CONTROVERSY! Was Miss Universe 2002 Rigged?

The Donald Trump- Russia link just couldn’t stop from getting bigger in the news. With allegations of collusion shadowing his Presidency, another blow is coming to the former owner of the Miss Universe pageant. It now has brought attention to allegations of rigging in the Miss Universe 2002 pageant where Oxana Fedorova of Russia was named as the original winner.

So as to avoid any misinformation, Sashes&Scripts is posting the full article by Nathan Francis of below…
Donald Trump may have a new tie to Vladimir Putin: a conspiracy theory that claims Trump rigged the 2002 Miss Universe pageant so Putin’s mistress would win the title.
Trump’s campaign is currently under investigation for allegations of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential race, with the Russia probe from special counsel Robert Mueller turning in the first indictments, including Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
There is still no evidence connecting Trump to Russia, but a new theory spun by a popular independent journalist claims that their relationship is nearly 15-years-old. Seth Abramson, who has shared information from sources close to the Russia investigation and pointed out connections between Trump associates and Russia, claims that sources say Trump rigged the 2002 Miss Universe competition to help Putin’s rumored girlfriend.
According to an individual with firsthand knowledge of the judging of the 2002 Miss Universe pageant, Trump tried to rig the outcome of the international contest to award the prestigious ‘Miss Universe’ title to Vladimir Putin’s then-mistress, Oxana Fedorova,” he wrote on Twitter.
Abramson went on to claim that once the competition reached the final 10, Trump instructed the judges on how he would like to see it end.
There’s definitely, clearly one woman out there who’s head and shoulders above the rest. She’s the one I’d vote for,” Trump reportedly said. Sources said Trump’s statement came across as an instruction to the judges.

In the end, Oxana Fedorova won the competition, but would have quite a short reign as Miss Universe. Within four months, Trump had worn thin of Fedorova blowing off her obligations and fired the pageant winner, which the New York Post noted was the first time a winner was ever cut loose by the pageant’s governing body.
Pageant officials said Fedorova gave a series of excuses for missing her appearances, none of which the pageant officials could verify. 
We never got a straight answer from her on anything,” said Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart. “She would call and tell me her mother was hospitalized with an unspecified illness. The first time, we were very concerned and asked if we could send flowers to the hospital. She said they don’t do that in Russia.
With Fedorova stripped of her title, runner-up Justine Pasek of Panama took over as Miss Universe.
At the time, media had been romantically linking Oxana Fedorova to Vladimir Putin, including reports that the Russian president hand-picked Fedorova to represent Russia in the beauty pageant. Oxana denied having a relationship with Putin.


Controversial Dethronements Du Jour

The international pageant season has just started but the controversial dethronements of four national titleholders grabbed headlines these past two weeks. Meet three ladies whose brash actions in the past haunts them and one Brazilian bombshell who couldn’t agree with her pageant org…

Itır Esen – Miss World Turkey 2017
, just merely hours upon her crowning was dethroned for a Tweet compared her menstrual cycle to the spilt blood of 15 “martyrs” who died in the July 15 military uprising. Officials of the pageant responded in a a statement that “we regret to say that this tweet has been tweeted by Itir Esen. It is not possible for the Miss Turkey Organisation to promote such a post, when it aims to introduce Turkey to the world and contribute to its image.

Shwe Eain Si – Miss Grand Myanmar 2017, was dethroned after she released a video where she has blamed the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State on the insurgency led by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

Bruna Vizintin – Miss Earth Brazil 2017, was dethroned apparently  because of disagreements on contractual matters and now she will not be representing her country in Miss Earth. Bruna fired back telling that the contract that was given to her for signature did not protect her rights, and mutual agreement wasn’t met by both parties which resulted in an impasse. No official replacement has been named so far…
Jannatul Nayeem – Miss World Bangladesh 2017, was stripped of crown after her hidden marriage controversy emerged. Reports claiming that she got married in 2013 came out after her crowning with the marriage lasting only for about two and a half months. She was is succeeded by runner up Jessia Islam. 

Miss Universe 2017 in Las Vegas is Still “Full Steam Ahead”

According to our insiders, the Miss Universe 2017 pageant will still proceed despite the recent violence in Las Vegas! 

The recent Las Vegas shootings will be given a “minute of silence” to commemorate the victims during the live telecast of the pageant on November 26th( Vegas time). Our sources tells us that despite the recent violence, the pageant will push through as planned. There will be, however, tighter security measures that will be implemented not only for the safety of the candidates but of the audiences watching on the prelims and finals at the Axis Theatre in Planet Hollywood.

It is also mentioned that the Miss Universe org will be having security talks with several Las Vegas authorities to secure the safety of the candidates who are set to arrive between the 9th to 11th of November.
EDIT (8:45pm)
Further rumor from our moles indicated that all preparations for the pageant to happen in Vegas is almost all finished. The Axis Theatre has been booked for the possible preliminaries on November 21st or 22nd leading up to rehearsals and the finals night. The TV airing on November 26th has also been booked so it would be costly to have the pageant moved from its current venue and date.
We are just waiting for further details and gossips on the outcome of the security talks of the MUOrg with Las Vegas authorities that is supposed to be scheduled in the next several days…
EDIT (Oct, 7, 9:30am)
ABS-CBN News have confirmed that the Miss Universe pageant will push through in Las Vegas.


A Controversial Girl is Named Miss Venezuela World 2017!

A Miss Venezuela Mundo 2017 has been appointed and she is Ana Carolina Ugarte!

The 5’10” 25 year old Ana Carolina was named as the Venezuelan rep to Miss World to be held in China this year. It is said that she is already preparing both in catwalk classes and gym training, to secure the crown that has not been won since 2011 when Ivian Sarcos won Miss World. But the shocking part is that it is rumored that she is paying for the Miss World franchise fee instead of the Miss Venezuela Organization. The Miss World franchise fee in Venezuela is estimated to be valued at USD$20,000.
This issue has been a ghost that has haunted her as it was also rumored that the lady also “paid” her way into the Miss Venezuela 2013 pageant. There were heavy speculations that a hefty amount was given to the organization for her to win the pageant, which she went later on unplaced.


Conspiracy Theory: Miss Universe & Miss World Eager to Crown a Filipina?

This is what happens when I have too much coffee coupled by too much pageant news on my social media. But are we seeing both Miss Universe and Miss World racing against each other to crown a Filipina queen?

Let’s first review several key points here: One, the Miss Universe wants the Philippines to host the next MU pageant again after an outstanding pre-pageant activities & schedules during it’s 65th edition. Two, the Miss World is racing against Miss Universe to hold the pageant in the country (2019 they say) after seeing the success of the Philippine hosting of MU. Three, both pageants need the fan support of Filipino pageant fans to get any support for their pageant to be held in the country. Four, there is money involved, big money to be gained by these pageants if the Philippines will host.

If both pageants really would like for the Philippines to host, they might be willing to have our Filipina reps place highly in the pageant. I am not saying that neither Rachel Peters nor Laura Lehmann aren’t winnable, in fact they are. Or that there will be rigging in their favor. What I am saying is that the business and insider politics could easily boost their chances of winning. This is quite true with Laura’s case (since she is the first among the two to compete). With the Philippine government getting to be cozy with the Chinese, this may break the curse that no Filipina will ever win a crown in Chinese territory. A political advantage  for Laura. MW could give her the crown as a sort of payment from the unbelievable and shocking loss of Catriona Gray in 2016. This just might be the ticket for the MW to be accepted back by Pinoy pageant fans who have unfollowed the pageant on social media. And from my viewpoint, MW has to do a lot of damage control as evidenced by the dwindling audience of the last several editions of the Miss World Philippines pageant and the lack of online buzz for the Miss World winner. MW seems to owe the Philippines big time to even get back half of the lost fan support. That puts any Filipina rep to MW at an advantage (this holds true regardless of Winwyn or Laura is sent to compete in Sanya this year). 
Of course Miss Universe wouldn’t just sit there and let their huge slice of the Filipino market be taken by their rival. They would have to go head to head. Haven’t you noticed how the MU beefed up Gabriela Isler’s schedule to go head to head when Megan Young won MW? That is what I see happening this year. If it happens that MW would crown Laura on November 18, then imagine the scenario if Rachel bags the crown on the 26th of the same month. Since MU is a bigger deal in the Philippines, it could easily swallow down the publicity of the newly crowned Filipina MW. Add to that is how Rachel easily fits into the mold of past Miss Universe winners. That is a recipe for victory. This is why Rachel is such a threat (both to local and foreign detractors). It is no surprise that even as now we are hearing detractors from the Philippines saying ‘stuff’ against. Not to mention the concerted efforts of foreign bashers as well. She is a huge threat to the crown, everybody knows that…and that is why people are afraid of her winning. Everybody is afraid of what Rachel can do in MU. When she wins, then everything else will be eclipsed by her Miss Universe victory.
This is an opportunity for our reps to make the most out of it. Go in prepared with the correct mindset, leave no stone un-turned so that there is no reason to doubt their victories later. The most lucky scenario is we see two Filipinas with international victories in their arms and a couple of crowns on their pretty little heads.  

Now before everybody screams bloody hell at this scenario, just remember that India did this before with Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai and repeated it again later with Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra. So why wouldn’t it be different here and now? Politics and economics do play a part in any pageant. Remember that the Topmodel sponsors of MW last year were Kenya, Indonesia and Puerto Rico..and weren’t they the same girls who made top 5 last year? Also look at how the then reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach lobbied for the MU pageant to be held in Manila… it’s much easier to have your pageant hosted in the country of your reigning winner. Or the fact that Grenada had its Prime Minister as judge when it won MW in the 1970’s. Or that several countries that Russia does not recognize as independent states were barred from participating in MU2013 in Moscow. Remember the year 2012? Does the term “host it to win it” ring a bell? That was the year that pageant fans named it the year of hometown victories. This is not altogether new in the pageant world. It happens… Pageants are just as about the bottom-line as they are about beauty and women.
This is all of course just speculations and theories in my head. A product of an over-active imagination or even perhaps due to several shots of Bailey’s and Vodka (#LOLS). This scenario may or may not happen, but its fun to come up with these kinds of interesting conspiracies-slash-theories… I am largely entertained with these scenarios playing out over a huge bowl of sour cream and onion flavoured popcorn. 

Sashes&Scripts Special Feature: A Spotlight on HIV-AIDS Advocacy

Pia Wurtzbach, Bianca Guidotti, Katarina Rodriguez, Sam Ajdani, Reniel Villareal, Rick Kristopher Palencia, Willan Pagayon, Kevin Balot and even now Catriona Gray have spoken in awareness of the growing HIV-AIDS epidemic that is now gripping the country. 

Here is what we should know about this epidemic:
1. The Philippines has become the country with the fastest growing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in the Asia Pacific region
2. The Philippines recorded a 140% increase in the number of new infections… At the end of 2016, there were 10,500 Filipinos infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) up from 4,300 in 2010.
3. The Philippines has become one of the eight countries accounting for more than 90 percent of new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific. The number of new infections in the country, however, is not as high as several countries in the region which have tens of thousands of new infections every year.
4. In 2016, 83 percent of new HIV cases occurred among males who have sex with males (MSM) and transgender women who have sex with males (TGW). Majority of these infections were reported among 15- to 24-year-old MSM and TGW.

5. Only 35% of MSM and TGW aged 15 to 24 had correct knowledge on HIV transmission and prevention. Two out of three new HIV infections were among 15 to 24 year-old men, who she said have insufficient awareness of HIV, its symptoms and treatment.
6. In May 2017 alone saw 1,098 new cases of HIV infections in the Philippines, the highest recorded number of cases since 1984 when infections were first reported.
7. Most of the men had their first sexual encounter at 16 years old and only get tested for HIV eight years later.
8. The Department of Health is now providing free antiretroviral medicine to anyone who tests positive for HIV and other out-patient services to a maximum of P30,000 per person annually. The DOH has three HIV treatment hubs in Metro Manila—Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, San Lazaro Hospital and Makati Medical Center.

Photo from Philippine Star…

Those who are 90’s babies are quite familiar with the HIV-AIDS epidemic that gripped the world in the 1970’s to the mid-90’s. This was quite a huge deal for the LGBT community back then as it further ostracized the gay community. It is just sad that despite advancement in communications and technology, the fight still lingers on with HIV-AIDS gaining an upper-hand.

This is why there is a need for this post, a need for beauty queens  and pageant fans to spread awareness of how this disease is a huge risk to Filipinos, specially to the LGBT community. It is timely, it is relevant (as Pia Wurtzbach said back in Miss Universe 2015), even more so now that the Philippines seems to be at the eye of the storm. The Filipino pageant community should help to their part, not just our beauty queens to spread awareness.
Below are some of the available links for HIV-AIDS awareness and support in the Philippines:
Don’t be another statistic in the HIV epidemic. Protect yourselves and your partner, be in the know, get tested, spread the word… 


Miss World/ Miss World Philippines BWAP: Beauty Without a Purpose?

The Miss World pageant thrives and succeeds on its Beauty with a Purpose ethos. At times it is that aspect that finally convinces Filipina uber-beauties and big name celebrities like Megan Young, Valerie Weigmann and Catriona Gray to join Miss World Philippines. BWAP is said to be the heart and soul of the Miss World pageant and by extension its national competitions. So we ask what happened with the BWAP fast-track in MWP? Was there even a BWAP judging this year?

It is a known fact that the BWAP project defines the MW competition. Yearly, millions are donated to charity via this aspect of the pageant. It is almost a guarantee that the winner of this fasttrack would place in the semis of the pageant. However, during the recently held MWP competition, the BWAP seems to be forgotten or even worse totally removed. The usual fast-tracks were there: Multimedia, Topmodel, Talent, Sports and even the Beach Body. To which was mind-numbing as this was something that the MW have removed in previous editions. Was the BWAP removed to be replaced by the Beach Body? If the reason for such removal is because of the weak BWAP projects of the vast majority of the candidates, then why should those that prepared for it not be allowed to get marks for it. Winwyn, Cynthia and Janela were the ones who had strong BWAP projects. If that fast-track was included would there been a different set of winners?

Then there was the anticlimactic visit of the MW org to the Paraiso BWAP project of Catriona in Smokey Mountain. With not much financial support from the MWP and MWOrgs, Catriona was able to single-handedly campaign for funds and donations to renovate a 3-story building to be converted into a school. IMHO Catriona’s BWAP should have garnered bigger points in MW as it didn’t look ‘manufactured‘. I was under the notion that the visit was for much less altruistic reasons but rather an opportunity to get media-mileage… or perhaps it would be used to add a ‘special footage’ on the MW pageant in China later this year, just so they can appeal to the good graces of disgruntled Filipino fans. I usually am one who is on the optimistic side, but this scenario brought out more nagging questions in me than I could have imagined.
But this should have not been a surprise as I was just as baffled with Stephanie del Valle’s win last year. After almost being non-existent at the fast-tracks to suddenly winning it all. That was like a mockery of what the MW stood for. And that would have made them look very superficial. It would not make both MWP and MW any different than other beauty pageants. Just the same old fanfare of entertainment like Miss Supranational, Miss Grand International or even Miss Universe.

If Beauty with a Purpose is indeed the heart and soul of the Miss World pageant and consequently its national counterparts, then what happens when it is removed or missing? What happens to a pageant if its soul and heart is gone from the equation? Has BWAP come to mean Beauty Without a Purpose?