#Nostalgia: Miss Universe 1992 Michelle McLean

19 year old Michelle McLean was an international model when she joined Miss Universe and was already a 6-year-veteran of the modelling world. Standing statuesque at 6’0″, she is considered among  the tallest winners of the pageant (the other two being Wendy Fitzwilliam and Amelia Vega).

Held in Bangkok, Thailand, The 1992 Miss Universe pageant was a lavish production that included elephants, a gorgeous stage and the little sisters of Thailand. That year, it was Venezuela’s Carolina Iszak, Colombia’s Paola Turbay and USA’s Shannon Marketic were the favorites for the title. Michelle, who was fresh from her top 5 placement in Miss World the year prior was considered a darkhorse due to her country’s weak sash factor. That didn’t stop her from doing her best in the competition though as she was #2 overall in the preliminaries.

Did you know that Michelle  placed second in the preliminaries of both Miss World and Miss Universe behind a Venezuelan? In 1991, Michelle tied at second place with the South African delegate to 1st placer Ninibeth Leal of Venezuela. Ninibeth later went on to win the Miss World title that year. Then in 1992, at the preliminaries of Miss Universe, Michelle also placed 2nd to Venezuela’s Carolina Iszak.

At the finals, she consistently performed in all three rounds and was #4 overall which boosted her into the top six. She then delivered well during the question and answer segments which earned her the MU crown. In one of the q&a in the finals she said, “my priority would be with the children, because they are the foundation of every nation.” It is that same promise that she kept after her reign when she founded the Michelle McLean Children’s Trust in 1992 and built the Michelle McLean Primary School in Windhoek, Namibia in the year 2000.

In 1998 Michelle was recognized by Donald Trump, then owner of the Miss Universe Organization, and presented with The Life Time Achievement Award for her philanthropy work.


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