Since its inception in 1960 the Miss International has been a pageant that has built a quiet but long standing history and solid reputation.
Miss International History
The pageant has long held its stronghold as the third oldest international pageant among the 4 biggest international pageants in existence. The pageant itself was first borne after the move of the Miss Universe pageant from Long Beach, California to Miami Beach, Florida. It had 52 delegates in its initial year.
Oscar Meinhardt, who concocted the Miss Universe idea and directed the pageant from 1952 to 1959, established the International Beauty Congress in February 1960 and declared that the maiden pageant be staged August 7 to 12, and the winner be known as the Miss International Beauty.
The history of the Miss International Beauty Pageant spans around half a century of the passion and energy of delegates from around the world who have sought to “contribute to global society.”
Miss International began in 1960 in Long Beach, California, where it was staged until 1967, before moving to Japan from 1968-1970 to commemorate the Osaka World Expo (the 1968 Pageant was held at the Nippon Budokan, with the “Ginza Parade” from Hibiya Park to Nihonbashi received to great acclaim). This led to it being staged in Japan every year from 1972 onward. What is more, Miss International contestants have appeared at every international expo held in Japan so far, lending glamour to the venue.
Contestants are expected to serve as "Ambassadors of Peace and Beauty", demonstrating tenderness, benevolence, friendship, beauty, intelligence, ability to take action, and, most importantly, a great international sensibility. The ultimate goal of the Miss International beauty pageant is to promote world peace, goodwill, and understanding.
The pageant is currently owned by the ICA (International Cultural Association) and Miss Paris Group Ltd.
Since it’s inception the pageant has gathered around 60-80 candidates to its annual competition. Last 2019 saw the most number of candidates with 83 participants from all over the world. It is expected that the pageant will grow in terms of contestants this new decade with additional national directors and countries participating.
Contestants of the pageant are expected to be a picture of decorum and finesse. And should act like ambassadors and diplomats of their countries.
Aims of the International Cultural Association*
The Association was approved and founded in April 1969 (Showa 44) as an incorporated organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Cultural Exchange Division), for the purpose of “friendship and goodwill between all nations of the world” through international exchange. Since then, it has advanced cultural exchange on a broad scale by carrying out international activities under the slogans of “achieving world peace through mutual understanding” and “proper understanding of Japan in international society.” The International Culture Association will continue to be proactive in widening the circle of international exchange by promoting activities appropriate for the global society of the 20th century, so that it can better contribute to mutual understanding between the countries of the world and promote Japan’s image.
The Reputation of the Miss International Pageant
No major scandal has ever touched the Miss International pageant. Relative to other pageants of its scale and prestige, the MI has maintained a clean and respected image in the pageant community.
Its reputation remains one of the most solid and respected as the pageant remains the only Big 4 pageant with no winner who resigned or was dethroned. The closest controversy it has suffered was that of Miss International 2012, Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan who was not able to crown her successor due to conflict with a talent agency that threatened her safety and the pageant night itself.
One of the lesser known facts of the pageant is that each of the franchise holders/ national directors can choose how much they can pay for the franchise fees. According to our sources, the pageant has a ‘franchise fee’ that starts from US$1,000 up to US$ 10,000. Initially, prior to 2014-15, there were no franchise fees charged to participating countries. This is due to the reason that the pageant is subsidized by the ministry of tourism of the Japanese government.
Miss International Winners
Among the 4 Alpha pageants, only Miss International has crowned a non-European/ Scandinavian winner on its inaugural stint: Finland won the Miss Universe 1952, Sweden won the Miss World 1951, Colombia won the Miss International 1960, and Denmark grabbed the Miss Earth title 2001.
Venezuela has been the biggest achiever at this global pageant as it has won the title eight times in its almost 60 years. Four of those came in cycles of every three years starting in 1997 (1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006). Venezuela also won in 2010, 2015 and 2018. The country’s first victory was in 1985 with Nina Sicilia, who is now one of the National Directors of the Miss Venezuela pageant.
Philippine reps have won the coveted Mikimoto crown six times. It is the only Asian country to have more than one winner and ranks second to Venezuela in terms of number of wins.
Below are the list of winners of the pageant since 1960
1960 – Colombia, Stella Márquez
1961 – Netherlands, Stanny van Baer
1962 – Australia, Tania Verstak
1963 – Iceland, Guðrún Bjarnadóttir
1964 – Philippines, Gemma Cruz
1965 – Germany, Ingrid Finger
1966 – no pageant was held
1967 – Argentina, Mirta Massa
1968 – Brazil, Maria da Glória Carvalho
1969 – United Kingdom, Valerie Holmes
1970 – Philippines, Aurora Pijuan
1971 – New Zealand, Jane Hansen
1972 – United Kingdom, Linda Hooks
1973 – Finland, Anneli Björkling
1974 – United States, Brucene Smith
1975 – Yugoslavia, Lidija Manić
1976 – France, Sophie Perin
1977 – Spain, Pilar Medina
1978 – United States, Katherine Ruth
1979 – Philippines, Melanie Marquez
1980 – Costa Rica, Lorna Chávez
1981 – Australia, Jenny Derek
1982 – United States, Christie Claridge
1983 – Costa Rica, Gidget Sandoval
1984 – Guatemala, Ilma Urrutia
1985 – Venezuela, Nina Sicilia
1986 – England, Helen Fairbrother
1987 – Puerto Rico, Laurie Simpson
1988 – Norway, Catherine Gude
1989 – Germany, Iris Klein
1990 – Spain, Silvia de Esteban
1991 – Poland, Agnieszka Kotlarska †
1992 – Australia, Kirsten Davidson
1993 – Poland, Agnieszka Pachałko
1994 – Greece, Christina Lekka
1995 – Norway, Anne Lena Hansen
1996 – Portugal, Fernanda Alves
1997 – Venezuela, Consuelo Adler
1998 – Panama, Lía Victoria Borrero
1999 – Colombia, Paulina Gálvez
2000 – Venezuela, Vivian Urdaneta
2001 – Poland, Małgorzata Rożniecka
2002 – Lebanon, Christina Sawaya
2003 – Venezuela, Goizeder Azúa
2004 – Colombia, Jeymmy Vargas
2005 – Philippines, Lara Quigaman
2006 – Venezuela, Daniela Di Giacomo
2007 – Mexico, Priscila Perales
2008 – Spain, Alejandra Andreu
2009 – Mexico, Anagabriela Espinoza
2010 – Venezuela, Elizabeth Mosquera
2011 – Ecuador, Fernanda Cornejo
2012 – Japan, Ikumi Yoshimatsu[b]
2013 – Philippines, Bea Santiago
2014 – Puerto Rico, Valerie Hernandez
2015 – Venezuela, Edymar Martínez
2016 – Philippines, Kylie Verzosa
2017 – Indonesia, Kevin Lilliana
2018 – Venezuela, Mariem Velazco
2019 – Thailand, Sireethorn Leearamwat
The Miss International Mikimoto Crown
One of the most iconic aspects of the pageant is its Mikimoto crown. This crown is the oldest crown among the 4 biggest international pageants still in use. The Mikimoto crown is studded with Japanese cultured pearls and gold trimmed with either ermine or mink fur with an overall total estimated value of US$ 550,000. The first Mikimoto crown was used in 1967.
The pageant has made use of several crowns in its history. The first crown used in 1960 had an appraised value of $1 million. It was made of solid gold and platinum, it contained 1,000 cultured and black pearls collected from the waters of Australia, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, Mexico and the South Pacific. It had a large star with 12 precious stones including diamonds, garnets and rubies.
* as lifted from the Miss International official Facebook page.