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5 Facts About Miss Universe

December 18, 2015

Unfortunately, only Earth women compete in the Miss Universe pageant, which will take place on December 20.

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  • In 2002, billionaire Donald Trump bought 50 percent of the Miss Universe Organization, and co-owner NBC broadcast the annual event. (This TV partnership soon led to Trump’s NBC reality show The Apprentice.) After Trump made comments about illegal immigrants during his 2016 presidential campaign, NBC cancelled all of its contracts with Trump, including its plans to broadcast the Miss Universe pageant. Trump bought out NBC’s share, owning the pageant organization outright. Three days later, he sold it a talent agency, and the pageant will be broadcast on Fox.
  • The oldest Miss Universe: 1997 winner Brooke Lee, who was…26. The youngest Miss Universe: the very first Miss Universe in 1952, Finland’s Armi Kuusela, who was two months shy of her 18th birthday.
  • The Miss America system is separate from Miss Universe. The winner of the Miss USA title each year goes on to compete for Miss Universe. Eight American women have won the title; the last was Olivia Culpo in 2012. Arguably the most famous Miss USA is Ali Landry (1996), who starred in a series of Doritos commercials and was married to Saved By the Bell star Mario Lopez for two weeks.

  • Miss Universe winners generally don’t get to meet the American president, but Miss Universe 1973 did. Margie Moran of the Philippines said that her “model of a great man” was Richard Nixon, at a time when his popularity was at an all-time low.
  • In addition to the main prize, the pageant recognizes competitors for “subawards,” such as Miss Congeniality, Miss Photogenic, and Best National Costume (each contestant wears a heavily constructed costume meant to evoke their home country). Some defunct awards include Best in Swimsuit, Best Hair, and Miss Smile.
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