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)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!!
MISS UNIVERSE 1953, CHRISTIANE MARTEL
MOST BEAUTIFUL MISS UNIVERSE FROM THE 1950’s
MOST BEAUTIFUL MISS UNIVERSE FROM EUROPE (1952-2010)
(still competing: 1978, 1989, 2000, 2002-Oxana, 2004, 2008)