There was a period in pageant history when both Miss International and Miss Young International were Japan-based international competitions, staged separately and which looked like the precursors of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA the way they are being held each year. Even its crowns looked like sisters! It was one title that escaped the clutch of the country during its existence. I was expecting that Dorothy Sue Bradley would have been our winner when she made it as 1st Runner-Up during the 1977 edition. Last 1980, I was still a fresh-out-of-puberty teenager when the hosting of Miss Young International was reported to transfer to Manila, Philippines. I was very happy back then that I even made an attempt to sneak into one of the pre-pageant activities and tried my best to ask my paternal grandparents to get tickets for the finals at the Folk Arts Theater. But ever the obedient grandson I was, the television coverage served its purpose well. It was a very good batch of forty-four (44) candidates that year. I was immediately drawn by the beauty of two Scandinavian beauties and Miss Iceland that I said to my friends back then that they will definitely make it to the Top 5. And they did. Miss Denmark Rikke Petersen and Miss Finland Anne-Marie Tarhia finished 1st and 2nd Runners-Up respectively, with Unnur Steinsson of Iceland getting 3rd Runner-Up. Miss Philippines Ma. Felicidad “Lampel” Luis managed to score a 4th Runner-Up finish.
It was Simone Renee Overman of Hawaii who managed to be consistent with the judges all throughout, though. She eventually sealed the deal in the Top 5 going into the final ranking of the winner and runners-up. The 17 year-old won. Now, she is Dr. Simone Overman-Starkman, a Clinical Psychologist based in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.
I wanted so much to share a video of the international finals, but all efforts failed to produce one – not even an audio recording of the theme song that was composed specifically for the grand finals. Those were really good memories, I must say. 🙂