9.28.2018

Newly Crowned Miss Ukraine Dethroned For Being A Divorced Mother



Veronika Didusenko, who was recently named Miss Ukraine at the country's national beauty pageant, was stripped of her title after pageant officials learned that she lied about being a divorced mother in her application.
Didusenko was crowned the winner of the Miss Ukraine pageant in the country's capital of Kiev on September 20. But her reign as queen didn't last long after the pageant committee decided that she was to be disqualified on Monday.
The Miss Ukraine organization released a statement regarding the 23-year-old's disqualification which said, "In accordance with the Rules for conducting the National Beauty Contest Miss Ukraine, a person who wishes to take part in the National Beauty Contest 'Miss Ukraine' must comply, among other things, with the following requirements (valid for the period of the Contest): – not / was not married; – has no children."
The pageant statement continued,  “The same requirements are indicated in the official form, which is contained in the unified rules and conditions of participation in Miss World contest 2018.”
Source: Fox News, 9/26/2018

9.22.2018

Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2018


Photo credit: El Nuevo Dia


Kiara Liz Ortega, 24, representing the municipality of Rincón, was crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2018 Saturday night at San Juan's Centro de Bellas Artes. She was crowned by her predecessor Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2017 Danna Hernández. Ortega will now represent Puerto Rico at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant to be held on December 16 in Bangkok, Thailand.

 The first runner-up is Alejandra Pagán of Vega Baja and the second runner-up is Alexandra Porrata of Ponce. This is the first edition of Miss Universe Puerto Rico under its new director, Denise Quiñones who herself was Miss Universe 2001.


Photo credit: Miss Universe Puerto Rico Facebook

9.11.2018

Miss America Ratings Fall After Ceremony Drops Swimsuit Competition


Miss America 2019 Nia Imani Franklin is mobbed from after she was crowned at Boardwalk Hall.(Photo: THOMAS P. COSTELLO, Asbury Park Press via USA TODAY NETWORK)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Miss America ceremony subtracted the swimsuit competition for the first time in its 98-year history, and subtracted one million television viewers, too.
The Nielsen company said 4.34 million people watched the annual ceremony on ABC Sunday, down 19 percent from the 5.35 million viewers last year. Declining viewership has been a consistent trend for the pageant over the past few years.
With Miss America now under the leadership of former Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson, the swimsuits were left behind. Instead, they were replaced by onstage interviews where contestants talked about President Trump, the NFL player protests and other topics.
Yet the decision has been the subject of criticism. Minutes before the nationally televised broadcast began, a comedian warming up the crowd mentioned there would be no swimsuit competition, drawing loud boos from the audience.
It was the pageant's lowest viewership since 2009, when it was shown on cable's TLC channel and reached only 3.54 million people. It returned to broadcast TV on ABC in 2011, and its audience has gotten as high as 8.6 million in 2013.
New Yorker Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America on Sunday.
Viewership has declined steadily in recent years, from 7.1 million in 2015, to 6.29 million in 2016 and last year's 5.35 million.
Buoyed by two NFL games, NBC won the week in prime-time, averaging 9.3 million viewers. CBS had 3.8 million, Fox had 3.52 million, ABC had 3.45 million, Univision had 1.32 million, ION had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.25 million and the CW had 740,000.
ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.57 million viewers. Fox News Channel had 2.26 million, MSNBC had 1.99 million, USA had 1.38 million and HGTV had 1.35 million.
ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.5 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.9 million.
For the week of Sept. 3-9, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Chicago at Green Bay, NBC, 22.12 million; NFL Football: Atlanta at Philadelphia, NBC, 19.03 million; "NFL Pre-Kick Show" (Thursday), NBC, 15.61 million; "NFL Pre-Kick Show" (Sunday), NBC, 15.41 million; "NFL Weather Delay," NBC, 12.76 million; "The OT," Fox, 12.33 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.7 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 10.46 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 9.89 million; "NFL Opening Kick-off Show, NBC, 8.73 million.
Source: USA Today, 9/11/2018

9.10.2018

Miss America 2019 Is Miss New York




 And the crown goes to... Miss New York Nia Franklin. 
She edged out her 50 fellow competitors Sunday night in Atlantic City. 
After being crowned, Franklin expressed her gratitude.
"I'm feeling really blessed right now," she said. "I want to thank God because without him I wouldn't be standing here. It took a lot of perseverance to get here, and I just want to thank my beautiful family for coming, my mom and my dad, who's a survivor of cancer, and I love him so much. I want to thank all of my sisters behind me. We've had a wonderful week together, and I love each and every one of you."
During the competition, Franklin offered herself as an example when asked how she would promote a healthy body image.
"I would start by sharing my story," she said. "I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school and there was only 5 percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin.
"But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was," she continued, "and that's what I would encourage women to do – young girls to do is find who they are."
She also explained how being Miss New York prepared her for her next job as Miss America.
"I have New York grit," said Franklin. "I have moved over five times because of subletting in New York. It can be a little difficult because of the pricey rent, but I've overcome that. And also, as a New Yorker, I understand what it takes to work hard. I came up on a Lincoln Center fellowship because I'm an artist, and I'm really excited to just share my platform my social impact advocating for the arts and make sure all students have access to a quality education." 
For her talent, Franklin sang "Quando m'en vo' " from the opera "La Boheme," dazzling Twitter with her vocal talent and a gleaming, strapless dress. 
"Miss New York nailed the talent competition!" one person on the social media site exclaimed.
Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei was the evening's first runner-up, Miss Louisiana Holli' Conway the second runner-up. Miss Florida Taylor Tyson was awarded third runner-up, while Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras was named the fourth runner-up. 
The other contestants rounding out the Top 15 were: Miss Minnesota Michaelene Karlen, Miss District of Columbia Allison Farris, Miss Colorado Ellery Jones, Miss Idaho Nina Forest, Miss Wisconsin Tianna Vanderhei, Miss Indiana Lydia Tremaine, Miss Washington Danamarie McNichol, Miss Nebraska Jessica Shultis, Miss Oklahoma Ashley Thompson and Miss Alabama Callie Walker.
Reigning Miss America Cara Mund was on-hand to crown Franklin. Mund has been at the center of a the organization's latest controversy. In August, she lashed out at the organization's CEO, Regina Hopper, and chair, Gretchen Carlson, in a five-page letter addressing her "Miss America Sisters." She claimed the leaders "silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis."
Mund appeared on "Today" Friday, and though she did not address Carlson by name, said those in charge should be replaced.
“I do think with the lack of confidence there does need to be a leadership change and I think it comes from more than one (individual)," she said. "I think it’s just the culture in general."
Carlson denied Mund's claims in a statement shared to Twitter a few days after the letter's release, which conveyed she was "surprised and saddened beyond words." 
"I also want to be clear that I have never bullied or silenced you," her statement read.
Source: USA Today, 9/10/2018

9.08.2018

Remembering Chelsi Smith - Miss Universe 1995

UPDATE (9/22/2018): The Chelsi Smith Foundation has been created by Chelsi's family and the Board of Directors to make grants and awards available to those charities and initiatives that were close to Chelsi's heart. Please consider donating via the official website: https://www.chelsismithfoundation.org/


________________________

     THE PAGEANT WORLD is mourning the loss of one of the most beloved beauty queens of all time, CHELSI SMITH, Miss Universe 1995. According to information posted on Facebook on September 8, 2018 by her mother, Mary D. Trimble, Chelsi had been suffering from a long illness (reportedly liver cancer).



     Shanna Moakler, who became Miss USA 1995 after Chelsi was crowned Miss Universe 1995, posted a touching tribute to the beloved beauty queen:





     I was totally shocked upon hearing her untimely passing. Her positive, witty, and humorous postings on her Facebook page hardly reflected the condition of a woman - who was still in her prime at 45 - suffering from a fatal disease. Like many of her fans who anxiously waited for her next Facebook post, I started wondering why she had stopped posting since mid-July. It was so uncharacteristic of her. 

     Chelsi friended me on Facebook on February 10, 2014. At first, I hesitated accepting her friend request because I was not sure whether I was dealing with an impostor or the real deal. I sent her a private message asking if she was the real Chelsi Smith and she quickly shot with "Haha! It's me sweets 🙂" I knew there and then that it was the real thing! I had always wanted to be friends with Chelsi - if not in real life, at least online. Chelsi was actually the first Miss Universe to have befriended me - and I was so thrilled that I would finally get to know her. She even started following Critical Beauty on Twitter. And I added her as a member to the Critical Beauty group on Facebook where she posted regularly. 

     There is a reason Chelsi had won Miss Congeniality twice - at Miss  Texas USA and at Miss USA: she was the epitome of warmth, ebullience, and pure unconditional love. She loved everyone - even some of her harshest critics like myself. I remember "fighting" with her over the issue of ideal weight for winning Miss Universe. We also debated gun control. In her rebuttals, she was neither confrontational nor egotistical. On the contrary, she always remained calm and gracious. And she would always end with a "love you!" or "hugs." 

     Then one day, she posted a YouTube link to a sizzle reel for a reality show which never materialized. The title of the reel is "The Reconstruction of former Miss Universe Chelsi Smith (Years 2009-2010)." The title swiftly piqued my interest: what is there to reconstruct about Chelsi Smith? She was Miss Universe, for Pete's sake! She had everything - beauty, talent, fame, and adoring fans. But something was missing: post-pageant luck. At 28, a failed marriage led to an ugly divorce. She gained 70 pounds. Her singing career never really took off. Her acting career was limited to insignificant bit parts. The face that could launch a thousand ships was essentially ignored by beauty-oriented magazines, even by the Miss Universe Organization who never invited her to judge. She became depressed, as past childhood issues returned to haunt her: bigotry due to her biracial identity, her father's schizophrenia, and a mother who abandoned her. Watch:


     We all have issues. We all have stories to tell. Chelsi's story may not be unique to itself, but it is remarkably relevant, universally poignant. We cannot help except lend pity to a tortured soul who, heroically, has consoled other tortured souls - online or in person.  After a year of chatting online, I finally met Chelsi in person in Miami Beach during the 63rd edition of Miss Universe held on January 25, 2015. Another beautiful soul, world-renowned fashion designer and pageant coach, Joey Galon, actually introduced me to her. My friend Héctor Joaquín Colón-González - who had never met Chelsi before either - and I decided to join Joey and Chelsi at a restaurant where the pair had just finished dining. 

     As soon as Chelsi saw me, she rushed to give me the biggest and warmest hug, coupled with a nice peck on the cheek. She made me feel... well... like some sort of royalty. She gave the same treatment to Héctor who quickly fell for her infectious vivaciousness. Later that night, we found ourselves cracking jokes, imitating silly pageant walks and poses, mocking dumb pageant contestants, and having a blast at a gay bar. One pageant fan, who was totally oblivious of the queen's presence, shrieked with joy when I introduced him to her. "Oh, my God! You're Chelsi Smith! I love you!!!" Two other guys recognized her and greeted her. Chelsi couldn't help but be amused by the attention she was getting from her gays.

JOEY GALON, CHELSI & ME  / PHOTO CREDIT: JOEY GALON FACEBOOK

     
     I recall Chelsi's proposal for a get-together in April 2015 to celebrate her 20th coronation anniversary as Miss USA 1995. Two months had elapsed but nothing occurred - at least not to my knowledge. On March 18, 2015, she sent me a private message on Facebook: 😉 Miss you, Rafa! Muah! On April 25, 2015, she messaged Héctor and me: Missin my boys 😘😘😘She sent me another note on July 20, 2015 asking me if I knew the date and venue of Miss Universe 2015 and I said no. She replied, Btw I MISS YOU!!!!! 

     Her last private message to me was on April 9, 2016: Sending LOVE!!!

     We lost touch with each other after this note.

     I wanted to think that she was doing okay, that she had gotten her groove back, that perhaps she had become too busy with new projects. I was missing her presence on social media. My news feed had been un-Chelsified. 

     Until yesterday afternoon.

     Chelsi has reappeared on my news feed. But it is no longer she. It is her beautiful, warm, congenial soul speaking through her infinite number of friends, fans, and loved ones.

     All of a sudden, the universe has gotten critically bigger, critically more beautiful, and critically much brighter. 

     Chelsi is here to stay. With us. In our minds, in our dreams, in our hearts. 

 By RAFA DELFIN, 9-9-2018


PHOTO CREDIT: CHELSI SMITH FACEBOOK


Correction: I had written that Chelsi had won Miss Congeniality at Miss Universe 1995. A fan wrote to me and said that this information was incorrect, and he was right. Chelsi won Miss Congeniality at Miss Texas USA 1995 and Miss USA 1995, not Miss Universe 1995. (Rafa Delfin, 9-13-2018)