Miss Universe: An annual international beauty contest.
Tiaras are all the rage in mass media today. If it isn’t a discussion about the Royal Wedding, somewhere Toddlers and Tiaras is being viewed in somebody’s living room or another Pageant Mom is prepping her daughter for an upcoming event. So much effort is invested, all leading up to that one night where one blushing beauty feels as special as a princess and crowned “Miss Universe”.
Prior to becoming another addition to Donald Trump’s portfolio, Miss Universe, now referred to as “Miss Universe Organization”, was a contest started by a clothing company in California in 1952. As a consequence to our beloved TLC, pageants have erroneously been recognized as American. Beauty pageants, in fact, originated in the UK where the first documented festival, the “May Queen Festival” in 1881, named one lucky girl the most “likeablest and loveablest” of them all. Popularity of these competitions rose and spread to western cultures until the tragic death of child beauty pageant contestant JonBenét Ramsey in 1996.
Apart from the revered status of being labelled as “Miss Universe” (which I am certain would, at the very least, have men offering to cover your tab), this is a position given to an intelligent, well-mannered and cultured young woman between the ages of 18-27 who “may not be married or pregnant. They must not have ever been married, not had a marriage annulled nor given birth to, or parented, a child. The titleholders are also required to remain single throughout their reign.”*
Upon being elected Miss Universe, the privileged winner signs a one year contract with Miss Universe Organization to travel and educate the world on peace, public awareness of AIDS and disease control. Thanks to Donald Trump, the winner receives one year accommodations in a Trump Tower in New York. After all the glitz and glam has been said and done, Miss Universe must climb down off her mighty throne and integrate herself back into the real world. So, the question that is on many of your minds: “Where is she now?” Let’s take a peak into the lives of a handful of these blushing beauties today.
In 1960, 18-year-old Linda Bement from USA was crowned Miss Universe. She married two years later and had two children. After a seven year marriage to a United States Racing Hall of Fame Thoroughbred Jockey husband, she separated. Today, at 69, she lives a private life away from the media and who could blame her?
The 1970 pageant winner, Marisol Malaret from Puerto Rico, has always remained an adoring public figure to the people of Puerto Rico. She became a popular radio personality and then moved on to host a TV program called Gala Late Night Ball (translation). Marisol went on to edit a women’s magazine called Imagen and later created her own magazine called Caras. She is currently partnered in a high end fashion boutique called “La Femme” and, as of recently, collaborated with her daughter on a European home décor store called “En Casa”.
The 1980 crown was awarded in Seoul, South Korea, to 20-year-old Shawn Weatherly from the USA. She attend school, majoring in nursing; however, her calling was show business. She played several small roles in various films and sitcoms (The Dukes of Hazzard) but struck it big as Jill Riely in the popular series Baywatch where, unfortunately, her character was chomped out by a shark attack. She later went on to star in Police Academy 3: Back in Training and in an episode of Cold Case. She now resides in Newport Beach, California, with her husband and two children.
Mona Grudt of Norway, crowned Miss Universe in 1990, has been seen on everything from David Lettermen, to various global press conferences, to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Most of her energy is now invested in the fashion and bridal industries. She is currently the editor for Ditt Bryllup, a Norwegian bridal magazine, and frequently fills in hosting fashion and wedding shows in Scandinavian countries. She is a spokesperson for Garnier. In 2011, she hosted Norway’s Next Top Model and was a winning a contestant on Dancing With The Stars in Norway. She is married to an American and is the mother of two children.
Lara Dutta, of India, was crowned Miss Universe in Cyprus back in 2000. Her dream of becoming a director altered somewhat when she became involved in the Bollywood film industry as an actress, playing rolls in over 31 films. (Keep in mind, the Bollywood film industry produces films much quicker than Hollywood). In 2010, Housefull (where Lara played a lead role) became India’s 4th biggest hit of the year and produced gross revenues of 955 Million Rupees – nearly $20 million Canadian. In 2010, she wed an Indian tennis player and in August of 2011, they announced that she was pregnant with their first child! Congrats Lara.
The 2010 Crown was awarded to Mexican model Ximena Navarrete in the Las Vegas. Very soon, she became the official face of L’Oréal Paris and Old Navy. Although her reign as Miss Universe comes to an end soon, her future looks bright if she follows in the footsteps of former pageant winners.