52nd place – Norma Nolan (Argentina)
(Our judges are: Greg Borowski, Willian Prendiz de Jurado, Edwin Toledo (Times of Beauty), Ricardo Guiraldes (Chilean Charm), Julio Rodriguez (Belleza Venezolana), Alberto Dubal (Miss Memorabilia), Jimmy Harris (Beauty School), Pepe Medel, Jean-Marie Vandecasteele, Andre Sleigh, Rose Foulger, Luis Trujillo. From GB, Ed Dominguez, Henrique Fontes, and Chris Kuntz)
In an important political year for Argentina, when it broke free from a military coup and lived times of intense cultural production, Argentina, after recently conquering the Miss World title, won its first Miss Universe title with Norma Nolan.
Miss Argentina was never a press favorite, and when she was called among the top 15, Nolan was regarded as a “dark horse”. It was after her amazing national costume and evening gown performances, when she showed unquestionable elegance and poise, that Miss Argentina started being noticed.
In an year when 11 out of 15 semi-finalists were brunettes, Norma ended up being crowned, leaving behind the two favorites for the crown, who, ironically, were two blondes: Austria’s Christa Linder (for everyone’s shock, she was just a semi-finalist), who later became an actress, and Finland’s Anja Aulikki Järvinen (2nd runner-up), who marked Finland’s return to Miss Universe’s finals after it won the title in 1952, and the beginning of great success for this Scandinavian country, which had a series of runner-ups and favorites which culminated with a second title in 1975.
Exotic countries for the time, like Dahomey (currently Benin), Morocco, and Haiti (the first black Miss Universe semi-finalist), participated in the pageant. Lebanon and New Zealand had their first Miss Universe semi-finalists ever, and the USA had its first ethnic winner: Macel Leilani Wilson of Hawaii.
If never a press favorite, Norma was very popular among the other contestants, who were very happy to see Miss Argentina being crowned as Miss Universe 1962. Not much is known about her life after Miss Universe, which she chose to keep private.
(Special thanks to Alberto Dubal for his contribution!)