Puerto Rico wins the first ever Miss Grand International title, in 2013

There are around 40,000 registered beauty pageants in the world. Some of them have the support of the media, while most of them are completely unknown.  It is not easy to launch a new event, but it can be done when you just know how.

When Global Beauties got the invitation -last June- to attend the Miss Grand International competition in Thailand, something about it just rubbed in the right way.  We had no idea how things would turn out, but we said yes to the adventure and ended up having a wonderful -and interesting- time.

The promotion started in the beginning of August, and the reaction of most fans was the typical: “Another beauty pageant?” “What kind of a name is Miss Grand?” “We should have Miss Grand Universe” “Global Beauties supporting unknown pageants!” and blah blah.

The difference between Miss Grand International and other existing ones, is that in their very first edition, they are TAKING GOOD CARE OF THEIR PRODUCT, something that other beauty competitions forgot to do, relying only on their name and not keeping up with the standards that its viewers were accustomed to.

As a host, Thailand proves to be one of the favorite destinations for pageant organizers. It has it all: Support of the media, enthusiasm, beaches, thousands of touristic monuments and sights, good weather, but above all, a good overall energy and excellent customer service.

This year the competition saw the participation of 71 contestants.  It started originally with 76, but an opportunistic Miss Bangladesh took advantage of being granted the Thai visa, and disappeared upon arrival.  This lady certainly did not have respect for the seriousness of her job.  Then, Miss Ukraine had to leave due to personal (family) reasons.   A depressed Miss Denmark, not content with the pageant and knowing she had no chance to win, decided to leave on her own, but not without infecting Miss Sweden making her to leave too.  Finally, Miss Singapore had several behavior problems with the organizers and had to leave the competition as well.

Directors and contestants, representing your country abroad its a job.  You are not yourselves, you are a country, a sash, an ambassador. Beauty pageants have no time for brats, psychological problems, or weak personalities.  Women have to be prepared in all areas, and to compete until the end.  If not, what will you be remembered by?  The one who quit. Not nice, right?

Back to the competition, the remaining ladies who had the opportunity to reach the finals enjoyed virtually everything Thailand had to offer.  An overall atmosphere of excitement and happiness could be felt as the rehearsals for the telecast approached.

The format of the competition was the usual: 71 contestants who would be evaluated in personal interviews, evening gowns and bikinis; to then cut the group to only 20.

When you share moments with these girls day by day it is not hard to get an idea about the strongest competitors, but that doesn’t mean you will not get surprises.  For example, Miss Czech Republic -one of my personal favorites- did not even reach the Top 20, and I thought she could place in the finalists or even win.

Latinas and blondes dominated the finals, but also had the strong presence of Philippines, a country that decided they don’t want to just become finalists; they want crowns.

The worldwide telecast by YouTube and Channel 7 was welcomed by most pageant fans -except those who create competition to their own events in their minds-.  A good production accompanied by good music, dynamic and colorful.

The stellar victory of Miss Puerto Rico Janelee Chaparro also put the pageant in the mainstream media.

At the beginning of the show, Miss Grand International set their intention right away: “Aiming to become part of the Grand Slam of beauty pageants”.

I felt honored as 2014 is the 15th anniversary of the ‘Grand Slam’, created and registered by Global Beauties and which sets the superior competitions apart from the rest.

And why not? Miss Grand International (notice how they named it Grand), came off to a good start.  It certainly can be better though. And if organizers want to fulfill their intention, and want it to be in the big leagues of beauty pageants, for sure they will make it better. They know how to do it. Some key aspects can be improved, but the experience was rewarding for the organizers as they will apply what was learned for the next editions.

A lot of people ask us if Miss Grand International will make the Grand Slam this year. Our answer: No pageant enters the Grand Slam on its first year; it takes a while and also to see continuity and a rise in the overall quality. However; with what this pageant delivered, making its own entrance on the beauty competition world though the big doors, we have no doubt that very soon, MGI could be gracing the shelves of the “Grand Slam of Beauty Pageants”, something that as a privilege, should never be taken for granted.

The pageant lives up to a cause: “Stop the War”, which was presented this year.  The prizes are overwhelming: $30,000 in cash plus an apartment in Bangkok during the year of reign; an agressive campaigning in the social network, as well as live transmissions of every official event, are some of the aspects that are making this competition rise above others.

Our sincere thanks and recognition for Mr. Nawat Itsaragrisil and Nuphayao “Teresa” Chaivisut for their attention, invitation and wonderful hosting.  All of the staff members, the contestants, winners and fans who are supporting this competition. See you in 2014!

Miss Grand International is here to stay, so watch out organizers! Step up your game, because the real competition has just started!