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Everything has already been said and reported about Miss Universe 2015 and the Philippines’ third crown that was handed to Pia Wurtzbach in the most controversial way possible. Totally unprecedented. So let’s simply relive the beautiful memories of the telecast along with photos from the same.
Photo credit for all Miss Universe-related and homecoming events by Getty Images
Her first Press Conference as Miss Universe 2015.
Her victorious homecoming in the Philippines
For the past weeks, Queen P kept herself busy with her charity project during ECQ and the COVID19 crisis by spearheading the distribution of safety masks to all frontliners – be it hospitals or basic service providers. And she did not stop in doing just a one-day mission. She kept on with it for days – while still looking radiant all throughout.
Final photoshoots are always filled with bittersweet moments. You give your best in front of the camera, and yet deep inside, the feeling of sadness is inescapable. After all, the reign will soon be over, along with the celebrity life in Manhattan.
At any rate, here are video clips of four of the former titleholders so you can see how they managed to get through it with fun, poise and professionalism.
If the Philippines waited for more than four decades to win its 3rd Miss Universe crown, then consider Colombia more patient because it took the country more than five and a half decades before its second win in the annual competition. But let us talk about the location of the 63rd edition first.
Back in 2014, Miss Universe was held in an unlikely host city which no pageant fan would instinctively guess as the venue for our favorite beauty pageant – Doral, a city in Miami-Dade Country, Florida known for a lot of parks, educational institutions and a good-sized Latin American population – save for big-time pageantry. Here’s a bit of trivia, did you know where the name “Doral” originated from?
2014 was the time when I thought that: 1) Nia Sanchez would do an Olivia Culpo and become the next Miss USA winner of Miss Universe or 2) a short-haired beauty from Jamaica named Kaci Fennell would take it all the way or 3) Ukrainian bet Diana Harkusha will be favored by Trump. But no, the Colombian beauty Paulina Vega will not be denied this much-awaited win. And she claimed victory at the Florida International University last January 25, 2015. Our bet, MJ Lastimosa, pushed her presence till the Top 10. She bowed out after the evening gown competition. There were inside stories back then – less than pleasant mostly – that surrounded her bid for the crown. From the laughed-at National Costume to the (rumored) ambushed evening gown she wore for the first official photoshoot to the alleged backstage reprimand she got from Madame Stella Marquez de Araneta to the crazy buzz that went around in pageant circles about the white evening gown she wore during Finals Night. I was told that there were more juicy talks, but it’d be best to digress at this point. Back to Paulina, she took full advantage of her reign as Miss Universe which lasted for a little over a month short of one full year. She became a TV host in her native country and continued work as a commercial model. Her public appearances in the US are also updated, with the photo below taken just middle of last month in New York (before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown) when she attended the launch of The Connected Watch by Tag Heuer at the Caldwell Factory.
” In the late 1950s, real estate pioneers Alfred and Doris Kaskel purchased 2,400 acres of swampland between Northwest 36 Street and Northwest 74 Street and from Northwest 79 Avenue to Northwest 117 Avenue for about $49,000, intending to build a golf course and hotel. In 1962, the Doral Country Club opened in western Dade County, featuring the blue, red and par-3 golf courses, along with a hotel on Miami Beach. The “Doral” name combined Doris and Alfred. As Doral’s very first structure, the Doral Hotel and Country Club became the area’s hot spot: guests were transported from the beach to the country club for a day on the golf course.
Now at 27, she still remains single and with no potential boyfriend waiting in the sidelines. Yet.
I double-checked more than once the Preliminary Competition of Miss Universe 2019. And from my previous list of Pre-Preliminaries Top 20, I removed one Latina and one European from the list – Panama and Spain – and replaced them with another pair of Latina and European to complete my Top 20 – Peru and Ireland. This is the part where they will give their short opening statements (OS) for the judges:
In alphabetical order of country names:
Now since the next cut will effectively divide the group into half, this is where the judges are likely to bring in the ladies they already took a shine on from the time the assessments started with a dash of one or two who cannot be ignored in the OS. Hence, I will include USA and Indonesia in my Top 10.
In my order of preference now:
The Top 10 will go through the Swimsuit and Evening Gown Competitions. And if the basis will be the Preliminaries, this is where Miss Thailand Paweensuda Drouin might be nosed out by another ASEAN delegate – Hoang Thuy of Vietnam – who I feel will deliver more strongly in both mentioned segments. Hence, my Top 5 in this order are:
Question and Answer will follow the announcement of the Top 5. And even if criticisms are overflowing that Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados is likely to fail in impressing the panel with her answer, I’d like to believe that she will deliver in this regard. Maybe not exceedingly well as per the standards of many, but still enough to move forward. By this time, she has earned enough positive points to convince the all-female judges that she deserves a spot in the Final 3.
My Miss Universe 2019 Final 3 are:
Gabriela Tafur of Colombia
Gazini Ganados of the Philippines
Vartika Singh of India
Interestingly enough, the trio represents different strengths that would hold them up in their respective bids.
Colombia can possibly benefit from having her fellow Latinas in the panel – Paulina Vega and Gaby Espino – who may (or may not) push for Gabriela to win the title.
The Philippines will be going for a rare back-to-back win that should propel the Miss Universe brand to greater heights in terms of marketability, popularity and newsworthiness.
India will be served well in giving the South Asian nation a much-awaited comeback in terms of superiority in international pageantry. It has not had an “extra meaningful” placement (read: Top 5 or better) in the annual pageant for the past seventeen (17) years. Celina Jaitley was the last Indian in the Top 5, and that was back in 2001.
Now, for the Final Question, it can be anybody’s game as to who will seal the deal or otherwise.
My Final Verdict?
Who doesn’t want a back-to-back win? Regardless of what the naysayers will voice out, I will always want the Philippines to duplicate what Venezuela achieved back in 2008/2009. But if Gazini is not fated to be the next, then I would be happy that she made it this far and even a 2nd Runner-Up placement would sound great since we have not yet scored this ranking ever since Miss Universe started in the 1950s. Overall (and outside the Prelims), nonetheless, she has done very well in aspects that we cannot categorize in any of the scored segments – factors that will sit well with the MUO on any given Sunday – business-wise, that is. After all, the inner workings of international pageantry has significantly evolved ever since. And Miss Universe is no exception.
Now if either Colombia or India would spoil things for the Philippines, I will not feel disheartened. I have been so pageantry-involved more than 3/4 of my life now that I can accept any result with an open mind and heart.
In ending, I am rooting for a back-to-back win!
Here is the All-Female Selection Committee (the judges) of Miss Universe 2019:
1) Gaby Espino is an internationally renowned actress, TV host, entrepreneur and one of the Latina personalities with more engagement and presence in the social media landscape, who has become an A-lister in the Latin American entertainment industry.
2) Bozoma (“Boz”) Saint John is chief marketing officer at Endeavor, a global leader in entertainment, sports and fashion operating in more than 30 countries with a portfolio of companies including WME, IMG and UFC.
3) Cara Mund is a 2016 honors graduate in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations from Brown University. She is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor Degree at Georgetown University Law Center.
4) Sazan Hendrix is what happens when you let go of the what ifs and shoot for what you love. Her digital popularity propelled the successful launch of her Bless Box subscription company, multiple TV network gigs for E!, ESPN and Access Hollywood, as well as the recent launch of her hit podcast show The Good Life, with already over 8 million downloads and ranked top 50 on iTunes charts.
5) Crystle Stewart Sebrechts is a former Miss USA (2008) and Miss Texas USA, an accomplished actress and leading advocate for young women.
6) Paulina Vega is a former Miss Universe (2014), model, TV host, entrepreneur and life enthusiast. She was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, but her passion is to connect with the whole world.
#missuniverse2019 #gabyespino #bozsaintjohn #caramund #sazanhendrix #crystlestewart #paulinavega
Above is the winning moment that should have been there in the first place instead of an abrupt cutting of the live telecast and a delayed upload of glorious crowning pics. Some of the more true-blue pageant fanatics still can’t get over the fact that Miss Universe 2015 was robbed of her true victory announcement on worldwide TV. But what host Steve Harvey blamed on human error can no longer be turned back, and was, thus, rectified immediately for damage control.
It really breaks the 42-year wait to have the crown handed to our representative in such fashion, and at the embarrassing expense of Ariadna Gutierrez. But we need to move on from here and treat the events as part of the destined deal. After all, Pia experienced serendipity at its best. And the Filipinos are going crazy everywhere, regardless of how things turned out in the end.
Wow! This year is really turning out more fruitful than 2013. One Miss Universe, one Miss Earth, one Miss Globe, one Miss International Queen and a 1st Runner-Up placement in Miss Intercontinental. And there’s also Miss Scuba International before I forget.
What a wonderful start for Christmas Week indeed! 😀
Miss Universe 2015 is giving everyone with a valid Facebook account to field in a final question for the December 20 coronation night of the pageant. If you’re up to it, then go submit a really good one. Who knows, you might get picked!
Just remember to keep your question sensible if short or properly-worded if longer and tied up with a current issue significant to the competition.
Read the rules below for more details.
In this, Paulina Vega Dieppa’s final photoshoot as Miss Universe 2014, she shows to us in the video below the unique child-like charm and qualities that won her the title last January in Doral.
And the days are really passing by like a gentle breeze. In just over a month from now, Paulina’s reign as Miss Universe will come to an end. Her successor will be crowned on December 20, just five days before Christmas. And do we expect another holiday-themed finals at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas? You betcha!
Click and watch the video now.
courtesy of Miss Universe
During the recent New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega went with Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan and Miss Teen USA 2015 Katherine Haik to grace the different shows of select top designers who presented their latest collections to the anticipating public. The three beauties didn’t mind the constant drizzles while walking from one venue to the next just to catch as many scheduled activities as they could. There was even one point when they were given a private preview of one due to overlapping times.
And during the Sherri Hill stop, both Olivia and Katherine walked the ramp, much to their excitement.
Watch the video of their NYFW rendezvous now.
courtesy of Miss Universe