7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Miss Universe Pageant

Little-known facts about the politics behind the beauty competition

We felt for Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, when she was mistakenly announced as the winner of the Miss Universe 2015 contest yesterday in a terrible gaffe by host Steve Harvey (seriously, did the man need glasses or something?).

A pageant contestant’s worst nightmare unravelled on stage as millions around the world watched the crown being taken off Gutierrez’s head and placed on correct winner Miss Philippines’ instead. Needless to say, the news was all over social media in minutes, bringing more attention to the competition than it’s had in years. 

But are pageants really the outdated, boring business many now perceive they are? These colourful Miss Universe facts prove otherwise.


This latest win by Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, ends a wait of 42 years for the title by the Philippines after the 1973 win of Margarita “Margie” Moran.


At 26, Wurtzbach is among the three oldest women to have won the Miss Universe title. The latest official rules of the pageant state that candidates must be between 18 and 26 years old.


The US leads the list of countries with the most number of Miss Universe titles with eight wins. Its last win was in 2012, courtesy of Olivia Culpo. It’s followed by Venezuela with seven titles, Puerto Rico with five, and the Philippines with three.


Harvey’s gaffe actually isn’t the first time the wrong winner has been announced. The same thing happened in 2013 during Canada’s Miss Universe competition, when Denise Garrido was announced as the winner. She was actually 3rd runner-up. Unlike yesterday’s awkward situation, however, Garrido was informed a day after the pageant, which saved her a great deal of embarrassment in comparison.


Donald Trump owned 100 per cent of the Miss Universe organisation for a short period in September this year before selling it just three days after his acquisition, in a surprise business move. Trump is also apparently overjoyed, after yesterday’s mishap, that he’s no longer associated with the pageant.


With a stake in the organisation since 1996, Trump has been involved in quite a few pageant controversies. In one, he reportedly called 1996’s Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado - who gained 42 pounds in less than a year after her win - an “eating machine”.


There’s a serious side to all that pageantry. Miss Lebanon 2014, Saly Greige, and Miss Israel 2014, Doron Matalon, sparked controversy after posing together for a selfie earlier this year. Lebanon’s government forbids its citizens from making contact with Israelis, with the two countries still technically at war.

Sources: Rappler.com, Thedailypedia.com

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