10 Things You Might Not Have Known About The Miss Universe Pageant

credit: Miss Universe 2022

Miss Universe is the most highly-acclaimed beauty pageant. It served as the most superior among the four beauty pageants, the other three being Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth. Its first pageant was held in 1952, and since then, there have been 71 Miss Universe contests (the 71st being the one we’re witnessing as of the time of writing).

The said pageant had grown a lot since the time it was created. The most recent change had been the permission of married women or mothers to compete, despite the title of the pageant telling otherwise. However, there may still be a few facts that people might not have known yet about the said contest.

Let’s dive in!

10. Three Miss Universe titleholders were younger than 18 years upon coronation

Miss Universe 1952 (Finland), 1953 (France), and 1957 (Peru) were the only winners to have been crowned at the age of 17.

9. The oldest Miss Universe winners were only 26 years old on their coronation

Those four titleholders were from the United States (1997), the Philippines (2015), South Africa (2019), and Mexico (2020).

8. There was only one dethroned Miss Universe to date

Excluding those dethroned in their local competitions, Oxana Fedorova of Russia was the only Miss Universe to have not made it to the end of her reign while still alive. It was speculated that she had been pregnant, while Fedorova dismissed the speculations, stating that she wanted to finish her law degree.

7. West Germany is the only country that no longer exists today to have won

While being called “Miss Germany,” the contestant Marlene Schmidt only represented the western half of Germany. The country would reunite with its eastern half around 29 years after the win, making both the western and the eastern half cease to exist.

6. Miss Universe 1954 is the oldest surviving former Miss Universe

Miriam Stevenson from the United States was crowned the Miss Universe during the 1954 pageant when she was 21. As of January 2023, she is still alive and healthy at the age of 89.

credit: Miss Universe 2016

5. Peru holds the record for the longest wait between their first and second win

France’s Iris Mittenaere took the crown to France after 63 years, the longest wait for those countries who had won at least twice. However, for Peru, the last time the crown was in their country was way back in the 1957 pageant. This means Peru has been waiting for 65 years and counting.

4. Venezuela was the only country to win back-to-back

Venezuela took the title of Miss Universe in the 2008 and 2009 pageants. In the 2015 pageant, Colombia almost achieved the same.

3. Miss Universe 2019 was the longest-reigning Miss Universe

Sometimes, the pageant would be scheduled for the succeeding calendar year but would be titled for the previous year. The current one, for example, is titled Miss Universe 2022 despite being held in 2023.

There are several reasons for the delay. However, the Miss Universe 2020 was held on May 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. This made Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa hold her title for more than 500 days.

2. Tunzi’s successor was the shortest-reigning

On the other hand, due to the delay, Mexico’s Andrea Meza became the shortest-reigning titleholder when she crowned India’s Harnaaz Sandhu nearly seven months later. She was coronated on May 16, 2021, and Sandhu on December 13 of the same year.

credit: Miss Universe 2015

1. The Philippines briefly had two new slang terms after the 2015 pageant

The 64th Miss Universe pageant surely became the most surprising for the universe. It is when the host, Steve Harvey, made a mistake in announcing the winners. He proclaimed Colombia’s Ariadna Gutiérrez as the Miss Universe. Steve later went back to the stage to fix his mistake, stating that Gutiérrez was the first runner-up while the Philippines’ Pia Wurtzbach was the true Miss Universe.

It was surely a devastating experience not just for Gutiérrez but also for the country of Colombia, especially since they felt they had a new feat by having two back-to-back Miss Universe winners.

However, in the Philippines, there was another effect. “Pia Wurtzbach” had been used to express the feeling of being the winner after a wrong winner was announced. On the other hand, a “Colombia” was someone wrongly hailed as a winner (and the mistake was corrected).

Akala ko talo táyo, na-Pia Wurtzbach palá táyo.” (I thought we lost, [but it seemed] we got Pia Wurtzbach’d.)

The terms had fallen out of use a few years after the competition.

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