Pageant enthusiasts almost did not see Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega crown her successor, at least a few days before the calendar year ends. It is just that the controversies that its former CEO almost shredded the hopes of a continuing tradition. With the backlash created by Donald Trump’s anti-Mexican statement, the 65th edition nearly ended with a worldwide boycott. Dark ages are over. Here’s to a new year of being confidently beautiful – without the intolerance and inanity connected with its former possessor.
This year’s edition is the first under new main franchise owners. Formerly owned by the Donald Trump company, Miss Universe Organization is now being handled by the internationally renowned talent management conglomerates William Morris Endeavors and International Management Group.
This is also the first year the Miss U pageant night will be broadcast live on the Fox Network. Its previous home TV channel, NBC and Univision, withdrew its participation following the backlash of Donald Trump’s controversial stance on Mexican immigrants.
This year's edition is perhaps the most culturally diverse. More than half of the contestants are immigrants, expats, interracials, and refugees. We hope to see the day when the pageant finally allows transgender women to join the pageant soon.
Miss Universe Australia Monika Radulovic was a former child refugee from Bosnia. She had spent one year in a refugee camp in Denmark before ultimately migrating to Australia.
Miss Universe Canada Paola Nunez Valdez was an immigrant from Dominican Republic, this is also the 20th straight year that a Canadian representative is of foreign descent (Chanel Beckenlehner, 2014, German; Riza Santos, 2013, Filipino; Adwoa Yamoah, 2012, Ghana; Chelsae Durocher, 2011, French; Elena Semikina, 2010, Russian; Mariana Valente, 2009, Brazilian; Samantha Tajik, 2008, Iranian; Inga Skaya, 2007, Russian; Alice Panikian, 2006, Bulgarian; Natalie Glebova, 2005, Russian; Venessa Fisher, 2004, British; Leanne Marie Cecilie, 2003, French; Neelam Verma, 2002, Indian; Cristina Rémond, 2001, French; Kim Yee, 2000, Chinese; Shannon McArthur, 1999, Irish; Juliana Thiessen, 1998, Norwegian; Carmen Kempt, 1997, British; Renette Cruz, 1996, Filipino; Lana Buchberger, 1995, German).
Miss Universe Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, a part time actress/model, is of German descent. Miss Germany Universe Sarah-Lorraine Riek is the daughter of a Venezuelan and a Swedish immigrants. Germany has never placed at the semifinals since 2003. Perhaps, adding a Latina flavor in Riek will finally whet the taste buds of Miss U judges. Incidentally, Filipina-German Anja Vanessa Peter placed second to Riek during the national finals. Peter also joined the Philippine finals of which another Filipina-German was proclaimed winner.
Miss Mexico Universe Wendy Esparza, an Illinois-born Mexican-American TV presenter, initially declined to participate in the Miss Universe pageant as part of the joint protest of her national pageant director and broadcasting partners against the insensitive comments of former Miss Universe CEO Donald Trump towards Mexican immigrants. When Trump finally turned over the ownership to WME/IMG, Esparza decided to return to her participation.
Miss USA Olivia Jordan is a film and TV extra with SAG eligibility. Jordan counters her bashers online of ageism. She is said to be the oldest Miss USA winner ever at 27 years and 3 months. Even so, Jordan holds the Miss USA distinction of having competed at two of the most prestigious beauty pageants in the world (Miss World 2013 and Miss Universe 2015).
Miss Spain Carla Barber, a German-Spanish doctor, also competed at the Miss World pageant before winning the rights to compete at the Miss Universe 2015. At 25, Dr. Barber has been joining the Miss Spain pageant since 2010.
The Miss Universe judging system has once again opened the contest to interactive technology. YOU CAN BE A JUDGE. “This year, for the first time ever, fans worldwide will also have a say in who gets crowned MISS UNIVERSE®. With a virtual seat at the judging table, fans can vote on each category and help decide who walks away MISS UNIVERSE® 2015. Viewers will score each contestant on a scale of one to ten in swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. To vote, visit This year, for the first time ever, fans worldwide will also have a say in who gets crowned MISS UNIVERSE®. With a virtual seat at the judging table, fans can vote on each category and help decide who walks away MISS UNIVERSE® 2015. Viewers will score each contestant on a scale of one to ten in swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. To vote, visit http://www.missuniverse.com/vote/ via any desktop or mobile device during the live telecast. Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to submit a final question through Facebook which will be asked to one contestant in the interview portion.”