Some 46 countries have already selected their delegates to the Miss Universe 2014 Pageant. Others are still in the process of sifting the chaff from the grain as to who should be sent to contend for the Nexus crown after Gabriela Isler of Venezuela.
Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa
USA holds the record of having the most Miss Universe wins (8 – 1954, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1997, 2012), followed by Venezuela (7 – 1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2013), Puerto Rico (5 – 1970, 1985, 1993, 2001, 2006) then Sweden (3 – 1955, 1966, 1984).
Miss USA Nia Sanchez
The Philippines is one of only four countries from Asia and Oceania with two winners – 1969 and 1973.
The other three are Japan (1959 and 2007), Australia (1972 and 2004), Thailand (1965 and 1988) and India (1994 and 2000).
Miss USA and Miss Philippines were 1st Runner-up and Miss Universe respectively in 1973
In 1973, Miss USA Amanda Jones was First Runner-Up and Miss Philippines Margarita Moran became the second Filipina Miss Universe after Gloria Diaz in 1969. USA was in Top 15 when Gloria won.
Miss Philippines and Miss USA were 1st Runner-Up and Miss Universe respectively in 2012
In 2012, Miss Philippines Janine Marie Tugonon and Miss USA Olivia Culpo were the last two girls standing before the announcement of the new Miss Universe. Everyone knows that Olivia won and Janine was First Runner-Up.
Although there had been rumors that the American beauty was two months pregnant on the day she was to crown her successor (and if it was indeed true then Janine should have been given the crown) in Moscow, Russia no dethronement happened and Olivia finished her reign without missing a second.
In 1999, Miss Philippines Miriam Quiambao and Miss Botswana Mpule Kwelagobe were the two left standing on centerstage at the Chaguaramas Convention Center in Trinidad and Tobago. Miriam was First Runner-Up and Mpule became the fourth Black woman to win the title after Miss Trinidad and Tobago Wendy Fritzwilliam in 1998, Miss USA Chelsi Smith in 1995 and Miss Trinidad and Tobago Janelle Commisiong in 1977. Kwelagobe was the first Black African to win Miss Universe.
By record, the Philippines is by far the only country that entered the Top 5 for four consecutive years – Venus Raj 4th Runner-Up to Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete of Mexico, Shamcey Supsup 3rd Runner-Up to Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola, Janine 1st Runner-Up to Olivia in 2012 and Ariella Arida 3rd Runner-Up to Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler of Venezuela.
Miss Peru Jimena Espinoza
Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa is among top picks of beauty pageant aficionados worldwide (including Latin powerhouse Venezuela) except in Peru where their own candidate is their pick to wear the Nexus crown next and MJ is not even in their Top 16.
With the crowning of Miss USA Nia Sanchez of Nevada, many see that there could be a reprise of what happened in Las Vegas in 2012 or in Athens, Greece in 1973.
Second chances and more
Both MJ and Nia are believers and shining exemplars of second chances, or even more.
The first time she joined Binibining Pilipinas (the springboard to Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss Supranational and Miss Tourism Queen International), MJ placed 2nd Runner-Up. The second time she joined she was only in Top 15. Then this year, already at 26, supporters pushed her to try again the third time – and so she won, with no less than MUO (Miss Universe Organization) president Paula Shugart among the judges and Gabriela Isler with Ariella Arida crowning her.
Miss Russia Yulia Aripova
Nia was said to have joined Miss California three times but did not make it. She secured a place in Nevada and fulfilled residency requirement then joined the state pageant on the way to the Miss USA crown. She’s 24.
Both professionals and tempered by experience, MJ and Nia are touted to be the most ripe for the 2014 Nexus crown.
Let’s take a look at how the Philippines fared in the other years when Miss USA became Miss Universe and how each placed when the pageant was held in the Philippines two times.
Miss Colombia Paulina Vega
USA first won the crown in 1954. PH did not place (representative was Blesilda Ocampo). In 1956, the second time USA got the crown, the Philippine rep (Edith Nakpil) chose not to go. USA got its third crown in 1960 and PH had no delegate. In 1967, USA got its fourth title, and Miss Philippines Pilar Pilapil did not place.
Miss Puerto Rico Gabriela Berrios
In 1980, USA got its fifth crown with Shawn Weatherly and Miss Philippines Maria Rosario Silayan was 3rd Runner-Up. In 1995, USA got its sixth Miss Universe title through Chelsi Smith. Joanne Quintas did not place. In 1997, Brook Lee won USA’s seventh crown and Miss Philippines Abbygale Arenas was Miss Photogenic.
Miss Panama Yomatzy Hazlewood
In 1974, Manila hosted the pageant with Miss Spain Amparo Munoz winning the crown. Both USA (Karen Morrison) and PH (Guadalupe Sanchez) made it to Top 12.
Twenty years after first hosting the event, Sushmita Sen of India was crowned Miss Universe 1994 in Manila. USA (Lu Parker) and PH (Charlene Gonzales) were in Top 6.
Thais propel candidate to online voting lead
If Thai people can topple their governments they, too, can pressure their beauty queen to resign, which was what happened to Weluree Ditsayabut.
Miss Thailand Pimbongkod Chankaew
Upon proclamation as Thailand’s official candidate to Miss Universe 2014, 1st Runner-Up Pimbongkod Chankaew immediately was propelled to the #1 spot dislodging Miss Philippines in both Beauty Pageant Grand Slam (BPGS) and Missosology’s Miss Universe People’s Choice Poll online voting.
In 1965, Thailand got its first Miss Universe title through Apasra Hongsakula. Miss USA Sue Downey was 2nd Runner-Up and Miss Philippines Louise Aurelio was Top 15.
In 1988, Portnip Nakhirunkanok won Thailand’s second Miss Universe crown. Miss USA was in Top 10 and Miss Philippines Perfidia Limpin did not place.
Miss Indonesia Elvira Devinamira
Another candidate getting strong support in online voting is Miss Indonesia Elvira Devinamira, who’s third in both polls.
Latinas, Europeans coming strong
Latinas and Europeans almost always dominate world beauty pageants. As in previous editions of Miss Universe, this year is no different with the candidates from these continents coming strong: Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, France, Netherlands. Italy will choose its delegate on July 6.
Miss Ukraine Anna Andres
South Africa, Angola, Australia and New Zealand are also making noise or drawing a lot of attention among beauty pageant aficionados.
Date and venue TBA
Miss Universe 2014 was first announced to be held in Brazil (which hosted the pageant in 2011) in Fortaleza but by late March, MUO said the pageant would not be held in said city anymore.
Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss
One of the reasons seen why Paula Shugart came to Manila to attend the crowning of Miss Universe Philippines 2014 was the possibility of Manila hosting the event again. But Filipino fans have been saying they don’t like the idea of their candidate winning the crown in the host country if ever.
Miss New Zealand Arielle Garcillano
China is considered as possible host country, but Miss Universe may also go back to Las Vegas, Nevada (home state of Miss USA).
The date is said to be sometime in November.
Miss France Flora Coquerel
Related stories in this blog: Beauty powerhouse Philippines ends 2013 with a big bang, starts 2014 with aplomb https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/beauty-powerhouse-philippines-ends-2013-with-a-big-bang-starts-2014-with-aplomb/ and Philippines sure to sustain winning streak, maintain powerhouse position with newly-crowned queens https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/philippines-sure-to-sustain-winning-streak-maintain-powerhouse-position-with-newly-crowned-queens.