Global Beauties End of Year Review: 2018
A Year of Firsts, Lasts and New Beginnings
As we prepare to say good bye to 2018, it’s the perfect time to look back on the year that has passed. Like every other year, this one provided us with lots of beautiful moments but also many shocks and surprises. The world of pageant has been facing lots of criticism, especially as it was the year in which the #MeToo caught the world’s attention. Though there are many pageants that discredit the industry, we should never stop believing in the ones who give women of substance a platform to launch their careers, make their mark in society and champion worthy causes.
Let’s take a look at the year that was 2018:
Staging a national pageant is a huge undertaking for the people involved and while some of the stronger organizations are still flexing their muscles, we must give credit to some of the ones who are making a comeback. Kudos to the Miss Greece and Miss Turkey Organizations for fighting hard to bring their pageants back to former glory. Also, under new directorship the Miss Universe Puerto Rico Organization is on the right track again.
While it is sad that some thriving pageants like Miss World Fiji and Miss World America disappeared this year, we are excited to watch the rise of the Cook Islands. A pageant that used to be extremely popular, Miss Israel, is now almost non-existent.
Venezuela revamped their pageant with three former beauty queens at the helm but huge controversy postponed the pageant and former president Osmel Souza, who was plagued by controversy, also starting his own pageant which will be in direct competition with Miss Venezuela.
The Miss Mexico Pageant continues to grow in power and results, winning for Mexico its first Miss World title, while Lupita Jones and Mexicana Universal Pageant must go back to the drawing board. Her decision to do a reality show backfired and it turned into a complete mess, even though the winners were beautiful.
Miss South Africa celebrated their 60th anniversary with a huge, extravaganza in a brand new arena. What a show and kudos to the organization for the exciting new format. We are happy to see that the Miss South Africa brand is still thriving after so many years. Miss USA, on the other hand, seems to be struggling and had to combine their pageant with Miss Teen USA for the first time. They are still trying to shake the stigma of the Trump era and the all female selection committee chose Nebraska’s first ever title holder. For many, she was a breath of fresh air but after a few slip ups, we are wondering if she was the best choice for the crown.
France continues to do their pageant in style and this year was another super edition. After coming so close on many occasions, Tahiti ended a twenty year drought and won their first title since 1999. India is another country that must be mentioned. Their national pageant continues to deliver amazing woman who never fail to impress, while their Miss Diva spin-off pageant for Miss Universe has not been able to crack the code of Miss Universe success. Perhaps it’s time for the two pageants to be merged into once, like in the good old days.
Grand Slam Pageants
Miss Grand International
Paraguay won their second ever Grand Slam title when Clara Sosa defeated mega favorite Meenakshi Chaudhary from India. While Indonesia and Puerto Rico continue to be super powers in this competition, it was nice to see Japan in the top 5 for the very first time. Kazakhstan, New Zealand and Sweden also placed for the very first time this year.
Venezuela continues to be the superpower of Miss International with Mariem Velasco defeating the other superpower of Miss International, the Philippines, who finished as the runner-up. South Africa’s Reabetswe Sechoaro gave her country their best placement ever at Miss International - 3rd place. The question remains when we will see a black African beauty win the Miss International title. Indonesia broke the winner's curse and secured a top 15 placement while Romania replicated her Miss Supranational power with a third runner-up placement, which was also a first placement for her country at this pageant. Huge congratulations also to Madagascar for their first ever placement at this pageant and any Grand Slam for that matter.
Puerto Rico became the first territory/country to claim all 5 Grand Slam titles when Valeria Vazquez was named the 10th Miss Supranational on December 7th in Poland. It’s also the first time a woman from the Caribbean won this title. The United States achieved their highest placement ever at this pageant while Indonesia equalled their best placement. Newcomer Pakistan also placed in the top 25.
Mexico had to wait for 68 years to win the Miss World title after coming close on many occasions but Vanessa de Leon Ponce finally did it for her country. Thailand achieved their highest placement ever and so did Belarus and Uganda. Other non-powerhouse countries that shone bright were Martinique, Mauritius, Nepal, New Zealand, Panama, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Chile, the Cook Islands, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, and Singapore. It was a year full of surprises but also shocks, one of which was when Julia Morley did not announce the second runner-up.
The Philippines did it again for the fourth time when Catriona Gray brought joy and jubilation to her pageant adoring country. South Africa’s Tamaryn Green came very close to a back-to-back for her country but finished as the runner-up. Venezuela achieved their highest placement since 2013 while Puerto Rico also got their best placement in almost a decade. Vietnam celebrated their best ever result with a delegate that captured the hearts of many fans around the world. Congratulations also to Nepal for their first ever placement at Miss Universe. What a year for Nepal!
It’s time to look at the some of the best and most interesting moments of 2018:
THE GRETCH WHO TOOK OVER MISS AMERICA
Shandi and Susie coined the phrase “The Gretch who stole the swimsuits” and this year following a string of scandals, 1989 winner, Gretchen Carlson took over the reigns of the Miss America Organization. She made huge changes, relaunching the “competition” (Not such a new concept) as Miss America 2.0, minus the swimsuit competition and turning it into a 2 hour job interview. Fans were divided and it seemed like the whole show was scripted to send a message to America. It was definitely not that entertaining to watch and the ratings echoed that. Gretchen also came under fire for her controversial management style, which included accusations of bullying by outgoing title holder Cara Mund, and a petition by formers to have her removed. Carlson is still firmly in charge, while some state licenses have been revoked for their failure to comply with her rules. It seems like Miss America’s future in Atlantic City hangs in the balance. Will the Miss America Organization survive the reign of the Gretch.
THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY IN PAGEANTRY
As time goes by, the industry is forced to evolve. While some of the changes might not sit well for most pageant fans, we must also applaud the fact that pageants are welcoming beauty in different forms. This year, for example, some of the most endearing moments happened when Chiari Bondi, an amputee, who received equal amounts of praise and criticism finished in third place at the Miss Italia Pageant. Celina Riel, a young beauty who was born with only half of her left arm, made it to to the Miss Supranational stage and placed in the top 25. This was not just a personal victory but something she has and will continue to use to inspire others like her. Global Beauties awarded her with the Woman of Substance award at this pageant. In Angola, Andreia Muhuitu became the first woman with albinism to win a major pageant title. Sadly, due to her organization not fulfilling their obligations within time, which led to inadequate time for her visa, Muhuitu missed out on her opportunity to attend the international pageant. Kudos to her for breaking stereotypes and lots of respect to her.
SNOWBALLING EFFECT OF THE RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
We live in the age where social media dominates trends and this can also be seen in the pageant industry. Some delegates come in with huge social media profiles, which some of them more confidence, while others turn into divas. While support is always good, the downside is that the fans turn into armies that try to put pressure on pageant organizers, their delegates and even their competitors. We value all the fan support but social media users should think twice about the way they behave. While at times it can give their contestants more power, their behavior can also be destructive to their delegates and countries´ image. The industry can not bow down to fan pressure. Class and dignity always prevail over threats and bullying.
MISS SUPRANATIONAL TURNS 10
The Miss Supranational Competition celebrated their 10th edition Poland where the competition was born. The pageant has evolved over the years and now offers something truly unique in the form of excellent photoshoots and lots of airtime for the countries represented. Miss Supranational can’t go wrong with this strategy as it something pageant fans used to love about some of the other pageants which have stopped doing this. With excellent productions, we hope to see the winners travel more and also support causes that the winners support throughout their respective reigns. Congratulations on 10 excellent years, Miss Supranational.
CATRIONA’S STORY OF TRIUMPH AFTER DEFEAT
In 2016, it was heartbreak for Catriona Gray, when as a huge favorite for the Miss World title, she was defeated by the “dark horse” Stephanie del Valle of Puerto Rico. While del Valle proved time and time again why she won the crown, Gray did not let take this heartbreak as defeat. Instead, she reinvented herself, entered Binibining Pilipinas as a stronger, more complete woman and won it. The Miss Universe title was written in the stars for her and now she is her country’s fourth ever winner of this title. This will serve as an example to many young women out there that your dream is never over if you want it badly enough. At the right time and with the right attitude and preparation, it can happen. Though Gray truly won the title on the night, pictures that emerged after the crowning showed that it might also be the end of an era for Binibining Pilipinas as unconfirmed reports suggest that they have lost the Miss Universe Philippines franchise. Instead of celebrating with Madame Stella Araneta, Gray was pictured flying on a private jet with rumored new franchise holder Chavit Singson (the man behind Miss Universe 2016 and also the one rumored to be taking the pageant to South Korea next year), his daughter Richelle (a telecast judge) and members of the Miss Universe Organization. Though this can be seen as an insult to Ms. Araneta, it should by no means be indication that Gray did not deserve her win. She will be an excellent Miss Universe title holder.
MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL´S EPIC CONCLUSION
The sixth edition of the Miss Grand International contest took place in Myanmar, a South-East Asian country that has been opening to the rest of the world in recent years and has hosted a women's Grand Slam contest for the first time. The formula that has been used successfully and is becoming more popular with misses and fans of beauty contests each year was repeated, and everything went smoothly until a dramatic and unexpected end: the fainting of the winner at the time of her coronation! Despite her perfect physical form and an overwhelming personality, Miss Grand Paraguay Clara Sosa was not seen by the specialized media as a major favorite for the title. Misses India and Venezuela promised an exciting final combat, but the Venezuelan stunner stopped in the Top 10 while the Indian beauty, still hopeful, held hands of the representative of the South American country right before the final announcement was made. After much suspense, it was said that Miss Paraguay was Miss Grand International, and what happened next, no one could predict: Clara literally fell hard on the ground! Those who witnessed it live at the pageant´s venue, experienced really dramatic moments, since for two minutes the young lady badly reacted. It was then that she finally managed to rise and live her moment of glory! To the relief of all, it was nothing more than a scary moment, something unprecedented in pageantry which became part of the history of beauty contests!
SPAIN AND THE FIRST TRANSGENDER TO COMPETE IN MISS UNIVERSE
At 27 years of age and with body statistics to cause envy to any other beauty contestant (90-61-90), Angela Ponce became Miss Universe Spain 2018. What made the young woman's victory become news worldwide, however, was the fact that she is a transgender, the first to compete for the Miss Universe title. Her election has divided opinions around the world: there are those who see her victory as a sign of evolution of times and as inclusion of people who for so long have been segregated and discriminated against. Others, such as Miss Colombia Valeria Morales, also a participant in the Miss Universe 2018 pageant, openly expressed the opposite: "The contest should be for those who, like me, were born women." In Miss Universe 2018, which took place in Thailand, the representative of Colombia was not in the top 20 after her country placed for 4 consecutive years in the Top 3, including winning the title in 2014. Angela from Spain, didn´t make it either. But the Spaniard beauty was honored on stage, applauded by hundreds of people standing up, and left a phrase of impact: "I did not need to win Miss Universe. I just needed to be here. " She opened an important door. At a press conference in October in the Philippines, Julia Morley, CEO of the Miss World Organization, said transgenders are also accepted in her competition. Angela Ponce herself competed for the title of Miss World Spain in 2015. She lost to another blonde, Mireia Lalaguna Roya, who was to win the Miss World title that year. The question that remains is: will Angela have been an isolated case with tremendous media effect, or the beginning of a new era for beauty pageants, at least the two main ones? Only time will tell.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND BULLYING SHAKE UP THE PAGEANT WORLD
The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement), with many international celebrities and alternative names, is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault which has been motivating women to come foward and actually talk about it and make it public whenever they are victims of sexual harassment. The moviment had its impact in pageants, and in 2018 once again Miss Earth got world media attention for the wrong reasons: several candidates have been offered victory in return for sexual favors by ‘creepy’ Miss Earth sponsor. Supposedely they warned the pageant staff and organizers, but in return they got moackery and no action whatsoever (Read it HERE and google it for much more). Abbey-Anne, Miss Earth England, told The Mirror: “From day one he was a bit creepy. He tried to take each of us away, telling us he had historic artefacts upstairs but there was only room for one of us at a time. He was weird and I said ‘no’. When I complained, my team manager told me he was just ‘friendly’. I was made to feel like I was being dramatic.” She was one of many candidates who told similar stories. Miss Earth was created in the Philippines in the year 2001 and actually had a good start, showing fair results and good intentions to actually do something for the environment, even if “just” sending a positive message to the world. However, after its first decade of existence, things started to scrumble. In 2011, its owner was recorded by a Russian media outlet saying she would accept US$ 5 million for the title. It was a trap, and she fell for it. That´s when Global Beauties removed it from the Grand Slam, causing many serious national organizations to drop the license. Rumours of sexual harassment by Miss Earth sponsors were around for years, but now the candidates decided to take action and they won´t shut. We now wonder: will any serious national organizations, weak or strong, keep on sending candidates to such an event? Despite all this, the pageant is protected and promoted by some Filipino radical fans and websites who clearly puts patriotic feelings over ethics, good values and respect to women. However, Miss Earth was not the only pageant to shut the eyes for wrong stuff going on: for instance, Miss Tourism International, held in Malaysia this December, sent back home a terrified Miss Panama, only because she had vitiligo. Miss Japan, who had Filipino roots, was sent back home for not being “Japanese enough”, and Miss Myanmar had to hit the road for being “too short”. Perhaps now it´s the time for national directors, fans and beauty queens themselves, to take a stand and turn their backs on such events. Global Beauties joins the #metoo moviment and won´t give publicity to any national pageant which sends representatives to Miss Earth or and Miss Tourism International. We must fight for what is right and try to protect these young ladies, just like it´s done in the 5 Grand Slam pageants and some others. Congratulations to all Miss Earth and Miss Tourism International candidates who went public and warned the world about the dirt behind their façades. We also hope Filipino government authorities will go deep into investigating all this, as promised. Malaysians should to the same.
Miss World again?
In collaboration with Miss World Singapore 2018, Sian Chay Medical Institution – a charity organization founded in 1901 – organised the Inaugural Beauty With A Purpose Charity Gala 2018, held at Resorts World Sentosa West 2 Ballroom on 2 September 2018, to fulfil the charity mission of providing free TCM consultation and medication to the elderly and needy families in Singapore. Among the guests of honor for this event were Miss World Organization CEO Julia Morley, Executive Director of Miss World Organization Mr Steve Douglas, Miss World Philippines Franchise Owner Mr Arnold Vegafria and Miss World 2016 Miss Stephanie Del Valle. US$ 4 million were raised on the occasion, which is absolutely incredible. However, what caught the attention of pageant fans and generated a series of fake news, was when Stephanie Del Valle, Miss World 2016, showed up wearing the Miss World sash and crown. Manushi Chhilar, by then the reigning queen, had a knee injury which prevented her to travel to Singapore. Talks of Manushi having been dethroned and replaced by her predecessor (which would be absurd, once the 1st runner-up would be the one to take over the title), started popping up everywhere in the internet. GB immediately contacted the Miss World office and we were able to confirm to pageant followers around the globe that it was false. Stephanie, who continues as being a Beauty With a Purpose ambassador, simply represented Manushi and the Miss World title in a very meaningful event. After all, she is Miss World 2016, and her presence with the crown and sash certainly helped raising the 4 million dollars that night. It was the first time a former Miss World wore the Miss World sash and official crown after her reign was over, and though the cause was noble, in days of fake news and its negative effects, we believe it might never happen again.
MISTER SUPRANATIONAL AND THE RISE OF MALE PAGEANTS
Male beauty contests are like women's football: they exist, they have their audiences and thousands of participants, but they do not even reach 20% of the interest and repercussion caused by women's beauty contests or men's football. This analogy illustrates a fact. However, things have been changing, and the birth of the Mister Supranational, a male contest that celebrated its third edition, is the confirmationmof that. A show with a mega production, which for many pageant observers is even more dynamic and engaging than Miss Supranational, from the same producers, a strong group of candidates and broadcasted on TV in more than 100 countries, it has been raising the bar for this type of events. India´s Prathamesh Maulingkar, elected in 2018 in Poland, was welcomed as a true mega-celebrity in his country. Before that, he and a few other participants attended the Miss Universe pageant in Thailand, where they were recognized by fans who asked for selfies and autographs. A male contest with such power may encourage the evolution of others, which can mean a collective leap in quality and interest in the world of Misters. So be it!
HAPPY 2019 EVERYONE!!!!