8.31.2018

India's Representative To Miss Universe 2018 Crowned




The 6th edition of Miss Diva 2018 took place on August 31 at NSCI Club, Mumbai. The beauty pageant witnessed 19 contestants competing for the competition. And Nehal Chudasama from Mumbai was crowned Miss Diva 2018. The 21-year-old will now represent India at the 67th Miss Universe pageant to be held in Bangkok, Thailand on December 16, 2018. Shraddha Shashidhar, Miss Universe India 2017 crowned Nehal as her successor. Aditi Hundia is declared first runner-up and will represent India at Miss Supranational 2018 and Roshni Sheoran was the second runner-up. They beat Hannah Reji Koshy and Lavina Israni in the top-five finalists. 

Nehal is 21 years old from Mumbai. She is a freelance fitness consultant, anchor and a model. She is currently studying to become IPS officer. Her life goal is to become Miss Universe. Her favourite food is Biryani. Her favourite feature is her body. Miss Universe India 2017, Shraddha Shashidhar crowned Nehal as her successor.


Source: Latestly.com, 8/31/2018

8.19.2018

Miss Universe Canada 2018



Congratulations to Martha Stepien, Miss Universe Canada 2018. Martha will be representing Canada at the Miss Universe Pageant in Thailand in December 2018.
Official Results:
Miss Universe Canada 2018:
Marta Stepien, Windsor, ON

1st Runner-up: Camila Gonzalez, Toronto, ON
2nd Runner-up: Sasha Lombardi, Toronto, ON
3rd Runner-up: Megha Sandhu, Montréal, QC
4th Runner-up: Sallyblossom Wright, Toronto, ON



Source: Beauties Of Canada, 8/19/2018

8.18.2018

Gretchen Carlson Responds to Miss America Cara Mund's Claims That She Was 'Bullied'


Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan/Getty
Gretchen Carlson, who serves as the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors and won the crown herself in 1989, says she was “incredibly sad and heartbroken” when she read current Miss America Cara Mund’s public letter Friday morning stating Carlson had “silenced,” “marginalized” and “bullied” her.
“I want to be clear that as a proponent of women my entire life, I have never bullied Cara Mund,” Carlson tells PEOPLE exclusively. “We have supported Cara for her entire year and we will continue to support her. It’s just disappointing that she chose to air her grievance publicly and not privately.”
In Mund’s letter, posted three weeks before the scheduled Miss America telecast in Atlantic City on Sept. 9, Mund, who hails from North Dakota, accused Carlson and Regina Hopper, the organization’s CEO, of “disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion.”
Donald Kravitz/Getty
Carlson joined the board of directors in December after the then-CEO reportedly used sexist and fat-shaming language in internal emails that led to several executives and board members resigning. She says she took on the volunteer role in January in hopes of making it more inclusive, relevant and empowering to women. “I have been putting all of my energy and countless hours into moving this organization forward,” she says. In 2017, Carlson wrote the book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Backinspired by the many women who reached out to her after she reached a $20 million settlement in her sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes in 2016.
One of the new initiatives put forward by Carlson is the elimination of the famous swimsuit competition in an attempt to downplay the importance of physical appearance alone. Mund states that during a recent Good Morning America appearance discussing the changes, she was told that “GMA only wanted Gretchen on the segment,” adding, “I served as my own advocate and asked if I could attend” despite not getting any airtime.
But Carlson, 52, says this was not the case. “We brought her to New York the day before and provided her with media training. We asked Cara to come to the studio because we thought by chance, even at the last minute, they would maybe include her.” Ultimately, ABC decided to go with a singular interview with Carlson. “There were so many interview requests that day,” says Carlson. “Cara did all the entertainment shows and a lot of radio and print interviews.”
Carlson, who says she plans to reach out to Mund shortly, says she can sympathize with Mund’s comments about this being a challenging year.
“It’s the toughest job you will ever have,” Carlson says of being Miss America. “Every Miss America could tell you if they wanted to about the ups and downs of their year. I could. But you realize as more time passes what an amazing opportunity you have been given to serve as a role model and an ambassador for our country and to make a difference.”
Source: People Magazine, 8/17/2018

The Current Reigning Miss America Says She’s Been "Silenced" by Pageant Leadership


Cara Mund, the reigning Miss America, just wrote a scathing letter to former winners of the pageant, claiming she has been “silenced” and bullied by executives at the organization, according to reports by The Associated Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She sent the letter Friday, three weeks before the next Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, where she will pass down her crown and title to the next winner.
"Let me be blunt: I strongly believe that my voice is not heard nor wanted by our current leadership; nor do they have any interest in knowing who I am and how my experiences relate to positioning the organization for the future," Mund, 24, reportedly wrote. She accused Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America organization, and Regina Hopper, its CEO, of “disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion.” Neither Carlson, Hopper, nor the Miss America organization have commented on Mund’s claims. You can read the full letter at Philly.com.
Cara Mund / Pinterest
Mund’s letter comes after a year of controversies within the pageant. Back in December, The Huffington Post reported the then-CEO of Miss America used sexist and fat-shaming language in internal emails. That led executives and board members to resign, and Carlson, who won the title in 1989, to take over as chair. Back in March, Mund told Cosmopolitan.com she had faith in the women who were newly in charge. “Miss America is here to stay, and it’s going to be better than ever,” she said. “Stronger than ever. And more relevant than ever too.” But in her letter, she claims she was often kept out of the spotlight as a spokesperson for the organization in favor of Carlson.
This June, the organization announced it would cut the swimsuit portion of the competition and stop judging candidates based on outward appearances, focusing more on an interactive portion with the judges instead. That received a mixed responsefrom former pageant winners. According to the New York Post, disagreements over the swimsuit policy and other internal issues also led four board members to leave after only a few months.
Earlier this month, Mund spoke vaguely about a turbulent year as Miss America in an interview with The Press of Atlantic City. “It’s been a tough year,” Mund said. “There have been a lot of things I can’t control. It’s felt I wasn’t always heard or utilized or appreciated.” At that point, the Miss America Organization responded with a statement to the newspaper, also noting Mund had the chance to run her own social media accounts and express her opinions:
“While this has been a different year than any Miss America could have ever expected, MAO has worked to provide [Mund] a platform from which she can build her future. Every Miss America has ups and downs during their year as the experience is challenging and rewarding at the same time. MAO is proud of the work Cara has accomplished this year and how she has represented the scholarship principles of the program.”
Now, in her letter, Mund claims the Miss America Organization punished her for giving that interview by cutting her goodbye speech to 30 seconds and limiting what she could wear. “If you want Miss America to be relevant, then the leadership needs to understand she is not a wind-up toy who they can power up to spit out the meaningless words that are put into her mouth, and then put back on the shelf until it’s time to do it again,” Mund reportedly wrote in her letter.
Source: Cosmopolitan Magazine, 8/17/2018
GETTY IMAGESSTEVE MACK

8.10.2018

Eleven Former Miss Americas Demand Resignation Of Gretchen Carlson

Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America board of trustees, called those opposing her leadership and the recent decision to drop the swimsuit competition 'a noisy minority.' Now, 11 former Miss Americas have banded together to call for her immediate resignation. (Ben Gabbe | Getty Images)

The drama surrounding the upcoming Miss America pageant shows no signs of coming to a resolution. 
With just four weeks left before the 2019 pageant gets underway in Atlantic City, a group of former titleholders have issued a letter calling for the immediate resignation of Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of the Miss America board of trustees, along with pageant CEO Regina Hopper. 
"We insist that our current Chairwoman and CEO resign now, not after September 9 (the date of the pageant)," the letter says, adding that the message is "not meant to be a personal attack on any one individual." 
Unrest has consumed the pageant community in the wake of the decision to eliminate the swimsuit competition, but critics say problems with the pageant's current leaders surpass bikinis. 
In June, Carlson, Miss America 1989, announced that Miss America would no longer be judging contestants -- she now calls them "candidates" -- on physical appearance. Those competing for the crown would not be required to wear bathing suits and heels.
Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell Maxwell, shared the letter on Instagram Thursday. The message was addressed to "faithful stakeholders," the Miss America State Titleholders Association, volunteers and Miss America 2018, Cara Mund. 
The letter, signed by 11 former Miss Americas, agrees with Carlson's wish, as expressed in a recent interview with the Associated Press, that the Miss America community "come together and have a healing process," but says contestants and volunteers find it hard to trust Hopper and Carlson. 
The message addresses "the loss of your elected board members" and the resignation of staff from the Atlantic City-based Miss America Organization this summer.
"We continue to read newspaper articles that are not representing the organization in the best light," the letter says. "None of the other MAO leaders have lost so many board members and staff in such a short time."
The former Miss Americas say that following an email scandal that resulted in the exit of the former CEO and chairman of the board in December, they were given the opportunity to install "our very own sisters." Former titleholders assumed temporary co-chair roles on the board. From there, Carlson was supposed to head up a national search to find a new CEO. 
"We did not get that," the letter says, referring to the appointment of Hopper as CEO.
"Instead, she (Carlson) selected the sole candidate for board consideration and together they have taken the organization in a direction that we do not condone."
Hopper played a role in the eventual ouster of Sam Haskell, the former CEO, because she helped to bring his leaked emails to the attention of Dick Clark Productions, the pageant's former partner, which eventually dropped the organization after it took no action against leadership. 
The letter also asks that the Miss America Organization issue an apology to state and local titleholders, volunteers and sponsors "if anything was done purposefully or unintentionally to divide our program." 
The group that signed the letter includes two Miss Americas from New Jersey -- Suzette Charles, who served several weeks as Miss America 1984 after Vanessa Williams resigned over a nude photo scandal, and Kate Shindle, Miss America 1998, who resigned from the Miss America board this summer. Charles, a former Miss New Jersey, hails from Mays Landing and Shindle (who won as Miss Illinois) grew up in Brigantine and Moorestown. 
The other signees are Marjorie Vincent-Tripp, Miss America 1991, who recently resigned from her post as chairwoman of the Miss America Foundation's board of trustees (that's the scholarship arm of the pageant); Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, Miss America 2012, who recently resigned from the board of the Miss America Organization; Carolyn Sapp Daniels, Miss America 1992; Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America 1995; Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999; Angela Baraquio Grey, Miss America 2001; Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004; and Caressa Cameron-Jackson, Miss America 2010.
This letter follows a petition signed by 22 state pageant directors -- including Sally Johnston, executive director of the New Jersey pageant -- that called for Carlson and Hopper's resignation, along with the resignation of the entire Miss America board.
Those criticizing Carlson and Hopper's leadership say the rift has much to do with the way the swimsuit decision was made.
"'Miss America 2.0' is simply a title for the same old tactics of obfuscation and fear-based governance," the petition read, referring to efforts to rebrand the pageant. Changes have also been made to the evening gown part of competition (instead of just walking down the runway in gowns, contestants are invited to wear other types of outfits and will talk about their social impact initiatives, or platforms).
Critics say that volunteers, former titleholders and the Miss America board, which voted on the issue, had been told that ABC would not air the pageant unless swimsuits were no longer part of the picture. But Carlson and Hopper say they never made the claim.
"It is patently false to allege that Miss America claimed that the elimination of the swimsuit competition was a prerequisite to airing the telecast on ABC," the Miss America Organization said in a statement. "In fact, the Miss America Organization had confirmation from ABC in January, months before the swimsuit issue was voted upon, that it would air the Miss America Competition on September 9, 2018."
This is the pageant's last year of a three-year contract with the network. It's also the last year of a three-year contract with the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, through which the pageant secured $4.3 million for the coming pageant, which begins with preliminary competition on Sept. 5. 
"There were, however, extensive production company and creative partner negotiations in which the elimination of swimsuit was noted as a prerequisite to partner with MAO," the statement continued. 
Jennifer Vaden Barth, a former Miss North Carolina and one of the former board members, told the Associated Press that Hopper and Carlson said "sponsors and networks will not come" if the swimsuit portion was still in effect. 
"We do not accept the inaccurate words about the sponsors and swimsuit competition," reads the letter from the 11 Miss Americas. 
But this isn't the only group of former Miss Americas to speak out. Directly after the state director petition circulated in July, 30 former Miss Americas signed a letter of support for Carlson, Hopper and the leadership.
Hopper and Carlson have characterized the opposition as Miss America devotees who are resistant to necessary change and reluctant to see swimsuit struts relegated to the past. In her recent interview with the Associated Press, Carlson, a former Fox News host, labeled those who have called for her resignation "a noisy minority."
Cantrell Maxwell has since used the hashtag #noisyminority as a point of pride. 
"Just because you have a voice doesn't mean your particular opinion gets accepted," Hopper said in the same story, referring to the dissenting state directors. "States are licensees. If I'm a McDonald's licensee and the corporate office decides, 'We're going to serve chocolate French fries' and I'm sitting here saying, 'I don't want to serve chocolate French fries,' well, you're going to serve chocolate French fries."   
The letter from the 11 former Miss Americas said the "hope is to unite in collaboration and lift the ideals of Miss America up higher than it has ever been before." 
Carlson became chairwoman of the Miss America board in January after the email scandal that caused the ouster of Haskell, the former CEO. When Haskell and other executives were pushed out after his emails were leaked, showing misogynistic and body-shaming language in his correspondence with pageant staff, Carlson headed up an effort to stock the board with former titleholders. Regina Hopper, Miss Arkansas 1983, came on board as CEO of the Miss America Organization in May, and Vincent-Tripp was named chairwoman of the Miss America Foundation's board of trustees.
For the first time in pageant history, all of the pageant's major executives were women
But the new leadership structure began to crack not long after the announcement of the swimsuit decision. Two board members -- Vaden Barth and Valerie Crooker Clemens, a former Miss Maine -- said they were pushed out, while Carlson said they departed because their contracts were temporary. Then, two other board members -- Shindle and Fleiss -- also resigned.
In July, Vincent-Tripp became the latest executive to resign. 
Carlson sued former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment in 2016. The following year, Carlson, the author of "Be Fierce," a book about sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace, became a prominent voice in the emerging #MeToomovement. But critics have accused Carlson of using the momentum of #MeToo and leveraging her status to push the swimsuit change.
Carlson has denied this, saying that dropping the swimsuits will help update the pageant and make it more inclusive. One goal, she said, was to make the competition more attractive to potential participants. Past feedback had indicated that for some, the swimsuit portion was a major barrier to entry, she said. 
But current and former contestants, including Dunlap and Cantrell Maxwell, have spoken out in support of the swimsuit competition. If Carlson and Hopper took a poll of state pageant directors, contestants, volunteers and former titleholders about getting rid of the swimsuit portion, "they would have gotten a resounding 'no'" Cantrell Maxwell, 23, told NJ Advance Media in July. 
"On another point, it's like, we need to at least get thorough September so we can have a competition," she said.
Source: NJ.com, 8/9/2018

8.03.2018

Miss Universe Breaks New Ground In Bangkok



Former Miss Universes, from left, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (2017), Apasra Hongsakula (1965) and Natalie Glebova (2005) attended Tuesday’s announcement that the pageant will return to Thailand this year.


Thailand is getting used to being in the world spotlight. After last month’s dramatic cave rescue in Chiang Rai, it’s preparing to host the 2018 Miss Universe pageant. And the competition to be held in Bangkok in December will feature the first transgender contestant in the pageant’s nearly seven-decade history – Angela Ponce of Spain.The Miss Universe Organisation amended its rules in 2012 to allow transgender people to compete. It’s left to each nation to adopt the progressive rule or not, but Spain this year became the first country to crown a transgender contestant as Miss Universe Spain.

.Miss Universe’s first transgender contestant, Angela Ponce from Spain, will vie in Bangkok with 90 other women for the grand title. Photo/AFP

Despite Thailand’s reputation as an LGBT-friendly country, the Miss Thailand Universe Organisation has not adopted the new rule. The reasons aren’t clear, but it’s possible that the organisers didn’t wish to detract from the popular Miss Tiffany’s Universe and Miss International Queen contests in which Thai transgender women have participated for years. Thailand was chosen as host for the 67th edition of the Miss Universe pageant over the Philippines, Japan and China. We’re good at it – this will be the third time the pageant has been held here. In return, tourism in Thailand and its capital are expected to get a multimillion-baht boost, and segments of the television industry will benefit too. Paula Mary Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organisation, held a press conference at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre on Tuesday, thanking the government for agreeing to host. She announced the venue as Impact Arena and set the date for December 17. “The Miss Universe contest has come here every 13 years,” she pointed out. “Thailand hosted the contest in 1992 and 2005, so 13 is a lucky number!” The United States, where the organisation is based, has hosted the pageant more than any other country, including last year in Las Vegas. The Philippines had the honour the year before. 

Sharing the news, from left, were Miss Universe Organisation president Paula Mary Shugart, Tourism and 
Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat and Tanawat Wansom of TW Investment Group.

Tourism and Sport Minister Weerasak Kowsurat assured the press that everyone involved in its return to Thailand would be safe and able to fully enjoy its hospitality and rich culture. “We chose Thailand because we have a lot of fans here,” Shugart added. “The contestants from 2005 are still talking about it.” The woman who won that edition, [Canadian] Natalie Glebova, ended up moving here,” she laughed. “That tells you a lot about Thailand and its people.” Shugart introduced Tanawat Wansom of TW Investment Group, which has sole proprietorship over the 67th competition. “We’ve spent more than Bt1 billion to bring about this spectacular contest,” he told The Nation Weekend, adding that the final round will be starting very early at Impact on December 17 – at 7am – so it can be broadcast live to the US on the Fox Channel for primetime there. The feed will also be going out to 170 other countries, he said. Steve Harvey, an American comedian, will reprise his perennial role as emcee. Tanawat has commissioned Somchai “Tee Matching” Suthanont of Tee Entertainment Co, who was also responsible for the dramatic 2005 pageant held at the Sofitel Centara Grand.  

The contestants will be arriving in early November to be steeped in Thai culture while touring the country. They’ll learn to weave silk, carve baskets, string floral garlands and cook local dishes. “We hope to make this a really memorable show, featuring charming elements of Thai culture along with a high-tech presentation,” Tanawat said. And Miss Universe’s first opportunity to address the gender issue is sure to give the event a fresh dimension. “This year, we will meet Miss Universe’s first transgender contestant, Angela Ponce from Spain,” Tanawat noted. “I think this will open a new chapter for the pageant in Thailand.” Weerasak pointed out that during the month leading up to the pageant, more than 6,000 people involved with it – including a media army – would be roaming around Thailand. “It’s a great opportunity to promote Thai culture and boost the economy of our secondary cities,” he said. “We’ll be supporting cultural and tourism facilities for this special event.” Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha remarked that the pageant would send out a “positive image” of the Kingdom.  Shugart said the contestants would all become “ambassadors for Thailand”.

Former Miss Universes, from left, DemiLeigh NelPeters (2017), Apasra Hongsakula (1965) and Natalie Glebova (2005) attended Tuesday’s announcement that the pageant will return to Thailand this year.

Thailand has two Miss Universes of its own – Apasra Hongsakula, who won in 1965, and Porntip Nakhirunkanok (Bui Simon), crowned in 1988. This year Sophida Kanchanarin will vie for the country’s third title. Shugart said the event was about women “coming together and doing their best to support each other”, but while in Thailand the contestants would also be visiting the disabled, the elderly and underprivileged children.  “It’s not about the television show – it’s about the experiences,” she said. “All of the young women that come here, whether they win or not, their lives afterward will not be the same. They will remember this for the rest of their lives and so will their families, friends and the thousands of other people that come.” Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa confirmed that. She said at the press conference that she’d learned a great deal about the world in her travels. “Miss Universe has completely changed my life,” Nel-Peters told The Nation Weekend. “I’m more dedicated to my country. I’ve grown so much personally and emotionally. I have so much more confidence in the future as a woman. And Miss Universe gave me a global platform to speak about the things I’m passionate about, things I care about, a chance to make a meaningful difference in changing the world.”  

Nel-Peters is another big fan of Thailand, having celebrated her 21st birthday on Krabi two years ago, downing as much green curry and sticky rice with mango as she could. “Thailand has so much beautiful nature and culture and the women are so beautiful too,” she said. “I’ve never seen so many people so happy and calm as Thai women. No matter how busy or stressed they are, they remain very patient.”

Source: The Nation (Thailand Portal), 8/4/2018

Thailand To Host Miss Universe 2018 Pageant


Steve Harvey interviews Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters at Miss Universe 2017 pageant
Paul Buck/Shutterstock


Miss Universe is heading to Bangkok, Thailand, for the 2018 competition with Steve Harvey returning as host. The 2018 Miss Universe competition will air in the U.S. on Sunday, December 16 (7-10 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on Fox.

This will be Harvey’s fourth time hosting the pageant, following his infamous snafu in the 2015 pageant, in which he misread the card and announced Miss Colombia as the winner instead of actual winner Miss Philippines. He returned as host in 2016, telling the Miss Universe Organization that he wanted to personally apologize to the Filipinos for the incident. He also hosted the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, which crowned Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa as the winner.

Harvey also is host of syndicated daytime talk show Steve, Little Big Shots on NBC and Celebrity Family Feud on ABC.
Over the pageant’s 67-year history, Bangkok has hosted Miss Universe in 1992 and 2005, with representatives of Thailand capturing the crown twice in 1965 and 1988.
Source: