2020: The world of pageantry year-end review

2020 maybe be considered as one of the worst years in our recent human history. It was definitely a dreadful, terrifying, and exhausting year filled with many changes and uncertainties. Travel bans, quarantines, death tolls, unemployment, economic impact, just to name a few negative effects of COVID-19. Could we ever find anything nice to say about the past year?

If you had been constantly asking how the year couldn’t possibly get any worse, you’re not alone. Let’s try to look back to some highlights of the year when the world of pageantry showed us how it braved the new normal brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Appointed queens

When the world’s governments imposed quarantine regulations and health travel restrictions, many national competitions were canceled and postponed. Miss Universe license holders received approval from the international organization to appoint their delegates for the next edition.

Major, major cancels

The majority of the world’s biggest international pageants decided to cancel their 2020 competitions. Among those who announced their cancellations were Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, Miss Supranational, and Miss Grand International.

New franchise holders / national directors

Miss Universe organization welcomed new national directors for Colombia, the Philippines, Nepal, and the USA. After 55 years, Binibining Pilipinas chaired by former Miss International Stella Marquez lost the Miss Universe Philippines franchise. Following several years of successful placements from Colombia, Señorita Colombia 2020 María Fernanda Aristizábal can no longer compete in Miss Universe. Nepal welcomed its first transgender contestant. Former Miss USA Crystle Stewart took over Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant systems as national director.

Former Miss Colombia lost a leg

Former Miss Colombia Daniella Alvarez had her leg amputated following complications from a surgery to remove a lump in her abdomen. During her operation, the doctors noticed that the mass had wrapped around her main aorta, causing a restriction in blood supply to her lower left leg.

Catriona’s fake topless photos leaked

The fourth Filipina Miss Universe, Catriona Gray demanded 10 million Philippine pesos and a public apology from a tabloid who featured her alleged topless photo for “immeasurable damage” to her reputation. She also sought help from a Philippine government agency to track down the person who posted the fake photo online.

The show must go on

Thailand, the country which is known for its most entertaining, extravagant, and grand pageant shows managed to hold several national pageants amid the pandemic such as Miss Grand Thailand, Miss Universe Thailand, and Miss Thailand 2020. South Africa staged a glittering national final following virtual castings. In Europe, the most prestigious Miss France carried on with its 91st edition and at the same time its centenary celebration that aired last December 19. Other countries held their national competitions virtually, some pre-recorded their finale or went live without the audience while adhering to proper health protocols. Some notable mentions are the USA, Venezuela, the Philippines, and Colombia.

Historic virtual pageant

Miss Earth was the only major pageant in 2020 to hold a competition despite the pandemic. The Philippine-based pageant made history by virtually staging its 20th edition, something that no other international pageant has ever done before. Miss Earth organization stressed the importance of its mission and continue to raise awareness on the preservation and protection of our environment through the creative use of online technology.

Ariadna and Pia

Five years after the controversial Miss Universe 2015 crowning, Colombian beauty queen Ariadna Gutierrez received backlash from Filipino fans when they misunderstood her “ghost” comment about Pia Wurtzbach in an online interview. A fan came to her defense saying there was nothing wrong with Ariadna’s remark, she just simply did not see Pia often during the competition.

Miss Universe Colombia apologizes to Catriona

Miss Universe Colombia organization released an apology statement to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray over her controversial guesting at the national competition. Catriona’s last name was misspelled and she was introduced as Australian. The Colombian national director, Natalie Ackermann, said “We assure that there is no malice intended as we invited Catriona Gray in the first place because we believe in Filipinos.”

Miss Thailand’s viral bridge accident

Miss Thailand 2020 contestants went viral following an accident in Chang Mai where a suspension bridge gave way while they were posing for promotional photos. They were rushed to the hospital and luckily none of them got seriously injured. The netizens were quick to notice how the contestants managed to save their drinks during the accident.

Escándalo: Miss Universo Paraguay

The results of Miss Universo Paraguay 2020 caused public outrage against the organizers as the winner, Vanessa Castro, allegedly showed up three days prior to the gala and won over the heavy favorites who carried out the entire process of pre-selection. Former Miss Supranational Stephania Stegman revealed she was appointed as Miss Universo Paraguay 2020 for three months until the organizers asked her to resign for failure to come up with a payment for the franchise.

Farewell Miss World

This year, we bid goodbye to former Miss World winners Corine Rottschäfer of the Netherlands (Miss World 1959) and Norma Cappagli of Argentina (Miss World 1960). They were both first winners from their respective countries. While Corine’s cause of death was unknown, Norma passed away following a horrible accident that happened in Buenos Aires where she was run over by a bus.

USA’s first Miss Earth

For the first time, the USA has won the Miss Earth crown courtesy of Lindsey Coffey. The 28-year-old fashion model who hails from Pennsylvania edged out more than 80 contestants to win the historic virtual edition of the Miss Earth pageant. She’s the only winner from a major pageant in 2020.

Amid one of its most challenging years, the world of pageantry went to prove its relevance more than ever and that it’s here to stay despite the adversaries. The pandemic taught us some valuable lessons to propel us to a great future and that together we can move forward stronger and better.

Happy New Year everyone!