Adalgisa Colombo, Miss Brazil 1958, dies at 73

Adalgisa Colombo, who was Miss Brazil 1958 and placed 1st runner-up in Miss Universe 1958, passed away last January 17, 2013 in a Rio de Janeiro hospital. Her family has never disclosed the cause of her death. Adalgisa is survived by her three children and her husband Flávio Teruszkin.

During Miss Universe 2007 pageant in Mexico, Adalgisa drew attention when she commented that first runner-up Natália Guimarães of Brazil should have won instead of Riyo Mori of Japan. In a 2008 interview, Adalgisa expressed her continuous resentment for losing to Colombia's Luz Marina Zuluaga in Miss Universe 1958. She said: "Perdi para uma colombiana [Luz Marina Zuloaga]. Só para você ter uma ideia, ela media 1,58 m e eu, 1,70 m. Dá para entender?"  ["I lost to a Colombian. Just so you have an idea, she was 5'2" tall and I was 5'7". Just so you understand."]

In the following year, Adalgisa was honored for her 50th coronation anniversary
as Miss Brazil 1958.

A beautiful photo of Adalgisa Colombo taken last year.

Adalgisa (center), Miss Brazil 1958, poses with her court

Adalgisa Colombo (farthest left) placed 1st runner-up in Miss Universe 1958

Official portrait of Adalgisa as Miss Brazil 1958

An elegant and graceful Adalgisa modeling a gown during her reign as Miss Brazil 1958

Adalgisa inspired the poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade to write the following poem:

Entre estouros, risos, foguetes,
assustado, lá foge o pombo
que bicava milho na praça,
mas surge Adalgisa Colombo,

escultura, graça alongada,
e a seus munícipes ensina
que entre todos os bens da terra
a beleza é graça divina.

[Between bursts, laughs, rockets,
scared, there flees the pigeon
that pecking corn in the square,
but arises Adalgisa Colombo

sculpture, elongated grace,
and to teach its residents
that among all the goods of the earth
beauty is divine grace.]

Former Miss Universe Japan director Inés Ligron calls current pageant "beyond horrible" and "old-fashion"

In her Facebook page dated January 24, 2013, Inés Ligron, the French woman who directed the Miss Universe Japan pageant from 1997 to 2010, criticized the "beyond horrible" and "old-fashion" image of the current Miss Universe Japan competition. Before Ligron's directorship, Japanese women had fared very poorly in Miss Universe competition. When Ligron took the helm in 1997, she did a major makeover of the national competition which included intense preparations of the contestants as well as attracting multi-million dollar sponsors. It also became a popular televised event. Under her directorship, Japan placed in the finals 3 times (2003, 2006, 2007), won its second crown in 2007, and placed in the semifinals in 2008. Though her last two years proved to be unsuccessful (2009, 2010). Pageant fans nevertheless expressed sadness in Ligron's departure and hope for her return.

Contestants for the Miss Universe Japan 2013 competition pose with pageant officials.

MIYAKO MIYAZAKI, 4th runner-up in Miss Universe 2003

KURARA CHIBANA, 1st runner-up in Miss Universe 2006

RIYO MORI, Miss Universe 2008

HIROKO MIMA, semifinalist in Miss Universe 2008


Former Miss Russia Anna Litvinova dies at 29

 Anna Litvinova, who represented Russia in Miss Universe 2006 pageant in Los Angeles where she placed in the Top 20, has died from cancer in Germany on January 22, 2013. She was only 29. Litvinova had won the Miss Russia 2003 pageant.

From Wikipedia:

In 2003 Litvinova won the title of the most beautiful woman in the "Miss Kuzbass", and entered the top five on the All-Russian competition of beauty, with the title of "Miss Grace." She became the first runner-up in "Miss Siberia" contest. In 2006 she won Miss Universe - Russia contest and then went to Los Angeles to represent Russia in Miss Universe. She did not win, but finished in the Top 20.
After winning the regional beauty competition of Novokuznetsk, she went to Moscow and started a modelling career. In Moscow she worked as a manager, she was organizing competitions and helping models to find work abroad. There she worked as second degree designer too. About her life in Moscow, Litvinova said "Moscow is a very large, noisy, bustling city. But I got used to it and loved it." 


Miss France 2013 versus Miss Prestige National 2013

Last December 8, 2012, Marine Lorphelin, Miss Burgundy, was crowned Miss France 2013. For several decades, the pageant was presided by Geneviève de Fontenay, otherwise known as La Dame au chapeau (The Lady With a Hat). Eventually, de Fontenay lost the franchise to the giant entertainment and media company, Endemol. 

In 2010, de Fontenay created a rival pageant to Miss France called Miss Nationale which crowned Barbara Morel, Miss Provence (above). But due to a trademark dispute with another group who had already trademarked "Miss Nationale," de Fontenay was forced to change her pageant's title to "Miss Prestige National" in 2011. 


The 2011 winner of Miss Prestige National was Christelle Roca, Miss Cerdagne-Roussillon (above). 

On December 10, 2012, Auline Grac, Miss Provence, was crowned Miss Prestige National 2013 at the Lido in Paris. Grac, 21,  is a first-year osteopathy student at the Université de Limoges. She was born in Marseille. The seven finalists in Miss Prestige National were voted by telephone, before the winner was elected by a jury. Thirty regional finalists modelled costumes, evening gowns and one-piece swimsuits. Instead of a television network, the ceremony was broadcast on Dailymotion.

Compared to Miss France who competes internationally (Miss Universe/Miss World), Miss Prestige National competes in Miss International.

If you haven't seen last December's production of Miss Prestige National 2013, 
you can watch the entire show in this link:


Miss New York crowned Miss America 2013

Mallory Hagan, 23, from Brooklyn, New York was crowned Miss America 2013 last night at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in  Las Vegas. She won the pageant after tap dancing to James Brown's "Get Up Off Of That Thing" and answering a question about whether armed guards belong in grade schools by saying "we should not fight violence with violence." She wins a $50,000 scholarship and platform is fighting child sexual abuse. Hagan is the first New Yorker to win the title after Vanessa Williams who won in 1983. Williams was later dethroned.

Hagan's court include 1st runner-up Ali Jones of South Carolina, 2nd Alicia Clifton of Oklahoma, 3rd runner-up Lexie Madden of Wyoming and 4th runner-up Mariah Cary of Iowa.

Completing the top 16 were the delegates from Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Utah, Tennessee, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Montana (America's Choice) and Washington (Judges' Choice).

I watched the live telecast from home while giving Real Time updates via Facebook. In the talent competition, I was blown away by Miss Texas Danae Couch's  baton twirling to the tune of Donna Summer's "Last Dance." It's been a while since I've seen a Miss America contestant do a baton twirling and Miss Texas's performance confirms that baton twirling is the most exciting talent performance to watch! Three of the top five performed tap dancing (New York, Oklahoma and Iowa) but New York clearly outperformed the other two. The most pitiful talent performance was by Miss Tennessee Chandler Lawson who did a rendition of Adele's "Turning Tables." She was off key and she was just painful to hear. Another mediocre singer was Miss Maryland Joanna Guy who sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Misérables." Her voice was pitchy and not powerful enough for the song. One wonders how these two contestants advanced to the talent competition with such under average performance. Uggh.

I really thought that the crown would be between the two most facially attractive contestants: Miss South Carolina (who should cross over to Miss USA) and Miss Wyoming (who looked stunning playing the piano in a royal blue gown and a black lacy see-through dress in the evening gown competition). But Miss New York - perhaps with her more homely countenance that typifies a Miss America -  pulled a surprise and eventually won the judges' votes. 

Text by Rafa Delfin



Nana Meriwether is crowned Miss USA

Nana Meriwether, 27, Miss Maryland USA 2012 and first runner-up to Olivia Culpo in Miss USA 2012, has taken over the Miss USA title three weeks after Olivia won Miss Universe 2012 in Las Vegas. Nana was crowned today in New York City during an informal ceremony by Olivia with MUO owner Donald Trump assisting with the coronation. Miss Teen USA 2012 Logan West also graced the ceremony.

Nana is the second woman from Maryland to be crowned Miss USA. In 1957, Leona Gage won the title but was disqualified during the Miss Universe competition when it was discovered that she was married.


Critically Engrossing Highlights of 2012 Pageantry

And why we like Honey Boo Boo more than Sheena 

Queen of Disgrace: A now former Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin (photo), 26, has accused the Miss Universe Organization, owned by Donald Trump, of rigging the Miss USA 2012 competition last June. On her Facebook page, she wrote:

"I witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage. Apparently the morning of June 3rd she saw a folder lying open to a page that said 'FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012' and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in."

Former Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih, 26, said via twitter, "To Miss Pennsylvania 2012 so u didn't win or place in Miss USA last night but don't u dare disrespect my organization! Maybe that's y u lost."

The Daily's Richard Johnson, a former editor at Page Six and a three-time Miss Universe judge, said the beauty pageant is not fixed, but Donald Trump did make it clear to the judges who he would pick. Johnson wrote:
"Just in case a judge was indecisive, Trump was sitting right behind us in the front row, close enough to chat with us during commercial breaks, letting us know his preferences. Was he just making small talk, or trying to influence our votes? Did his voice carry more weight than any other fan who was applauding and shouting for their favorite? Probably. But the pageant wasn’t rigged. I voted for the contestant I thought was the most beautiful. Most of the time, Trump and I agreed. But not every time."

On Dec. 17, the New York Post reported a judge had ruled that Monnin defamed Trump's beauty pageant organization, stating that "the method in which the Miss USA Pageant is judged... precludes any reasonable possibility that the judging was rigged." Continuing, Monnin’s “defamatory” statements “were false” and “showed a reckless disregard.” Monnin was ordered to pay the Miss Universe Organization $5 million for defamation. A few days later, Monnin took to her Facebook to express her shock with the judgment and posted a YouTube video expounding on her claims and soliciting money for her legal defense.

Call Her JennaTal, not Genital:  In April 2012, Jenna Talackova (photo) was accepted as a contestant for Miss Universe Canada 2012. But a little birdie told the pageant organizers that Jenna was actually born a male named Walter and had gone a gender reassignment. Pageant rules state that a contestant must be a natural-born female, thus Jenna was disqualified. But she sued the organizers for discrimination. She won, and got reinstated as a candidate. Miss Universe owner Donald Trump - perhaps fearing that a tranny could bring his pageant down and/or that Jenna bears a strong resemblance to his daughter, Ivanka Trump - gallantly allowed Jenna to compete in Miss Universe if she won the Canadian heat. Jenna didn't win - not because she's a tranny - but because she walked like an ostrich and was boring as hell. We hope not to hear from her ever again.

     Although several countries are considering allowing transsexuals in their national pageants, Venezuela's national director Osmel Sousa said that it would also be a lack of respect to have a naturally-born woman compete with a transwoman.  "Transsexuals should be competing with other transsexuals; we respect them, but we don't share it." Sousa's fellow judge in the hit reality show "Nuestra Belleza Latina", Lupita Jones- director of Nuestra Belleza México - agrees with Sousa and thinks that it is not fair that people who are not naturally-born females should compete with naturally-born women.

 Fiji Fiasco: The Most Troubled National Pageant: On April 27, 2012, Tonika Waters (photo), 16, was crowned Miss World Fiji. Her coronation sparked outrage among Fijians who didn't think she looked "native" enough (Waters has a very light complexion and with European ancestry). The pageant was also criticized for inviting an all-non-Fijian judges to select the winner, including supermodel Rachel Hunter. The Miss World Fiji Facebook page was bombarded with ugly comments, and national director Andhy Blake himself was subjected to attacks by Waters who accused Blake of running the pageant with lies, deception and lack of professionalism (it was Blake's first year as director). In a post on the Miss World Fiji website, 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. 

     Consequently, Waters was forced to return her crown and prizes, and Blake claimed that he was kicked out of his house "due to the embarrassment the false media attention was causing them." Eventually, Waters was replaced by her first runner-up Koini Vakaloloma, 24, who was sent to Mongolia. But the controversy continued when Vakaloloma's owl costume for Miss World 2012 pageant was heavily criticized by most Fijians who did not think that the costume was representative of Fijian culture. 

Sacrebleu! Racism in French pageantry: Miss Black France, the first all-black beauty pageant in France, was held on March 30th, 2012 in Paris.  Eighteen young women (some sources give the number as 20), the majority of whom are university students, competed for the award. The winner is Mbathio Beye, a 21-year old Senegalese woman who is pursuing a Master's degree in marketing strategy in Paris.  The competition created lots of buzz, some of which were political.  There are those who believe that an event that features black beauty is long overdue and should be hailed.  Others, including Patrick Lozès - the first black man to declare intent to run for the French presidency - believe this is a divisive event that will further polarize the country in the face of the strong support that the National Front (a right-wing political group) received in the first round of the presidential election.  CRAN, the organization that Lozès created and led for several years, is an official supporter of the pageant. 

     Some were displeased with the choice of the English word "black" for the pageant, preferring instead the French word "noir." Many have pointed out that there have already been several black winners of the Miss France competition and question the necessity of an event that singles out black women. Meanwhile, right-wingers belonging to the New France Movement protested the pageant  because they oppose special treatment for minority groups and argue that  the nation should not be divided along ethnic lines, although they demanded the creation of a Miss White France.

Pretty Ugly in China: In July 2012 in 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.  

     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 admitted to "external pressures" in deciding the winners and acknowledged that judges had the final say in the decision. 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. 

Arrivederci Bikini! In August 2012, the Miss Italia pageant banned bikinis in favor of swimsuits. The organizers said the move would ‘add a sober element’ to the contest and that ‘interior beauty as well as exterior beauty’ was important. Pageant organiser Patrizia Mirigliani said: "With this type of costume we will be returning to the classical beauty of the 1950’s, the era of female legends who we still admire and respect even today. The costumes will really highlight feminine beauty and for next years competition I am already thinking of environmentally friendly outfits so the girls will do their bit for the environment." Other rules for the 2012 contest included no tattoos or body piercings, while women who have had plastic surgery are barred from entering.

     Can you imagine the Miss Universe pageant without the bikini? But on the other hand, a 1950s-style swimsuit could potentially maximize the glamour aspect of the pageant.

Japan wins first Miss International:  Japan has been hosting the Miss International beauty pageant since the early 1960s and has never won the crown - until 2012 when Ikumi Yoshimatsu (above) bagged the crown for her country. The pageant prides itself on having contestants who serve as “Ambassadors of Peace and Beauty.” According to the history of the competition, contestants are expected to “show tenderness, benevolence, friendship, beauty, intelligence, ability to take action, and a great international sensibility.” The goal of the international beauty pageant is to, “promote world peace, goodwill, and understanding.” Obviously, a predominantly Japanese panel of judges felt that Yoshimatsu would be perfect for this task!

The Honey Boo Boo Phenomenon:  Critics of child beauty pageants argue that pageants can be detrimental and destructive to the child's emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual development, specially if the  parent pushes her child to extremes. But we still have to meet a self-destructive grown-up beauty queen who had competed in kiddie pageants. Where is she? Or does she even exist? No matter what critics say, kiddie pageants are here to stay, thanks mostly to the popularity of  TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras" that showcases the competitive world of child beauty pageants. The show is entering its 7th season, and now has spawned a spin-off called "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" featuring a former "Toddlers and Tiaras" 6-year-old participant Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson. What makes the spin-off stand out is the colorful and amusingly eccentric relationship between Honey Boo Boo and her family, although her mother June sometimes steals the show, which is mostly filmed in and around the family's hometown in rural McIntyre, Georgia, United States.

     The series was one of TLC's highest-rated shows in its first season and has now attracted a huge following. The characters have also introduced fresh neologisms based on their "redneck" lifestyle. Call it Redneckipedia. Expressions like "beautimous" (extremely attractive), "biscuit" (vagina), "Elvis" (Santa Clause's helper), "Frito feet" (podiatric condition in which your feet smell like Frito-Lay corn chips), "Go-go juice" (June’s custom-made drink to help get Alana energized for pageants. Made up of Mountain Dew and Red Bull), "Kitchen sink" (place to wash your hair), "Old Man Glue" (denture cream), "Poodle" (gay man) and "ooo'd" (pooped). Who says that you have to go school to learn new vocabulary? 

Earthly Temptation:  A Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published an investigative report which claimed that “Krassa Rossii (Beauty of Russia)” and the “Miss Earth” crown can be bought if the price  is right. With the aid of hidden cameras, Russian journalists disguised as representatives of a Russian magnate had proposed to the organizers of both competitions - and according to the report - both pageants were keen on crowning a winner in exchange for money. The price – $ 4 million for the Miss Earth title. The website Missosology initially broke the scandal and you can read all the details and watch the video on this page. Lorraine Schuck, the Executive Vice President of Carousel Productions which runs the Miss Earth pageant, was caught on tape on the verge of accepting the bribe, but later vehemently denied any wrongdoing and accused the Russian newspaper of twisting the context of the meeting. 

     The scandal shocked many pageant fans and heavily damaged Miss Earth's reputation as an ethical and fair competition. Critical Beauty is highly disturbed by the scandal and reserves all judgment pending a full, thorough and just investigation of the event. Critical Beauty will still continue to support and promote Miss Earth (yes, we believe in giving everyone a second chance - unlike other pageant websites that are too quick to condemn the pageant based on one possibly misconstrued incident while disregarding the countless beneficial fruits of the 12-year-old pageant.)

Mabuhay, Philippines! With over a dozen successes in major and minor pageants, the Philippines clearly dominated the international pageant scene, even beating the combined successes of pageant powerhouses Venezuela, Mexico, India and Puerto Rico. Just look at the country's outstanding list of successes: Winner (Manhunt International, Miss International Queen, Miss Tourism International), 1st Runner-Up (Miss Universe, Miss Earth, Mr. World, Miss Teen Universe), 2nd Runner-Up (Miss Humanity International), 3rd Runner-Up (Miss Supranational), and Semifinalist (Miss World, Miss International, Miss Scuba International, Supermodel International, Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International, Miss Asia Pacific World). 

     Pageant websites can create their own ranking system based on arbitrary (and sometimes questionable) point system and designate the USA as country of the year, but no points or pretentious "Grandslam" or "Big 4" ranking can deny the fact that the Philippines outperformed any country in international pageantry in 2012 - thus making it the Country of the Year! 


By Rafa Delfin


Sushmita Sen terminates ownership of Miss Universe franchise for India

     Sushmita Sen, the first Miss Universe from India and director of I AM SHE Pageant that selects India's representative to Miss Universe and minor global pageants,  announced today that she has terminated her ownership of the Miss Universe franchise after three years. Below is the message she had posted on the official I AM SHE website:

     Speculations are brewing that Femina Miss India - which held the Miss Universe franchise for decades - may be interested in reclaiming it. Under Femina Miss India, the country has produced two Miss Universe winners (besides Sushmita who won in 1994, Lara Dutta won in 2000), fourMiss Worlds (Aishwarya Rai in 1994, Diana Hayden in 1997, Yukta Mookhey in 1999, Priyanka Chopra in 2000, and one Miss Asia Pacific (Diya Mirza in 2000). Under Sushmita's helm, India has had below average success in global pageantry. Himangini Singh Yadu's victory in Miss Asia Pacific World 2012 is a farce, since the Korean organizers of the pageant had infringed on the copyright of the traditional "Miss Asia Pacific International" pageant originally organized by Filipinos.

     Anyway, despite Sushmita's naiveté and less than stellar performance as a national director, we still admire her for her tenacity and her noble attempts to elevate Indian beauties in world stage.


Miss Belgium 2013 crowned

Miss Liége Noémie Happart, 19, was crowned Miss Belgium 2013 Saturday night at Knokke-Heist Casino in Knokke-Heist, a seaside resort. Runners-upwere Miss Namur Shérine Dandoy, 21, and Miss Vlaams-Brabant Melissa Vingerhoed, 21. Happart will compete in Miss World 2013 pageant.