WINNER -Oxana Fedorova, Russia
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MISS UNIVERSE 1952-2010
(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)
“Can she possibly be more beautiful?”. That’s how CNN started reporting on the election of Oxana Fedorova, from Russia, as Miss Universe 2002. It was Russia’s first victory, and, unfortunately, the shortest reign for a Miss Universe.
Miss Universe 2002, the pageant’s 51st edition, happened in San Juan, Puerto Rico. One year earlier, the island had seen its own Denise Quiñones be crowned at home, then she would crown her successor before of her own people.
Seventy-five candidates participated in Miss Universe that year, including Albania and China, which took part in the event for the first time. The show was hosted by Phil Simms and Daisy Fuentes, with the help of former Miss Universe Brook Lee.
After a Miss USA pageant with 4 black finalists, including the winner, the District of Columbia’s Shauntay Hinton, pageant followers believed black stunners would dominate the Miss Universe 2002 scenario as well. Two of the main front-runners were Miss Colombia, Vanessa Mendoza, the first black Colombian in the pageant history, and Miss Dominican Republic, Ruth Ocumarez.
Miss Curaçao, Ayanette Statia, Miss Sweden, Malou Hansson (her mother was from Ghana), and Miss USA, were also among the black favorites.
The representative of Panama, Justine Pasek, was another hot favorite, favored by GlobalBeauties.com to win the crown. Vanessa Carreira had competed in Miss Portugal and lost, but her luck changed when she was crowned Miss South Africa later on. In Puerto Rico, she was also a favorite. Then there was the elegant and congenial first Miss China Universe, Zhuo Ling. GB was the only website to spot Miss Cyprus, Demetra Eleftheriou, as the possible first ever semi-finalist from her country (and it was right!). Just like Miss South Africa, Natascha Börger, Miss Germany, had also competed in another country (Venezuela) and lost.
In a very competitive year, the list of favorites went on, with France, Netherlands, India, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Japan, Nicaragua, Portugal, Porto Rico (hometown girl), Slovenia, Turkey…
Miss Venezuela, Cynthia Lander, had a body to die for, but facially, she wasn’t among the best, not even by far. Some believed she could make it, others thought the Venezuelan 19-year-long streak would end in 2002.
And how about Miss Russia, Oxana Fedorova? Of course she was often present in most ‘top 10′ lists, but very few saw her as a possible winner until the final night. It would change as soon as she was called among the ‘top 10’…
And the top 10 semi-finalists were:
Albania, Russia, South Africa, India, Germany, Cyprus, Canada, Panama, China, and Venezuela.
Overall, it was a good top 10, with a couple of surprises: Albania (pleasant one), and Venezuela (good body + preparation + tradition).
The negative surprise was the fact that the judges completely ignored the stunning black candidates competing that year, including mega favorites Colombia and Dominican Republic. The exclusion of the Dominican delegate was so shocking, that pageant fans created the Ruth Ocumarez (her name) Award for favorites who missed the cut from 2003 on…
Cyprus made the cut for the first time ever, as predicted by GB, and so did China and Albania, on their first participation. Germany had returned to the semi-finals after 13 years, and Portugal missed the opportunity to have its first ever semi-finalist, after all, Vanessa Carreira had competed and lost there. She made it for South Africa.
From that point on, it looked like it was a real piece of cake for Miss Russia! The Russian stunner suddenly became virtually unbeatable, topping both the swimsuit and evening gown competitions with a large margin to the other contenders. She scored an amazing 9.88 in swimsuit.
Miss Universe 2002 was one of the best produced editions of the pageant in history, showing a big improvement from a busy and confusing 2001 production. From an energetic and captivating opening number and parade of nations, to the stage, lighting, and music, everything was refreshing, elegant, very well elaborated.
Miss Puerto Rico, voted by fans in the internet, took the Miss Photogenic Award. Miss US Virgin Islands was Miss Congeniality, and Miss Colombia, the big favorite, won the Best National Costume Award.
Russia advanced to the Top 5 with a comfortable lead (9.76), followed by Venezuela (9.06), and China (9.01). Four countries had a fierce battle for the remaining two spots, with Panama (8.85) and South Africa (8.84) advancing, and Germany (8.825) and Cyprus (8.82) staying behind. Miss Cyprus, Demetra Eleftheriou, would be named the Sexist Woman Alive later that year by Global Beauties.
At that point, it possibly did not matter what Miss Russia’s answer would be for the final question. Her beauty was such, and her performance had been so extraordinary all night long, that only a disgrace could take the crown away from her. The fight was for 2nd place, and as destiny would tell, a 2nd position that later would be worth gold…
Miss Venezuela was announced as 4th runner-up, followed by Miss South Africa, the third runner-up; Miss China was the 2nd runner-up, and Misses Russia and Panama were left, hand in had, one of which seconds away from walking away with the new Mikimoto Miss Universe official crown.
The 1st runner-up was Miss Panama, and Oxana Fedorova, the beauty prodigy from Russia, was Miss Universe 2002!
Maybe there wasn’t a single soul on the planed who disagreed with the judges’ choice that night, one of those rare moments in pageantry: unanimity!
The daughter of a father who was a nuclear physicist, who she last saw when she was 3, and a mother who worked as a nurse, this Pskov native was not only beautiful, but also very bright. After graduating from the police academy with honours, Fedorova worked as an inspector in the Pskov militia for six months. Following her time with the force, she moved to St. Petersburg to study at the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) University, where she worked as an investigator at the Pulkovo Transport Police, while studying.
It’s interesting to note that Oxana was supposed to represent Russia in Miss Universe 2001, and did not do so because of her studies.
After three months as Miss Universe, Oxana lost her title. Fedorova stated that she voluntarily gave up her crown for personal reasons, mainly because she wanted to finish her law degree. Officially, she was dethroned for failing to perform the numerous duties expected of a Miss Universe titleholder. At the time she said in an interview that she had declined to perform her duties because she was insulted on The Howard Stern Show. She blamed the pageant organizers for not warning her of the frequently profane Stern commentary, of which she, as a foreigner, had no prior knowledge.
Justine Pasek of Panama succeeded her (READ HERE).
Oxana’s career as a model and television personality in Russia, has been very successful ever since she returned home. She is currently working on her first solo album, which shall be released until the end of the year.
For many, in terms of beauty Oxana is “on a league of her own”, just like Ashwarya Rai, the Indian twice elected the Most Beautiful Miss World ever.
MISS UNIVERSE 2002 – OXANA FEDOROVA (dethroned)
MOST BEAUTIFUL MISS UNIVERSE FROM EUROPE (1952-2010)
MOST BEAUTIFUL MISS UNIVERSE FROM THE 2000’s
We want to thank our judges, contributors (especially Alberto Dubal and Greg Borowski), and visitors, some of which have been following this election for over 6 months. It’s been a pleasure having you on board during this magical journey through 59 years of history of Miss Universe!! Congratulations to Oxana and to all other 59 Miss Universe winners. In reality, in this game all were, are, and will always be winners.
Happy Miss Universe’s 60th edition, everyone!!