Czech Republic: A country that is home to some of the world’s biggest models (Eva Herzigova, Petra Nemcova, Paulina Porizkova, Daniela Pestova, Karolina Kurkova, Hana Soukupova) has not been unnoticed in the beauty pageant arena.
One Miss World, and several finalists and semi finalists in the planet’s major beauty competitions hail from this majestic nation. It is also the country of Ivana Marie Zelnickova, known today as Ivana Trump.
But how did it all start? The Czech Republic had been highly irregular when it came as to who represented the nation at the world’s biggest contests (MW & MU). From Czechoslovakia to Czech to Ceska, we take you on a journey through time.
The Miss Czechoslovakia pageant originated in 1989, as Miss Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. However, this country had debuted in both the Master Series pageants (MU & MW) long before.
Alzbeta Strkulova, winner of Girl of the Year (a local contest banned by communist regime) had been a runner-up in Miss World 1967; Marcela Bitnarova was a semi finalist in Miss World 1969; Kristina Hanzalova was a semi finalist in Miss Universe 1970. But after such placementes, Czech Republic disappeared from international competitions for the next 20 years.
1989: The very first winner of Miss Czechoslovakia was Ivana Christova, who competed in the Miss Maja International competition that same year, winning the crown. Christova’s 1st runner-up, Jana Hronkova, was sent to Miss World 1989, and then to the Miss Universe 1990 competition in Los Angeles (where she reached the Top 10).
1990: The winner, Renata Gorecka, attended the Miss Universe 1991 competition, and her runner-up Andrea Roskovcova competed in Miss World 1990.
1991 saw the same pattern: Winner Michaela Malacova (who is today director and organizer of Ceska Miss) traveled to Bangkok to the Miss Universe 1992 competition; her runner-up Andrea Tatarkova competed in Miss World 1991. Malacova was the last Miss to carry the “Czechoslovakia” sash. The country split into Czech Republic and Slovakia on January 1st, 1993.
1992: Due to this separation, the 1992 winner (Paulina Baburkova) competed in Miss Universe 1993 as the very first “Miss Czech Republic”. She made the Top 10 semi finals.
In 1993 the pageant was still called “Miss Czechoslovakia” with girls from both countries. The winner was Silvia Lakasotova, from Slovakia. She competed in Miss Universe, but was the very first Miss “Slovak Republic”. In 1994, the contest was renamed “Miss Cesky Republiky”. Lakasotova’s 2nd runner-up, Simona Smejkalova, competed in the Miss World 1993 pageant.
The same pattern repeated in 1994: Second princess Lenka Belickova went to Miss World, and the winner Eva Kotulanova was in Miss Universe 1995 in Namibia.
In 1995, the winner Monika Zidkova was crowned Miss Europe; the 2nd runner-up, Renata Hornofova, was sent to Miss International (she became the 2nd runner-up) and then to Miss Universe 1996 in Las Vegas, where she failed to place. Katerina Kaslova, 1st runner-up, competed in Miss World.
Things would change in 1996, and the winner would go to both pageants. Petra Minarova attended both the Miss World 1996 and Miss Universe 1997 competitions. In both she was a major favorite, but didn’t place in either.
Another trend started in 1997: The winner would go to Miss World, with one of the runner-ups attending Miss Universe. Terezie Drobovolna went to Miss World held in the Seychelles, and runner-up Kristina Fridvalska was in Miss Universe 1998 held in Hawaii.
In 1998, the winner Katerina Stocesova was crowned Queen of the World, causing the runner-up Alena Seredova to attend Miss World, where she was among the Top 5 finalists. Seredova, one of the pageant’s most famous competitors, resides now in Italy with her husband, Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
The 2nd runner-up, Petra Faltynova, competed in Miss International (reaching the top 15) and then in Miss Universe 1999 (failing to place).
1999: Miss Czech Republic, Helena Houdova, was one of the #1 favorites for the Miss World crown. Arguably the most beautiful Miss Czech Republic crowned to date, pulled an upset when she didn’t reach the Top 10 finalists. Houdova, a very successful fashion model, made the Top 100 list of Most Beautiful Women in the World, published by magazine FHM.
Her 2nd runner-up, Jitka Kocurova, was at the Miss Universe 2000 pageant in Cyprus, ending in 11th place.
2000: Miss Czech Republic 2000, Michaela Salacova, was the very first contestant to get an official award from Global Beauties, who elected her “Miss GB Photogenic” and received her prize during the Miss World contest held in London. Petra Kocarova, who was the fourth runner-up, competed in Miss Universe 2001 as the other high-place finishers were unavailable.
2001: It changed again. Winner Diana Kobzanova went to Miss Universe 2002, while her runner- up Andrea Fiserova went to Miss World.
2002: Winner Katerina Prusova did not compete internationally; her runner-up Katerina Smrzova represented the country in both the Miss World and Miss Universe (2003) pageants. In the latter, she managed a Top 10 spot.
2003: Lucie Vachova attended both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants. In China, she exceled during the fast-track events; in Miss Universe 2004, despite being a favorite, she did not place.
This was the last time a contestant from “Miss Cesky Republiky” would attend the Miss Universe competition.
2004: Jana Dolezelova won the crown and competed in Miss World, where she placed in the semi finals.
2005: The Ceska Miss competition was born. Its first winner was Katerina Smejkalova who competed in Miss Universe in Bangkok. Meanwhile Miss CR, Lucie Kralova, competed in Miss World.
2006: It was an interesting year, as reigning Miss CR Tatana Kucharova was crowned Miss World during the competition held in Warsaw, Poland. Ceska Miss Renata Langmannova failed to place in the Miss Universe competition.
2007-2010: Things for both pageants switched in these years: Ceska Miss winners all made the Miss Universe finals in a row (Lucie Vachova, 2007; Eliska Buckova, 2008; Iveta Lutovska, 2009; and Jitka Valkova, 2010), while the country’s performance in Miss World was not as strong.
2009 was the last time Miss Czech Republic was held. The winner went to Miss World that year, while the runner-up, Hana Verna, competed in Miss Supranational 2010 getting the 1st runner-up spot.
In 2010 both pageants merged into one as petitioned by Miss CR directors Miloslav Zapletal and Tatana Kucharova. “Ceska Miss” got the rights for the Miss World competition and in that year they started the crowning of two winners: Ceska Miss (to Miss Universe) and Ceska Miss World (to Miss World). It remains so until today.
New Ceska Miss winners will be chosen this Saturday in Prague, to represent the country in Miss World and Miss Universe. Are we in for a surprise this year?