#Nostalgia: Miss Universe 1999 Mpule Kwelagobe

What does Anne Lena Hansen, Michelle McLean and Mpule Kwelagobe have in common? Well, they all failed in winning the Miss World title only to bag other prestigious international crowns on their second attempt.
Mpule is a success story from Africa. She was the first black African to win the Miss Universe title, the first woman to win two national titles in Botswana and the youngest woman to win the Miss Botswana title at the age of 17 years old.
Mpule Keneilwe Kwelagobe first won the Miss Botswana title while being barely out from high school. That year she flew to compete in the Miss World 1997 pageant in Seychelles where she failed to even crack the semis. It was India’s Diana Hayden who romped away with the blue crown.

A couple of years later, she joined the inaugural Miss Universe Botswana pageant and won once again. Competing in Miss Universe 1999, Mpule was an underdog who rarely got noticed by pageant fans. She, however, delivered consistently during the finals night which saw her besting 84 other girls for the title. Mpule’s win became the first Miss Universe to come from a debuting nation since 1958.
As Miss Universe, Mpule  traveled to more than 20 countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean representing the official cause of the Miss Universe Organization, HIV/AIDS. She also became a spokes-model for the brand Clairol.
Mpule was also appointed by the United Nations as one of its Goodwill Ambassadors focusing mainly on youth and HIV-AIDS issues.
After her reign she had put on a number of hats including that of a human health rights activist, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, politician, businesswoman, model, and wife. Her government awarded her full scholarship to attend any university she wanted and took a Political Science degree (International Political Economy) at the Columbia University in New York City (Ivy league university).
Since then Mpule has been active in her advocacies and charity work focusing on developing the poor in Africa. She has undoubtedly become one of the most respected Miss Universe in history.


Pageant Fan Generations: Baby Boomers, GenX-ers, Millennials & Generation Z

When Miss Earth Thailand Paweensuda Drouin had a hard time during the Hashtag segment of the Miss Earth 2017 pageant, people are quick to talk about the term ‘Millenials‘ (as misspelled during the pageant). But what this blogger find surprising is that a lot of those that painted criticisms over Fahsai not knowing the term, have a very shallow understanding of what it means to be a millennial. So for this post, the blogger lists down the generations and how they translate into pageant fans…

Before reading on, note that this is a sarcastic write up. It pokes a mocking fun at the good and bad points of several generations; from the Baby Boomers, the Millennials to the GenerationZ. Do not take this article too seriously for your own good.
Baby Boomer Generation – those who were born in the mid-40’s to mid 60’s. The Boomers are the generation of privilege, the wealthiest of the generations in this list as they received peak levels of income….Thus they are the generation of excess and consumption. It is also the generation of changing ideals with the rise of feminism and civil rights movement during the maturity of the Boomers

They are the generation that saw the birth of the heritage pageants of Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss International. They are the ones that could afford the extra expensive tickets to watch international pageants live, stay in luxury hotels because they don’t want to be associated with the baklang darak & hamog that watch the pageant in general admission. They can slap you with their thick wads of money spent on pageants because they can buy you, your friends and this club! They are the ones who can tell you the scandalous past of former winners because they lived through it and are still probably doing it still. And they can regale you stories of which beauty queen/s married for money and status. They are the Alpha fans, the Nyoras, the dinosaurs of pageant fans.

Generation X or GenX-ers – they are the pocket generation that overlaps between the baby boomers and the millennials. Typically said to be born between the mid-60’s to early 80’s, they are described to be the Rebel Generation or the Skeptic Generation. They are witness to the shift from analog to digital… the last generation to play on the streets, get dirty and have fun. 
This generation got to experience the Golden Age of pageants while watching the likes of Brooke Mahaelani Lee, Michelle McLean, Diana Hayden, Aiswarya Rai, Wendy Fitzwilliam, Mpule Kwelagobe, Linor Abargil and Sushmita Sen.  This is the generation who started clipping newspaper features of beauty pageants because they are dirt poor when they were young badettes hiding from their fathers their stash of pageant mementos. This is the old school generation that clips magazine articles and pics of beauty queens and hold on to them like dear life! They are the first to collect photos of beauty queens in diskettes when pageants started to go digital in the mid-90’s. Now they are professionals career-wise and could afford decent tickets to watch pageants. They are approaching aging/ maturity and are next in line to be called thundercats of pageantry.

Millennials or Generation Y – There is a general debate on whether the millennials were born between the mid-70’s to mid-80’s or those that were born from the 80’s to late 90’s. Millennials are said to be the most tech-savvy of generations and are generally liberal in their political, sexual and social views. Millennials live with the traits of confidence and tolerance, but also describes a sense of entitlement and narcissism.
This is the generation of the Zuleyka’s, Oxana’s and Dayana’s. They are the generation who like to bitch and whine online just like the pageant girls they grew up with. Facebook judges, that is what best describes them… as they judge pageant girls by what they see on social media outlets. So if a pageant girl doesn’t post training pics, she is immediately branded as lazy. Or if a girl posts regular pictorials, she is tagged as a photoshop or photoshoot beauty. This is the generation of superficial beauty where their only standard of beauty are that of Latinas and/or caucasians. Currently they comprise the biggest population of pageant fans and are the noisiest on socmed because they don’t have anything else to do outside pageantry… #charot
IGeneration or Generation Z – they are said to be those that were born typically between mid-90’s to mid-2000’s. The generation that grew up online thru social media.
Online Trolling – yes we’re all guilty of that but the GenZ’s tend to take it to supernova levels. Extremely judgmental! They are quick to judge a person or a group just by surface alone, hence they are more likely to behave like a lynch mob online. They tend to bandwagon together because of their innate insecurity on their opinions that they seek validation from others. With their impatience, they tend to read only the blurbs and titles without comprehending the full articles. Hence judging a book by its cover. Their narrow comprehension leads to hasty judgments and emotional outbursts. They are the generation of fake FB and IG profiles because they aren’t confident to show their pimply, twinky and powerbottom faces without being ridiculed.

That is your pageant fan generation for you. Hopefully you survived reading through this blogpost… If it hit you like a ton of bricks, then its your fault for not steering clear! #LOLs

* Twenge, Ph.D., Jean (2006). Generation Me. New York, NY: Free Press (Simon & Schuster)
* https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2017/08/why-generation-x-might-be-our-last-best-hope
* http://socialmarketing.org/archives/generations-xy-z-and-the-others/
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennials
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Z

Miss Universe and Philanthropy

One of the biggest criticisms that the Miss Universe gets is that its charity/ philanthropic arm isn’t as wide or as strong as that of its other international counterparts. Today we list down a few Miss Universe winners that have been doing their part in special charities and advocacies that is close to them. Meet 7 Miss Universe Winners that Matter…

Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Universe 1998 – after her reign, she pursued and continued her law studies and passed the bar exams. She was also involved in the Trinidad Guardian’s Guardian in Education: Making a Difference project, a series of motivational school tours that aims to promote the development of her country’s diversity. She was also appointed the Red Cross Ambassador of Youth for the Caribbean.
Mpule Kwelagobe, Miss Universe 1999 –  has been recognized and honored as a human health rights activist in her country, especially for her fight against HIV/AIDS. For which she was honored with the Jonathan Mann Health Human Rights Award by the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC). She advocates for youth and women to have greater access to sexual reproductive education and services.

Michelle McLean, Miss Universe 1992 – founded the Michelle McLean Children’s Trust in Namibia, which focuses on the education and care of under-privileged children.  The Trust built a primary school in her name and provides education for 900 children. She was presented with The Life Time Achievement Award for her philanthropy work by the Miss Universe organization in 1998.
Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013 – launched the Universe of Blessings Fund, where she is also CEO, which seeks to empower young women and girls and decrease the rates of adolescent pregnancy and maternal mortality, issues which are especially problematic in her native Venezuela. Deeply concerned about the victims of human trafficking and its devastating impact on young women, Gabriela is an ambassador for the Scalabrini International Migration Network.

Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011 –  involved in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and the discrimination that people with the disease experience. As Miss Universe she used her title to champion HIV/AIDS prevention and works with organizations such as YouthAIDS/PSI, Latino Commission on AIDS, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, among others. She was also named Drylands Ambassador by the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in an effort to combat land degradation – an issue that affects not only her country but the entire continent of Africa.
Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015 – is an HIV/AIDS awareness advocate who was named a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacificafter her reign. She been actively involved in humanitarian affairs, speaking out against cyberbullying and supporting people living with HIV, as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.
Jennifer Hawkins, Miss Universe 2004 -she has donated not only her time but also auction items to many Australian charities including Sydney Cancer Foundation, The Sydney Children’s Hospital, Canteen and Make-A-Wish Foundation as well as being a patron for HCRF (Hunter Children’s Research Foundation). She also has worked to raise awareness for heart disease she also participated in the Red Dress campaign. On 6 January 2010, Hawkins appeared naked  on the February cover of Marie Claire Australia magazine to support the Butterfly Foundation and encourage positive attitudes to body image.

There are several countless other winners who have lent a hand to their favorite charities and other advocacies that we haven’t listed here. Almost all of the recent MU winners of the psat 20 or so years have lent time and effort to the HIV-AIDS advocacy of the pageant, as well as women empowerment and child education initiatives. Which only goes to show that the Miss Universe organization and its winners are truly living up to being confidently beautiful with a heart