9th place – Miss Universe 2010 – Ximena Navarrete

9th place – Ximena Navarrete, Mexico

(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 59th edition of Miss Universe happened at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on August 23. It was hosted by Bret Michaels and Natalie Morales. It was the 3rd time Las Vegas hosted the pageant, after no country showed interest in hosting the pageant.

Philippines: great chicken wings' eater!

During the almost three weeks contestants spent in Las Vegas, they enjoyed a diversity of activities, which included selling lemonade on a Vegas sidewalk wearing bikinis and high heels, a fashion show on a sushi bar, or yet, a chicken wings eating contest (won by Miss Philippines!).

Two women were expected to be hand-in-hand in the end of the worldwide telecast, and fight for the Miss Universe crown: Ireland’s Rozanna Purcell and Mexico’s Ximena Navarrete. Other favorites were Miss Philippines, Venus Raj, Miss Russia, Irina Antonenko, and Miss Jamaica, Yendi Phillips. Miss Jamaica had also been a Miss World favorite in 2007, and on that occasion finished the competition as a semi-finalist.

Albania: Miss Grand Slam

There were also those who wondered if Venezuela’s Marelisa Gibson would be able to win a third consecutive Miss Universe crown, and 7th overall, for her country.

Special awards were given to Miss Australia, Jesinta Campbell, voted by fellow contestants as Miss Congeniality, and Miss Thailand, Fonthip Watcharatrakul, who won two trophies: Miss Photogenic and Best National Costume.

The final telecast, watched by over 600 million people in 81 countries, kicked off  with the candidates introducing themselves in national costumes, and dancing to the sound of “Commander” by Kelly Rowland featuring David Guetta.

Top 10

Soon after that, the Top 15 were announced, and they were:

Puerto Rico, Ukraine, Mexico, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa, France, Australia, Jamaica, Russia, Albania, Colombia, Guatemala, Czech Republic, and Philippines.

When Miss Philippines was called, her fanatics went crazy in the crowd, and a video of Filipino fans celebrating back home, probably a reflection of what happened throughout the whole country, was watched by over 3 million people on You Tube! (Watch it here). Pageant-crazy Philippines was back in Miss Universe’s Top 15 after 11 long years!

Upset: Ireland out of the top 5??

The surprises among the 15 were Australia, Guatemala (good ones), Colombia, and Czech Republic. Guatemala made the cut for the first time in 26 years.

Favorites from USA (out of the top 15 for the first time since 2002), Korea (best ranked Asian beauty in Miss World 2010), Japan, Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago, and Thailand were left behind.

The candidates paraded in swimsuits, and 5 of them said good-bye to the competition: Czech Republic, France, Colombia, Belgium, and one of the heavy favorites, Miss Russia. The other 10 went on to compete in their evening gowns.

After the evening gown competition, it was hard to explain the elimination of the favorite for the crown, Miss Ireland, and of Miss Albania, the best surprise of the night, who many thought could have taken it all (she was elected Miss Grand Slam by GB in 2010).

Australia: great surprise!

The 5 finalists were Mexico, Jamaica, Philippines, Australia, and Ukraine. The fresh beauty from Australia, the very spontaneous Jesinta Campbell, was the most pleasant surprise of the 2010 edition, but at that point, it looked like Mexico had it in the bag!

Miss Philippines, criticized for her final answer, was the 4th runner-up; the very elegant Miss Ukraine was the 3rd runner-up; the lovely Miss Australia was the 2nd runner-up; Miss Jamaica finished as 1st runner-up; and Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, confirmed her favoritism and walked away with the Miss Universe crown and sash! It was Mexico’s 2nd title.

During her reign, still not over, Navarrete became the official face of L’Oreal Paris. She has traveled to a variety of countries, including Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, China, Brazil, Thailand, Guatemala, Chile, among others. A video showing her disappointment when visiting India, caused some discomfort among pageant fans, especially the Indian ones.

She will crown her successor on September 12, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

JIMENA NAVARRETE, MISS UNIVERSE 2010
WINNER
MOST BEAUTIFUL MISS UNIVERSE FROM NORTH & CENTRAL AMERICA
(1952-2010) 

(Still competing: 1953, 1961, 1978, 1989, 2000, 2002-Oxana, 2004, 2008)

Ximena Navarrete, Miss Universe 2010

Top 5: Philippines (5th), Ukraine (4th), Jamaica (2nd), Australia (3rd), and Mexico (1st)

Miss U 2010

10th place – Miss Universe 1974 – Amparo Muñoz

10th place – Amparo Muñoz, Spain

(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)

Miss Universe 1974, the 23rd edition of the pageant, was held in Manila, Philippines on the early morning of July 21, 1974, at the Folk Arts Theater. The pageant was hosted by Bob Barker and Helen O’Connell. It was the first time an Asian country hosted the Miss Universe pageant.

The popular Miss Aruba

Ferdinand Marcos was the president of the Philippines, and his wife, Imelda, a former beauty queen herself, was the biggest supporter of the pageant. It happened with the Philippines under Martial Law due to heavy popular protests against the United States. The pageant was totally sponsored by the government, after all, Filipinos had always had a passion for beauty pageants, and the country had had 2 winners in the past 5 years. It was a way to distract the Filipinos, taking their attention away from the real problems their country faced under Marcos dictatorship.

Sixty-four candidates competed, with Liberia and Senegal debuting in Miss Universe.

Miss Philippines: elegant and discret

Four women were the big favorites for the crown that year: Spain’s Amparo Muñoz, Finland’s Riitta Johanna Raunio, Colombia’s Ella Cecilia Escandon, and England’s Kathleen Ann Anders; other standouts were Misses Aruba (who was loved by the Filipinos), Puerto Rico, Portugal (vice-Miss Europe), Paraguay, and Wales. Miss Philippines, Guadalupe Sanchez, also represented hope for a 3rd Filipino crown: she was beautiful, discrete, and elegant.

During the pageant, Turkey invaded Cyprus, causing Andri Tsangaridou, Miss Cyprus, to despair: “Those Turkish invaded my country! Where will I go to when the pageant is over?”. She received great support from the other contestants, who were concerned about her delicate situation.

Finland: Miss Photogenic

Amparo Muñoz had one of the most perfect faces to have ever competed in Miss Universe. Movie director Carlos Saura, who worked with her in “Maná cumple 100 Años” (1979), said that Muñoz had a face out of this world. “I could spend days starring at her”. Amparo won the Best Supporting Actress Award in the Brussels Film Festival for her participation in this movie. So, it was no surprise that the Filipinos went mad about her.

Imelda Marcos made it public that Miss Spain was her favorite contestant, and the government of Spain sent a representative to Manila to lobby for her.

Ironically, the Miss Spain Organization never gave much support to Amparo: her national costume was the regional costume she wore in Miss Spain, and Amparo herself had to buy her evening gown!

Top 12

Amparo participated in the pageant to get more exposure as an actress. When she competed in Miss Spain and Miss Universe, she had already acted in Spanish and Mexican movies.

After a grand opening number and the parade of nations, the names of the 12 semi-finalists were announced, and they were: England, Australia, Panama, Finland (who had been chosen as Miss Photogenic), Spain, USA, Colombia, Wales, India, Aruba, Philippines, and Puerto Rico.

Wales: unmarried with children

Misses India and Panama were the two “surprises”. Favorites from Paraguay and Portugal (a country that up to today has never had a single semi-finalist in Miss Universe) were left behind.

The 5 finalists were Finland, Colombia, Spain, Aruba and Wales. Not only all five had always been favorites, but also they were the best performers of the night. It remains one of the most coherent groups of finalists in Miss Universe history.

Miss Aruba finished in 5th place; Miss Colombia was 4th; Miss Finland was 3rd; when Miss Wales was announced as 1st runner-up, she was visibly relieved, which was explained later: as Miss UK, Helen Morgan won the Miss World title later that year, but had to abdicate for being a single mother. Back to Manila, Amparo Muñoz, everyone’s favorite, was crowned Miss Universe 1974!

Imelda and the top 5

She remained in the Philippines for 9 days and was a guest of honor in the Marcos’ Summer house. After that she traveled to the US, where Miss Universe lives during her year of reign, and traveled to countries such as Costa Rica, Colombia, Australia, and Italy.

In love with a Spanish actor who lived in Madrid, Amparo often complained about being bored and never enjoyed her duties as Miss Universe. In reality she never wanted to win. When 1974 was ending, she refused to visit Japan and threw her Miss Universe crown through the window: “It was so cheap that it was broken into pieces”, she told a reporter later. Miss Universe 1974 renounced, what was kept secret by the Miss Universe Organization until May of 1975.

Amparo on the cover of Colombia's CROMOS

There was no 1st runner-up to replace her, so the Miss Universe job was vacant for 1/2 an year.

A talented actress, Amparo was also very controversial. She was married and divorced three times, had several love affairs, went to jail in more than a couple of occasions, had drug problems, and so on.

Diagnosed with brain cancer in 2006, she chose not to go through chemotherapy when told that 87% of those who chose to do so under her circumstances, died during the procedure. Amparo decided to go back to her native Malaga, where she spent the last years of her life. She was the second Miss Universe titleholder to pass away, on February 27, 2011, at the age of 56.

Special thanks to Alberto Dubal!

AMPARO MUÑOZ, MISS UNIVERSE 1974
2nd PLACE
MOST BEAUTIFUL MISS UNIVERSE FROM THE 1970’S

(Still competing: 1953, 1961, 1978, 1989, 2000, 2002-dethroned Oxana, 2004, 2008, 2010)

Margie Moran crowned Amparo Muñoz, Miss Universe 1974

Top 5: Aruba (5th), Wales (2nd), Spain (1st), Finland (3rd), Colombia (4th)

Miss Spain and Miss Universe 1974

Most Beautiful Miss Universe 1952-2010 – The Top 10!

We are days away from finding out who is the Most Beautiful Miss Universe 1952-2010! Let’s review our top 10 before we move on:

1953

1961

1974

1978

1989

2000

2002 (dethroned Oxana)

2004

2008

2010

All stunning, all deserving!!

Who do you think the winner will be??

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