7th place – Christiane Martel – Miss Universe 1953

7th place – Christiane Martel, France

(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)

1953 candidates

The 2nd edition of Miss Universe happened on July 17, 1953, in Long Beach, California, USA. 26 countries competed, 4 less than in 1952,  and the show was hosted by Bob Russell. Austria and Switzerland participated for the first time.

The winner would sign a contract with Universal Studios, in the hope of becoming a movie star, and a second contract with Catalina, a brand she would promote traveling throughout the U.S.. There was no formal contract with Miss Universe, like today.

Miss U 53 in gown

The big favorites to become the 2nd Miss Universe were Misses Germany, France, and Mexico. Sweden, Uruguay, Japan, and Panama, were also often mentioned as strong possibilities.

In fight for the Miss USA crown, two favorites: Illinois and South Carolina. Miss Illinois, Myrna Hansen, was the winner, and joined the group of favorites for the Miss Universe title.

Although only 26 countries competed, there were 16 semi-finalists that year. The idea was to please as many countries as possible, thinking of future editions of the pageant. The 16 were:

Miss USA

Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, South Africa, Turkey, USA, Uruguay. All 5 continents were represented among the semi-finalists.

The top 5 was 100% geographically correct: Miss USA (North America), Miss Mexico (Latin America), Miss Japan (Asia), Miss Australia (Oceania), and Miss France (Europe), advanced to the final round of competition.

Miss Germany, Christel Schaack, elected Miss Europe before Miss Universe, was “sacrificed” and left the competition too early.

Beauties in gowns

With Miss Germany out of the game, it was a fierce battle between the stunners from France and the USA. Christiane Martel, Miss France, a model from Paris who was born Christiane Magnani, was declared the winner, which did not please the American crowd. They wanted to see Myrna as Miss Universe.

Japan was 3rd, Mexico was 4th, and Australia was 5th.

Victory walking

Miss Peru complained that the judges picked only one Latin among the Top 5. Miss Italy was furious, and said she did not like Miss France’s legs, and therefore, did not think she should be Miss Universe.

In January of 1954, Martel got married, but did not loose her title. Her wedding lasted for 72 days only. She then returned to Hollywood to star in a few epic movies. Myrna Hensen, the 1st runner-up from the US, also became an actress of relative success.

Martel had a successful movie career in Mexico, where she lives until today. She remains the only winner, and the only finalist from France in 59 years!

Special thanks to Alberto Dubal!!



(still competing: 1978, 1989, 2000, 2002-Oxana, 2004, 2008)

Miss Universe 1953

Top 5: Australia (5th), Mexico (4th), France (1st), USA (2nd), Japan (3rd)

The beauty of Miss Universe 1953, from France

57 comments to 7th place – Christiane Martel – Miss Universe 1953

  • Maganda at Mayaman


    She is a classic. No wonder she is in the top 10 All-Time Miss Universe. She’s got the Hollywood glamour all over her. And her body is amazingly beautiful.

  • Beautiful and Rich

    She dont deserved this spot. Miss U from france 1952 should be in a higher place. Dayana Mendoza from Venezuela deserves this spot

    • Anaxagoras

      You bet. Thumbs up!!!

    • Lamarquise

      Agree!!!!! I thought this honour should go to Dayana Mendoza. Well, if my prediction is correct, I think the judges have picked Dayana as the winner, and I don’t think she is the most beautiful Latina. Too bad Denise Quinones and Natalie Glebova are already eliminated.

      In the end, beauty is subjective and this contest should not exist in the first place: these winners come from different decades where everything is different: hairdo, fashion, makeup, figure/physique. It is hard to compare them. HOWEVER, the only thing I like about this contest is that we learn a bit more about each pageant and a bit more about the contestants and winners.

      • Anaxagoras

        I totally agree with you about the learning many of us are having by reading the comments of every pageant. Certainly we have been surprised by unknown facts ( at least by me).

        And you couldn’t be more right about placing in a list all the winners and make a competition of it. Though we might like or enjoy it, it doesn’t seem fair to compare the first winner with the last one, because the first winner didn’t have the time to get ready or prepare herself for the pageant just like the rest did(I would dare to say after 5 or 6 years, after the pageant was first held). Obviously current and recent winners are totally from the past winners. And athe worst part is when the comments posted here had rised into to insults for the winners. But, as long as there is people to stand for them (I include myself), they can comment whatever they want!!!

        Anyway, with or without this ranking, Christiane was and still a stunning beauty!!!

  • fadiel

    That leaves Margeret Gardiner as the most beautiful Miss Universe for 3 decades – 50’s to 70’s (at least) and most beautiful Miss Universe from Africa. Classic beauty!!!

  • VictorG

    I have run the numbers a couple of times and come up with an average score of 9.565 for Christiane Martel of France, not 9.526. Could this make a difference in her placement?

  • John

    !Well deserved placement!!
    Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008, is the most beautiful Miss Universe!!
    Dayana has beautiful face and body, great personality and stage presence.

  • Luisa

    The first time I saw Martel, at Miss Universe 1976, I thought that she was breathtaking. I was hoping she might win this poll, but I have to admit that Oxana Federova might be the most beautiful contestant I’ve ever seen. As for Dayana, I thought that her features features got too harsh as her year went on, but the real surprise for me here is that Margaret Gardiner is still in contention. I thought she’d be eliminated long ago.

    • Ken

      I think pretty much everybody agrees that Margaret Gardiner have gone way way way too high. Just like the finalist for Miss Universe 1953, those judges wanted one representative from each continent (I don’t think they have Africans in 1953’s pageant, so correct me if I am wrong), and now this panel of judges also wanted that. The results right now are far too convenient, extremely manipulated. If that’s the case, then the next one out would be another European, and the top 6 would look like this:

      6. Angela Visser (1989) – Netherlands – there are only two Europeans left, so to space them out, it is looking less likely that Angela will successfully defend her reign
      5. Margaret Gardiner (1978) – South Africa – this is really as far as she can go if the judges wanted their way, if the judges dare to make her go higher, I have lost faith in GB’s credibility, the entire competition is just fixed!!
      4. Lara Dutta (2000) – Indian – this panel of judges does not like Asians, but they have to let at least one in the top 5, and they can’t have too many caucasians/non ethnic girls occuping the top 4, so after letting Margaret Gardiner go, Lara should be next
      3. Dayana Mendoza (2008) – Venezuala – even if she had potential surgery, she is still a stunner in her own right, and it is only fitting that at least one Venezualan finish in the top 3.
      2. Jennifer Hawkins (2004) – Australia – she is easily the favourite among caucasians/white, but there are enough english speaking stunners in the top 6, and it is quite an honour to finish in the top 2 in everyway. She can still pull out a victory in the polls, but my bet to win is still…..
      1. Oxana Federova (2002) – Russia – Is it politically incorrect to give her the win? It is about the only reason to keep her from the top now; even though this panel of judges favour Europeans generally, she will still richly deserve her win here, as she was quite universally adored during her brief reign.

  • CharlieD

    well… Christiane is stunning… love her! I supposed she was going to be far… I like her more than Angela and Lara… but…

    My prediction of final ranking now is:

    1. Jennifer (Australia)
    2. Dayana (Venezuela)
    3. Oxana (Russia)
    4. Margaret (South Africa)
    5. Angela (Holland)
    6. Lara (India)

    All of them are the best of all times!!!! :)

  • jose

    1.Dayana Mendoza 2.Jennifer Hawkins 3.Oxana Fedorova 4.Angela Viser 5.Margaret Gardiner 6.Lara Dutta

  • Kate

    Christiane Martel ranked 19th in GB’s 2001 contest.

    How I would rank the top 6:
    6. Margaret Gardiner
    5. Lara Dutta
    4. Dayana Mendoza
    3. Jennifer Hawkins
    2. Angela Visser
    1. Oxana Federova

  • Dante

    For me Gladys Zender is by far the most beautiful MU from the 50’s. Even today she remains very elegant and sophisticated. From the remaining girls I would pick Lara or Jennifer next.

  • prinpoleon

    wow christiane martel deserve one position in the top 5 o well my prediction is this
    6: margaret gardiner
    5: lara dutta
    4: angela visser
    3: jennifer hawkins
    2: oxana fedorova
    1: dayana mendoza

  • prinpoleon

    i think than christane is a “black horse” or some like that because she is really beautifull but in other site of internet her position is very low like in beautymania and in this ranking the pass edition she was know like one of the most beautiful winner everytime i her this but i dont understand why her position’s was very low in many ranking :(

  • Hugo

    I cannot beleive that Laua Dutta is more beautiful than the last two girls. I’m done with this not right at all.

  • PW

    1. Dayana Mendoza
    2. Jennfier Hawkins
    3. Oxana Fedorova
    4. Angela Visser
    5. Margaret Gardiner
    6. Lara Dutta

  • Lub

    Impossible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but is Ok!!
    6.South Africa

  • Felipe

    1- OXANA
    2- LARA
    4- DAYANA
    6- ANGELA

  • Chris

    My top six….
    6. Margaret
    5. Angela
    4. Jennifer
    3. Dayana !!!!!!!!
    2. Lara !!!!!!!!!!
    1. OXANA!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lara may not be as beautiful on the stage as Dayana… but no one deny that she has been one of the best speakers of all these MU’s in top 6. A great personality in all respects.

  • Andreatos Leo

    My Picks:

    1.- Dayana Mendoza (2008)
    2.- Oxana Fedorova (2002)
    3.- Jennifer Hawkins (2004)
    4.- Angela Visser (1989)
    5.- Lara Dutta (2000)
    6.- Margaret Gardiner (1978)

  • Antorcha

    Finally! After 2 weeks of seeing Marlene, we now learn that classic beauty Christianne is #7. Congrats to Margaret Gardiner, who I’ve always believed to be rated very high because of her elegance but thought she may would have been eliminated by now from the many who think otherwise; but it appears she’ll finish 5th or 6th from those who’ve already posted and Angela already finished ahead of her in MBMU 2001 contest.

    Since Dayana nearly lost to Colombia’s Taliana Vargas and since I believe Oxana will get perfect 10s from 1w out of 15 GB judges, my predictions are 1)Oxana, 2)Jennifer, 3) Angela, 4)Dayana, 5) Margaret, 6) Lara

    I still wish Natalie should have at least made top 3.

  • Antorcha

    12 out of 15 judges w/ the remaining judges giving Oxana a 9.90

  • Mp

    #1. Dayana
    #2. Oxana
    #3. Jenni

    Dayana Reina de Reinas!!!! The most beautiful…..

  • Brian L

    1. Jennifer
    2. Dayana
    3. Oxana
    4. Angela
    5. Lara
    6. Margaret

  • carina

    hail the most beautiful.. OXANA for the win!!!

  • rafael

    en ese año mexico qedo 4to *_* Ana Berta Lepe gran actriz un gran mujer


    Me conto mi abuelita que Christiane fue muy hermosa en su epoca.
    La proxima debe ser la bella Angela Visser

  • penge load

    Now I Appreciate the 50’s beauty

  • pop

    Christiane Martel, Miss Universe 1953, ranks 33th in my ranking with the score 9.256 .

  • Ava Gardner

    Christiane Martel looked SPECTACULAR in Mexican movies and as a MU judge in 1978 and 2007. However, as MU she was “pretty” but not Top 10 material. Let’s be honest and not get caught up in nostalgia or misleading pictures.

    As for Margaret Gardiner, ARE THE JUDGES LOOKING AT HER THROUGH A KALEIDOSCOPE or simply ignoring the fact that she was SOPHISTICATED but not gorgeous?

  • AlexRio

    I simply can’t believe Martel is in a lower position then Lara Dutta and Margaret Gardiner, this is absolutely nonsense.

    The fact Gardiner is in a Top 6 of ALL Miss Universe history, makes me laugh, just that….

  • Ist

    1° Jennifer Hawkins… is the most beautidul of all.

    2° Oxana Fedorova

    3° Dayana Mendoza

    4° Angela Visser

    5° Lara Dutta

    6° Margaret Gardiner

  • olegNN

    Where is Jennifer Hawkins-in top 5,not really? Her fans seem to be near exaltation, but you must realize , that she didn’t possess real beauty.Sexy glance- yes, nice smile-yes, but in essence it’s only “special effects”, skilful mimicry.How easily she fooled you , if you didn’t see her small eyes and dry lips.
    Significant in MU is the swimsuit round and it’s evident, that Hawkins failed it, it was a caricature of the fierce catwalk.If the GB judges are experts , they must notice such “weak spots”, before giving her the perfect 10.
    All the MU’04 alection was unfair, including the top-10.I don’t think , that every Indian delegate , pretended to be A.Rai, is worth semifinal and every Latina with duck face(Paraguay, Puerto Rico) or Afro-Caribbean thick-nosed contestant (Trinidad) can automatically go into 1/2 and top-5.And that runner-up from USA – the main claimant to Miss Fake U of all times and nations.Does anybody agree with me?

  • Roberto

    Mi predictions:
    6° Margaret Gardiner – South Africa – 1978
    5° Lara Dutta – India – 2000
    4° Dayana Mendoza – Venezuela – 2008
    3° Angela Visser – Holland – 1989
    2° Oxana Fedorova – Russia – 2002 (dethroned)
    1° Jennifer Hawkins – Australia – 2004

  • Jose Garcia

    Dayana Mendoza number one! The best Miss Universe ever!

  • luig_paolo

    MY TOP 6:

    6.- MISS INDIA – MISS UNIVERSE 2000, 9.80

    5.- MISS RUSSIA – MISS UNIVERSE 2002, 9.83


    3.- MISS HOLLAND – MISS UNIVERSE 1989, 9.90



  • Marisabel

    Definitivamente la siguiente debería ser Lara, Dayana o Margaret. No hay punto de comparación con las otras 3 (Angela, Jennifer y Oxana).

    En mi opinión debería quedar así.

    6. Lara.
    5. Dayana
    4. Margaret
    3. Oxana
    2. Jennifer
    1. Angela

  • Anaxagoras

    A well deserved ranking. It is great to see that the judges have a very high sense of classic beauty by placing Marlene and this French Godess in the Top 10 (would’ve loved to see a couple of beaties in this group also).
    If you watch her appearences in other pageants as a judge, Christiane still has that gorgeous face along with a breathtaking elegance !!! If there was a ranking of winners but at present days…She would the one to beat !!!
    Vive La France…Vive Christiane!!!

    • KL

      Yes, Christiane was still stunning when she was a judge at Miss Universe 2007, she has certainly aged remarkably and surprsingly well as opposed to her successor Miriam Stevenson who attended this past Miss USA pageant (sigh…beauty is so fleeting a thing).

  • gero

    the most beautiful! is…. Dayana Mendoza Miss Universe 2008

  • Zachary

    Ava, totally agree with you on both Christiane and Margaret, although for me Margaret is so breathtakingly attractive she is on my Top 5.

  • Santado

    1. Oxana Fedorova
    2. Angela Visser
    3. Jennifer Hawkins
    4. Lara Dutta
    5. Margaret Gardiner
    6. Dayana Mendoza

    Dayana should have been eliminated long ago, her features are a bit manly for my taste n her annoying over confident attitude just turns me off.And I think Chisty should have been in top 5,such a timeless classic beauty!

  • WILL



  • Mp

    1′ America:Dayana, 2′ Euroasia:Oxana, 3’Europe: Angela, 4’Oceania:Jenny, 5′ Africa: Margaret

  • Fenya


  • SC

    1) America, Dayana (golden girl)
    2) Europe, Oxana (silver girl)
    3) Oceania, Jennifer (blonde girl)
    4) Asia, Laura (brown girl)
    5) Africa, Margaret (brunette girl)

    I think, it is fair. Sorry Angela! You or Jenny (plain girls).

  • Lapin Gota

    1. Dayana Mendoza (the best one)
    2. Lara
    3. Oxana

  • Micho Chita

    1. DAYANA MENDONA. She is too self-confidence and she look too artificial, but phiysically is the best. Very exotic, beautiful eyes, and perfect body. She should win, if it is because of beutyness.
    2. OXANA was too liberal and she didn’t respect the M.U. Organization by leaving her place empty. However, is the second in beautiness.
    3. Jennifer was very grey during her reing, but she is beautiful, anyway.

    • Elwe Bote

      DAYANA tiene cirugia plastica en la nariz, en los senos y en las rodillas (liposuccion), o sea que es mas artificial que los brillantes de acrilico. ¿Como se te ocurre ponerla en primer lugar? Es ridiculo y no es justo para las otras, aunque sea la mas bella, porque no es natural Y PUNTO.

      • MP

        No se si tenga todo eso, pero liposuccion no creo que se ha hecho, ella siempre ha sido tan flaca y sin nada de grasa, mira sus fotos de la joyeria que circularon por la internet que son mucho antes del MU. Silicones en los pechos ella mismo lo dijo.

        Pero el 80% de las candidatas lo tiene, mira a stefania y ximena (las 2 ultimas MU) tienen los pechos perfectamente redondos y fijos, aunque lo niegan es demaciado evidente.

        No veo el problema de la cirugia plastica, es algo permitido y el proposito es para mejorar la belleza no para hacer belleza. El mismo criterio que para la cirugia reconstrutiva, que es para mejorar.

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