The 63rd Miss Universe pageant was held on January 25, 2015 in Doral, Florida. Contestants from 88 countries and territories around the world competed to hold the title of “Miss Universe 2014.”
The winner is assigned a one year contract with the Miss Universe Organization to travel around the world and spread positive messages about peace. Apart from the main winner, special awards are also given to the contestants such as best National Costume, Miss Congeniality, and Miss Photogenic. Miss Photogenic is chosen by internet votes.
Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013, crowned Paulina Vega of Colombia the 2014 winner. Vega is the first female from Colombia in 56 years to win the title after decades of finishing as runner-up.
The pageant faces controversy as the public claims that most of the contestants represent the country’s wealthier and whiter population despite most of the population being indigenous. Most of this year’s finalists were fair skinned. Since Miss Universe began in 1952, only four black women have won the title.
Viewers let out their frustration with the beauty pageant through Twitter with tweets like “I can’t wait until the day that girls who don’t fit into the European standard of beauty feel celebrated as well,” said model Aisha Thalia. Miss Universal remains a controversial topic because it can create unrealistic expectations on how all women are supposed to look from different countries– if they don’t look like the candidates then women might think they aren’t beautiful.
Fans were outraged when Miss Jamaica, Kaci Fennel, came in fifth place with the crowd booing loudly.Several of the other contestants tried to hoist Miss Jamaica in the air after Vega was already announced winner. Following the pageant, #MissJamaicawasrobbed and #MissJamiacashouldhavewon were hashtags trending worldwide on twitter. Some people claim that the winner was predetermined.
Fennel stood out because she is the only candidate that had short hair. Fennel addressed her choice in hair during the question and answer portion of the pageant.
“I don’t have long tresses like everyone else. I’m just representing myself and thats what beauty pageants are all about- you don’t have to look a certain way. And I feel like I represent that,” said Fennel.
Around 80-100 countries send a candidate to compete in Miss Universe. To qualify to compete, contestants must be at least 18 years old and under 27 years old and win their respective national pageant. During the judges interview, each contestant is paired with another contestant making it nearly impossible for the judges to get to know both candidates within a mere three minutes of interview time. With very little time to get to know the contestants, it makes it seem like the beauty pageant is more about outside appearance than intelligence. If that is the case, do some of the top contestants really deserve to be finalists if Miss Universe is supposed to have the overall package?
A lot can happen behind closed doors that the public isn’t aware of. According to Miss Bahamas 2013, “on the outside Miss Universe looks like its so much fun and the glitz and glamour seems so real but its all make believe,” she said on her blog page “The Truth About Miss Universe”
Every person may have a different opinion on the whole concept of Miss Universe, but it is difficult to deny that this beauty pageant brings many countries together while allowing people to show pride for their country.