Pageant History >> History of Miss Universe® Pageant
In 1952, the first Miss Universe® Pageant was held in Long Beach, California.
The pageant was started almost on a whim, after the newly-crowned Miss America 1951 Yolande Betbeze, refused to pose in a swimsuit publicity shots for the pageant’s major business sponsor, Catalina swimsuits. of the Since Catalina had been supplying the swimsuits for Miss America contestants for years, company executives were understandably upset.
Former Miss America Jacque Mercer offhandedly quipped to Catalina president E.B. Stewart, “Why don’t you start your own pageant?”, planting the seeds for its eventual rival. Catalina, started planning the “Miss Universe” beauty contest to promote its line of swimsuits.
In 1952, Catalina held its first Miss Universe pageant with thirty American women competing for the first Miss USA title, which is won by New York’s Jackie Lougherty, and twenty-nine international contestants competing for the first Miss Universe title. Actress Piper Laurie crowned the first winner, Finland’s Armi Kuusela. The beauty contests quickly became a highly popular annual event.
In 1962, Miss Haiti achieved an historic first when she became the first black woman to make the semi-finals at the Miss Universe Pageant.
1972, via satellite, for the first time from Dorado, Puerto Rico
In 1973, for the first time ever, the Miss Universe pageant was broadcast live around the world via satellite from Dorado, Puerto Rico. The event launched the tradition of Miss Universe pageants being televised live from exotic locations around the globe.
The following year, the pageant was broadcast live from the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Given the extraordinary historic setting the broadcast was breathtakingly beautiful, and is still considered to be one of the most stunning pageant broadcasts ever televised.
In 1977, Janelle Commissiong, Miss Trinidad-Tobago, broke racial barriers when she was named Miss Universe 1977, making her the first black woman to be named Miss Universe. Ironically, a year later, when she returned to crown her successor, Commissiong found herself crowning a white Miss South Africa, Margaret Gardiner as Miss Universe 1978.
In 1995, during the first Miss Universe Pageant held in Africa, Miss USA, Chelsi Smith, became the first bi-racial woman to win the Miss Universe title.
In 1996, business legend Donald Trump bought the three sister pageants – Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and began the process of modernizing and glamorizing the triple crown system.
In 2001, Oksana Fyodorova, a police lieutenant from Saint Petersburg, Russia, became the first Miss Russia to win the Miss Universe title.
On September 23rd, 2002, Fyodorova was stripped of her title for reportedly failing to fulfill her duties, although officials were somewhat unclear about the details.
Fedorova claimed that no one had informed her of the demanding schedule she would have to deal with if she won the Miss Universe title. Justine Pasek, Miss Universe Panama, assumed her duties as Miss Universe 2002.
In June 2013, pageant owner Donald Trump announced that the 2013 Miss Universe® Pageant would be held in Russia.
In September 2015, WME | IMG today announced the acquisition of The Miss Universe Organization, which includes MISS UNIVERSE®, MISS USA®, and MISS TEEN USA®, from Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump had acquired NBCUniversal’s interest in The Miss Universe Organization as part of the settlement of his litigation against NBCUniversal.
In 2015, one of the pageant endured what was possibly its greatest public embarrassment of recent years when popular host Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong contestant as the Miss Universe winner. Miss Columbia, Ariadna Gutierrez, had been crowned and was taking her victory walk as Harvey interrupted to announce that he had made a mistake Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, (Philippines) was actually the winner.
(Photos below are by by Patrick Prather, © IMG Universe LLC)
There was a horribly awkward moment as a stunned Miss Columbia, removed the crown. The camera zoomed in on the face of Philippines who was understandably uncertain of what had transpired. Wurtzbach was led to center stage and crowned Miss Universe 2015.
For obvious reasons, the mistake create an uproar in the media, particularly in Columbia, where there was a massive outpouring of sympathy for Gutierrez. Despite his massive mistake, Harvey’s popularity won the day and the host was invited back to host the next year – where Pia made a point of walking onstage moments before the announcement of her successor to hand Harvey a pair of thick eyes glasses.
Moments later, Iris Mittenaere, Miss Universe France 2016, was crowned Miss Universe at the conclusion The 65th Miss Universe® Pageant, telecast from the Philippines.
Pageant Results > Miss Universe Pageant
- Miss Universe 2016 – Iris Mittenaere, Miss France
- Miss Universe 2015 – Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Philippines
- Miss Universe 2014 – Miss Universe Colombia, Paulina Vega
- Miss Universe 2013 – Gabriela Isler, Miss Venezuela
- Miss Universe 2012 – Olivia Culpo, Miss USA
- Miss Universe 2011 – Leila Lopes, Miss Angola
- Miss Universe 2010 – Jimena Navarrete, Miss Mexico
- Miss Universe 1970 – Marisol Malaret, Miss Puerto Rico
- Miss Universe 1961 – Marlene Schmidt, Miss Germany
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