciate them. That is why I'd like to express my apologies for my remarks." 

Mejía also acknowledged that her opinion was "foolish and regrettable". "Due to my lack of understanding on the particular subject, an error that I committed and that I will never commit again. I would regret deeply if my remarks contributed to discrimination and incited violence towards the LGBT community. Therefore, I promise to fight against homophobia and sexism in my role as representative of Peruvian beauty."

In the communiqué, the beauty queen indicated that today she visited the directors of the Movimiento Homosexual de Lima (MHOL) to apologize in person and " to receive orientation and coordinate future involvement in events with this institution."

SOURCE: El Comercio, Peru, 7/13/2012

Related article:


Avatar-esque Miss World Australia national costume sparks criticism

IT was labelled boring last year, but our national costume for the Miss World pageant is now being branded "Avatar".  

The Aboriginal culture-inspired bodysuit for Miss World Australia Jessica Kahawaty has copped the thumbs-down from fashion experts.

Project Runway mentor Alex Perry said it looked more circus than serious fashion.

"I never knew Egyptian sea urchins were Australian? The creators of Avatar called, they want their catsuit back," he said.

"I can't see the connection to Australiana in this - it has a little too much Cirque du Soleil for my liking."
Project Runway runner-up and Melbourne bridalwear designer Craig Braybrook described it as: "Avatar going to the beach in a red sarong."

Kahawaty, 23, unveiled the outfit at a charity high tea in Melbourne as she continues preparations before the 62nd Miss World pageant in Mongolia next month.

Designer Julie Sufi, of Belluccio, said the outfit was inspired by Aboriginal art.

"It was a bit hard determining what a national costume is because we don't have one," Ms Sufi said.

SOURCE: News.com.au, 7/16/2012

Ex-Miss Philippines Maita Gomez dies of heart attack

     Former beauty queen and political activist Maita Gomez died in her sleep in her Quezon City home Thursday, according to film director Behn Cervantes.
     Gomez, 64, who represented the Philippines in the Miss World contest in 1967, did not wake up from an afternoon nap, Cervantes said.
     It was her son who discovered his mother had died when he tried to wake her up at about 2 p.m. yesterday, the director said.
     Gomez, a top model for designer Pitoy Moreno before winning the Miss Philippines title and the right to represent the country in the Miss World beauty pageant, caused a sensation when she went underground to join the communist guerrilla movement to fight the Marcos dictatorship. According to reports, she became a political activist while studying medicine at the University of the Philippines in the 1960s.
     After the Edsa People Power Revolution of 1986, she became a popular advocate for women’s rights and other social and political causes. She was one of the founders of the Kaiba women’s party under which she ran for senator but lost in 1987. She again made an unsuccessful run for Congress in Manila’s fifth district in 1995.
     She is survived by four children. Her remains are at Funeraria Paz at the Manila Memorial Park.

Maita Gomez during her modeling heydays.

SOURCE: The Philippine Daily Inquirer, 7/15/2012

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Miss Florida USA 2013 crowned

The new Miss Florida USA 2013 is Michelle Aguirre (Miss Broward County Fair USA), 19, of Hialeah who was crowned July 14 in Davie. She will compete in Miss USA 2013 pageant. Her court includes 1st runner-up Jessica Santiago (Miss West Broward USA), 2nd runner-up Damaris Aguiar (Miss Miami Carnival USA) 3rd runner-up Jaclyn Raulerson (Miss Central Florida USA) and 4th runner-up Connor Boss (Miss Delray Beach USA) who made headlines during the week for being legally blind.

Road to Miss America 2013: New queens for South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas & Puerto Rico

Ali Rogers was crowned Miss South Carolina 2012 on July 14  at Township Auditorium in Columbia.

Jessica Casebolt, 19, was crowned Miss Kentucky 2012 on July 14 at Singletary Center for the Arts on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington

Sloane Roberts, a former Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen, was crowned Miss Arkansas 2012 on July 14. She was fourth runner-up at the Miss Arkansas 2011 pageant.

Kiaraliz Medina will represent Puerto Rico at the Miss America 2013 pageant. She qualified for the Miss Puerto Rico pageant by winning the Miss Moca pageant.