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|Formation||June 28, 1952|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Paula Shugart (since 1997) |
|Affiliations||William Morris Endeavor|
|300 million USD (annually)|
Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant that is run by the American based Miss Universe Organization. It airs in more than 190 countries worldwide and seen by more than half a billion people annually. Along with Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth, Miss Universe is one of the Big Four international beauty pageants.
The title "Miss Universe" was first used by the International Pageant of Pulchritude in 1926. This contest was held annually until 1935, when the Great Depression and other events preceding World War II led to its demise.
The current Miss Universe pageant was founded in 1952 by Pacific Knitting Mills, a California-based clothing company and manufacturer of Catalina Swimwear. The company was the sponsor of the Miss America pageant until 1951, when the winner, Yolande Betbeze, refused to pose for publicity pictures wearing one of their swimsuits. In 1952, Pacific Knitting Mills organized the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, co-sponsoring them for decades to follow.
The first Miss Universe Pageant was held in Long Beach, California in 1952. It was won by Armi Kuusela from Finland, who gave up her title, though not officially, to get married, shortly before her year was completed. Until 1958, the Miss Universe title, like that of Miss America, was dated by the year following the contest, so at the time Ms. Kuusela's title was Miss Universe 1953.
Since its founding by Pacific Mills, the pageant has been organized and conducted by the Miss Universe Organization. Eventually Pacific Mills and its subsidiaries were acquired by the Kayser-Roth Corporation, which was in turn acquired by Gulf and Western Industries.
The pageant was first televised in 1955. CBS began broadcasting the combined Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in 1960, and as separate contests in 1965. John Charles Daly hosted the pageant from 1955 to 1966, Bob Barker from 1967 to 1987, Alan Thicke in 1988, John Forsythe in 1989, Dick Clark from 1990 to 1993, and Bob Goen from 1994 to 1996.
Donald Trump bought the pageant in 1996 from ITT Corp. Trump struck a broadcasting arrangement with CBS until 2002, in 20. In 1998, Miss Universe, Inc. changed its name to Miss Universe Organization, and moved its headquarters from Los Angeles to New York City. In late 2002 Trump entered into a joint venture with NBC, which in 2003 outbid the other markets for the TV rights. From 2003 to 2014, the pageant was broadcast in the United States on NBC.
In June 2015, NBC cancelled all business relationships with Trump and the Miss Universe Organization, in response to controversial statements about illegal immigrants who crossed the border from Mexico. As part of the legal settlement, in September 2015, Trump bought out NBC's 50% stake in the company making him the company's sole owner. Three days later he sold the whole company to WME/IMG. Following the change of ownership, in October 2015, Fox and Azteca became the official broadcasters of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. The current president of the Miss Universe Organization is Paula Shugart, who has held this position since 1997.
For a country to participate in Miss Universe, a local company or a person should buy the local rights of the competition, through a franchise fee, which involves the rights of image, brand and everything related to the pageant. Often, the owner of this franchise, for contractual breaches or financial reasons, returns the franchise to the Miss Universe Organization, which resells it to a new stakeholder. The reselling of the franchise from one owner to the next is recurrently common in the history of the event. The number of candidates in the contest is inconstant, precisely, because of the question of the franchisees. In addition, there are problems related to the calendar of the pageant. For example, in Miss Universe 2014 were 88 candidates the following Miss Universe 2015 the number dropped to 80 candidates, on the following next year in 2016, the number jumped to 86.
Usually a country's candidate selection involves pageants in the nation's local subdivisions, whose winners compete in a national pageant, but there are some countries who opt for an internal selection. For example, from 2000 to 2004, Australian delegates were chosen by a modelling agency. Although such "castings" are generally discouraged by the Miss Universe Organization, Jennifer Hawkins was chosen to represent the country in Miss Universe in 2004 (where she would eventually win the crown). When Australia resumed its national pageant in the following year, Michelle Guy became Miss Universe Australia 2005.
Recent arrivals in the last ten years of the pageant include: Serbia, Montenegro and Tanzania (2007), Kosovo (2008), Gabon and Lithuania (2012), Azerbaijan (2013), Sierra Leone (2016), Cambodia, Laos and Nepal (2017), Armenia , Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan (2018).
There have also been efforts to revive strong national pageants in South Africa, Canada, Spain, Japan, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The organization makes continual efforts to expand the pageant, but the participation of some countries has proven difficult due to cultural barriers to the swimsuit competition, while others such as Mozambique have balked at sending representatives due to the cost.
As of 2018, only three countries have been present at every Miss Universe since its inception in 1952: Canada, France, and Germany (actually West Germany until 1990, when East and West reunified). Many European countries allow 17-year-old contestants to compete in their pageants, while Miss Universe's minimum age is 18, so national titleholders often have to be replaced by their runners-up or another candidate. Beginning in 2012, transgender women were allowed to compete, as long as they win their national pageants. Six years after this rule went into effect, Angela Ponce of Spain became the first transgender candidate to compete in the contest in the 2018  edition. Since its inception, Miss Universe strictly prohibits age fabrication.
Some of the most successful national countries in the last decade have been Venezuela, the United States, France, the Philippines, and Colombia which command consistently high interest and television ratings in their respective countries. The live broadcasts of the Miss Universe pageant (regardless of the hosting nation) proved highly popular particularly in the Americas and Asia in recent years.
The main Miss Universe Pageant is held over a two-week period in December. In the 1970s through the 1990s, the pageant was a month long. This allowed time for rehearsals, appearances, and the preliminary competition, with the winner being crowned by the previous year's titleholder during the final competition.
According to the organizers, the Miss Universe contest is more than a beauty pageant: women aspiring to become Miss Universe must be intelligent, well-mannered, and cultured. Often a candidate has lost because she did not have a good answer during the question responses rounds, although this section of competition has held renewed importance in the editions beginning the late 2010s. Delegates also participate in swimsuit and evening gown competitions.
Currently, the final placement of the finalists is determined by a ranked vote, where each judge ranks each of the final three/five candidates, with the contestant posting the lowest cumulative score (thus often, but not necessarily always, the contestant with the most number one votes) becoming the winner. If there is a tie, the higher semifinal scores become decisive.
The winner is assigned a one-year contract with the Miss Universe Organization, going overseas to spread messages about the control of diseases, peace, and public awareness of AIDS. Aside from the job, the winner also receives a cash allowance for her entire reign, a New York Film Academy scholarship, a modelling portfolio, beauty products, clothes, shoes, as well as styling, healthcare, and fitness services by different sponsors of the pageant. She also gains exclusive access to events such as fashion shows and opening galas, as well as access to casting calls and modelling opportunities throughout New York City. When Donald Trump owned the pageant, the winner was given the use of a Trump Place apartment in New York City during her reign, which she shared with the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA titleholders. If the winner, for any reason, cannot fulfill her duties as Miss Universe, the 1st runner-up takes over.
Aside from the main winner and her runners-up, special awards are also given to the winners of the best National Costume, Miss Photogenic, and Miss Congeniality. The Miss Congeniality award is chosen by the delegates themselves. In recent years, Miss Photogenic has been chosen by popular internet vote (the winner used to be chosen by media personnel covering the event).
The competition for the Miss Universe title has seen many changes, although there have been several constants throughout its history. All the contestants compete in a preliminary round of judging (nowadays called the "Preliminary Competition") where the field is narrowed to a select number of semifinalists. This number has fluctuated over the years. The first Miss Universe pageant had ten semifinalists. For the next two years, the number of semifinalists grew to 16. In 1955, the number dropped to a stable 15, which remained through 1970. In 1971, the number was reduced to 12. That number was further reduced to 10 in 1984. This lasted until 2003, when the number of 15 was reinstated and was used up to 2015 except in 2006 and 2011 to 2013. In 2006 and 2018, there were 20 semifinalists, the highest number of contestants through to the semifinals (and with 2018 currently featuring the most competing contestants overall).
From 2011 to 2013, there were 16 semifinalists, 15 chosen by judges and one chosen through Internet votes. In the 2016 edition, there were 13 semifinalists - 12 chosen by judges panel from the quarantine to the preliminary night and one chosen by Twitter and Vodi app. In 2017, 16 semifinalists were selected from 4 different groups each hailing from a different region in the world - Africa & Asia-Pacific, Europe, The Americas - and wildcard group (all regions covered). Since 2015, the climax round for the live pageant is the question and answer portion of the Top 3 remaining contestants.
In the early years, the contestants were judged in swimsuit and evening gown only. The contestants also competed in a preliminary interview round in a one-on-one meeting with each individual judge, as well as in the national costume show in the preliminaries, although the live interview round for the semifinalists was dropped as a separate segment with bearing to determine the winner in 2004, and was integrated in the introduction of the semifinalists beginning the 2016 edition.
The crown of Miss Universe has changed nine times over the course of its 65-year history. The first crown, the Romanov Imperial nuptial crown, was previously owned by the now-defunct Russian monarchy. It was used by Armi Kuusela in 1952.
|Edition||Country||Titleholder||National Title||Venue of Competition||Number of Entrants|
|2017||South Africa||Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters||Miss South Africa||Las Vegas, United States||92|
|2016||France||Iris Mittenaere||Miss France||Manila, Philippines||86|
|2015||Philippines||Pia Wurtzbach||Binibining Pilipinas||Las Vegas, United States||80|
|2014||Colombia||Paulina Vega||Miss Colombia||Doral, United States||88|
|2013||Venezuela||Gabriela Isler||Miss Venezuela||Moscow, Russia||86|
The Miss Universe Organization is the organization that currently owns and runs the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA beauty contests. Based in New York, the organization is owned by WME/IMG. The current president is Paula Shugart. The organization sells television rights to the pageants in other countries.
The following is a list of all Miss Universe Organization titleholders over the years.
|Edition||Miss Universe||Country||Miss USA||State||Miss Teen USA||State|
|2018||TBA||TBA||Sarah Rose Summers||Nebraska||Hailey Colborn||Kansas|
|2017||Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters||South Africa||Kára McCullough||District of Columbia||Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff||Missouri|
|2016||Iris Mittenaere||France||Deshauna Barber||District of Columbia||Karlie Hay||Texas|
|2015||Pia Wurtzbach||Philippines||Olivia Jordan||Oklahoma||Katherine Haik||Louisiana|
|2014||Paulina Vega||Colombia||Nia Sanchez||Nevada||K. Lee Graham||South Carolina|
|2013||Gabriela Isler||Venezuela||Erin Brady||Connecticut||Cassidy Wolf||California|
|2012||Olivia Culpo||United States||Nana Meriwether||Maryland||Logan West||Connecticut|
|2011||Leila Lopes||Angola||Alyssa Campanella||California||Danielle Doty||Texas|
|2010||Ximena Navarrete||Mexico||Rima Fakih||Michigan||Kamie Crawford||Maryland|
|2009||Stefanía Fernández||Venezuela||Kristen Dalton||North Carolina||Stormi Henley||Tennessee|
|2008||Dayana Mendoza||Venezuela||Crystle Stewart||Texas||Stevi Perry||Arkansas|
|2007||Riyo Mori||Japan||Rachel Smith||Tennessee||Hilary Cruz||Colorado|
|2006||Zuleyka Rivera||Puerto Rico||Tara Conner||Kentucky||Katie Blair||Montana|
|2005||Natalie Glebova||Canada||Chelsea Cooley||North Carolina||Allie LaForce||Ohio|
|2004||Jennifer Hawkins||Australia||Shandi Finnessey||Missouri||Shelley Hennig||Louisiana|
|2003||Amelia Vega||Dominican Republic||Susie Castillo||Massachusetts||Tami Farrell||Oregon|
|2002||Justine Pasek[a]||Panama||Shauntay Hinton||District of Columbia||Vanessa Semrow||Wisconsin|
|2001||Denise Quiñones||Puerto Rico||Kandace Krueger||Texas||Marissa Whitley||Missouri|
|2000||Lara Dutta||India||Lynnette Cole||Tennessee||Jillian Parry||Pennsylvania|
|1999||Mpule Kwelagobe||Botswana||Kimberly Pressler||New York||Ashley Coleman||Delaware|
|1998||Wendy Fitzwilliam||Trinidad and Tobago||Shawnae Jebbia||Massachusetts||Vanessa Minnillo||South Carolina|
|1997||Brook Lee||United States||Brandi Sherwood||Idaho||Shelly Moore||Tennessee|
|1996||Alicia Machado||Venezuela||Ali Landry||Louisiana||Christie Lee Woods||Texas|
|1995||Chelsi Smith||United States||Shanna Moakler||New York||Keylee Sue Sanders||Kansas|
|1994||Sushmita Sen||India||Lu Parker||South Carolina||Shauna Gambill||California|
|1993||Dayanara Torres||Puerto Rico||Kenya Moore||Michigan||Charlotte Lopez||Vermont|
|1992||Michelle McLean||Namibia||Shannon Marketic||California||Jamie Solinger||Iowa|
|1991||Lupita Jones||Mexico||Kelli McCarty||Kansas||Janelle Bishop||New Hampshire|
|1990||Mona Grudt||Norway||Carole Gist||Michigan||Bridgette Wilson||Oregon|
|1989||Angela Visser||Netherlands||Gretchen Polhemus||Texas||Brandi Sherwood||Idaho|
|1988||Porntip Nakhirunkanok||Thailand||Courtney Gibbs||Texas||Mindy Duncan||Oregon|
|1987||Cecilia Bolocco||Chile||Michelle Royer||Texas||Kristi Addis||Mississippi|
|1986||Bárbara Palacios||Venezuela||Christy Fichtner||Texas||Allison Brown||Oklahoma|
|1985||Deborah Carthy-Deu||Puerto Rico||Laura Martinez-Herring||Texas||Kelly Hu||Hawaii|
|1984||Yvonne Ryding||Sweden||Mai Shanley||New Mexico||Cherise Haugen||Illinois|
|1983||Lorraine Downes||New Zealand||Julie Hayek||California||Ruth Zakarian||New York|
|1982||Karen Baldwin||Canada||Terri Utley||Arkansas||↑ No Pageant Held|
(established in 1983)
|1981||Irene Sáez||Venezuela||Kim Seelbrede||Ohio|
|1980||Shawn Weatherly||United States||Jineane Ford||Arizona|
|1979||Maritza Sayalero||Venezuela||Mary Therese Friel||New York|
|1978||Margaret Gardiner||South Africa||Judi Andersen||Hawaii|
|1977||Janelle Commissiong||Trinidad and Tobago||Kimberly Tomes||Texas|
|1976||Rina Messinger||Israel||Barbara Peterson||Minnesota|
|1975||Anne Marie Pohtamo||Finland||Summer Bartholomew||California|
|1974||Amparo Muñoz||Spain||Karen Morrison||Illinois|
|1973||Margarita Moran||Philippines||Amanda Jones||Illinois|
|1972||Kerry Anne Wells||Australia||Tanya Wilson||Hawaii|
|1971||Georgina Rizk||Lebanon||Michele McDonald||Pennsylvania|
|1970||Marisol Malaret||Puerto Rico||Deborah Shelton||Virginia|
|1969||Gloria Diaz||Philippines||Wendy Dascomb||Virginia|
|1968||Martha Vasconcellos||Brazil||Dorothy Anstett||Washington|
|1967||Sylvia Hitchcock||United States||Sylvia Hitchcock||Alabama|
|1966||Margareta Arvidsson||Sweden||Maria Remenyi||California|
|1965||Apasra Hongsakula||Thailand||Sue Downey||Ohio|
|1964||Corinna Tsopei||Greece||Bobbi Johnson||District of Columbia|
|1963||Iêda Maria Vargas||Brazil||Marite Ozers||Illinois|
|1962||Norma Nolan||Argentina||Macel Leilani Wilson||Hawaii|
|1961||Marlene Schmidt||Germany||Sharon Brown||Louisiana|
|1960||Linda Bement||United States||Linda Bement||Utah|
|1959||Akiko Kojima||Japan||Terry Huntingdon||California|
|1958||Luz Marina Zuluaga||Colombia||Arlene Howell||Louisiana|
|1957||Gladys Zender||Peru||Charlotte Sheffield||Utah|
|Mary Leona Gage[b]||Maryland|
|1956||Carol Morris||United States||Carol Morris||Iowa|
|1955||Hillevi Rombin||Sweden||Carlene Johnson||Vermont|
|1954||Miriam Stevenson||United States||Miriam Stevenson||South Carolina|
|1953||Christiane Martel||France||Myrna Hansen||Illinois|
|1952||Armi Kuusela||Finland||Jackie Loughery||New York|
a In 2002, Fedorova was dethroned by the Miss Universe Organization and replaced by Pasek, the first runner-up.
b In 1957, Gage was stripped of her Miss USA title when it was revealed that she was married and the mother of two children. Sheffield, the first runner-up, replaced her.
The Miss Universe brand has been licensed for use in various products, including Farouk Systems' line of hair care products named Miss Universe Style Illuminate by CHI.
Electronic Arts was reportedly developing a video game based on the pageant, but development status is currently uncertain due to the closure of EA Black Box, the studio allegedly developing the game. A slot machine mobile game, Miss Universe: Crowning Moment, was released by High 5 Casino for iOS and Android devices in 2013.
An official mobile companion app of the Miss Universe Organization was released in May 2016.
The Miss Venezuela broadcast, which on average captures a whopping 74% of the Venezuelan television market share for Venevision, will also be available to users on demand.