Miss Universe Ukraine 2016

Alyona Spodynyuk, 18, was crowned Miss Ukraine Universe 2016 at the Grand Fairmont Kyiv Hotel in in Kiev on June 28. She will now compete in the next edition of Miss Universe pageant whose date and venue have not yet been confirmed.

The 1st vice-miss was Yulia Gershun and the 2nd vice-miss was Julia Zakharova.

Miss Teen USA Eliminates the Swimsuit Competition, Introduces Athletic Wear Competition

Swimsuits at the Miss Teen USA pageant are officially dead in the water. The organization is ending the swimsuit portion of the beauty pageant and replacing it with an athletic wear competition, a spokesperson confirmed to CNN.

The news was first reported by USA Today.

It's a nod to a more modern approach in an era where there are gender empowerment videos and commercial campaigns including Always' #LikeAGirl aimed at highlighting equality among the sexes.

"This decision reflects an important cultural shift we're all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same," Miss Universe president Paula Shugart wrote in a memo to the pageant's state directors. "Our hope is that this decision will help all of Miss Teen USA's fans recognize these young women for the strong, inspiring individuals they are."

Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe are all owned by WME/IMG after Donald Trump sold the organization following his remarks about Mexicans caused a falling out with NBC Universal and Univision.

Beauty pageants have long been the target of ire and viewed as both archaic and demeaning to women.

In a column written last year for The Guardian writer Jessica Valenti said, "The notion that beauty pageants are anything more than an opportunity to ogle gorgeous, scantily-clad women and pit them against each has long been debunked."

"Despite long-standing claims that pageants like Miss America are a major source of scholarships for young women, the truth is that they offer only a fraction of the money that they claim they do," Valenti wrote. "Women who participate are also much more likely to spend money than make money on the endeavor -- the cost of dresses, hair and makeup, entrance fees and more are the responsibility of the contestants alone."

The Miss World pageant ended its swimsuit competition in 2014.

Source: CNN Money, June 29, 2016


New Bolivian Queens for 2016

Antonella Moscatelli, 20, representing Santa Cruz was crowned Miss Bolivia Universe 2016 at Hotel Toborochi in Santa Cruz on June 25th. She will now compete in 2016 Miss Universe pageant whose date and venue have not been confirmed.

Five other titles were awarded to the following finalists:

Khaterine Añasgo Miss International Bolivia 2016 
Yessenia Barrientos  - Miss Supranational Bolivia 2016 
Eliana Villegas  - Miss Earth Bolivia 2016 
 Julia Méndez - Miss Bikini Bolivia 2016
Estefanía Senzano  - Miss Grand Bolivia 2016  

All five will compete in their respective international competition.


Newly Crowned Miss Missouri, Erin O'Flaherty, Is the First Openly Gay Miss America Contestant

Newly crowned Miss Missouri, Erin O'Flaherty, is breaking ground as the first-ever openly gay Miss America contestant.
O'Flaherty, 23, was crowned as the Show Me State's representative to the national pageant on Saturday, and is the first openly gay woman to hold the title, said Ann Jolly, chairman of the board of the Miss Missouri Scholarship Organization.
In an interview with the Associated Press, O'Flaherty said that she came out at 18, competed openly and knew that there was a possibility that she could be making history with her win.
"I'm on cloud nine really just to be Miss Missouri," she told the AP. "I don't know that I intended to be the first, but I am. So I'm very excited about it."
O'Flaherty sent her first official tweet from the Miss Missouri Twitter account on Wednesday, writing, "Hey there! Erin here, officially signing in as Miss MO 2016. So excited to serve this amazing state."

Hey there! Erin here, officially signing in as Miss MO 2016. So excited to serve this amazing state 💕

The clothing store owner, whose pageant platform is suicide prevention, also told the AP that she hopes to reach out to the LGBT community during her time as Miss Missouri, but added that it won't be the only focus of her reign.
"My focus of my year isn't going to be that I'm gay," O'Flaherty explained. "It's certainly a big part of who I am, and I will be promoting it and raising awareness for the LGBT community. But also there will be many appearances that I do that have nothing to do with that."
Source: CBS8.com, 6/23/2016


Miss World Dominican Republic 2016

22-year-old Yaritza Miguelina Reyes Ramírez was crowned Miss Mundo Dominicana 2016 at the La Fiesta Theater of the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel in Santo Domingo on June 18. She will represent the Dominican Republic in Miss World 2016 pageant to be held in Washington, D.C. on December 20. The first runner-up was Perla NúñezYaritza is a pageant veteran. She was Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2013 and competed in Miss Universe 2013 in Moscow where she placed in the top 10. 


Miss New England Continental 2016: Glitz, Glamour And Grace

 The Spectacular Six. From left to right: Angela la Marquess, Angel Cavalli, Alexandra Dior, Lolita Golightly, Ivy League-O'deria, and Serenity Lōckhart. 

     So last night at Club Café in Boston, I was fortunate to have judged the first ever Miss New England Continental female impersonation pageantry (a/k/a drag pageantry). I have judged and attended countless pageants, mostly traditional female ones, but none of them could have been more exciting, more entertaining, and more fabulous than this drag pageant. Produced and owned by J. Cardin Moore (a/k/a Jovan I. Cardona), a former Mr. Boston Pride 2015, the Miss New England Continental show was a phenomenal success. For its first year, Moore's production team put on a highly memorable, energetic and professional show. And it didn't matter if there were only six contestants, because each contestant projected two other personae, so essentially I felt like I was judging 12 contestants overall. One was already too much to handle!

     The show started around 6:30 PM. and was held in the theater section of the café. The stage was small, but it was adequate to allow the contestants to showcase their talents and runway skills. The show was hosted by Jai Wilson, a professional makeup artist who did a fabulous impersonation of Katy Perry, and by the outgoing Miss Continental 2015, the gorgeous Tiffany Hunter. Besides myself, the other judges included my favorite pageant brother, Rocky Graziano (Executive Director of Miss Boston Scholarship Organization), Tiffany Bishop (Department Manager of Cosmetics/Fragrances at Neiman-Marcus), Ana Barbara Fontanez (New York City Promoter), Bambi Starr (Entertainer), Noah Von Ark (Public Affairs Officer at Massachusetts General Hospital), and Amara Bear (Miss Rhode Island World 2015). 

From left to right: Amalara Sofía Miss Legendary Continental 2016;  Lolita Golightly, Miss Boston Continental 2016; Louie Garay, Mr. New England Continental 2016; Angel Cavalli, Miss New England Continental 2016;  and Tiffany Hunter, Miss Continental 2015.

      Three hours before the show, the contestants had to face a grueling interview with the judges - an experience that I will always cherish because it did not only shatter my preconceived notions about drag (for example, that one must be a biological male to do a female impersonation), but it also broadened my understanding of a culture that is generally characterized as comical or bizarre. Much to my surprise, I learned that biological females may also impersonate other females ('faux drag"); that there is, to quite an extent, a difference between a drag performer and a transvestite; that not all drag queens watch "RuPaul's Drag Race" or like it; and that drag is first and foremost a pure art form, a sophisticated artistic expression which requires maximum creativity and imagination. 

     During the actual show, the contestants were judged in four categories: swimsuit, talent, evening gown and final Q & A. The same question was asked to all six: "What is your definition of success?" Some answered more confidently than the others, but they all gave honest and personable responses. When it was time to announce the results, the stunning Angel Cavalli was crowned Miss New England Continental 2016 which gives her the right to compete in Miss Continental 2016 pageant to be held in Chicago this Labor Day weekend. The second place went to the elegant Lolita Golightly who was crowned Miss Boston Continental 2016. The First Alternate (First Runner-Up) went to Ivy League-O'deria who had also won the Interview and the Q & A portion, while Angela la Marquess was named the Second Alternate (Second Runner-Up).

     Although the two other contestants, Serenity Lōckhart and Alexandra Dior did not win anything, both of them displayed true sportsmanship by maintaining their grace and poise during the rest of the evening. Congratulations to all six contestants! They are all winners in my book!

     The pageant occurred exactly a week after the tragic shootings that killed 49 innocent individuals in a gay night club in Orlando, Florida. Frankly, I was feeling hesitant in attending the pageant because I was not sure if security would be reinforced. But a little voice in my head kept nagging me, "Rafa, if you don't go to the pageant, it would mean that you're relinquishing your freedom to those motherf---ing terrorists! Don't let them, dude!" And my friends who know me well that I would never submit to fear, so I went! And it turned out to be one of the most thrilling, memorable and educational experiences of my life! Thank you, little voice! Haha!

     Lastly, I wish to thank J. Cardin Moore for inviting me to his first Miss New England Continental pageant. I am confident that next year's pageant will be bigger, better, and brighter! 

I had the best seat in the house! :) Nothing beats a glass of piña colada while
being entertained by the fierce Serenity Lōckhart performing as Iron Woman during talent. #Amazeballs

Lolita Golightly, Miss Boston Continental 2016, also won the Talent competition. 
She blew me away with her ballet rendition of Cinderella!  #Perfection

With the top winner, Angel Cavalli, Miss New England Continental 2016. Angel also won 
the Evening Gown and Swimwear competition. Simply #Beautiful!

P.S. - If you've never been to a drag pageant or show, and you want to go someday, make sure to bring plenty of loose dollar bills to tip every performer that comes on stage. But don't tip the contestants! In this day and age where advanced technology allows us to pay or tip digitally using a Smartphone, there are still situations where paper money is more convenient and preferable! :)

by Rafa Delfin

Former Miss World Susana Djuim Passes Away


Susana Djuim from Venezuela, who was crowned Miss World 1955, passed away Saturday, June 18, 2016, as confirmed by the Miss Venezuela Organization. She was 79. The cause of death was stroke. 

Susana was the first Latin American and first Venezuela to win the Miss World crown. She was born in Aragua de Barcelo in the state of Anzoategui on August 11, 1936. She remained active by conducting a radio program called "De todo a tono con Susana" in Isla de Margarita and she was preparing notes for her new topic, “La vuelta al mundo en 80 años” ("Return to World in 80 Years") in reference to her 80th birthday which would included in her radio show. 



Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado Urges Immigrants To Join Her In Becoming Citizens To Vote Against Donald Trump

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — Venezuelan model and actress Alicia Machado says it took her many years to get over get over the abuse she suffered at the hands of Donald Trump when she was crowned Ms. Universe in 1996.
“He made me feel small,” she told ThinkProgress in Spanish. “He threatened me, treated me rudely. He called me ‘Ms. Housekeeping’ in front of his friends.”
Trump, then the owner of the beauty pageant, publicly mocked Machado for gaining weight and forced her to exercise in front of TV cameras. She said she was depressed and suffered from an eating disorder for several years as a result.
“He hates girls,” she said. “He considers girls to be less. We have another status, to him.”
Machado has lived in the U.S. for nearly 20 years now, and has a seven-year-old daughter who is a U.S. citizen. But she didn’t consider becoming a citizen herself until a few months ago, when Trump became the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
“It was like a great monster reappearing in my life,” she said. “In the beginning, I thought there was no way this loco will ever win. But after the primaries I realized I need to vote. I can’t invite my community to step up if I won’t do it myself.”
Machado says she became more motivated still after Trump attacked the judge presiding over charges of fraud against Trump University, arguing that because the judge has Mexican parents, he must be biased against Trump.
“Is he saying that if my daughter wanted to be a judge when she grew up, she couldn’t do it fairly because her mom is Venezuelan and her dad is Mexican?” Machado asked. “Would he not see her as American, even though she was born here? It’s absurd.”
Machado, who has passed her citizenship test and is now waiting for her passport to arrive in the mail, is one of hundreds of thousands to do so since Trump’s candidacy began. While it’s impossible to know how many are, like Machado, motivated by a desire to stop Trump from winning, reporting by ThinkProgress and other outlets suggest it’s a strong contributing factor.
Though applications for citizenship always increase during a presidential election year, this year is uniquely high.
If the trend continues, as many as one million new citizens will be casting ballots this November, and they could tip the balance of power in close swing states like Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio. These new citizens are registering to vote at a higher rate than most Americans. New polling suggests as well that Trump’s rhetoric about Latinos is motivating those who are already citizens to become more politically active.
In a press conference this week in Virginia’s Arlington County — which has a large and rapidly growing immigrant population — Machado urged her fellow green card holders to apply for citizenship “right now, this month.”
“We are a free country, and we can’t give that up for a crazy, ignorant, ambitious, misogynistic despot who just wants to slake his thirst for power,” she said of Trump.

Source: ThinkProgress, June 17, 2016

Miss Great Britain 2015/2016 Zara Holland Stripped of Title After Having Sex on ITV2's Love Island

The reigning Miss Great Britain, Zara Holland, has been stripped of her title after having sex on ITV2 reality show Love Island.
Beauty pageant organisers said they had “no problem with sex” but said they could not condone Holland’s relationship with 24-year-old scaffolder Alex Bowen.
Wednesday’s episode of the show, watched by around a million viewers, featured the two in bed together and what one insider described as a “look of delight” on Bowen’s face.
Although no explicit scenes were shown, it was readily apparent what had happened from comments that were featured in the following night’s programme.
Love Island presenter Caroline Flack criticised the decision, saying Holland was a “very sweet girl. What even is Miss GB? Are we living in the dark ages?”
n a statement, Miss Great Britain organisers said they had taken the decision with “deep regret”.
“We pride ourselves on promoting the positivity of pageants in modern society and this includes the promotion of a strong, positive female role model in our winners,” they said.
“The feedback we have received from pageant insiders and members of the general public is such that we cannot promote Zara as a positive role model moving forward.
“We wholly understand that everyone makes mistakes, but Zara, as an ambassador for Miss Great Britain, simply did not uphold the responsibility expected of the title.”
Alex Bowen and Zara Holland on 'Love Island' Courtesy ITV2

A spokesman for the programme said Holland had been informed about the decision and had chosen to stay on the show. 
The current series of Love Island, which first aired on ITV in 2005, has featured a penis moulding contest and a “girl on girl sock wrestling championship” in a paddling pool of jelly.

The now former Miss GB told fellow contestants on Thursday she regretted her decision to sleep with Bowen, the former boyfriend of Loose Women star Vicky Pattison, the winner of I’m a Celebrity in 2015.
She told the cameras: “You know when you’re in the moment and it just happens. That’s really not like me at all. Why couldn’t we have just gone to sleep?”
Around 70 cameras follow the contestants’ every move, with a reputed 1,000 condoms placed strategically around the villa.
Contestants face a “race against time” to couple up, with anyone who stays single in danger of being eliminated from the show and missing out on the £50,000 cash prize.
New features on the show this year include an outdoor gym and a redesigned hideaway for couples’ “one-on-one action”.
Presenter Flack said the sex on the show sometimes made her cringe. “I had to have my fingers in my ears for certain parts,” she said, before the current series’ transmission.
“I could watch it, no problem, but I preferred watching it to listening to it. I don’t like hearing those noises!”
Holland will be replaced by runner-up Deone Robertson, who had been crowned Miss North Lanarkshire.
The organisation said they would meet Holland on her return to the UK from the house in Majorca “to fully explain our decision and will wish her the very best going forward”.
● This article was amended on 17 June to remove a reference to the Miss World competition. Miss World is open to Miss England, Miss Wales, Miss Scotland and Miss Northern Ireland, but not Miss Great Britain, which is a separate event.

Source: The Guardian, UK, 6/17/2016


Miss Universe Canada 2016

Siera Bearchell, 22, from Saskatchewan was crowned Miss Universe Canada 2016 on June 11th at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. In her bio, Siera describes herself as a law student, entrepreneur, runner, golfer, and an avid photographer. She will now represent Canada in the next edition of Miss Universe whose date and venue have not been confirmed.

Siera's court includes 1st runner-up Amber Bernachi, 2nd runner-up Kesiah Papasin, 3rd runner-up Camila Gonzalez, and 4th runner-up Zoe Bennett.


Miss Philippines Earth 2016


A German-Filipino student based in Puerto Princesa City bagged the 2016 Miss Philippines Earth crown in ceremonies held at the UP Theater in Quezon City Saturday night. 

Imelda Bautista Schweighart (center), 21, bested 45 other aspirants from all over the country and from overseas Filipino communities to inherit the national crown. She will try to secure a “three-peat” for the Philippines in the global Miss Earth pageant later this year.

Kiara Giel Gregorio (second from right) from the Filipino community in London placed second and was proclaimed Miss Philippines-Air. She was also named Miss Hana Shampoo and Miss Oasis Dental.

Loren Artejos (second from left) from Laoag was crowned Miss Philippines-Water while Shannon Rebecca Bridgman (farthest right) from Rosales, Pangasinan, was hailed as Miss Philippines-Fire.

Melanie Mader (farthest left) from the Filipino community in Vienna was proclaimed Miss Philippines-Ecotourism.

Schweighart is a veteran of beauty contests. She joined the Binibining Pilipinas in 2013, the same year 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach joined the said national tilt. She is the reigning Miss Puerto Princesa and placed second in the Miss Palawan pageant.

Imelda Schweighart

Source: Inquirer.net, June 11, 2016

Miss Continents, Miss Teen Continents, and Mrs. Continents 2016

On June 10th, five new queens were crowned during the joint Miss Continents/Miss Teen Continents/Mrs. Continents 2016 pageant held at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. From left to right: Jasahna D'Aniello (Miss U.S. Continents 2016), Ida Ovmar of Sweden (Miss Continents 2016),  Anjali Sinha of the United Kingdom (Miss Teen Continents 2016), Katie Wadman (Miss Teen U.S. Continents), and Kim Schiltz of Nebraska (Mrs. Continents 2016).

The pageant is run by Gaspar Cruz, owner and operator of Gaspar Cruz Cosmetics and designer and owner of Crown Couture by Gaspar Cruz.

Ida Ovmar of Sweden (left), Miss Continents 2016, and Anjali Sinha of the United Kingdom, Miss Teen Continents 2016.

Photo credits: Gaspar Cruz Facebook


District of Columbia's Deshauna Barber Is Crowned Miss USA 2016

Miss District of Columbia USA 2016 Deshauna Barber reacts as she is crowned Miss USA 2016 by Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

For the first time in 14 years (and only third time in history), Miss District of Columbia took home the crown at the Miss USA pageant on Sunday night.
Deshauna Barber, a 26-year-old Army officer and IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce, won first place over Miss Georgia Emanii Davis and Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin, who was the runner-up.
Barber, who graduated from Virginia State University in 2011, joined the military at age 17. Her parents and siblings also serve; her father was deployed overseas to Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I consider it to be a family tradition,” she said in a pre-show interview of military service. “It’s something that runs through our veins — patriotism and service for this country.”
According to her Miss USA bio, Barber is currently a logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit in Fort Meade, Md.
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (right) assists in the coronation of the new Miss USA
During the pageant, announcers called her “the most disciplined contestant this year.” Her background added context to her much-applauded answer during the Q&A portion of the evening, as her question covered women in combat.
“The Pentagon recently made the decision to open up all combat jobs to women,” judge and stylist Joe Zee said. “Now, some have questioned whether this has put political correctness over our military’s ability to perform at the highest level. What are your thoughts?”
Barber didn’t hesitate. “As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate to every branch of the military. We are just as tough as men,” she said to lots of cheers from the crowd. “As a commander of my unit, I am powerful. I am dedicated. And it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army.”
On social media, some viewers pointed to her answer as the moment Barber locked up the crown. Before the pageant, she spoke about breaking the mold for not only Miss USA contestants, but military soldiers.
“I’m being able to say that no one pageant girl does the same thing or has the same background, and I’m also saying that no one soldier has the same background and does the same thing,” Barber said. “We can be feminine, we can be in beauty contests, we can be models. So there’s stereotypes on both sides that I feel like I’m breaking by even being here and being able to compete for Miss USA.”
Miss Georgia USA 2016 Emanii Davis, Miss Hawaii USA 2016 Chelsea Hardin and Miss District of Columbia USA 2016 Deshauna Barber compete in the top 3. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The pageant aired on Fox after NBC dropped the annual event last year, when the network cut all ties with former pageant owner Donald Trump. The producers couldn’t pass up the opportunity to slip Trump into a question during the Q&A portion; judge and Harper’s Bazaar executive editor Laura Brown asked Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin if she would vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton for president.
The crowd immediately started booing — Hardin looked a bit shocked then quickly composed herself and dodged a direct answer. “What we need in the United States is someone who represents those of us who feel we don’t have a voice…we need a president to push to what is right and push for what America really needs,” she said.
Naturally, some people started tweeting angrily at Brown — given, you know, voting is private. After a couple commercial breaks, co-hosts Julianne Hough and Terrence Jenkins tried to calm the online crowd, and reiterated that the Miss USA organization creates the questions.
“If you’re on Twitter, the judges did not come up with those questions, alright? Just so that you know. They were randomly picked,” Jenkins said as the audience started booing again. “I know what you are booing, and she answered the question marvelously.”

By Emily Yahr for The Washington Post, 6/5/2016


What to Know About this Year’s Miss USA — And Why It Will Be Different From Any Other Year

On June 5, 52 women will take the stage to compete in the Miss USA beauty pageant — but only one will walk away with the competition's top crown.
The stakes are high: Whoever wins in Las Vegas on Sunday will advance to the international Miss Universe pageant, where they will represent the United States.
Here's everything you need to know about the 64-year-old pageant, which airs Sunday night at 7 p.m. EST on Fox.
What to Know About this Year's Miss USA — And Why It Will Be Different From Any Other Year
Source: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

You can help decide the winner.

You can cast your vote for your favorite contestant in three different ways between the hours of noon and 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, May 31.
1. Miss U App
Download the pageant's official app via iTunes or Google Play and vote up to 10 times a day for your pick.
2. Website
Head over to Miss USA's official website to cast another 10 votes per day via desktop.
3. Twitter
If your Twitter account is public, you can also vote by tweeting or retweeting with the official #MissUSA hashtag, paired with the hashtag specific to the contestant of your choosing.

What does it actually mean to take home the crown?

After an exhausting night spent competing and strutting around in evening gowns, what is the real prize the pageant's contestants are vying to walk away with?
In addition to representing the United States in the Miss Universe pageant later this year, the winning woman will presumably enjoy a considerable slice of the limelight during her tenure as Miss USA. 
Last year's reigning queen, Olivia Jordan, went on to become a vocal mouthpiece for Children of the Night, an organization devoted to removing children from prostitution in the United States. She also lobbied on Capitol Hill for funding for Alzheimer's disease research and had a cameo appearance in Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

This year is the first in its history that the Miss USA pageant will feature a 52nd contestant.

The pageant conducted an unprecedented nationwide search for a 52nd contestant online, and Alexandra Miller was selected as the winner. Miller hails from Oklahoma — the home state of last year's winner, Olivia Jordan — so she'll have big shoes to fill during Sunday night's contest.
Source: Yahoo.com, June 4, 2016