The World Cup of Beauty

Miss Universe winners

As a kid I remember watching Miss Universe pageants on TV with my parents. I could be wrong, but I specifically remember them airing the show from 10pm-Midnight (PST). Anyway, my mom would make me take a nap in the late afternoon/early evening if I wanted to stay up late and watch with her. These are some of the things I remember…

  • My parents were always interested in seeing who was representing the Philippines. They wanted to know her last name or what town she was from. Or was she full Filipino or a mestiza. Our family moved to America in 1973, when I was 3-years old. Apparently Miss Philippines won that year and Miss USA was 1st runner up.
  • I remember another year Miss Philippines was in the top 5. She was the shortest by far, and she wore some weird dress that went off to the sides and she had to hold her arms out the entire time. Miss Trinidad and Tobago won that year—she was the first black Miss Universe. That was in 1977.
  • The following year, I remember asking my parents why Miss South Africa was white and not black. They told me there were both black and white people in that country, but they didn’t mention anything about Apartheid. The again, how do you expain that to an 8-year old? Miss South Africa won that year—1978.
  • I also clearly remember an interview with Miss Israel. Bob Barker asked what she did back at home, and Miss Israel said she was a soldier. She followed up by saying she was really good at shooting with machine guns. I remember my parents talking how both men and women have to serve two years in the military after graduating from high school before they can go to college.
  • My last childhood Miss Universe memory is of Shawn Wetherly. I remember watching her win Miss USA, she was from Hawaii. And I was routing for her to win because she was dating a 49er. Her boyfriend was Dwight Clark. This was in 1980. I was 10 years old.

I don’t have many adult memories of Miss Universe. However, the one I felt closest to was1996 Miss Venezuela—Alicia Machado. I really had no clue who she was until one day I saw a soundbyte of her on Entertainment Tonight. At the time she was getting so much heat from her home country and pageant officials about how much weight she quickly gained. And remember her saying, “So what if I’m a little chubby. Look at me—I am STILL cute!” At the time I was living in losAngeles, and it turned out I knew people who were good friends with her—David and Jose Luis. She would stay with them up at their house up in the Hollywood Hills when she was in town. They joked about how all of her Louis Vuitton luggage filled their entire 2-car garage. I never actually met her, but I think she’s awesome.

From Wikipedia

World Region





Sweden (3), Finland (2), France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Russia* and Spain

North America


USA (7), Canada (2) and Mexico

South America


Venezuela (4), Brazil (2), Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru

Central Am.



Puerto Rico (5), Trinidad & Tobago (2), Dominican Republic and Panama*



India (2), Philippines (2), Thailand (2) and Japan



Botswana, Namibia and South Africa



Australia (2) and New Zealand



Israel and Lebanon

*Russia had to step down one year and was replaced with the first runner up from Panama

Official Miss Universe website



3 Responses to “The World Cup of Beauty”

  1. Jane Hoo Says:

    I loved the fact that this year there were Asian runner ups that made it to the Top 15 category. I am also thankful that the Asian contestants were not stereotyped – they won in their own countries based on actual beauty and not by how the rest of the world perceives how Asians should look. Check out Miss Norway – absolutely beautiful! Miss Singapore, Miss Kazakhstan, Miss Thailand, Miss Korea, Miss Japan, Miss India, Miss Philippines, Miss Indonesia, etc.

  2. Jane Hoo Says:

    Horizontal no more!

  3. LS Says:

    I think Ms. USA should’ve said “Miso Horny”.

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