Puerto Rico Wins Miss World 2016

Stephanie Del Valle, 19, of Puerto Rico was crowned Miss World 2016 on December 18 at the Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland, USA. She was crowned by her predecessor, Mireia Lalaguna of Spain. Del Valle is the second woman from her country to win the coveted title, which was initially won by Wilnelia Merced in 1975. 

Del Valle's court includes 1st runner-up Yaritza Reyes, 23, of the Dominican Republic and 2nd runner-up Natasha Mannuela, 22, of Indonesia. The remaining two finalists were Catriona Gray, 22, of the Philippines and Evelyn Njambi Thungu, 22, of Kenya.

Completing the top 10 were the delegates from Belgium, Brazil, China, Korea and the United States. Mongolia, which won the People's Choice, became the 11th semi-finalist. Rounding up the top 20 were the delegates from Australia, Cook Islands, France, Ghana, Hungary, India, Japan, Slovakia and Thailand.

Heavy favorite Catriona Gray of the Philippines, shows her disappointment for not winning the crown. Earlier, she had won the Multimedia Award which automatically fast-tracked her to the top 20. The other awardees who made the top 20 were Jing Kong of China (Top Model), Indonesia (Beauty With A Purpose), Natalia Short of Cook Islands (Sports) and Bayartsetseg Altangerel of Mongolia (Talent).

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.


Miss France 2017 Is From French Guiana

   Alicia Aylies, Miss Guyane, has been crowned Miss France 2017. She is 18 years old, and a first-year law student. She makes history by being crowned as the first Miss France from a French overseas territory located in South America. 

   Vaea Ferrand, Miss Tahiti, was runner-up, with Morgane Thérésine, Miss Guadeloupe, second-runner-up. Justine Kamara (Miss Lorraine) came fourth.

   The competition was held at the Montpellier exhibition centre, as the jury and the public found a successor for Miss France 2016 Iris Mittenaere, with live coverage on TF1. Jean-Pierre Foucault hosted the ceremony for the 22nd time.

   Thirty regional winners were selected during the past year to compete for the title of Miss France 2017. Twelve had been preselected by the jury, this year chaired by actress Arielle Dombasle, who replaces Jean-Paul Gaultier.

   These 12 were Meggy Pyaneeandee (Miss Île-de-France), Ambre Nguyen (Miss Réunion), Esther Houdement (Miss Normandie), Axelle Bonnemaison (Miss Aquitaine), Alicia Aylies (Miss Guyane), Aurore Kichenin (Miss Languedoc-Roussillon), Morgane Thérésine (Miss Guadeloupe), Claire Godard (Miss Alsace), Justine Kamara (Miss Lorraine), Maurane Bouazza (Miss Bretagne), Myrtille Cauchefer (Miss Picardie), and Vaea Ferrand (Miss Tahiti). The public were then invited to select the top five.

   Miss Île de France had topped the general knowledge quiz in an earlier session, while Miss Languedoc-Roussillon had probably the greatest amount of applause when the top 12 were announced.

The top five—all brunettes—were Alicia Aylies (Miss Guyane), Aurore Kichenin (Miss Languedoc-Roussillon), Vaea Ferrand (Miss Tahiti), Justine Kamara (Miss Lorraine), and Morgane Thérésine (Miss Guadeloupe).

   Other jury members were actress Ingrid Chauvin, comedienne Michèle Bernier, Miss France 2010 Malika Ménard, musician Amir, filmmaker Christophe Barratier and Olympic gold medallist Tony Yoka.

   Through the evening, the contestants paraded in costumes recalling The Nutcracker, tuxedo dresses in a penguin-themed sequence, Christmas-themed swimwear, Frozen cosplay dresses, Christmas outfits, outfits with giant Christmas decorations seemingly inspired by the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, white ball gowns, and, sticking to the past earlier in the evening, bikinis.

   There had been one incident during the night, reports Paris Match: Miss Mayotte, Naïma Madi Mahadali, was hospitalized due to a fall after the penguin-themed parade, and appeared with a bandaged right foot when the top 12 were announced.

   Traditionally, 40 per cent of the viewing audience watches the live telecast on TF1. Former Miss France (2002) Sylvie Tellier remains the president of the competition.

Source: Lucire.com, 12/17/2016


Steve Harvey to Return as Miss Universe 2016 Host After Major 2015 Blunder

After his major -- and majorly embarrassing -- flub from the 2015 ceremony, Steve Harvey is hoping for some redemption: The comedian has been confirmed to return to emcee the 2016 Miss Universe pageant, set to take place in January.
For those who were living under an internet-free rock at the time, Harvey made the biggest mistake a pageant host can make back in December 2015 when he announced the wrong winner for the Miss Universe title. The comedian accidentally said that Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, was the 2015 champ, when she was in fact the first runner-up to the real winner, Miss Phillippines, Pia Wurtzbach. Gutiérrez was given the crown, sash, and a giant bouquet of flowers before the mistake was realized.
A sheepish Harvey had to return to the stage, interrupt Gutiérrez's celebration, and announce to the crowd that he had read the wrong name. He held up his cue cards as proof of his mistake, and immediately owned the error, telling the audience, "I will take responsibility for this. It was my mistake ... horrible mistake."
Despite that drama -- and all the public ridicule, and even death threats, that followed his blunder -- Harvey remained a good sport about the error, and the show's producers even publicly backed him, stating at the time that they'd love to have him back. Looks like they decided to make good on that promise.
The Miss Universe 2016 pageant will take place in the Phillippines on January 29, 2017. We're betting Harvey will bring some extra reading glasses with him this time around.
Source: MovieFone, 12/15/2016


Miss World Contestant Who Challenged China Is Allowed to Speak Once More

Anastasia Lin, Canada’s Miss World entrant, spoke out about murky, government-sanctioned organ transplant programs in China. CreditPablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

Anastasia Lin, the Miss World contestant whose advocacy for victims of human right abuses in China has infuriated Beijing, appears to have regained her voice.
On Wednesday evening, pageant organizers gave Ms. Lin, a Chinese-born Canadian, the green light to speak to the news media, ending a three-week standoff in Washington that had drawn unflattering attention to a storied beauty pageant that has become increasingly dependent on Chinese corporate sponsors.
According to friends and relatives of Ms. Lin’s, employees of the British-owned beauty pageant had warned her that she would be ejected from the competition if she spoke publicly about murky, government-sanctioned transplant programs that human rights advocates say rely heavily on the organs of murdered prisoners of conscience.
China has denied the allegations, saying that organ donations in the country are voluntary.
In a brief phone interview, Ms. Lin, 26, declined to discuss whether she had been silenced and praised the Miss World Organization for allowing her to compete in the finals, which will be televised Sunday night and are expected to draw a global audience of one billion. “To their credit, they did give me this platform, and I’m able to speak freely now,” she said.
She also said the pageant’s executive director, Julia Morley, had given her permission to attend the premiere of a feature film, “The Bleeding Edge,” that stars Ms. Lin and seeks to dramatize the cruelties of what human rights advocates describe as Chinese government-run programs that harvest the organs of prisoners.
In an emailed statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Morley said she had never barred Ms. Lin from the premiere, which is scheduled for Wednesday night in Washington. The event is sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an organization with obvious enmity for China’s authoritarian government.
Last year, China blocked Ms. Lin from attending the Miss World finals in Sanya, the southern Chinese resort city that has hosted the finals a half-dozen times since 2003. She said pageant officials had made little effort to intervene on her behalf, but they allowed her to retain the Miss Canada title for another year, paving the way for her participation in the 2016 finals.
Ms. Lin sought to focus the interview on her project, which aims to raise awareness about Beijing’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that is banned in China. Adherents face imprisonment, and those who refuse to renounce the movement are often subjected to torture.
Ms. Lin and other critics of the Chinese government say Falun Gong practitioners who die in custody are unwilling providers of organs for the nation’s lucrative transplant industry. “China does not have a viable voluntary transplant system, so someone has to die,” she said. “It’s not like the organs grow on plants.”
She has few illusions that her awareness campaign will make it past China’s strict censors, but she said her appearance in the finals might inspire others willing to stand up to the authorities.
During a visit to Taiwan this year, she described running into a tour group from mainland China. She was stunned, she said, when a number of people recognized her and then asked to be photographed by her side.
“Despite 60 years of censorship, people don’t believe everything they hear on the news,” she said, referring to Chinese reports over the past year that have sought to demonize her. “I may end up standing in the last row this year, but if they are able to see me, I hope people will be encouraged.”
Source: The New York Times, 12/14/2016


Miss Universe Tickets To Cost P8,000 to P50,000

Miss Universe candidates take a ‘groupie’ withTourism Secretary Wanda Teo in Rizal Park yesterday.

Get ready to shell out about P50,000 to see over 90 of the most beautiful women in the universe up close.
Tickets for the 65th Miss Universe pageant coronation night will be available online starting Dec. 20, with prices ranging from $160 to $1,000, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced yesterday.
In a press briefing in Makati City, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo revealed that fans could start buying tickets online through the Ticketnet website.    
General admission tickets cost around $160 (approximately P8,000), while VIP tickets would more or less cost $1,000 (almost P50,000), Teo said. Prices for upper and lower box tickets have yet to be announced.
Teo said only 200 tickets remain for the VIP section, as most of the seats have been reserved by the Miss Universe Organization (MUO). But she assured the public that many seats in other sections are still available.
The announcement came amid speculations online on the ticket prices for the final event of the Miss Universe competition to be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 30, 2017.    
“I have heard that some things have been put on the internet, but we don’t know where it came from,” MUO president Paula Shugart said.    
Teo said the DOT is working on Miss Universe tour packages in response to demands from returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).    
“We’re still fixing it because the packages will not only be Manila, but will also include Davao, Cebu, all the provinces – also, Legaspi and Palawan,” Teo said, referring to the provinces hosting the pageant’s ancillary events.
“We will be submitting that soon (to the MUO). Before the end of the week, the packages will be ready,” she added.    
Eleven candidates of the 2016 Miss Universe pageant are currently in the Philippines for a week of pre-pageant tours and activities. Most of the ladies said this was their first time to visit.
Last Sunday, the candidates visited Siargao – the Philippines’ surfing capital – and said the beauty of the beaches and the locals’ warmth and hospitality awed them.     
“We had a wonderful time. We went to Cloud 9 beach and it is probably one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to,” Miss USA Deshauna Barber said.    
“It’s so beautiful it was like paradise. I’m definitely bringing my family back here,” Miss Malaysia Kiranmeet Kaur Baljeet Singh added.    
For Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Tun, the warmth and friendliness of Filipinos were “overwhelming.”   
“All the staff and all the people in Siargao have warm hospitality, I had a pleasant time with them. I think (I gained) a lot of friends here. All the Filipino friends are very cute and warm. I was overwhelmed by their support to all of us,” she said.    
Maxine Medina, the country’s bet for the Miss Universe crown, said this is just a taste of what’s in store for the contestants in January.
“I’m very proud that the girls are happy to see the place and that is just a preview of what is going to happen next. So, we’re very excited,” the Filipina contender said.
The candidates toured Intramuros yesterday and are set to be in Oslob, Cebu today.    
Reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said seeing the new batch of candidates “brings back a lot of memories.”    
“I remember the days when I used to be a candidate for Miss Universe and my advice is, ‘Girls, enjoy it because it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’ And I’m not going to lie, I miss it. I miss being Miss Philippines, but I’ll definitely miss being Miss Universe as well,” Wurtzbach said.    
Meanwhile, Shugart promised a “unique” Miss Universe competition next January.    
 Wurtzbach to donate to Caritas
Meanwhile, the reigning Miss Universe pledged yesterday to donate bags and shoes to the first celebrity bazaar organized by Caritas Manila.   
The 27-year-old Wurtzbach met yesterday morning with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who also heads Caritas Internationalis, at his residence in Intramuros, Manila.
During their meeting that lasted for more than an hour, Wurtzbach reportedly promised to donate rubber shoes, formal shoes, gowns and other personal items to the church organization’s first “Celebrity Pre-Loved Luxury Sale” set on Dec. 13 and 14 at the Glorietta 5 Atrium, Ayala Center in Makati City.
The beauty queen said the pageant organization would also donate to Caritas Manila the proceeds from last Friday’s charity fashion gala called “A Royal Affair.” 
“We are all doing this just out of pure love and good faith and asking for nothing in return but just give back because we feel very blessed,” said Wurtzbach. “Of course, it’s timely because it’s the holiday season as well. So, let us give without expecting anything in return.”
Tagle thanked Wurtzbach for her generosity that would benefit the poor.
“Miss Pia, you are a towering figure. We look up to you… We are here for one purpose and it is to serve our brothers and sisters with no other motivation but love, caritas. We are happy that a person like you and other celebrities, if we might use that word, are offering whatever you could to support, especially the young people in need of education,” Tagle said.
The Manila prelate afterwards gave Wurtzbach his personal rosary that Pope Francis had given him.
Caritas Manila executive director Fr. Anton Pascual said the church group hopes to raise P2 million for the education of its 5,000 Youth Servant Leadership and Education Program (YSLEP) beneficiaries, who are currently taking college courses and vocational technology education. 
“This is our way of helping the poor and give them a good future. We believe that education is the great social equalizer,” Pascual said. With Evelyn Macairan
Source: Philstar.com, 12/13/2016


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Will Not Be Miss Universe Judge

Miss Universe Organization (MUO) president Paula Shugart on Monday quashed possibilities that President Rodrigo Duterte would sit as a judge in the international beauty tilt in Manila next month.

In a press conference in Makati with 12 Miss Universe candidates already in the country, Shugart reiterated the organization’s policy of not having any government official in the board of judges.

 “It’s very hard to be a government official and to be (a judge). We established the policy a long time ago. They have to be neutral,” Shugart said.

The Department of Tourism earlier expressed optimism that the MUO would flex its rules and welcome Duterte’s participation in judging the pageant.

“I think Miss Universe Organization is very much welcome to have him in the show. Apparently, it is a rule for the Miss Universe Organization not to have a judge from the host country but I think if it’s the President, I think they will make an exception to the rule,” DOT undersecretary Katherine De Castro said last week.

But Tourism officials said they were hoping that the President would sit in and watch the pageant live even if he would not be a judge.

The Miss Universe coronation night will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Jan. 30, 2017. YG/CBB/rga

CROWN JEWELS  Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach shows off her crown encrusted with diamond, topaz and sapphire stones, and whose design was inspired by New York’s skyline. JILSON SECKLER TIU
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach will be handing off the crown to another beauty when Manila hosts the pageant in January 2017. Unfortunately, President Rodrigo Duterte will not be part of the board of judges that will choose the successor of Wurtzbach, according to Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016.  JILSON SECKLER TIU

SOURCE: Lifestyle, Inquirer.net, 12/12/2016


Steve Harvey on His Infamous Miss Universe Mistake: "It Was Pure Hell"

Steve hosting Miss Universe on Dec. 20. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Steve Harvey is getting candid about his infamous Miss Universe blunder.
Nearly one year after the TV host mistakenly announced the wrong winner of the beauty pageant, he's opening up about how uncomfortable the unfortunate situation was for him at the time.
“It didn’t happen that quick,” Steve revealed during The Tonight Show on Monday, Dec. 5. “It wasn’t that quick. It was four minutes of pure hell.”

The 59-year-old announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, as the winner, when it was really Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach. The falsity left both finalists and the audience noticeably in shock!
“It was crazy, man, because, look, I’m a smart guy. I can read,” he told host Jimmy Fallon. “I read the teleprompter, but the guy in my ear said, ‘Read the next name,’ and the teleprompter just said, ‘And the new 2015 Miss Universe is,’ and the next he said was, ‘Read the next name now, now.’ I said, ‘Miss Colombia.’ Crowd goes crazy. He goes, ‘Great job, Steve.’ I go in the back four minutes later, I hear a lot of words that you can’t say on TV. ‘Explicit, explicit, explicit,’ and then he said, ‘We said the wrong name.’”
“It was the most gut-wrenching walk I’ve ever had in my life,” he said of the moment he had to return to the stage and apologize for his inaccuracy. “I was brought up that way, man, to kind of just face whatever there is, so I went out and dealt with it.”
However, it seems all is forgiven! Steve will host the 2016 Miss Universe pageant on Jan. 30.

Source: CloserWeekly.com, 12/7/2016


Mexico Wins Mister Supranational 2016

Diego Garcy, a 26-year-old graduate of Business Administration and professional model from Mexico, won the first edition of Mister Supranational contest held in Krynica, Sdroj in Poland on December 3rd. Garcy was crowned by the new Miss Supranational 2016 Srinidhi Shetty of India who had just competed the night before. 

Garcy's court includes 1st runner-up Sergey Bindalov, 29, of Belarus whom many pageant fans had predicted as the winner; 2nd runner-up Jitesh Narush Thakur, 27, of India; 3rd runner-up Bruno Vanin, 27, of Brazil; and 4th runner-up Catalin Prinza, 27, of Romania.

 Diego Garcy

Rounding up the top 10 were the delegates from Poland, Denmark, Panama, Japan, and Venezuela. Competing the top 20 were the contestants from Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Belgium, Czech Republic, Sweden, France, Malta, Spain, Slovia and the Philippines.

Some of the top 20 semifinalists wear the colors of their nations during the "Boxers" segment

The televised show lasted over 4 hours and featured all 36 of the contestants perform several dance routines from break dancing to waltz. On its official website, it says that "Mister Supranational aims to revolutionize the industry, being the first competition of this nature to have a super modern and high fashion television production." And that the idea is "to discover new talents for the modeling and television industries and to produce instant celebrities."

The contest is run by the Panama-based World Beauty Association and produced by Nowa Scena, a global leader in event production.


India Wins Miss Supranational 2016

Srinidhi Ramesh Shetty, 24, of India was crowned Miss Supranational 2016 during a live telecast  in Krynica Zdrój, Poland on December 2nd.  Shetty's victory marks her country's second crown in only two years. In 2014, her compatriot Asha Bhat was crowned the first Indian winner.  Shetty's court includes 1st runner-up Valeria Alejandra Vespoli Figuera of Venezuela, 2nd runner-up  Jaleesa Pigot of Suriname, 3rd runner-up Ornella Mariam Jayasiri Gunesekere of Sri Lanka, and 4th runner-up  Korinna Kocsis of Hungary.

Completing the top 10 were the delegates from  Belarus, Indonesia, Myanmar, Poland and Slovakia. Rounding up the top 25 were the contestants from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Ukraine and Vietnam.

Photo credit: Miss Supranational 


Miss Iraq Regrets Pageant Win, Decries Lack Of Support

Photo: Courtesy of Shaima Qassem.
Photo: Courtesy of Shaima Qassem.

     In an interview with Rudaw, Shaima Qassem, the Kurdish winner of Miss Iraq in 2015 expressed her regret for being crowned with the title as she claimed she did not receive any financial support from the Iraqi government or any other group to support her activities. She said she did her charity activities on her own.
     Qassem, 20, was born in the Kurdish oil rich city of Kirkuk. She was crowned Miss Iraq in January 2016 in Baghdad.

Rudaw: You became Miss Iraq nearly a year ago, what have you done so far?

Shaima Qassem: When I was crowned, I wanted to get involved in charity activities for refugees and children suffering from cancer. Every month, I provided necessities for children and food for the refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as well as chemotherapy for children suffering cancer at my own expense. I have also helped in elderly care houses.
Have the government, officials, or Iraqi companies assisted you?

No. I felt obliged to sell a house I owned in Kirkuk for $120,000 believing that I had responsibilities to hold. With this sum, I finished projects valued at $40,000. I sacrificed the house to people because before I was crowned I was a civil activist and knew how these people were living.
Did your family agree with you selling your house? How is your economic situation?
It is intermediate. However, my father agreed with me to sell the house to finish my projects since I became Miss Iraq due to the people. 
You sold your own house and helped refugees and sick kids. Why was this not published in the media?

I have done these projects for the sake of God, not social media or people. I do not have to hurt people by making advertisements and making myself rich out of these projects. 
If I did not do these projects, I would be able to purchase a house in Baghdad with the money I received from selling the Kirkuk house. Now, I pay rent in Baghdad. I fled Kirkuk due to threats and cannot return.
Has not the Iraqi government allotted a salary to you?

No, just the culture minister recognized me as Miss Iraq on an international level.
Have not you visited the Kurdistan Region to obtain help?

I only visited Sulaimani. A businessman allotted a sum for us in order to take part in the Miss Earth Pageant. Some companies pledged to help me, but they did not fulfill their promises.
Is there any plan to choose a new Miss Iraq? 
 Yes, it is supposed to take place in March of next year.

What would you ask of the next Miss Iraq?

I would like that a new winner will be chosen because the work is very difficult but I hope the troubles I went through she does not face. I call on the government to consider the next winner as she serves her country. I am ready to help her, too.
What do you think the next Miss Iraq should focus on the most?

Children, especially those infected with cancer.
Do you have plans to nominate yourself for Miss World?

I have already been accepted onto the Miss Earth Pageant competitions and I should go to the Philippines in December of 2017. But if I am not financially supported then I will not be able to make it.   (***We think she meant to say "Miss Universe Pageant")
After you take off the crown, where are you going to stay?

I will stay in Baghdad since I am a presenter on Mada Channel. 
Has being in the pageant created any problems for your current job?

I faced problems with the director of Miss Iraq as they tried to force me to disappear from the media, but I did not listen to them. I do not have contact with them now. 
From what are you saying, it appears you regret becoming Miss Iraq. 

Yes, because nobody helped me and I do not feel like I am the winner.
Do you study?

Yes, I am a student in the economics department at Isra College, which is a private college. 
Do you work with Miss Kurdistan?

How are you doing with social media?
I am active on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and have some pages and accounts.

Source: Rudaw.net, 12/1/2016