2019, what a year it has been! Despite some drama and controversy, let us look back to an incredible year of triumphs, no matter how big or small, worthy of celebration toast. As we ready to turn the page onto the next chapter, we recall some highlights and headliners of the past year.
Homecoming of the year
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray was overwhelmed with the love and support of the Filipino people during her homecoming parade in the Philippines. The 4th Filipina Miss Universe was warmly welcomed by her countrymen and headlined for her homecoming show “Raise Your Flag” at the Araneta Coliseum.
Puteri and the Queens
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, Miss Supranational 2018 Valeria Vazquez, and Miss International 2018 Mariem Velazco, were invited to grace the Puteri Indonesia 2019 pageant. It’s not a usual scenario when at least 3 winners of the world’s biggest beauty competitions are present in one event.
Change is inevitable
Bernardo Ribeiro, a transgender man, has for the first time been allowed to compete in a male pageant in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Representing the city of Rio das Pedras, he competed for the title of Mister Rio de Janeiro CNB 2019 but failed to win.
Miss France says no
Miss France 2019 Vaimalama Chaves announced on social media that she would not represent France at either Miss World or Miss Universe 2019. The French model who was also crowned Miss Tahiti 2018 would rather accompany the contestants of Miss France 2020 during their trip to Tahiti, which would have a conflict with her preparation for an international pageant. She cleared up that her decision has nothing to do with anyone.
Online outrage sparked by Coco
Before getting crowned Miss Grand Thailand 2019, Coco Arayha Suparurk, made headlines after igniting an online spark when she posted a very controversial photo on her social media account. The photo was about Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray labeled as “fat” while being compared to “fit” Miss Grand International 2018 Clara Sosa.
Think before you click
Just one day after being crowned Miss Michigan, Kathy Zhu was stripped of her title over racially charged and Islamophobic comments she made online. The beauty queen, who serves as the social media director for Chinese Americans for Trump, shared an email she received from Miss World America notifying her to stop claiming to be part of its events and take down any social media photos of her wearing her sash or tiara. In an interview with CNN, she defended her posts, claiming that the tweet on black deaths was in response to a user “talking about how all cops are bad people, that they kill innocent black people.”
Venezuela against all odds
Miss Grand International 2019 pushed through with Caracas, Venezuela as host venue for the pageant despite socioeconomic and political crisis in the country. The organization held the competition against all odds, with Miss Venezuela Valentina Figuera winning the crown.
Miss Grand Philippines was missing
The controversial Samantha Lo of the Philippines made headlines for her delayed trip to Miss Grand International 2019 in Venezuela due to passport issues. Samantha was allegedly held up in France for possessing a fake Philippine passport, was sent back home, and finally, made it to the competition. She has however failed to enter the semi-finals, and later on, cut her reign short in an official announcement on social media.
Miss World moved back home
In an official announcement, the Miss World Organization revealed that London will host the Miss World 2019 final instead of its initial host country, Thailand. The organization also clarified that they will push through with Thailand’s hosting in the next edition.
Puerto Rico’s first Miss Earth
After 19 years, Puerto Rico has finally won the Miss Earth title with Nellys Pimentel. The model and psychology graduate triumphed over 84 other beauties from around the world to win Miss Earth 2019 in the Philippines last October.
Black Girl Magic
South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi became her country’s third Miss Universe and the first black South African woman to win the competition. For the first time in history, the winners of the world’s most followed competitions namely Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America were all women of colors.
Former Miss Ukraine versus Miss World
Veronika Didusenko, who held the title of Miss Ukraine 2018 for only four days, has filed a lawsuit against the Miss World Organization. The Ukrainian model was dethroned following revelations that she had previously been married and mothered a son. She called the rules of Miss World discriminatory.
Jamaica’s 4th Miss World
A talented singer from Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh, was crowned Miss World 2019 in London. The women’s studies and psychology graduate from Florida State University beat more than a hundred beauties from around the world to win the prestigious title. She is the 4th woman from her country to win the Miss World crown.
Country of the Year
Thailand is the country of the year with an incredible performance of its representatives in the majority of international competitions of 2019. The country has won Miss International and Miss Supranational for the first time, Top 5 finish at Miss Universe, Top 40 at Miss World and Top 20 at Miss Earth.
Photos: ABS-CBN, Miss Supranational, Tamara Almeida, Francois Lo Presti / AFP, Miss Grand International, Miss World America, Miss Grand International, Samantha Lo / Instagram, Miss World, Valerie Macon / AFP, Veronika Didusenko / Instagram, Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP, Miss Thailand