Miss International Increases Age Limit to 27

We’re sure you’ve heard the rumors that the Miss International pageant has increased their age limits from 26 to 27 for 2019. We’re here to say that we’ve seen that IG story from the official Instagram account of the pageant.
And while this this is indeed a great news for all, it is best not to get our hopes up until it has been officially announced.

The @missinternationalofficial posted a very simple but straightforward message:
Miss International 2019 age limit – 18 to 27 #BeInformed
That in itself seems to be a confirmation that the age requirements have been raised but there hasn’t been an official announcement on their website so far.
For years the Miss International has stuck to the 24 y/o ceiling for the Tokyo-based pageant while other pageants have increased their ceiling to 27. It is a welcome change that we see more 27 year olds being given a chance at Miss International specially with the Women’s Forum where ladies with ages 23-26 have more life experiences to talk about versus those in their teens and early 20’s.
This will also make MI alongside Miss Universe to be the 2 Alpha pageants that will allow 27 year olds in their competition. This will likely increase the number of women eligible for the national titles and hence for the international contest.

This blogger’s interpretation of this is the fact that the MIOrg may be looking for a true “international woman” who will be a voice for women’s issues and will be professional in performing her duties. Hence this is reflected in their choice of winner this 2018. It also aligns to the organization’s Instagram hashtag #CheerAllWomen. They might be looking at someone that has enough life experience to reach out to a wider female audience who are accomplished in their respective fields. The MIOrg is an active donor of the UNICEF and other charities that benefit women in children around the world. Thus is goes to say that they are simply aligning their pool of contestants to those who can speak in behalf of women and children around the globe.
I very much welcome this development. This blogger believes that it is highly time for women in their mid to late 20’s be allowed to participate in pageants and have their voice and perspectives be heard even if it is just in beauty pageants…

2018 Year End Special Report – Alpha Pageant Ranking

Who are the most successful countries in the 4 Alpha pageants after all the winners are named this year? We got the list updated just for you!

This year is a hallmark year for pageants as sash factor countries continue to reap crowns and placements one after another. Mexico has climbed up to number 12 on the ranking with 5 crowns and 14 runner up placements after Vanessa Ponce’s win as Miss World and Melissa Flores’ victory as Miss Earth – Fire. However it is not enough to make it into the top 10 list and ties with Germany at the same spot. Spain is number 11 with 5 wins and 17 runner up finishes.

10. Colombia – 5 crowns & 28 runner up placements
9. Sweden – 6 crowns & 14 runner up placements
8. Brazil – 6 crowns & 37 runner up placements
7. United Kingdom (GB & England) – 7 crowns & 21 runner up placements
6. Australia – 7 crowns & 26 runner up placements

5. Puerto Rico – 9 crowns & 11 runner up placements
4. India – 9 crowns & 15 runner up placements
3. USA – 14 crowns & 59 runner up placements
2. Philippines– 15 crowns & 22 runner up placements
1. Venezuela – 23 crowns & 43 runner up placements

Philippines’ Catriona Gray’s win as Miss Universe 2018 managed to push USA from the 2nd spot. Powerhouse Venezuela kept on piling up it’s lead after Mariem Velazco won as Miss International and Sthefany Gutierrez managed a 2nd runner up placement in MU.

Best Miss Universe 2018 Review by Youtube Vloggers

One of the fun parts of pageantry is getting to know the thoughts and opinions of key personalities post-pageant finals. This year’s Miss Universe pageant is arguably the one with the most number of reviews online specially with Youtube.

For the most part I follow the YT channels of beauty queens Dani Walker (Miss Montana – USA 2018), Lauren Howe (Miss Universe Canada 2017), Nia Sanchez (Miss Universe 2014 1st runner up & Miss USA 2014), Sierra Bearchell (Miss Universe Canada 2016), and Susie Castillo & Shandi Finessey (Miss USA 2003 and Miss USA 2004). I follow only a handful of pageant experts on Youtube simply because I would rather have the opinions of those who have been into the pageant as they could offer additional information and perspective that we might not see.
Today’s blogpost centers on three of the best Vlog post on Youtube that I found. These two are the ones that shared the best reviews with the most interesting and valuable insights.
Dani Walker & Regina Gray

Lauren Howe

PS. we are still waiting for Nia Sanchez to reveal her Miss Universe recap as she has one of the best Youtube channels in terms of pageantry content…

A Change of Miss Universe Franchise Owners

The year 2018 is one of those years that we see major changes in the national franchise holders and national directors handling the Miss Universe franchise of their respective countries. Whether we like it or not, change is constant and big money is usually involved in these kinds of decisions.
This post explores the major franchise turnovers and battles that has happened in 2018.

Miss Universe Puerto Rico, WapaTV & Denise Quiñones – one of the most shocking stories of a franchise takeover was that of Desiree Lowry and WapaTV. It was reported on Spanish-language news websites that the decision to award the franchise to WapaTV was from the Miss Universe Organization itself. Speculations arose that a higher bid and a home network were some of the factors that were considered in the change of franchise. Denise was later named national director after talks between Desiree and WapaTV fell apart. Since then Denise and the new team instituted several changes in the requirements for joining MUPR such as the 6-month residency requirements, PR-nationality status of the candidates’ parents, etc…

Miss Universe Thailand, TPN – rumor is circulating that TPN has acquired the Miss Universe Thailand license for the 2019 edition. Unconfirmed reports have it that the MUOrg was impressed with the way TPN came in to save the MU2019 pageant after the original license holder (TW Investments) wasn’t able to put up the pageant. If this piece of gossip is true, one of the changes that is said to be put in place is allowing past MUT runners up and semi-finalists to join again in the pageant.
If this pushes through then it would be a great news for Thai fans of past MUT runners up as this would provide some sort of hope for another shot at their Miss Universe dreams. Continue reading “A Change of Miss Universe Franchise Owners”

Miss Universe 2018: The Q&A Sessions

The Miss Universe top 5 Q&A looked to be a very strong tough group. More so when they started answering questions asked of them that were political in nature.
Here are the two Q&A rounds of the Miss Universe pageant.

Question: What would you say to someone who believes that pageants are archaic and against the feminist movement?
Venezuela: Nowadays, we live in an era which we have advanced greatly. Beauty pageants are not just about beauty, they’re about sensitivity and having a heart. And in beauty pageants, we can show that women like me can achieve any dream that we may have in the world.
Question: Do you think countries should limit the number of refugees allowed across their borders?
South Africa: I think that every country should have their own rules and regulations but for a thriving society and for all of us to stand together, we have to understand that we are all human. We should be open to loving, accepting each other.
Question: Why is freedom of the press important?
Puerto Rico: The press is there to inform us, their job is to give us news of what’s happening in the world right now. They should have a total freedom to be able to report exactly what’s happening. Without forgetting that they have to sympathy because there are a lot of people suffering in the world.

Now here’s a real shocker for you. Did you know that starting in Miss USA earlier this year, all the candidates were given a list of topics that may be asked for the pageant’s finals? Same goes with the Miss Universe this year where a list of possible question topics are advised to the ladies. This is possibly one of the reasons why there was no boo-boos during the Q&A sessions of the pageant this year.
With that in mind I hope the rest of the Alpha pageants will take note of that for their respective finals to avoid boo-boos during the live telecast.

The Colors of Siam: Miss Universe 2018 Theme Song

I have had a lot of requests for the Miss Universe 2018 theme song to be featured in the blog or on one of our social media accounts. While I could not share the mp3 file freely, the best I can do is to share the song through posts from Youtube.

The Miss Universe 2018 theme were re-created (composed, arranged and produced) by Music Director Dodge Mukapol Chantarawong though TPN & UnknownArea : Music Production. TPN as we all know was the main sponsor of the MU pageant in Thailand this year. There are two versions of the 2018 theme: The Main theme and the Party Version. These two themes were used in the preliminaries of the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok earlier this month.

Both versions of the official Miss Universe 2018 theme song ‘The Colors Of Siam’ can now be downloaded at the links below:
iTunes ► https://apple.co/2A4NKHu
JOOX ► https://bit.ly/2A54lLi
Spotify ► https://spoti.fi/2S4XLLH
YouTube ► https://bit.ly/2Ra7Auw
Apple Music ► https://apple.co/2SaEZm2
DEEZER ► https://bit.ly/2V3dY64

Enjoy these two new themes aside from the original 10 remixes of the Miss Universe theme composed by Wayne Sharpe!

The Miss Universe Review Pt.3

Today’s post will be the last of a three-part review of the Miss Universe 2018 pageant. In this post, we will be talking about the stage and production of the MU competition.
Another fair warning as this is a long read and we will try to cover everything that we can in this last installation of our Miss Universe 2018 review.

Stage Design
One of the better stages in the past four years is the one in Bangkok. This year’s X-shaped runway was utilized to its fullest with 94 competitors for the Mikimoto crown. LED screens comprise of the backdrop of the entire stage. To be completely honest, I am tired of  the LED screen backdrop. Give me back those well built sets and stages that reflect the country’s culture like the one in Moscow in 2013 or the Bangkok 2005 stage. LED screens make it modern and up to date, but they feel cold and impersonal. The set stages bring elements of fantasy/ imagination and hence gives off a more humanizing and personalized feel.

Continue reading “The Miss Universe Review Pt.3”

Angela Ponce Receives Standing Ovation at Miss Universe 2018

We are all human beings and that we must make all our lives easier together. That reality for many people is going to change. If i can give that to the world, I don’t need to win Miss Universe, I only need to be here.” – Angela Ponce, Miss Universe Spain

One of the best moments in the Miss Universe pageant was the special segment dedicated to the first transwoman to compete, Spain’s Angela Ponce. She was given an entire segment of her own, something that became much more important than making semifinalist in the pageant. Her landmark participation in the pageant brings into fruition a rule that has been in place since 2012: a rule made by the Miss Universe organization to allow transwomen in the pageant.

Angela suffered massive bullying from pageant fans all over the world. And despite that, all she seemed to want is to be treated equally with respect as everybody else in the competition. A call to be respected as a human being. Watching her video during the live telecast pulled on heartstrings of the audience.  Angela was given a standing ovation during the live telecast of the pageant. Even the all-women panel of judges gave her a standing ovation, a rarity given to a non-placer in the pageant.
IMHO, fans who would say “I respect the LGBTQ community but…” doesn’t respect the LGBTQ community at all. Because acceptance, understanding and tolerance should never be conditional. It is akin to extending an invite to people with less financial means to a high-end buffet only to say to them that they can attend but not partake of the food. Equality means each and everyone can partake of what is offered.

The fact that the MUOrg recognized her in a very public manner during the pageant gives validation to the transgender community she is representing in the pageant. No amount of haters or bashers could take  that away from her now. The MUOrg validates her participation and there is nothing haters can do about that.  With the Miss Universe acknowledging the historical significance of Angela’s participation in their pageant, I hope that those with myopic world-view, those with internalized homophobia, and those with less love to share would open their minds and eyes to the reality that the LGBTQ community is as diverse as the population of the world. I want to end up this conversation with a single popular LGBTQ hastag: #NoH8

The Miss Universe Review Pt.2

This second installment of the Miss Universe review is a tough one to write. Simply because today’s post deals with the ladies who missed the cut…. the recipients of the El Tocuyo award and the ladies that should have made it.
I understand that pageants are subjective and that there are differences in opinions on who should have made it but during the Miss Universe 2018 pageant, one thing was made clear: Attitude counts! Respect and humility should be practiced always. Specially in the Kingdom of Thailand…

The El Tocuyo award should be renamed the “Meldy Habach” award because the three recipients were all rumored to have shown “less than pleasant” behaviour during the pageant. Some were caught on camera, others were being gossiped about by the press who watched their behaviour in public like a hawk.
Three girls are recipients of this year’s El Tocuyo award: Colombia’s Valeria Morales, Ecuador’s Virginia Limongi and Mexico’s Andrea Toscano. Valeria’s case of non-inclusion is a bit tricky to discuss as hers was more of rumors having an attitude going around the press who covered the event. Aside from the rumored ‘attitude’, her public statement against transwomen competing in MU probably also cost her a spot as well. The ladies who expressed publicly that transwomen have no place in Miss Universe were all left out of the semis (Russia included). Virginia’s  “la pobreza hotel/ poor hotel” statement went viral in the Latino pageant community and was discussed ad verbatim in countless debates. Andrea’s expression against the food in Thailand was also seen in bad taste. Each host country are extending their best to these girls and the least they can do is to show a little more gratitude and a little less attitude.

There were also a couple of ladies that made top 20 who weren’t able to advance further in the competition. Said ladies are rumored to also have had social faux pas that involved cultural insensitivity and throwing a bit of attitude/ shade to other girls in the competition. It is not sure if that factored in their non-inclusion on the top 10 considering that they were favorites in the competition.
Of course we will also be talking about the deserving ladies who should have made first cut. But first let me be the one to say that those who made top 20 didn’t have much diversity in terms of body diversity. Where are the curvy and athletic bodies in the semis? The top 20 all looked model proportions to me and that is not quite something I’d expect in a pageant that celebrates diversity.
El Salvador, Marisela de Montecristo – this Nuestra Belleza Latina winner was one of the ladies that we were anticipating to make semis this year. We think that the continental grouping had slimmed her chances of making semis.
Peru, Romina Lozano – one of the underrated Latinas who could have made it into the semis. This leggy beauty could have easily glided through the competition with her smooth pasarela.
Kenya, Wabaiya Kariuki – one of the ladies I immediately fell in love with because of her personality and infectious smile. Had it been that she were crowned months earlier, she could have made semis easily as she had all the goods. Raw potential this one was and a good training program would have made her stand out in the competition.
Denmark, Helena Heuser – even if she made great during the interviews, I was disappointed in the preliminary styling she had. Her hairstyling didn’t do justice to her gorgeous face. She could have easily been one of the girls in the top 20 with that kind of face.

There are other ladies that could have made semis like Albania, India, Sri Lanka and Nicaragua. Anyone of these ladies would be a great addition to the semis over some Europeans that didn’t even made a dent in anybody’s memory during the entire duration of the pageant.

Spain’s Angela Ponce will have a separate discussion on her non-inclusion…

New Miss Universe Philippines Franchise?

This marks the end of an era?
Since a couple of days ago, I have been inundated by questions regarding the rumors about the Miss Universe Philippines franchise being transferred to another organization.
Try as I may, I couldn’t squeeze out from such issue. As a pageant blogger, it has been difficult not to be in the middle of such crossfire. This is a long post and I hope you have patience to read through.

Like anything else the transfer of franchise will always be a business decision. A year or two ago, we already have heard of news about a takeover of the Philippine franchise. This year seems to be more than just rumors with more concrete names being involved. Am I surprised? No. Why? Because I’ve seen that before. Earlier this year we’ve seen WapaTV take over the Miss Universe Puerto Rico franchise from Desirée Lowry. And that was a business decision by the Miss Universe Organization.
Nowadays, the MUOrg have to be self-sustaining as a business unit of the WME|IMG – Endeavor group of companies. They need to hustle for revenues to self-sustain the organization and let’s face it, national franchise is one of their income generating activities.

Desiree Lowry back when she held the Miss Universe PR franchise…

Continue reading “New Miss Universe Philippines Franchise?”

The Miss Universe Review Pt.1

The most accurate predictions I’ve gotten so far in Miss Universe and easily one of the best staging of the pageant since Moscow 2013. This is Sashes&Scripts’ Miss Universe 2018 review!

My decision to fly last minute to Bangkok for the pageant paid off. I really didn’t intended to fly to watch the pageant this year because I was hell-bent to finish my teaching and social media commitments  in my current jobs. But a great deal in Thai Airways got me going to the Land of Smiles for the Miss Universe 2018 pageant! With such a short time in Bangkok, I’ve decided to enjoy the stay and be surprised for the finals by staying away from the pageant rehearsals. It was such a refresher that I enjoyed it more than any other recent pageant editions combined!
For the pageant review, I have to break it down into several parts so as to accommodate all the things I wanted to discuss. By now I think that everyone has read somebody else’s review but I would like to throw my own into the mix. Today’s post will all be about the ladies… so let’s begin!

Continue reading “The Miss Universe Review Pt.1”

The Philippines’ Winning Streak Continues!

2013 to 2018 – Six continuous years of the Philippines winning one Alpha pageant crown after another!
This decade has to be the “winning-est” decade for the country in pageantry. In such a short amount of time the country has amassed 8 major titles from Miss Earth, Miss World, Miss International and Miss Universe! Not even pageant powerhouse Venezuela has achieved such successive wins.

The recent Miss Universe win of Catriona Gray cements the country as the premier pageant powerhouse not only in Asia but in the world. With Catriona’s  4th Miss Universe win, the Philippines has moved to the 2nd with the United States falling behind to number 3. The US has a lead however on the number of runner up placements with 50+ runner up positions on all four Alpha pageants! Catriona’s win has also placed the Philippines among the top 4 countries with the most Miss Universe winners after USA, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.
2013 – Miss International, Bea Rose Santiago
– Miss World, Megan Young
2014 – Miss Earth, Jamie Herrell
2015 – Miss Earth, Angelia Gabrena Ong
– Miss Universe, Pia Wurztbach
2016 – Miss International, Kylie Verzosa
2017 – Miss Earth, Karen Ibasco
2018 – Catriona Elisa Gray

The Philippines would need 9 more crowns to be number 1. It would still be a bit far to narrow the gap with Venezuela’s impressive 23 Alpha pageant titles. But hope is something we can hold on to for that day to come…

Sashes&Scripts Miss Universe 2018 Final Leaderboard

This is the final Leaderboard for the Miss Universe 2018 pageant.

But before we reveal the list of names let’s discuss something about the continental groupings this year. I love having a top 20 though I find it a bit excessive. Personally, a top 18 or 16 would suffice. While commend the Miss Universe Org for trying to be as diverse in their selection of a top 20, I do not like how Africa and Asia-Pacific is lumped into one group. Those three areas represent and offer a very diverse set of beauty and it is like lumping together into one group women of color to select from. As compared to Europe whose predominantly white Caucasian population immediately guarantees 5 (possibly) white Caucasians into the top 20. Compare that to the Africa/Asia-Pacific group where there are also countries like Australia, New Zealand, Israel, etc… who could easily look European. Like in the previous year, America is served underhanded as there are more than 7 girls who we believe could really make a killing at the semis. I believe that the wildcard picks will mostly comprise of ladies from the Americas as well as the Africa/Asia-Pacific group.  Continue reading “Sashes&Scripts Miss Universe 2018 Final Leaderboard”

Final Thoughts on Miss Universe 2018 Candidates Pt.3

This is our final thoughts on the last batch of ladies that have been considered as major Miss Universe frontrunners.
To each of these ladies’ credits, they have been on the pageant’s spotlight since they won their respective national titles. So it is not a surprise to have them as frontrunners and favorites-to-win in the Miss Universe pageant.

Miss Colombia, Valeria Morales – when God gave away gorgeous genes, I feel that she gave much of it to Valeria. IMHO, she is facially the best girl that Colombia has sent to the Miss Universe pageant since Carolina Gomez, Catalina Acosta and Taliana Vargas. And yes I’d dare say she looks much more commercially beautiful that MU Paulina Vega and that she seems to be in the same league as the Victoria’s Secret Angels. I do however have an issue with the way she comes across with less energy and warmth. But that may just be a personal bias as I’ve seen how Laura Gonzalez, Ariadna Gutierrez and Paulina Vega were in previous years.That doesn’t change my opinion though that she is still one of the ladies that is expected to make a killing in the MU pageant this December 16/17th. Valeria will be hell-bent to continue the top 3 placement of Colombia in Miss Universe, and I feel she will!
Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray – she is all in. Taking away my biases since I am friends with the team that prepared her, I feel that she is it. And this is her final shot so she has no other choice but to give it all. I feel that the crown is hers to loose and I doubt she will just give out that chance easily. She is a media darling since the day she announced her application at Binibining Pilipinas. And she has been the talk of the town even in Bangkok. It also feels as if she is Thailand’s adopted representative to the Miss Universe pageant with all the exposure she has. I feel that this is Alicia Machado scenario all over again. Alicia dominated every aspect of the 1996 pageant that only the runner up positions were up for grabs in the finals. Same is the case I feel with Catriona.
Miss Spain, Angela Ponce – is it ludicrous to feel that she might be one of the ladies who will stand in the final two in Miss Universe? Perhaps it is but there is something genuinely painful in her journey to the Miss Universe pageant that anyone with a heart and compassion would feel for her struggles. None has received the amount of bullying and disrespect as Angela in Miss Universe history, and that is only because she is a transwoman. The hate that she had to endure from her childhood must have been a weight nobody could easily bear being a marginalized member of the LGBTQ community. That is why I believe that judges will be compelled with her message of understanding and love towards the trans community, one that has the highest incidence of physical attacks, hate crimes and suicide rates in the LGBTQ  community. Her message to be understood and to understand rings thru the hearts of compassionate people and that is one that is powerful. If she makes semis or top 10 or top 5 or higher, it will be because she worked hard for it and not because she was granted easy pass in the competition. Hate her for being a born in the wrong sex/gender who transitioned to womanhood all you may, but her power lies with her being the pioneer transwoman to compete in Miss Universe. Like it or not, Angela will not be the last transwoman to compete in MU.
Miss South Africa, Tamaryn Green – threat to the crown? Yes. Threat to Catriona for the crown? That depends on who you are asking… but a threat nonetheless. Tamaryn’s greatest assets are 1) she is easily likeable and 2) she seems to be completely unaware that she is absolutely gorgeous. This is why she is one of my personal faves in the pageant. There is this unassuming quality in her that I find to be the same with Demi Leigh Nel Peters. Is a MU back-to-back win possible with Tamaryn? Yes, quite possible and I even expect her to be in the top 2, no less than a top 3 finish in fact. Let me be the one to say that nobody would dare say bad things about her should she become Miss Universe and that is a power not all of this year’s candidates possess.  Trust me that is one thing that the Miss Universe org will want in a winner. Someone that is universally liked not only because of her beauty but also because of how she makes others feel about her.

Final Thoughts on Miss Universe 2018 Candidates Pt.2

This is the second part of my personal thoughts on some of the ladies competing in Bangkok this year for the Miss Universe title.
While these thoughts might come off as unsweetened or not ‘pageant coated’, I wanted to say it as how I see it without sugar-coating it to the point of dishonesty. It might not be to everyone’s liking what I say but I try to be nice but brutally transparent in my opinions and thoughts.

Miss Ecuador, Virginia Limongi – this is woman who looks oh-so-perfect in paper. But despite all that beauty, her personality doesn’t seem to jump off at you. She has this gorgeous face but at the same time very cold and distant. Simply put she is a marshmallow, perfectly beautiful in any angle but comes off with nothing much to offer. Surely this lady has a nice personalty and we are all expecting that it will come out soon and be more engaging as the finals draws near. And yet we still have to see that in her. Won’t be surprised if she misses the cut this year though with the top 20 I expect her to survive at least the first cut.
Miss Venezuela, Sthefany Gutierrez – she comes off as underrated and I find her beauty not to my liking (I have a personal bias towards Veruska Ljubisavljevic among her batch of winners) but I will not deny that she is playing her cards right since the start of the pageant. It is as if she knew coming in that she was an underdog and hence she had to work within that parameters to earn her spot in the line up. That earns her my respect as she is seen as a candidate who came in prepared. Owe it to the Miss Venezuela org who never sends their girls unprepared. Do I see her winning the Mikimoto crown? Perhap no, but I see another high placement for this pageant powerhouse country courtesy of Sthefany.
Miss Thailand, Sophida Kanchanarin – the hometown girl is set to make semis this year, that we are sure of. She might not be the popular choice over Praveenar Singh and Thitaree Kasorn but she is exerting full effort to prove her merit that she deserved the national crown. And that is one of the commendable things we love about this girl. Her unconventional beauty may not be palatable to everyone but she is fighting for her spot within the best of her abilities. Hometown advantage it may be but it is not without merit.
Miss Mexico, Andrea Toscano – arguably one of the best faces in this year’s competition, and that is with and without make up on. While I find her beauty perplexing, I feel that her youthful beauty doesn’t command attention as a Miss Universe winner should. And that her beauty may be more suited for acting and not necessarily as a spokesperson for an international organization. I may be wrong on certain occasions regarding my assessment and I hope I might be on Andrea. It would be safe to say that she can easily enter the top 20 this year and perhaps the top 10.