Pageant Franchises: A Little or Too Much?

There has been too many franchise switching over the last two years, but none dared to ask when does a national pageant have too little international pageant franchise, or too much of it?

An international pageant franchise adds prestige to a national competition. But these days where pageants are a dime a dozen, local pageants are advised to be mindful of what pageant franchises they acquire.

Today’s blogpost will talk about local pageants that would benefit from having additional franchises and ones that need to evaluate if they have too much.

Continue reading “Pageant Franchises: A Little or Too Much?”

Pageant Pages and their Toxic Positivity

It is no shock that the past week has been a tumultuous one on social media, specifically on Instagram. Several obscure pageant pages on Instagram have targeted Sashes&Scripts of being against a certain beauty queen simply because we posted a graphic on our IG that simply reads, “I Am Worried”.

Three words that would turn their lives upside-down and caused them to a frenzied discharge of miasma.

Imagine how fragile are such egos that it only takes 3 simple words from us to unravel their feeble sanity. How they reacted only illustrates the power we unknowingly yield that it shook them to their core. Accusations and falsehoods later abounded on how toxic and vile seem to be and it was propagated by these social media pages with dodgy reputation.

That is why following the backlash, we written a lengthy piece on why we are concerned on an article titled, “For the Record | I Am Worried“…

Continue reading “Pageant Pages and their Toxic Positivity”

2021, A Repeat of Pageant Postponements of 2020?

The world thought that with the availability of the Corona virus vaccine, everything would get back to normal this 2021 like it was prior to the global pandemic. But it is likely that these assumptions are wrong.

With vaccine roll out and distribution still on the early stages, we might not be seeing live events like pageants return within the first three quarters of this year. It is most likely that international pageants are to resume towards the end of 2021 and early 2022.

Continue reading “2021, A Repeat of Pageant Postponements of 2020?”

Are Pageant Bloggers Good as Pageant Mentors?

One of the most common discussions your blogger have with pageant fans and followers in social media is about becoming a pageant trainer. We have long skirted this question because we felt that this is such a mature topic to discuss. That is because we personally believe that PAGEANT WRITERS OR BLOGGERS ARE NOT USUALLY CUT OUT TO BE PAGEANT MENTORS.

Shocker isn’t it? For this blogger, not it isn’t. But some of you may disagree with that thought. Let us explain that in today’s post.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: before we begin let us reiterate that this blogpost is mainly based on your blogger’s personal experience. Hence this piece is seen through a personal perspective rather than an over-arching view of all pageant bloggers experiences of it.
Also, most of the photos included in this blogpost were taken during our shoots with Binibining Pilipinas 2017 1st runner up Charmaine Elima prior to her joining BBP… to which this blogger styled her outfits.

Continue reading “Are Pageant Bloggers Good as Pageant Mentors?”

Pageant Hot-Picks Are No Longer Relevant

Over the past several months, our Sashes & Scripts followers have increasingly noticed that we no longer do pageant hot-picks anymore. That is simply because we believe that they have now become irrelevant and obsolete.

Here are our reasons why…


One of our reasons why we no longer believe in pageant hot-picks is because it is a convenient but lazy way of having people talk about a pageant page. We believe it is an uninspired way of garnering social media engagements and usually based on popularity not really a gauge to see how pageant girls stack up in the competition. In fact in most cases, they are jumbled up to give a sense of movement in their ‘arbitrary rankings’. Continue reading “Pageant Hot-Picks Are No Longer Relevant”

Pageants: A Question of Fairness

In one of the recent interviews of 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray, she mentioned the concept of what is fair in the realm of pageantry. When ABSCBN’s Karen Davila on the program Headstart asked Catriona if is cheating possible in a pageant, the beauty queen answered, “there is the judging/ score process and there is also the treatment of the candidates… it is important that contestants are treated the same, given the same conditions, the same resources at the pageant. And also that the judging panel is properly briefed. It’s really about equal footing…

It is that statement from Catriona that really started this topic of being fair and not having questionable integrity in a pageant process. Today’s article  hopes that positive outcomes will be brought out with discussions on such delicate issue.

These are ways in which cheating or being unfair can happen in pageants…

The Binibining Pilipinas pageant’s criteria in judging puts heavy focus on facial beauty.

Continue reading “Pageants: A Question of Fairness”

‘Skin Exposure’, the Female Body, and Pageantry

SLUT SHAMING OR A QUESTION OF DECENCY? Let us address the latest controversy we all witnessed played out on Instagram.
By this time we hope everyone has calmed down to hear each other out on a very polarizing topic. When we posted a #chichiandchaah/ blind item poking sarcasm and humor at some pageant candidates’ risque photos, majority of the comments were not in favor of the risque photos… but we were also met with strong opposition and admonition from several fans and pageant accounts.
While being liberal on one’s body and body positivism is to be celebrated, the overt exposure of ‘too much skin’ or the female body in the realm of pageantry is still generally frowned upon by the pageant community at large. A stark contrast to male pageants where one’s physicality is overly promoted (there will be a separate blogpost on the topic later). Why is that? We can only offer possible explanations not outright answers.
NOTE: We will be talking about pageantry in general unless specified otherwise in the course of the blogpost.
How Far can Women Expose their Bodies in Pageantry?
When we are asked how much skin can women expose in pageantry, we can only say there is no definitive answer to that. No pageant ever has specified in their candidate contracts that says “a candidate cannot expose more that 30% of a butt-cheek, nor a collective exposure of more than 40% of both butt globes be visible in any photo is to be made public“, or “a candidate can expose the side of a boob along the provision that no nipple and/or areola is exposed, implied, or visible“, or “a candidate and/or her team cannot release photos of the candidate that shows her vagina or impressions of her vagina“, etc… Such specific guidelines have not yet been made, or if it does exists they are never made public. Although we are led to believe about the former rather than the latter.
In contrast, Hollywood contracts would detail in how much an actor can show skin. Just watch the scene in the movie Notting Hill how Julia Robert explains nudity clauses in contracts to Hugh Grant’s character. Everything is detailed and made aware of. And that is a major source of confusion among pageant fans, handlers and candidates alike. With no such existing guidelines for pageants, it is too difficult to track how much ‘skin exposure’ is too much.
A Wider Market to Serve
Pageants are generally targeted towards a wide audience and has been traditionally given a “general patronage” to “parental guidance” tag on its finals telecast. However, the pageant winner’s duties extend beyond and serves as a spokesperson for the pageant organization herself. Her duties mainly includes public speaking, charity work, sponsor promotional events, etc… and perhaps a handful runway shows, magazine covers and other social parties here and there. Hence, a pageant girl needs to be able to communicate to a wide array of people from kids to adults in different walks of life.
Imagine explaining to young minors the concept of how body positivism works in the context of pageantry. Because kids follow, copy and do what their role models do, there is placed a bigger responsibility for pageant girls to become aspirational in all aspects.
Her appeal then must be to a broader market, not just male audiences. This is specially true when there are major corporate sponsors of the pageant. Product promotions and endorsements by beauty pageant winners are a major cash cow for pageants. In 2019, it is rumored that the fee MUOrg charges to brands wanting get Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray to promote their product/ brand is on the 7-figure mark. And that’s in US dollars. So image is very important in these endorsements and a tainted/tarnished image not only affects the pageant’s reputation but also its financial bottom-line.

Pageant Requirement: OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER
It is for the above reasons that is why one of the most common phrases seen in job postings is the requirement to be of “good moral character”. It is actually a catch-all phrase that may include behavior and activities that may pertain to morality, decency, appropriate behavior, appropriate dress, decorum, etc…  This vague and generic phrase could actually mean anything that the job poster would mean it is. That is why pageant old-timers & observers call it as the ‘decency clause’ or ‘morality clause’ of the pageant organization.
In the Miss Universe Philippines Application Form, this fine print can be read as:
The Contestant shall at all times comply strictly with THE MISS UNIVERSE PHILIPPINES, INC. specifications and/or requirements (whether oral or written) as to her appearance, physical characteristics, skills, attire and/or accessories. A failure to meet such specifications and/or requirements shall result in disqualification from her participation in the National Pageant. For the avoidance of doubt, THE MISS UNIVERSE PHILIPPINES, INC. the right to disqualify the Contestant from the National Pageant on the grounds of undesirable conduct and/or appearance.
The older 2012 Binibining Pilipinas application form has taken this one step further as a candidate has to declare that:
I have never participated in any bold/burlesqueshows, plays, movies, publications or activities, or such show, play, movie, publication or activity, which in the sole opinion and discretion of BPCI, is inconsistent with my application with the 2012 Pageant, run counter against the social and moral principles upon which the Pageant is founded upon, and/or bring disrepute or embarrassment to BPCI or any of its sponsors.
Reading the above fine print, you can see how BPCI takes steps further to dialo in safe-guarding the reputation of the pageant as well as its sponsors. We have written about this topic previously on this article.
The ‘decency clause’ is a protection for both parties so that neither the pageant nor the prospective candidate be gossiped on, specially on social media, and cause mental distress on both parties. But in essence the decency clause is a protection designed specifically in favor of the pageant organization. Their pageant, their rules. This is why pageant girls must abide by their rules and regulations.
The Controversy on Instagram
Pageant bloggers such as myself still find it uncomfortable to tell pageant girls what they are doing wrong on social media. Unless a prior relationship has been established, we cannot point blankly message and tell them that they are exposing too much skin or that they should not be engaging directly with trolls and haters. That is an awkward conversation for anyone. And we also doubt that they will sift through hundreds of DMs in their Instagram and respond to all of those messages in their Primary, General and DM Request folders. In most cases, our DMs may just fall deaftly under the request folders.
Our #chichiandchaah posts are always meant to poke humor and sarcasm on pageant’s latest issues/  trending topics, stir a reaction, cause a commotion to dialogue and discourse, expose a scandal or a scandalous behavior… but it never explicitly exposes pageant candidates by naming them. In this case the Chichi&Chaah post has not named any of the ‘allegedly 4-6 girls that have posted risque photos‘. It was some of the younger newbie pages and newbie pageant fans that made assumptions who were those candidates. And to some extent, ‘outed’ them even when some of the girls they posted on their IG stories weren’t even the ones being talked about. Making assumptions is a dangerous game.
The worse part here was that the risque photos were published by the candidates and their handlers without going through the pageant organization’s review. And with the fine print on their candidacy applications, some may have violated the decency clause and may possibly  end up in a disqualification from the contest.
Do You Want to be a Queen? Act Like One.
Taking in all of those considerations, when pageant girls pose provocatively in their published swimsuits, there will always be a strong discourse on the limits of exposing skin within the context of pageantry. In reality, the entire pageant community expect pageant girls and winners to behave a certain manner akin to the royal families of old. Pageant queens are considered and treated as royalty, and the trade-off for that is conforming to the current socially accepted norms of decorum and proper behavior. If you want to be a queen, then you are expected to behave and act like a queen.
In reality, despite pageants being more modern nowadays, an overtly sexualized image/ reputation for a pageant girl is not yet socially accepted. Is that fair? Not a bit, but pageant girls become instant celebrities and are treated as queens by pageant fans. Hence the community expects from them what they would expect from a crowned queen.
And we cannot blame society or age old traditions for that. Sometimes traditional institutions take time to get in sync with the current social movements. It is a long and difficult process to veer away from decades long traditions, specially for pageants that have been in existence since the early 1900’s; with the likes of Senorita Colombia that has been in existence since 1934, Miss America founded in 1921 and Miss France formed in 1920. To this day, the Miss France still bars women with nude/ topless photos to enter the pageant. Even the relatively younger Miss World established in 1951 have removed the swimsuit competition in their pageant, even explaining that it’s no longer what the pageant stands for.
As mentioned earlier, no provisions on the extent of ‘skin exposure’ is made accessible to the general public, so it is best to take precaution in terms of how much skin a candidate is to show off. We advise that it is best to be in the safe side rather than to push the envelop as pageants & pageant organizations have a blanket authority on what they would deem as acceptable or within bounds of common decency.

MU, MW and MI: The Heritage Brands of Pageantry

When we speak of luxury heritage brands in fashion, we speak of the history, craftsmanship and tradition of long withstanding brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermés, Chanel, Dior or TAG Heuer. Some of these brands have been in existence since the 1850’s to the 1950’s and carries with them a sense of timelessness and longevity.
For international pageants, only three has come close to be called such: Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss International. Among the most popular international pageants, these three has withstood the test of time being in existence for at least 50 years.  Continue reading “MU, MW and MI: The Heritage Brands of Pageantry”

The End of Philippine Supremacy in Miss Universe?

After a long 10-year run of continuous placements in the Miss Universe pageant, should Filipino pageant fans be worried that our luck might be thinning out?


In just 10 years the Philippines has scored 2 Miss Universe titles, 4 runner-up wins and 4 semifinalist placements. As the proverbial saying goes “what goes up, must come down”.  Has the Philippines used up its pageant luck in the last decade? What does this mean for our coming pageant queens and MU reps? That is exactly what we are going to be talking about in today’s blogpost.

Change is constant and nothing is permanent. The Philippines has enjoyed a renaissance in pageantry in the last decade winning one title after the other from different international pageants: Miss Universe, Miss Earth, Miss International, Miss Supranational, Miss World, etc… To think that this will not change anytime soon is naivety. As we know, there is a changing landscape in the Miss Universe pageant that we are seeing reshaping what it means to win the title. Let’s enumerate the changes we are seeing so far in the pageant that could affect how the Philippines’ chances are affected.

  1. Focus on Speaking Ability – with the pronouncement that the Miss Universe is looking for a spokesperson, everyone has to calibrate how they are selecting a national winner. This was quite clear in the latest edition of the pageant. No less than 5 instances where a semifinalist has to speak during the finals. This implies that a candidate has to have a strong command of the English language to be noticed in the competition. Fluency in English is now a strong requirement to be able to win the title.
  2. More Business-like/ Financially-driven MUOrg – this is so far one of the stark changes we’ve seen in the pageant over the last three years. Older franchises are dropped in favor of new pageant orgs that can offer higher franchise fees. This means that newer organizations are more aggressive to prove their merit. Anyone who can bring in more money to the organization is potentially given a positive spotlight. Does it have a bearing on the pageant scoring? Definitely not. But any positive spotlight can be worked to an advantage if the org and the pageant girl know how to play the game.
  3. Opening of Other Pageant Markets in Asia – after the MU pageant held in Bangkok in 2018, the MU found another cash cow country in terms of business opportunity and expansion. Vietnam is also opening in terms of opportunities for hosting. Both countries could offer other business opportunities such as endorsements and sponsorships. Even Indonesia’s annual hiring of the MU winner for an energy drink brings in revenue to the pageant. The Philippines has been able to bring in a Filipino swimsuit and skincare sponsor in the 2019 edition of the pageant. And with Nepal aiming to hold the Miss Universe 2022 edition, the field is getting more and more populated…
  4. Philippines’ Winning Record Creating “Crown Envy” – the Philippines has to be the winning-est country in the last 10 years of the Miss Universe pageant. That too glossy a record has definitely attracted a bevy of haters and envy fans questioning is the MUOrg is favoring the Philippines too much? In the interest of fairness, any pageant organization would start to diminish the chances of winning for that particular country just to preserve the delicate status quo.

With all of these factors in mind, a Filipina’s chances of winning the MU title has increased in terms of difficulty. No less than a tall, facially strong, physically proportioned and fit, advocacy-driven, impeccably dressed, determined and articulate Filipina has to be selected to represent the country in Miss Universe. In short, a Filipina rep has to cover all of these bases to be able to say her placement is warranted and earned – and perhaps for her not to be denied a spot in the semis.

The change in the direction of the wind means that a sailor has to adjust his sails. That is exactly what the Philippines have to do. How long do you think can the Philippines sustain winning in Miss Universe if we don’t recalibrate to the whims and wants of the organization? With how the country has performed in the past decade, the changing of the tides to favor new emerging markets could spell that the Philippines being the apple of the MU eye is over. Thailand, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, Colombia and other pageant crazy countries are emerging to take over. If we are to maintain our supremacy in the competition, then the Philippines have to be one step ahead of the competition.

Miss Universe Franchise Holders: Out with the Old, In with the New

Find a bigger business partner, remove the franchise from old partner, give the franchise to the new business partner, then front a former Miss Universe pageant girl for the new national pageant organization. Or look out for the local financier of the MU pageant, negotiate a 5-year franchise deal, then remove the franchise from the old partner to the new one…

That seems to be the current modus operandi of the Miss Universe pageant in finding new business partners to hold national franchises for the MU pageant.

NOTE: some of the points enumerated here maybe based on rumors alone, reader discretion is advised… 

Do you think money is the major factor in the transfer of these franchises? Do you think this will end here or will there be another casualty in the next few months?
Join in the discussions below…

Why Does the Same Countries Win in International Pageants?

Venezuela, the Philippines, Colombia, South Africa and the US are some of the coutries consistently performing well in pageants this past 10 years. What do they do right in pageants that they seem to win or unfailingly place year in and year out? Why do we see the same countries place and win in international pageants?

The answer to this simple question is quite complex. It is not just one major factor that makes these countries stand out and be among the best but a mixture of several equally essential factors…

  1. TRAINING & PREPARATION – we believe that fortune favors not the bold but the prepared… this is especially true in pageants. Countries that have prepared their girls months in advance are typically the ones that do well in pageants. It doesn’t matter if they are front-runners or not, from sash factor countries or other-wise, but those that have gotten ready for every aspect of the competition are usually the ones who do well. Take into consideration Venezuela and the Philippines, they have a very rigid and strict training program unique to each country that works for them. Physical training as well as competition preparation in terms of wardrobe, styling, presentation, interviews and even social media marketing is all taken into account to prepare their representatives. This is why among the 4 biggest pageants in the world these two sit atop everyone in terms of number of crowns.
  2. CANDIDATE’S MENTAL FORTITUDE – perhaps the biggest contributor to someone’s success is the determination and drive of the candidates themselves. This is where the proverbial anecdote “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink” comes into play. A candidate has to be willing to put in the necessary effort to actually win, and that effort has to be consistently delivered each and every single day until the very end of the competition. It is like a faucet that you have to keep turned on at all times. So a candidate’s well of mental strength should not dry up.
  3. SUPPORT SYSTEM – of course a girl’s family and friends count to give moral support, but in this case a pageant support system means to be people behind the scenes who provide assistance in all aspects of the pageant. This includes people comprising the glam team, pageant mentors, the social media team and fan support, the local/national pageant organizers, etc… each of these teams of people provide a type of support that only their collective expertise can give. That is why La Quinta Venezuela (during Osmel’s time) includes an orthodontist, a dietician, and cosmetic surgery experts atop their usual pageant coaches.
  4. ECONOMICS AND POLITICS – this is the side of pageantry that is usually glossed over because it is such a ‘touchy’ topic that nobody wants discussed in the open. A pageant is much like any other business venture. It is about the bottom-line for the international pageant organization as it is about crowning a deserving beautiful winner. Local pageant orgs that can bring in revenue to the international orgs are given better attention. Pageant girls who command a strong presence and media mileage on social media are rarely looked past in the semis. Former Miss Universe Lara Dutta puts it well saying that social media is so influencing that a candidate is already adjudged as winnable or not.

Put all of these factors together in the right proportions unique to each candidate and you will probably end up with a winning formula. And you probably need to tweak and re-work this every year as what may have worked in the past may not necessarily be effective today. That is because a different kind of winner is usually searched for by international pageant organizations.

Let us know on the comments below what other factors do you think is essential in winning pageants…

Pageant Candidates and Social Media at the Time of Covid-19 Pandemic

What can our pageant girls do during these times of quiet and quarantine period? Here are some of our suggestions…

Pageant girls can make use of this time to get their names out on social media when pageant activities are on hold. The great thing about this is that all pageant hopefuls have equal opportunity to ‘seen and heard’ on social media. There are no frontrunners or underdogs during this time every pageant hopeful has equal opportunities to be on every pageant fan’s and pages’ feed. Each pageant girl also has the creative control on the message she wants to send across. This pageant break is an opportunity to reach out to fans with regular social content that is timely, informative and useful.

Girls, this is the time where you should be out there creating content/ posts on your social media that will make fans remember you. Got nothing to say? Easy-peasy! Here is a list of things that you can post on your Instagram and Facebook feed: Continue reading “Pageant Candidates and Social Media at the Time of Covid-19 Pandemic”

Should Pageant Organizations Skip the 2020 Pageant Season?

With the pageant season being delayed due to the NCov-19 global pandemic, one of the possible scenarios is to cancel altogether both national and international competitions. Which leaves the question are pageant organizations willing to do so?

Here are some of our thoughts on this matter…


This may be the most drastic option but it may be the safest course of action to take.

We cannot predict when this global pandemic will end and it isn’t worth the risk to continue and have people spread the virus. Pageant organizations must need to evaluate their priorities when countries are safe-guarding its citizens from the Corona virus. Countries may even implement lockdowns and travel bans during these period and it will definitely put a dent on a pageant’s activities and live finals.

Pageants are festive activities that cannot thrive without audiences and with mass gatherings being avoided; pageants would need to rethink should they proceed… Continue reading “Should Pageant Organizations Skip the 2020 Pageant Season?”

Pageantry and Covid-19

With the news of several new cases of Covid-19 found, how will that affect the national pageant season?

The Covid-19 virus scare is a hot topic in the news nowadays. No one can escape it on the news and even on social media. With this global epidemic becoming more widespread, we fear that this may affect the national pageant season and more so the international pageant season come 3rd-4th quarter of 2020.

First to postpone their inaugural pageant is the Miss Charm International pageant that is supposed to happen in Vietnam this month of March. It has made public that due to the continued spreading of the said virus, they are postponing their pageant towards the latter end of the year.

Another pageant that has made changes in their finals night is the Binibining Pilipinas pageant whose April 26th coronation night is moved to May 31st. Insider rumors are saying that the said move was due to the Covid-19 virus, although no confirmation is yet available. One thing is for certain, the events and public appearances of the Binibinis for this week have been postponed for safety reasons.
One of the latest cases of the Covid-19 infection discovered in the Philippines is an employee of Deloitte Philippines in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Taguig is currently the headquarters and base of operations for the Miss Universe Philippines pageant. It was earlier reported that the MUPh activities are postponed in light of this new development. It is also likely that even pageant fans are to take up more precaution and avoid the infected locations altogether.

Two of the countries gravely affected by the Corona virus is the United States, which is the headquarters of the Miss Universe org, and the Miss International pageant, which holds the annual Miss International pageant. It is likely that these countries would be very cautious in holding these pageants. It is also likely that the Miss Earth pageant may take necessary precautions in holding the pageant in the Philippines.

The Corona virus outbreak IMHO will pose a serious blow to tourism everywhere and it will severely affect both national an international pageants. What we can hope for is that this epidemic would have treatment options before it gets any worse…

It’s No Longer Only About the Miss Universe Pageant

There are more international pageants these days than we can count. And that comes with a sudden realization that nowadays, it’s no longer just about the Miss Universe pageant anymore.

Pageant fans like myself are in this bubble thinking that the most relevant, most prestigious and most important beauty pageant is still the Miss Universe pageant. However, with the surge of newer international competitions being more aggressive in their promotions and the series of letdowns and inherent flaws of the MUOrg, we wonder if are fans unaware that the pageant is suffering an erosion of its prestige?

The Golden Era of Miss Universe
It can be argued that the Golden era of the Miss Universe pageant happened in the 70’s to 90’s. It was a time when the winner get to go home with a car, jewelry from sponsors, wardrobe and even fur coats, and a hefty cash prize ranging from US$10,000 to 20,000. In total, the cash and prizes awarded to the Miss Universe winner amounts up to US$250,000. Winners back in the 80’s to 90’s get to keep their Miss Universe rhinestone crown by Sarah Coventry, a trophy and a Miss Universe brooch. The last titleholder to have seen with the MU brooch was Alicia Machado back in 1996. Newspapers would even publish the cash prizes that a winner like Chelsi Smith in 1995 would receive, something that is hush hush nowadays.
Chelsi Smith's prizes amounted to around US$250,000
Big name celebrities have also served as either judge or host in the pageant. Names like Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias (Sr.), etc… aside from notable dignitaries are usually invited. The pageant is aired by big name television networks and pageant venues are announced a year in advance.
Back then, it means something to be a Miss Universe. Winners are celebrities even in celebrity circles. Imagine having breakfast together with notable artists like Salvador Dali at the St. Regis Hotel and getting an invitation from him to paint you.
It was the age of glamour and everyone knew it. Back then beauty pageants are un-apologetically glamorous. Continue reading “It’s No Longer Only About the Miss Universe Pageant”