Dethroned Miss World Trinidad & Tobago Sherrece Villafana: Pageant director bullied me

STRIPPED beauty queen Sherrece Villafana (photo) broke her silence yesterday to accuse pageant director, Athaliah Samuel, of being a bully who withheld funding from sponsors for the 2013 Miss World Pageant in September.

Villafana has been accused by Samuel of failing to hand over $200,000 sponsored by the Sport and Culture Fund of the Office of the Prime Minister. 

She was stripped of her crown last week and, after a mostly silent response to Samuel’s statements against her, Villafana issued a press release from the office of her attorney in Port of Spain denying the allegations and claiming a portion of the money was given to Samuel.

Villafana painted a picture of a nightmarish preparation period, during which she alleged she was threatened by a male acquaintance of Samuel when she refused to sign over a percentage of her earnings.

She said working with a certain pageant official “was one of the most horrendous and traumatic experiences I have ever had in my life and never have I been bullied and threatened to the extent of crying all night and being scared,” the 19-year-old Villafana stated.

Villafana said she did in fact apply to the PM’s Office for funding on her own and received a cheque in her name for $200,000, two weeks before the event in Indonesia.

After receiving the funds, she claimed she was forced to transfer $45,000 of the monies into a pageant official’s account at First Citizens, Independence Square, “for which I have the transfer slip and bank statement”.

Villafana said it is her understanding that past representatives, including Samuel, also personally accepted Government funding, which was spent on pageant necessities.

“At no time was I obligated to Ms Samuel or the Miss Trinidad and Tobago Pageant Company to give them part of the funding that I personally applied for from the Sports and Culture Fund, to put my wardrobe and self together and for which I was accountable,” Villafana said.

She further claimed to have heard of other funding being collected by Samuel as pageant director, to which she, Villafana, was not given access, including funds from the Tourism Development Company (TDC) and the Office of the Mayor of San Fernando.

The former Miss T&T said Samuel gave her two dresses, from designer Peter Elias and the Carnaby Street clothing chain, but nothing else.

Villafana said she, along with friends, acquired the clothing, accessories and other supplies she felt she needed for the pageant and a 30-day stay in Indonesia, with the remaining money from the Sport and Culture Fund. 

“I have receipts and bills to account for all of these items,” Villafana stated.

“I did not give any monies to any committee members but instead asked them to assist in putting my wardrobe together which I paid for from the funds, my bank records will show exactly how I spent the funds.”

She also claimed Samuel told her “everything had been cancelled” three hours before they were due to board a flight to London, en route to Indonesia.

“One hour later she called back telling me to meet her at the airport,” Samuel said.

While in London, Villafana claimed she was threatened and bullied every day by a T&T pageant official and a gentleman claiming to be the official’s attorney to sign a contract, saying it was part of the Miss World requirement.

“When I refused to sign, the gentleman told me, ‘I know where you live and I know your family and I will deal with them’. I was scared and did not know what to do, as this was my first time out of Trinidad.”
Villafana said she eventually refused to sign the document and claimed the pageant official harassed her daily while in Indonesia.

“This was all added pressure placed on me during an already high-pressure competition,” Villafana said.
 She added that Samuel who asked to become a chaperone during the show was “constantly pushing herself into the spotlight with the other girls, as if she were a contestant”.

Samuel did not return calls by the Express for a comment.

Source: Trinidad Express, 11/28/2013


Chinese Officials Ask Muslim Women to Unveil in the Name of Beauty

 By Catherine A. Traywick
     In the Chinese region of Xinjiang, home to a large population of the country's Muslim Uighur minority, government workers are encouraging women to cast off their headscarves in the name of good looks. Called "Project Beauty," the government-backed campaign has reportedly taken over the streets of Kashgar, one of the few cities in China where a significant number of women don the veil for religious reasons. De facto beauty police staff street-side stalls and single out veiled women, recording their images with a surveillance camera and even making them watch a re-education film "about the joys of exposing their faces."
     The effort is an underhanded campaign to put beauty ideals to work in the name of national security. States have long tried to restrict the veil among Muslim women, often through formal decree. But China is taking something of a soft-power approach and telling China's Muslim women to unveil and show their pretty faces.
     What isn't said is that the true aim of that campaign is to make it easier to track members of a restive minority group.
    China's ruling party has tried to ban veiling at various points in its history, but its policies on the practice have come under scrutiny amid charges by human rights groups that the government is carrying out a campaign of religious repression and persecution against Uighurs. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have fingered Xinjiang's Uighur population as a potential hotbed of Islamic extremism and terrorism. Uighurs counter that China's anti-terrorism laws disproportionately target Muslims. The ensuing tension has resulted in violent clashes in recent years and the poisonous relations between the Chinese government and Uighurs took a sharp turn for the worse in October when Uighurs were blamed for a deadly attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. 
     The question of Uighur women's right to wear a veil is one among several points of contention. In 2011, notices prohibiting the practice began popping up in Muslim cities in Western China,according to the AP. The campaign's stated aim was to rid the country of the "abnormal phenomenon ... of minority ethnic women and youth wearing Arabian dress, growing beards, and covering their faces in veils." In 2013, Radio Free Asia reported that a Uighur woman in the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi, was evicted from her rental apartment for wearing a veil. Chinese authorities haven't been particularly forthcoming about the state's anti-veiling policies, often claiming to be are unaware of such edicts, or declining to comment on the matter altogether. But officials in Xinjiang have been found to keep detailed records of Muslim Uighurs, which include notes about who wears a veil and who doesn't.
     At least six countries have banned or limited veiling in public spheres -- France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Tunisia -- usually on grounds of state secularism. China, by contrast, aims to regulate Muslim dress in large part as a counter-terrorism measure. The obvious implication is that the mere practice of Islam represents a threat to national security, an argument China's Uighurs understandably haven't taken to kindly. The government's counterterror initiative is seen among Uighurs as an attempt to dilute and homogenize their culture. In trying to bring the province's separatist movement to heel, the Chinese government has demolished historic sites and restricted religious freedom in Xinjiang. What the Chinese government views as a campaign to subdue a restive region, Uighurs see as a war on their culture.
     And "Project Beauty" can certainly be viewed though that lens. The campaign plays on the familiar notion that beauty is more valuable to women than other facets of their identities, including religious belief. A woman focused on her appearance, the logic goes, is hardly a threat to the state. What better way to politically neutralize women, after all, than to call upon an approach tried and tested by politicians, advertisers, and husbands for hundreds of years?
Source: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com, Nov. 26, 2013


Miss World Trinidad & Tobago 2013 Dethroned

     Miss World/Trinidad and Tobago 2013 Shereece Villafana has been stripped of her crown.
A press release yesterday from the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation, headed by director Athalia Samuel stated: “This dethronement has become necessary as a result of unsettling reports brought to the attention of the organisation.
“These reports concern conduct that is not in keeping with the high moral and ethical obligations the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation strives to maintain,” the release stated.
Shereece Villafana
Shereece Villafana
When contacted by the Express, Samuel confirmed that Villafana, who represented T&T at the Miss World Pageant a month ago at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre in Bali, Indonesia, was formally released from her responsibilities as Trinidad and Tobago’s Miss World representative.
Samuel said the decision to strip Villafana of her crown came after the organisation received a letter from the Office of the Prime Minister informing them that Villafana received $200,000 in sponsorship money to help with preparations for the Miss World pageant.
Samuel said Villafana received the money without informing the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation.
“Prior to leaving for the pageant, I asked various agencies and organisations for sponsorship and every time I asked for assistance they would respond that they already gave money, which I found to be strange because we never received any money,” said Samuel.
“I didn’t know what they were talking about and at times I felt embarrassed because I had no knowledge of receiving any of the monies they said they gave. I eventually questioned Shereece about receiving any monies, which she denied.
“Eventually, we received sponsorship through various events, as well as from a company in London who eventually paid for our airfare, hotel accommodation and spending money.
“Before we left to go to Miss World in Indonesia, there was some disturbing information that we were aware of but we were not able to confirm anything before leaving. After initially denying that she received $200,000 from the Office of the Prime Minister, Shereece eventually admitted during our recent post-mortem meeting to receiving the money after I showed her the letter from the Office of the Prime Minister.
“Her reply was, ‘So what, everybody tells lies’.
“What Shereece did was dishonest and embarrassing to the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation. She has to account for the money she received. The contract clearly tells you that all monies that you receive should be handed over to the organiser, that is the person responsible for your affairs and getting you prepared for the pageant,” Samuel said.
“We still have people to pay for her dress and so forth and little tokens that the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation wants to send out for the people who helped us.”
When contacted, Villafana had no comment to make on the matter.
Source: http://www.stabroeknews.com, Nov. 26, 2013


Road to Miss USA / Miss Teen USA 2014: New queens for Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Vermont

New Miss & Teen queens were crowned this past weekend. They will represent their states in their respective pageants (Miss USA 2014 & Miss Teen USA 2014)

Miss Georgia USA 2014 is Tiana Griggs from Monticello.

Miss Georgia Teen USA is Noelle Hughley, 17, from Lithonia.

Miss Illinois USA 2014 is Alexis Atkins, 20, from Champaign.

Miss Illinois Teen USA 2014 is Miranda Fenzau, 17, from Orland Park.

Miss Massachusetts USA 2014 is Caroline Lunny, 22, from Holliston

Miss Massachusetts Teen USA 2014 is Bailey Medeiros, 16.

Miss North Dakota USA 2014 is Audra Mari, 20, of Fargo.

Miss North Dakota Teen USA 2014 is Josie Hettich.

Miss Oklahoma USA 2014 is Brooklynme Young, 18, from Tulsa.

Miss Oklahoma Teen USA 2014 is Brooklynne Bond.

Miss South Carolina USA 2014 is Christina Zapolski, 21, from Charleston.

Miss South Carolina Teen USA 2014 is K. Lee Graham, 16, from Chapin.

Miss Vermont USA 2014 is Gina Bernasconi, 19, of Underhill.

Miss Vermont Teen USA 2014 is Madison Cota, 17, from Bellows Falls.


Road to Miss USA / Miss Teen USA 2014: New queens for Alabama, Connecticut and Virginia

 New Miss and Teen queens were crowned this past weekend. They will compete in their respective pageants (Miss USA 2014 and Miss Teen USA 2014).

Jesica Ahlberg, 24, is the new Miss Alabama USA 2014

Sarah Baskin-Champion, 17, is the new Miss Alabama Teen USA 2014

Desirée Perez, 25, is the new Miss Connecticut USA 2014

Sydney West, 16, is the new Miss Connecticut Teen USA 2014. She is the younger sister of Logan West, Miss Connecticut Teen USA 2012 who was crowned Miss Teen USA 2012.

Arielle Rosmarino, 22, is the new Miss Virginia USA 2014.

Olivia Fletcher, 16, is the new Miss Virginia Teen USA 2014.


Puerto Rico wins Miss Grand International 2013

Janelee Chaparro, 22, from Puerto Rico was crowned in the first ever edition of Miss Grand International 2013 held November 19 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. She receives a cash prize amounting to US$30,000. The pageant is supported by sponsorship from governments and organizations that seek to promote mutual understanding, good will and peace among participating nations.

Chaparro's court includes 1st runner-up Chantel Martinez, 19, of the Dominican Republic; 2nd runner-up Denisa Paseciakova, 24, of Slovak Republic; 3rd runner-up Annalie Forbes, 20, of the Philippines; and 4th runner-up Kelly Louise Maguire, 26, of Australia. Completing the top 10 were the delegates from Brazil, Cuba, Latvia, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela. Reaching the top 20 were the contestants from China, Colombia, Ecuador, Macedonia, Myanmar, Netherlands, Pakistan, Thailand, USA and Zimbabwe.

Special awards were given to Myanmar's Htar Htet Htet (Miss Popular Vote), to the Dominican Republic (Best In Evening Gown), to Latvia's Kristīne Rancāne (Best In Swimsuit), to China's Jie Pan (Best National Costume). Seventy-one countries participated in the pageant's first edition.

Photo credits: Miss Grand International

Australian beauty pageant heavyweights join forces to aid typhoon victims of the Philippines

     Australian beauty pageant heavy weights have put aside friendly competition to join forces and raise funds for the Philippines under the banner Beauty Queens Unite.
Peter Sereno with Miss Earth Australia 2013 Renera Thompson
Photo by Johan Westen
     Directors and titleholders of Miss World Australia, Miss Humanity Australia, Miss Supranational Australia, Miss Teen, Miss and Mrs Australia International, Miss Earth Australia and Miss Tourism Australia together with pageant industry watchdog Dear Pageant Girl will be acting on behalf of the Red Cross to raise much needed funds for the Philippines.
     The islands of the Philippines were struck by Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda and the strongest typhoon in world history) devastating the lives of over 11 million people and 1.7 million children.  As many as 10,000 people may have been feared dead.
     The Red Cross is at the forefront of the relief efforts appealing for $84million in aid to the devastated country.
     Peter Sereno of Dear Pageant Girl and spokesperson for Beauty Queens Unite appealed to the heads and crowned titleholders of the major pageants in Australia to reach out to their networks and work together to help the victims of the Super Typhoon and help the Red Cross achieve this goal.
     “This is the first and possibly the only time in Australian, if not global history, for rival pageants to set aside the competition and join forces to raise funds to help a country in crisis,” says Peter, whose background is Filipino.
     “The people of the Philippines are the biggest pageant fans in the world.  It is a phenomenon deeply embedded in their cultural psyche and is like a national sport.  Beauty queens are revered in the Philippines and often hold the same status as celebrities and government officials. When the Philippines won their first ever Miss World crown in September the whole country went into shut down – and so did Filipino ex pats around the world.
     “We would like to thank Sylvie Ghazal-Boutros of the Miss Teen, Miss and Mrs Australia International franchise and her Touch of Goodness Foundation for lending us the tagline Beauty Queens Unite – Shine On.  This is her initiative but was generous enough to lend it to us for this project.  It is the perfect description and the best way to describe our Aussie beauty queens; that when times get tough, we set aside our differences and we work together for the greater good.
     “The reigning Miss Earth Australia 2013 is currently in the Manila for the Miss Earth pageant.  Wishing to assist her sisters of the sash she will provide vital ground details back to Beauty Queens Unite and will also network, inspire and mobilize other beauty queens to join Beauty Queens Unite and further the cause” says Peter.
We wish to thank the following organisations and their queens for assisting with our fundraising efforts:
  • Miss World Australia 2013 and Miss World Oceania – Erin Holland
  • Miss Humanity Australia 2013 – Ashleigh Wheeldon
  • Miss Earth Australia 2013 – Renera Thompson
  • Miss Supranational Australia 2013 and Miss Supranational Queen of Ocenia – Esma Voloder
  • Miss Tourism Australia – Monika Radulovic
  • Miss Australia International 2013 – Felcia D’jamirze
  • Mrs Australia International 2013 – Jordaine Chattaway
  • Miss Teen Australia International 2014 – Aamani Hatoum
  • Miss Australia International 2014 – Natalie Assaad
  • Mrs Australia International 2014 – Kate Johnson
Donations and auction bids can be made at:
For more information, agents and interview requests please contact:
Peter Sereno
Dear Pageant Girl


Miss Colombia 2014

20-year-old Paulina Vega Dieppa was crowned Senorita Colombia 2013 (Miss Colombia 2013) on November 11, 2013 in Cartagena de Indias. She will represent the country in the Miss Universe 2014 pageant. 

Zuleika Kiara Suárez Torrenegra, representing San Andrés was crowned Miss International Colombia 2014 and will represent the country in the Miss International 2014 pageant.

The first runner-up was Maria Alejandra López, representing Risaralda. 

The second runner-up was Carolina Crovo Sierra, representing Antioquia. 

The third runner-up was Tania Valencia Cuero, representing Valle.  

Tomboy beauty pageant in the Philippines causes Internet sensation

Tomboy Beauty Pageant In The Philippines Causes An Internet Sensation
That’s My Tomboy Features Androgynous Lesbians Competing In A Live Television Segment Similar
To A Traditional Beauty Pageant.

     In the Philippines, a new type of beauty pageant in which androgynous women compete in front of a live audience has become immensely popular.

     The short segment, “That's My Tomboy,” which premiered in early October, airs as part of the musical and variety show It's Showtime broadcast by ABS-CBN.

The short segment,

     Each contestant introduces themselves and performs a talent, followed by a question & answer segment by the hosts.

Each contestant introduces themselves and performs a talent, followed by a question & answer segment by the hosts.
Source: Ohget.com, 11/12/2013
Related article:


Venezuela wins its 7th Miss Universe crown

Venezuela's Maria Gabriela Isler, a 25-year-old accomplished flamenco dancer, was crowned Miss Universe 2013 Saturday night at the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, Moscow, Russia. Her victory marks Venezuela's seventh Miss Universe crown (1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2013). Her court includes 1st runner-up Patricia Rodriguez of Spain, 2nd runner-up Constanza Baez of Ecuador, 3rd runner-up Ariella Arida of the Philippines, and 4th runner-up Jakelyne Oliveira of Brazil. 

Figuring in the top 10 were Yaritza Reyes of the Dominican Republic, Amy Willerton of Great Britain, Manasi Moghe of India, Olga Storozhenko of the Ukraine, and Erin Brady of the USA.

Rounding up the top 16 were Jin Ye of China, Fabiana Granados of Costa Rica, Whulandary Herman of Indonesia, Nastassja Bolivar of Nicaragua, Monic Perez of Puerto Rico, and Dominique Rinderknecht of Switzerland. 

The show was co-hosted by NBC anchorperson and journalist Thomas Roberts and entertainer Mel B (formerly of the Spice Girls). Entertainment was provided by Azerbaijani singer Emin Agalarov, the pop group Panic! At The Disco, and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, who also served as a judge.

Besides Tyler, the other judges were American model and actress Carol Alt, fashion designer Marc Bouwer, Italian watchmaker Italo Fontana, retired American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, Japanese celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Farouk Systems founder Farouk Shami, and Russian model AnneVyalitsyna. A total of 86 countries competed in this year's edition. 

***Note: the Miss Photogenic Universe award was won by Poland's Paulina Krupinska and the Miss Congeniality Universe went to China's Jin Ye. However, the awards were not distributed during the telecast to give way to Steven Tyler's performance.

The Top Five 

My thoughts:

     For the first time since 1973, the pageant was not shown live on American soil, which distressed many pageant fans on the Eastern seaboard of the United States who are used to watching the telecast live. The live telecast from Moscow started promptly at 10 PM Moscow time, which would have been 1:00 PM on the U.S. East Coast. To those who did not want to wait for the delayed telecast on NBC at 9:00 PM, they could view the live stream from various independent sites.

     I happen to be one of those people who couldn't wait for 9 hours for the delayed telecast, so I opted to view the live stream from a Spanish-language TV station. The transmission was rather decent except for the annoying ads, but about 15 minutes towards the end of the show, the connection started to act up and my Internet froze. CB correspondent Hector Joaquin would later explain that the Internet connection at the Crocus City Hall Media Center had been mysteriously severed as soon as the five finalists were announced.

The Critical Beauty Media Room (a/k/a my office) -featuring my laptop, my iPad, my PC. My iPhone took this picture!

     My favorite for the crown was Olga Storozhenko of the Ukraine (photo, below). This woman could do no wrong. I had never seen any unflattering pictures of her from the moment she arrived in Moscow until the finals. Her Hollywood goddess face, her regal and polished bearing, her sultry voice, her perfectly well-toned soft body - I was really hoping that the Ukraine would have its first Miss Universe crown after having sent so many strong and beautiful girls in previous years. But the more I analyzed her images and videos - and her performance in the preliminaries - it dawned on me that she would be just too perfect or "aristocratic" to be Miss Universe. I couldn't imagine her "getting down and dirty" or being surrounded by underprivileged children or sick people. Some fans perceived her as icy cold, with which I disagree, especially after having seen her quirky side in the video interview.

     I didn't have any other favorites after the prelims, but when Olga was shut out of the Top 5, I found myself cheering and rooting for Miss Spain Patricia Rodriguez, whom I thought was the most facially beautiful. But she lacked energy and was less radiant than the others. Avid fans now realize that girls who had competed previously in Miss World, like Patricia, will never win Miss Universe as long as Donald Trump runs the pageant. Ada Aimee de la Cruz of the Dominican Republic (who was 1st runner-up in Miss Universe 2009), had competed in Miss World 2007. Yendi Phillips of Jamaica (who was 1st runner-up in Miss Universe 2010) was a Top 16 semifinalist in Miss World 2007. Gabrielle Walcott of Trinidad & Tobago (who was 2nd runner-up in Miss World 2008), did not even place in Miss Universe 2011. Three girls who competed in Miss World 2013 - Russia, South Africa and Namibia - were all shut out in Miss Universe 2013. Trump realizes the importance of protecting the Miss Universe brand, so any reference to Miss World would simply diminish the prestige of his brand. Take note of that, national directors!

     Back to the top five assessment. Miss Brazil Jakelyne Oliveira made the cut because she had the best swimsuit body (she's your typical tanned, sexy Brazilian beach garota) but I found her face a little odd (maybe it's her pug nose). Miss Ecuador Constanza Baez was off my radar until she wowed me in the swimsuit competition, but she's a regular butterface and her mint-colored frilly gown didn't do justice to her fabulous figure. She would also fix her hair once in a while, which annoyed me. Miss Philippines Ariella Arida  - who won the 16th semifinal stop via online voting - had the most beautiful hair, so silky and bouncy, but her bright sunny yellow strapless gown was more appropriate for a high school prom (although the color perfectly suited her dusky complexion). Her facial expressions were also bland. Miss Venezuela Gabriela Isler gave a strong and consistent performance throughout the entire competition; she was not in my top five list (Spain, Ukraine, Great Britain, USA, Dominican Republic), but she's Miss Venezuela, and that's good enough for the judges to crown her in her iridescent silver gown. Like all past Venezuelan representatives, Gabriela emitted an effervescent personality and remarkable stage projection. Though compared to her predecessor, Gabriela's beauty is ordinary. It's easy to get tired of looking at her.

     Other delegates that made an impression on me included Amy Willerton of Great Britain (photo, left). If there is one contestant who epitomized the old Hollywood glamour à la Veronica Lake, it would be Amy. Her top 10 placement is the best one that her country (Great Britain/United Kingdom/England) has ever had since Karen Lesley Moore placed 4th runner-up in 1983 (exactly 30 years ago!). All that hair-tossing, that sexy-strutting and stunning Jessica-Rabbitesque glitzy red dress paid off for this hot Brit. Then we have Miss China Jin Ye, whose slick hairdo and top model strut in swimsuit made her stand out from the rest. Initially, I was underwhelmed by Miss Dominican Republic Yaritza Reyes's performance during the prelims, but she blew me away with her outstanding performance in both swimsuit and evening gown segments of the finals. Remember, this was the same girl who fell into a hole on stage during the Yamamay fashion show two weeks ago; she quickly recovered and brilliantly finished her routine as if nothing had happened.

     They say that the Q & A segment determines the results. They say that your answer can either make you or break you. That may be true, but not in this year's competition. Four of the finalists (Ecuador, Brazil, Spain, Venezuela) relied on an interpreter. Here's the full transcript:

Question for Ecuador from judge Philip Kirkorov : What would happen to the world if we could no longer use the internet?
Ecuador: I believe that computers themselves as one of the technologies nowadays. It has its advantages and disadvantages and one of the disadvantages is that we are no longer as close together with our families. I would like to use this moment to tell the teenagers and everybody that we should use the methodology of computers and the Internet in a positive way. It is never too late to start. Let us start right now.
Question for Brazil from judge Carol Alt: What is your opinion in places that do not allow women to vote, travel abroad, or drive cars?
Brazil: Good evening everybody! In my opinion, we as women achieved our independence through time. Unfortunately, nowadays we still have some problems with our independence as women. But we need to keep our open minds because nowadays we are homemakers, we are out there in the work force. In my country, we have a female president. We are capable of everything.
Question for Spain from judge Anne Vyalitsyna: What is the most significant thing we can do to help elect more women to political offices around the world?
Spain: I believe in order to select a good woman, she must possess good qualities in order to perform a good job – discipline, knows how to adapt herself, how to respond with her work, her performance and fulfilling her job.  
Question for Philippines from judge Tara Lipinski: What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their careers around the world?
Philippines: For the people who have lack of jobs, I do believe that we people should invest in education and that is my primary advocacy, because we all know that if everyone of us is educated and well aware of what we are doing, we could land into jobs and we could land a good career in the future. So education is the primary source and a ticket for a better future.
Question for Venezuela from judge Steven Tyler: What is your biggest fear and how do you plan to overcome it?
Venezuela: I believe that one may have a lot of fears but nonetheless this is not something negative. I believe we should overcome all our fears and this in turn would make us much stronger. As soon as we overcome our fears and we're sure of ourselves, we can face any challenge.

     Even though no one stammered or choked, none of the finalists really answered their respective question. Their answers were either safe or general and sometimes poorly delivered, especially that of Spain's. It is this kind of answers that makes potential pageant contestants spend lesser and lesser time practicing with their interviews - falsely assuming that they can still place and win with a safe answer. Did anyone notice that there were only five questions in the bowl? And did anyone notice, too, that the five judges who had been chosen to ask the questions were all highly prominent celebrities? And most importantly, why was the number of judges an even number (8)? What would have happened if there had been a tie, and who would have been obliged to break the tie? Trump himself? Considering that Miss Philippines was the only one to answer in English, this justifies the controversial statement that she expressed during a TV interview in which she had commented that "Latinas can't even speak a sentence in English" - which, by the way, was taken out of context. Expect Latinas to rely on interpreters next year, and the following year... infinity.

     To those of you who did not see the live stream on the Internet, you missed the part when Gabriela did not realize that she had actually won. Even Miss Spain was confused. Watch:

     NBC edited the delayed telecast by cutting out the "confusing" episode. I really wish they stop announcing the winner first before the 1st runner-up. This avoids confusion, especially between the last two girls standing whose native language is not English. Poor Miss Spain was not given a proper "whisk" (usually the whisker would let her pose for the cameras for a few seconds before being pulled completely aside). Everything felt too rushed.  There had been many occasions when the last two girls were from countries that did not speak English and there had never been any confusion. Why? Because they stuck to the pattern of announcing the 1st runner-up first before the winner. You don't need a translator. All the hosts have to do was to announce the name of the country. Perhaps if the hosts had positioned themselves closer to the two girls, then the girls wouldn't have been too confused. I miss former hosts Bob Barber and Bob Goen calling the 1st runner-up first and even pointing at the winner to avoid confusion. Gabriela's crowning moment was messed up by poor stage direction and by the fact that her crown slipped off her head three times. 


   I have to say that the stage is probably the most majestic stage that I have ever seen. And this beautiful picture featuring a replica of the Kremlin is what I'd like for the pageant in Moscow to be remembered for, and not the ugly politics behind it or these eerie Matryoshka dolls (Russian nesting dolls):

Spasiba, Russia! 

By Rafa Delfin

Related articles:

Miss Universe 2013 hides a murky world of money, power and politics


Miss Universe 2013 Finals Today, November 9

Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo

In two hours, the new Miss Universe 2013 will be crowned at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia tonight at 10 PM, Moscow time. For the first time since 1973, the pageant will not be shown live in the United States. The delayed telecast will be shown in the U.S. at 9:00 PM (EST).  The live telecast in Moscow will start at 10:00 PM, Moscow time, which means it will be 1 PM in U.S. East Coast. The delayed telecast will be shown in the U.S. at 9 PM EST. You have two choices: you can wait to see the delayed telecast (which means you will have to turn off all your electronic devices and avoid all social network if you don't want to know the results) or you can view the live stream via any of these links:

Critical Beauty correspondent Hector Joaquin is chatting with fans from around the world via Twitcam. Say hello to him and ask him what he thinks of the contestants so far!