The Miss Universe Crowns: The Mikimoto Crown

The Miss Universe Mikimoto Crown
About the Crown: the first of the ‘sponsorship crowns’ in Miss Universe. The Mikimoto crown was designed by Tomohiro Yamaji for the Mikimoto Company and 500 natural colorless diamonds of almost 30 carats (6.0 g), 120 South Sea and Akoya pearls, ranging in size from 3 to 18 mm diameter and is arguablly the most famous MU crown. Its “rising phoenix” design said to signify power, beauty, and elegance. The crown also comes with a smaller tiara which the winner can keep after her reign.
Timeline: 2002–2008 (Oxana Fedorova was the first to wear this crown and Dayana Mendoza was the last one to use it when she crowned her successor)
2017 – ? (the crown was used once again in 2017 during the crowning of Demi Leigh Nel-Peters)
Cost/ Price: valued at $250,000



Wendy Fitzwilliam’s 20th Anniversary as Miss Universe

One of the most iconic Miss Universe winners from the 90’s is Trinidad and Tobago’s Wendy Fitzwilliam. On this week, 20 years ago (May 12th to be exact), she was crowned Miss Universe in Hawaii.

I had the chance to have met her in last year’s Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas where she served as judge during the finals. The six-footer was still as beautiful as the day she won the title back in 1998. Wendy still possess the commanding presence that only a true blue Miss Universe winner embodies.
Continue reading “Wendy Fitzwilliam’s 20th Anniversary as Miss Universe”

Sec. Teo is Out; Same for the Philippine Hosting of Miss Universe 2018?

Did you ever experience sailing the seas where everything was coasting well until a sudden thunderstorm hits you hard?

Well that seems to be the best analogy to describe the Miss Universe 2018 hosting negotiations in the Philippines. Former Department of Tourism  Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo was pushing for the pageant to happen in the Philippines until her sudden resignation. From “90% a done deal” to “we’ll keep on trying to have it hosted here“, that is what insiders were told of the possible hosting. All those work possibly all for naught.

Continue reading “Sec. Teo is Out; Same for the Philippine Hosting of Miss Universe 2018?”

Can Catriona Gray Win in Miss Universe as Host Delegate?

While the talks of Miss Universe happening in the Philippines is rumored to have stalled, we thought of going back to a previously talked about topic: Can Miss Universe Philippines Catriona Gray win the title if she is also the host delegate?

We all have heard pessimism on the chances of Catriona Gray winning the Miss Universe if the pageant is held in the Philippines. Opinions range from 1) she has better chances winning outside of the Philippines, 2) it would be inhospitable for the Philippines if the Filipina rep wins to the downright 3) she will not win because no country aside from the US have won on their own soil. And here is why I think these are just ridiculous and absolutely wrong.
Winning Miss Universe is a mixture of beauty, intelligence, preparation and luck. Others would even factor in destiny (if you’re destined to win, then you’ll win no matter what), but destiny is much harder to quantify or qualify, so let’s stick to the earlier 4. Catriona got it covered on the first three and if the pageant will be hosted in Manila I’d say she’s also lucky. Why?

Simply because she has the whole Philippines to cheer up for her.  Imagine if the pageant is held at another pageant-crazed country like Thailand, for sure their entire populace would rally behind their rep, even more so in social media. Same goes for the Philippines. It is during this kinds of global competitions that even non-pageant Filipino fans would rally behind the Pinay rep. We have seen that recently during Maxine Medina’s turn in Miss Universe, I feel that it would be more so for Catriona. In fact I can be bold to say that she has additional advantage of winning in the Philippines due to the huge crowds that will boost up her morale constantly throughout the competition. There would be an outpouring of support from Day 1 until pageant finals!

And we also feel that the MUOrg wouldn’t get out of the Philippines alive if she doesn’t win MU… LOLs… Joking aside, whether or not the MU pageant is hosted in the Philippines Catriona has a huge chance of winning the title. I just felt that she would have the home-crowd advantage that could really boost up one’s morale in a very tough competition. It doesn’t take away from her if the pageant is held in the Philippines but the victory would be sweeter if it is held neutral territory. The good thing is Catriona will always have a gameplan and she never comes in unprepared.

The Miss Universe Crowns: The Sarah Coventry Crown

The Sarah Coventry Crown

About the Crown: the most iconic of all Miss Universe crowns as it was used for 33 years! The crown was made by jewelry maker Sarah Coventry but was later made by International Gem and Jewelry Show, Inc. in the late 1980’s. it was also called ‘The Lady crown’ due to the female figure holding a scepter at its center. This crown went on to have several variations until it settled with the 1973 version which was used until 2001. In it’s latter stage the crown was made adjustable to fit the different head sizes of the MU winners. One notable year that the adjustable feature failed to lock was when Dayanara Torres of Puerto Rico was crowned in 1993.

Timeline: 1963- 1969 (the original crown design)
1970- 1972 (minor variations of the crowns were made during these years)
1973 -2001 (the first to wear the modernized crown was Margarita Moran and was last used by Denise Quiñones)
Cost/ Price: no sources available
Trivia: The original crown design was also called ‘The Queen’s Crown’. In the 1990’s it was later nicknamed ‘The Chandelier crown’ as revealed by Miss Universe 1997 Brook Mahaelani Lee.


Miss Universe Organization Wants Philippines to Host Again!

The rumors of the Miss Universe 2018 pageant happening in Manila is getting louder and louder as we approach the heat of summer! And these latest developments surely adds fuel to the fire…

Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo shared that the Philippines has a huge chance to win the bidding as the organization itself is expressive on having this country host the pageant again.
“We are competing against Thailand but the organization really wants it staged in our country because of the good presentation from 2016,” she added. Continue reading “Miss Universe Organization Wants Philippines to Host Again!”

Thomas Roberts Donates his Miss Universe 2013 Hosting Paycheck!

Former Miss Universe host Thomas Roberts has come out to donate his US$25,000 paycheck from hosting MU2013 to HRC (Human Rights Campaign).

2018 Leadership and Visibility Award recipient Thomas Roberts was honored in Washington, D.C. and instead of just being thankful he took the opportunity to donate his Miss Universe 2013 hosting earnings to HRC. It can be noted that back in 2013 fellow gay host Andy Cohen passed the opportunity to return as host to the pageant due to the Russians’ crackdown on the LGBTQ community. Roberts stepped up in his place “because I wanted people to know that members of the LGBTQ community are not a threat to you,” he says in his speech in Washington.

In 2013, when I was working for NBC, I traveled to Russia with the president. He wasn’t the president then, he was just Donald Trump from ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ owning Miss Universe…
Because of all the stuff that’s come out in light of the Russians, I don’t know whose money that is. So, I don’t want it. And not that I believe that it’s in any way bad money, because I thought at the time I was earning it for good intent. Because I wanted to show the stories of the LGBTQ community that was under this harsh spotlight by the Russian government. That really hasn’t changed. I earned that money for good intent and I’d like to donate that money to you [HRC]…

#Nostalgia: Lalaine Bennett, Miss Universe 1963 3rd Runner Up

Of the 24 candidates of Miss Philippines 1963 (for Miss Universe), a Gaddang-speaking Filipina-American halfie from Nueva Vizcaya was crowned as winner… her name is Lalaine Betia Bennett.

This wasn’t the first time that Lalaine competed in a national pageant though. She previously was 1st runner up (or Miss Luzon) to Cynthia Ugalde at the Miss Philippines (for Miss International) in 1962. She was the last Miss Philippines winner to compete in Miss Universe as the year after her Binibining Pilipinas took over the franchise. Lalaine was a tall stunner who stood at 5’9″ owing to her mixed heritage.

She went on to compete at the Miss Universe Pageant in Miami Beach, Florida and placed 4th overall among 49 other beauties from all over the globe. The then 19 year old doll-faced Lalaine was a favorite and widely tipped to win the Miss Universe title. The former Miss Bayombong (Nueva Vizcaya) failed to win the crown but was named third runner up, the first time Philippines landed on the pageant’s top 5 finalists. She is also the second Filipina to make it past the first cut in Miss Universe.

Bennett, despite her American roots, took pride in her Filipino heritage during the Miss Universe finals when she opened her speech in Filipino/ Tagalog. In her Miss Universe speech, she said, “Maligayang bati sa inyong lahat. Alam kong ang buong Pilipinas ay ngayo’y nasisiyahan sa gabing ito. As a child, I have always wanted to come, to visit the native land of my grandfather who was one of the first American teachers who came to help educate my people. Through this pageant, my dream has been fulfilled. America has helped the Philippines, taught us how to stand on our own two feet and in 1946, gave us a most wonderful gift, the gift of freedom. For this, I, together with my people, will forever be grateful. Please accept our sincerest thanks, United States of America. Thank you.

Lalaine’s feat in Miss Universe was very remarkable that she was asked to crown the first Binibining Pilipinas Universe winner, Myrna Panlilio in 1964. After a movie career in the Philippines, she later retired to a quiet life in the US. It is said that she now manages a bed and breakfast business in Washington…

Vietnam Also Bidding to Host Miss Universe 2018!

Last April 18th a pageant friend of mine were discussing about the Miss Universe 2018 venue. In the conversation he mentioned that Vietnam is one of the 2 other countries that is also bidding to host the pageant.

The confirmation of the validity of this came from Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo in an article from PTV news online. “I’m pushing for it to be here, supposed to be in China but from what I’ve heard, China does not want a live telecast. Actually, we still have a competitor. Vietnam is also bidding,” she said.
So aside from the Philippines, the only other country that is seriously bidding to host is Vietnam. Our insider sources also told us that a ‘big name Filipino politician turned businessman’ is financing the bid to host the pageant outside of the Philippines.

Although it seems that it is more likely to happen in Manila as some of my sources say, due to the ‘aggressive’ campaigning and talks between the DOT and the Miss Universe organization. Such an effective way to keep the hype surrounding the pageant by the organizers. By keeping everyone guessing, they keep the buzz around the pageant whole year round!

The Philippines in Misses Universe, World, International & Earth

With the national pageant season on its peak during the first half of 2018, let’s go down and list our achievements in 4 of the biggest international pageants in existence.
How did we fare so far in Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International and Miss Earth? And in which pageant are we the winning-est?

Miss Universe
– established in 1952 and was first held in Long Beach, California.
– 3 titles, 9 runner up wins and 10 finalist/ semifinalist placements for a total of 22 placements out of 61 participation. We didn’t compete during the years 1958 to 1961 as the two Filipina candidates didn’t opt to compete internationally and there were two years that no pageant was held to select a Filipina delegate.

Miss World
– established in 1951, the oldest of the four biggest international pageants.
– 1 titleholder, 4 runner up placements, 3 top 5 finalists and 11 semi-finalist placements for a total of 19 placements out of 49 participation. Instead of the 51 participations we had, we removed the two years that the Philippine government requested our delegates to withdraw their participation in the pageant in protest to the South African apartheid policy. The Philippines only started to field candidates in this London-based pageant in 1966.

Miss International
– established in 1960, this now Japan-based pageant is where the Philippines has been consistently doing well with the 2nd most wins behind Venezuela.
– 6 winners, 3 runner up placements and 22 semifinalist placements for a total of 31 placements out of 57 participation. The Philippines hasn’t missed a participation in the Tokyo-based pageant since its inception in 1960 except for 1977 when our delegate participated but later withdrew in the competition finals.

Miss Earth
– established in 2001, the Miss Earth pageant was borne from the same management that had organized the Miss Asia Pacific Quest for more than 30 years.
– 4 titles, 4 runner up wins and 10 finalist/semifinalist placements for a total of 14 placements out of 17 editions of the pageant. This is the only pageant among the 4 big pageants that the Philippines hasn’t skipped participating in.