Here are 10 interesting facts and colorful trivia about the Miss Universe beauty pageant for the past 65 years of its existence:
1. Osmel Sousa of Miss Venezuela Organization is the most successful national pageant director.
Known as the czar of beauty pageants, Cuban emigre Osmel Sousa brought Miss Venezuela to enormous success with her queens winning title after title. Through his efforts, Venezuela was able to win seven Miss Universe crowns, six Miss World titles, six Miss International, and one Miss Earth (the first win is with Sambil models). Venezuela, as of this writing, is still the only country to have ever won the Miss Universe crown in two consecutive years.
2. Stella Marquez-Araneta is the Osmel Sousa of Asia
The Asian counterpart of Osmel Sousa is another foreigner of the country where she currently manages the national pageant. Stella Marquez Araneta is a Colombian who won the first Miss International title and married to a Filipino business tycoon. She heads the Binibining Pilipinas pageant and is credited for the Philippines three Miss Universe crowns and four Miss International titles.
3. Nadia Comaneci served as judge
Olympian Nadia Comaneci, regarded as one of the best female athletes in the planet, was one of the international judges in Miss Universe 1990. She was the first Romanian in the international panel of judges in Miss Universe’s 65-year history.
4. Miss Universe Creed
At one time, Miss Universe had this creed for all competing beauties representing their respective countries. The creed says:
“We, representing the countries of the world in the Miss Universe beauty pageant in order to further the cause of peace, justice and mutual understanding, do solemnly dedicate ourselves to the highest ideals of sportsmanship, friendship and goodwill among all the people of the Universe”.
5. India won its two Miss Universe crowns simultaneous with its Miss World win
India already won two Miss Universe crowns in 1994 and 2000. But both of this wins are simultaneous with the country bringing home as well the Miss World crown. In 1994, Sushmita Sen won the Miss Universe title in Manila, Philippines. But earlier that year, her runner-up in Miss India, Ashwarya Rai already won the Miss World crown.
Similar thing happened in 2000 when Lara Dutta won the Miss Universe crown. Priyanka Chopra also won the Miss World crown for India, which is a back to back win as the country already won in 1999.
6. Venezuela has the only back to back win
A back to back win in Miss Universe has seemed to be an impossibility until 2009 when Stefania Fernandez received the Miss Universe crown from compatriot Dayana Mendoza. Both are from the beauty pageant powerhouse Venezuela.
7. United States of America has the most wins
USA has the most number of wins in Miss Universe. Since 1952, Miss USA has won the title a total of eight times. It all started with Miriam Stevenson in 1954, followed by Carol Morris in 1956, Linda Bement in 1960 who beat Italy’s Daniela Bianchi (one of the most memorable Bond girls of all time, Tatiana Romanova from From Russia With Love), Sylvia Hitchcock in 1966, Shawn Weatherly in 1980 who will go on to star as Jill Riley in “Baywatch”, Chelsi Smith in 1995, Brook Lee in 1997 who won the title in her native Hawaii, and Olivia Culpo in 2012.
The US is followed by Venezuela with 7 titles, Puerto Rico with 5, and the Philippines and Sweden with 3.
8. Miss Russia 2002 dethroned
Miss Russia 2002 Oxana Fedorova is the first Miss Universe titlist to ever be dethroned. Her reign lasted for only 4 months after she was dethroned for “failing to fulfill her duties,” the organizers said. First runner-up Justine Pasek of Panama replaced Fedorova and was crowned Miss Universe 2002.
9. Pregnancy during the competition
In the year 1999, Miss Guam Universe Trisha Elaine Heflin was barred from participating in the Miss Universe 1999 for being pregnant. The Miss Universe 1999, Mpule Kwelagobe however won the title that year as she gave a fitting reply to the controversial question, whether a Miss Universe who became pregnant be allowed to continue her reign. The young lady from Botswana to the question replied that a Miss Universe should be allowed to continue her reign as being pregnant was a sign of femininity, which Miss Universe stands for.
10. No Congenial Miss Universe
As of this writing, no Miss Congeniality has ever gone to win the Miss Universe title.