Kentucky Wins Miss USA 2021


Elle Smith, Miss Kentucky USA 2021, was named Miss USA 2021 on Monday night at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Smith, 23, is a reporter for WHAS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Louisville. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in political science. 

As Miss USA, Smith will move on to compete in the 2021 Miss Universe pageant on Dec. 12 in Eilat, Israel.

At Monday’s pageant, which was televised by the A&E Network’s FYI channel, Smith was crowned by Miss USA 2020, Asya Branch. Smith bested 50 other contestants.

Miss North Dakota USA, Caitlyn Vogel, was the runner-up at the pageant on Monday. Miss Florida USA, Ashley Bareto, came in third. Miss Illinois USA, Sydni Bennett, took fourth place.

Smith begins a yearlong reign as Miss USA, with Los Angeles as her base. “For the duration of her reign, she will be engaged in red carpet experiences, networking opportunities, professional photo shoots, speaking engagements and more,” the Miss USA website says. “She will also have the opportunity to promote her personal platform alongside the charitable alliances of the Miss USA Organization.”

Here’s Smith’s biographical statement for Miss USA:

“I see being a journalist in America today as an honor, and a role I take very seriously because it is such an essential part of our society. Each day is different and challenging, but I have the opportunity to connect with my community and share new perspectives.

“In my free time, I enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants and attempting to cook. I would consider myself a creative, having grown up surrounded by all forms of the arts. My father is a photographer, so I love all things photography, videography and modeling (hello future career). My mother is a classically trained pianist, so I played viola, piano and sang. Music has been an integral part of my family life thanks to my late grandmother who sadly passed away in 2015 due to cervical cancer. She inspired me to advocate for cervical cancer awareness and prevention, a mission I will continue as Miss USA.”

If Smith becomes Miss Universe, she’ll cede the Miss USA title to the first runner-up.

Source: https://www.mlive.com/news/2021/11/miss-usa-2021-miss-kentucky-usa-takes-the-crown.html


Who Will Win Miss Grand International 2021?


This group chat was conducted via Zoom on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at 9:00 PM EST. My guests include Peter Sereno, Brian Rivera, Vagisha Mishra, Phil Pugeda and Ko Phanasa. We discuss the contestants and the happenings at Miss Grand International 2021, and we select our top 20, top10, and top 5 favorites for the crown. Click the banner to go to the link.

Florida Wins Miss Teen USA 2021


The new Miss Teen USA is Breanna Myles, 18, from Florida who was crowned November 27  at River Spirit Casino Report in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

1st runner-up - Hannah Gilliard - District of Columbia
2nd runner-up - Landry Davis - Texas
3rd runner-up - Yvonne Burke - Pennsylvania
4th runner-up - Ayzjiahna Wood - Utah

Completing the Top 16 semi-finalists were the representatives of California, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The new Miss Teen USA was born in Kentucky to a Dominican mother and African-American father and moved to Florida at age seven. She was raised in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and graduated from high school in 2021, with a dual enrollment associate degree from Indian River State College.

Prior to becoming Miss Teen USA, Breanna was attending Florida State University and studying computer science and musical theatre, with career aspirations of becoming a software engineer.

Source: https://www.pageantcircle.com/2021/11/florida-breanna-myles-wins-miss-teen-usa-2021.html



Is Miss SA Lalela Mswane Already In Israel For The Miss Universe Pageant?

Newly crowned Miss South Africa (Miss SA) Lalela Mswane is set on attending the 70th Miss Universe competition in Israel. This despite mounting pressure from politicians and citizens calling on her, and other beauty queens, to boycott the pageant.

The South African government publicly withdrew its support for the Miss South Africa pageant earlier in November.

In a statement in November Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa said Miss SA’s decision lacked “appreciation of the potential negative impact of such a decision on the reputation and future of a young black woman”.

“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented and government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such,” said Mthethwa.

Both Lalela and The Miss SA organisation have been refusing to buckle under the pressure, with the organisation continuing to show their support for Lalela to attend the Miss Universe competition.

“We stand united with you @lalela_mswane you have already made us so proud and we know you will continue to do so. We love and adore you,” the Miss SA organisation said on Saturday.

Social media users were left confused on Saturday afternoon after Lalela released a statement on Instagram informing fans that she is getting ready to prepare to represent South Africa at the 70th Miss Universe competition.

Israel restricted travel to and from South Africa and some neighbouring countries on Thursday, leading to fans wondering just how Miss SA will get to Israel, while others wondered if she could possibly already be there.

Lalela said that she is determined to serve South Africa in the best way she can, and that “there is no greater time to shed light on issues affecting women, to choose courage over comfort and to be steadfast in my beliefs regarding the advancement of women and our rights.”

“I view my participation in the pageant as a unique opportunity to not only do just that but to also be part of, and hopefully contribute to, a process of dialogue and peace.”

Lalela also took the time to thank all her supporters who “uplifted me and brought me joy and comfort during the lead up to this moment. I wish to compete with the support of South Africans and do my country proud,” she said.

The 2021 Miss Universe pageant will take place in Eilat, Israel on 12 December. 

By Xanet ScheepersAdditional reporting by Gareth Cotterell

Source: https://www.citizen.co.za/entertainment/celebrity-news/2931730/is-miss-sa-lalela-mswane-already-in-israel-for-miss-universe-pageant/


Belize Wins Miss Earth 2021


Destiny Wagner of Belize was crowned Miss Earth 2021, giving her country its first beauty title.

Wagner, 25, a graduate of Business Administration, manages her own business and the non-profit organization "Operation Kingdom" dedicated to combating child hunger and fighting for equal education.

Her advocacies are sustainability of marine life and the promotion of children's rights.

The Philippines' representative Naelah Alshorbaji made it until the semi-finals or the Top8.

Miss USA Marisa Butler bagged the Miss Earth-Air title, while Chile's Romina Denecken was proclaimed Miss Earth-Water.

The Miss Earth-Fire title went to Baitong Petsom of Thailand.

Completing the Top 8 were the delegates from the Netherlands, Russia, and Venezuela, and rounding off the Top 20 were the delegates from Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Colombia (who was also named Voter's Choice), Czech Republic, Denmark, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, and South Africa.

This year's international panel of judges included upcoming pop star Amel Rose, Nigerian environmentalist Desmond Majekodunmi, Carousel Productions Executive Vice President and Miss Earth co-founder Lorraine Schuck, international TV presenter Allan Wu, pageant blogger Davonna Finley, Philippine Stock Exchange COO Roel Refran, and American actress and TV host Adrienne Janic.

James Deakin returned to host the finals for the fifth year while Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco anchored a segment of the show.

Despite the non-traditional format, the organization was overwhelmed by the large turnout of participating countries and even welcomed the inclusion of the delegates from Iran and Syria who joined the pageant for the first time.

"The health and safety of the delegates have always been our top priority but we are hopeful that by next year, the global situation would not be as stringent and that we would be able to stage a live pageant once more," Schuck said.

Source: Manila Times, 11/21/2021


In Israel, Miss Universe Says Pageant No Place For Politics


ANDREA MEZA, MISS UNIVERSE 2020, The Associated Press

The reigning Miss Universe says the long-running beauty pageant being held in Israel next month shouldn’t be politicized

JERUSALEM -- The reigning Miss Universe said Wednesday the long-running beauty pageant shouldn't be politicized, even though its next edition is being held in Israel amid pressure on contestants to drop out in solidarity with the Palestinians.

The 70th Miss Universe pageant is being staged in the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat in December. Dozens of contestants from around the world will arrive there in the coming weeks to compete in national costumes, evening gowns and swimwear. They'll also have their public speaking prowess tested with a series of interview questions.

But the pageant is in the spotlight for being held in Israel amid boycott calls against the country over its treatment of the Palestinians. At least one country has already called off their participation.

“Everyone with different beliefs, with different backgrounds, with different cultures, they all come together and when you are in there you forget about politics, about your religion," Andrea Meza, the current Miss Universe, told The Associated Press ahead of a tour of Jerusalem's Old City, the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “It’s just about embracing other women.”

Hosting the show is a coup for Israel, which for years has been confronting a grassroots Palestinian-led international campaign calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions. Israel hopes the pageant will help draw tourists and project an image of Israel as a safe destination during the pandemic.

Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, has said Israel has been on the shortlist of host countries “due to its rich history, beautiful landscapes, myriad of cultures and appeal as a global tourist destination.”

But contestants are facing pressure to boycott the event and set aside hopes for the crown to make a political statement.

PACBI, a Palestinian activist group and founding member of the boycott movement, called on contestants to “do no harm to our struggle for freedom, justice and equality by withdrawing from the pageant.”

Citing COVID, Malaysia has announced it won't send a contestant. And South Africa’s government said it was withdrawing support for the country's representative over her participation in the event.

“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented,” the government said in a statement, adding that it “cannot in good conscience associate itself with such.”

Both countries are strong supporters of the Palestinians.

Israel's Foreign Ministry declined to comment and requests for comment to the country's Tourism Ministry, which hosted Meza's visit to the Old City on Wednesday, were unanswered.

The boycott movement’s impact has been a mixed bag. It has notched a number of successes over the years, with major artists like Lorde and Lana Del Ray cancelling appearances because of Israel’s policies. But big stars still have made stops in Israel and major events like the Eurovision song contest - which included a performance by Madonna - have been held in the country despite high-profile boycott calls.

The Miss Universe pageant will draw contestants from Morocco and the United Arab Emirates - Arab countries that recently normalized ties with Israel.

The boycott movement, known as BDS, promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israeli institutions and businesses in what it says is a nonviolent campaign against Israeli abuses against Palestinians.

Israel says the campaign is an effort to delegitimize and even destroy the country, and claims its motives are anti-Semitic. BDS leaders deny allegations of anti-Semitism, saying their campaign is against Israeli policies.

Meza said she didn't fault women who wanted to sit out this year's contest but she said she had no problem with the competition being held in Israel.

Jerusalem's Old City, home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, lies at the heart of the decades-long conflict. Israel captured east Jerusalem, including the Old City, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war.

Israel later annexed east Jerusalem — a move not internationally recognized — and considers the entire city its capital. The Palestinians seek all three territories for a future independent state, with east Jerusalem as their capital.

Wearing a flowing, full-length dress with flat sandals, Meza meandered through the mostly empty cobblestoned alleyways of the Old City, stopping to peek into shops as a media scrum followed. Vendors, unaccustomed to seeing throngs since the onset of the pandemic, stared and wondered aloud about the attention Meza was drawing.

Meza, who is a software engineer, said she was “just a girl,” from a small town in Mexico who was not a “perfect and flawless” beauty queen. She said she had worked hard to become Miss Universe and that the competition wasn't only about parading women in bikinis but also about testing their intelligence.

Asked if she could offer a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, she said she didn't believe in violence and that communication was key.

“People have to make compromises and I really hope that we can make this through talking and conversation,” she said.

Source: ABC News, 11/17/2021


Interview With Lindsey Coffey - Miss Earth 2020 - A Few Days Before Her Reign Ends


Miss Earth 2020 Lindsey Coffey’s reign will end on November 21 when she crowns her successor. Lindsey has been an amazing Miss Earth and she will be greatly missed. I had the privilege of chatting with her early today and this chat was no different from the first chat we had a few weeks before she was crowned Miss Earth. Lindsey was down-to-earth and relatable then as she is today. Very rare are queens who take their platform seriously and to another level as Lindsey has done in 2021.


Miss Colombia 2021 Crowned

 Valentina Espinosa Guzmán, representing the state of Bolívar, was crowned Señorita Colombia 2021 on November 15. The 23-year-old journalist and model will represent Colombia in the next edition of Miss Supranational.

The "Virreina" or Vice-Queen is Miss Quindío, Natalia López Cardona, a 22-year-old law student. First runner-up was Miss Huila, Karen Ortiz Díaz; the second runner-up was Miss Chocó, Lucía Cuesta, and the third runner-up was Miss Sucre, Yamile Dajud.

Source: Colombia.com, 11/15/2021


Miss Universe Morocco 2021 Replaced

Three days ago, Fatima Zahra Khayat was crowned Miss Universe Morocco 2021. But today it was announced that she had an accident that required putting a brace around her lower right leg. She had to relinquish her crown to her first runner-up, Kawtar Benhalima.  Kawtar is 22, hails from Marrakech, and has a degree in business administration.

The director of Miss Universe Morocco, Saad Bennani, did not elaborate on the details of the accident. On the official Instagram account of Miss Universe Morocco, the following note was posted:

"We are really sad to announce that @fzius will be renouncing her title as Miss Universe Morocco by medical dispensation due to an accident and her disability to represent the country in optimal conditions in the coming weeks."


Photo credits: SNRTNEWS.COM

Miss Universe Brazil 2021 Crowned

Teresa Santos, 23, representing the state of Ceará, was crowned Miss Universo Brasil 2021.

The competition was filmed on November 7, 2021 on board the MSC Preziosa, a cruise ship, and aired on November 9. But in order to preserve the secrecy of the results before its airdate, crowning moments for all three finalists were filmed, while only the one of the winner was aired.

Santos, a psychology student, model and businesswoman will now represent Brazil at the 70th edition of the Miss Universe competition on December 12 in Eilat, Israel. The 2020 titleholder Julia Gama was not invited to crown her successor due to a dispute with the pageant organizer.

Piauí’s Gabriela Lacerda and Sergipe’s Carol Valença placed first and second runners-up, respectively.

I honestly hate this type of twist in any pageant. Why put the audience and the contestants in suspense for two days before the actual winner is announced? 

This was Santos's second attempt to win the crown (the first was in 2018 when she placed third.) She now has only less than 20 days to prepare for her trip to Israel where Miss Universe 2021 will take place. 



Miss Universe Morocco 2021 Crowned


Fatima-Zahra Khayat, a 26-year-old financial auditor living in Paris, was crowned Saturday night by Miss Universe Spain 2021 Sarah Loinaz. Fourteen young women competed in the revival of pageant. The last time Morocco competed in Miss Universe was 43 years ago in 1978 with Majida Tazi.


Philippines Wins Miss Globe 2021


Maureen Montagne of the Philippines has just been crowned The Miss Globe 2021 in Albania. Mabuhay! The 28-year-old Filipina bested over 45 contestants to win the crown.

Her court includes:

1st RP - Nigeria - Esther Ogechi Gabriel
2nd RP - Turkey - Melike Bali
3rd RP - Venezuela - Jhosskaren Carrizo Orozco
4th RP - Canada - Hailey Hamelin-Wilson

👉🏽I think Philippines had already been selected as the winner before the pageant even began. Immediately after the top 5 Q & A, the male judge came up on stage and read the results from the cards that the host was handing to him. There was NO deliberation of the judges. Just sayin’. Nevertheless, Maureen deserves the crown. 👸🏼

This is the third International crown that the Philippines has won within five weeks. On October 3, Alexandra Faith Garcia won Miss Aura International 2021 in Turkey, followed by Cinderella Obeñita winning Miss Intercontinental 2021 in Egypt on October 29.


Our Early Favorites For Miss Universe 2021


The Critical Beauty Gang selects its early favorites for Miss Universe 2021 pageant which takes place in Eilat, Israel on December 12. Click the banner to go to the link.

Our Early Favorites For Miss Grand International 2021


The Critical Beauty Gang selects its early favorites for Miss Grand International 2021 pageant which takes place on December 4 in Phuket, Thailand. The pageant's headquarters is based in Thailand. Click banner to go to the link.