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Interesting facts about Miss Universe you probably don't know yet

By Melanie Uson Published Jan 09, 2023 2:20 pm Updated Jan 12, 2023 9:31 pm

Miss Universe's constant fame is one that can be accounted to its seven-decade history that is glamorous and eventful. 

In the Philippines alone, there are several iconic moments—from the queens' feisty and inspiring answers to funny crowning moments, iconic walks, and how could we forget the "Miss Colombia" moment in the 2015 coronation?

As we await this year's competition, here are interesting facts about the world's grandest beauty competition which you probably hadn't heard of yet.

1. Armi Helena Kuusela, the first Miss Universe ever was married to a Filipino

In 1952, the pageantry crowned its first title holder Armi Helena Kuusela in Long Beach, California. Upon winning the crown, the Philippine International Fair Committee invited her to the country to crown that year’s Miss Philippines.  

One of the places she visited in the country was Baguio City, where she met Virgilio Hilario, a Filipino businessman for a blind date. Hilario was a man with a reputable background in academia and his professional career, but his skills in dancing caught the beauty queen’s interest. When their love grew further, the beauty queen decided to give up her Miss Universe title to marry Hilario.  

Their love story was well-received, especially by Filipinos, to the point that it was turned into a movie titled Now and Forever. It premiered on Dec. 29, 1953, at Center and Palace theaters. 

The couple also did a Finnish documentary film, Pohjolan Tähtitaivaan Alla (Under The Northern Stars). They had five children and six grandchildren.  

2. 'Fake news' about the first Miss Universe Philippines Teresita Sanchez

One of Miss Universe's ‘pioneer’ queens along with Armi is our very own Teresita Sanchez. If you remember in 2020, Sanchez went viral when Pageantology 101 shared her photos during the pageant. Unlike the usual queen who remains smiling throughout the event, Miss Philippines looked somehow annoyed or irritated, with her side-eye look and pouting face. 

At the time of the competition, Sanchez was a victim of ‘fake news’ before it was even widely used. According to the report, Sanchez allegedly said that she wanted an American husband and that she arrived late at the venue of the competition. Sanchez dismissed these as mere gossip in a newspaper article, saying that nobody asked her about the nationality she wants for her husband and that she was "the first to arrive at the contest scene."

3. Margie Moran is the granddaughter of former President Manuel Roxas 

Margie Moran is one of the most memorable Miss Universe in the country, having been able to become the second beauty queen to take home the crown in the country at the age of 19, following Gloria Diaz’s win in 1969.  

Other than this, the beauty queen is the daughter of Rosario "Charo" Roxas, one of the three children of former President Manuel Roxas, the fifth president of the Philippines. 

4. The first Miss Universe to be dethroned was Miss Russia in 2002 

Winning the competition is surely one of the ‘cloud nine’ moments that every beauty queen dreams of. But winning isn’t just about the crown, flowers, and grand celebrations, this also entails the duties and responsibilities one must fulfill.  

The first title holder to be dethroned was the 2002 Miss Universe Oxana Fedorova of Russia. Paula Shugart, the president of the Miss Universe Organization, said that Fedorova was dethroned due to being unable to “fulfill her duties," which is mainly to travel around the world for charities. She reigned for four months. 

The crown was then handed over to Miss Panama Justine Pasek, the first runner-up. 

5. Chiqui Brosas caught the attention of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali 

The country’s 1975 Miss Universe Rosemarie “Chiqui” Brosas was one of the women that Muhammad Ali bid goodbye to after his stay in Manila for his Thrilla in Manila fight with Joe Frazier at Araneta Coliseum in October 1975. 

Rosemarie Brosas placed fourth runner-up in the 1975 competition, with Miss Finland being crowned as Miss Universe. Brosas’ daughter Regina Hahn joined the Binibining Pilipinas competition in 2009 and placed as the 2nd runner-up. 

6. The first UP summa cum laude in Miss Universe Philippines

While most hopefuls prepared and trained for a long time before joining the competition, this UP summa cum laude graduate joined the competition unexpectedly.

Lizbeth de Padua graduated with a degree in Biology in 1976 at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños. She was preparing for a magazine photo shoot for a feature story when a salon owner, who is also a talent scout, asked her to join that year’s Binibing Pilipinas pageant. Not having anything to do, de Padua agreed and eventually got in.

She won the Miss Universe Philippines at that time but wasn't able to secure a spot in the Top 15 in international pageantry. 

de Padua now serves as a neurologist specializing in treating patients with epilepsy in the United States. 

7. The oldest and youngest crowned Miss Universe

Before changing its rule to include pregnant and married women as eligible candidates, Miss Universe limited applicantions to single women aged 18 to 26. The pageant's youngest and oldest titleholders are Miss USA Brook Lee as the oldest Miss Universe, crowned at the age of 26 years and 128 days, and Finland's Armi Kuusela as the youngest and the first Miss Universe crowned at the age of 17 years and 303 days.

8. Shortest and longest reign 

The Pandemic has greatly affected all usual activities around the world, including pageants. Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa holds the record for longest reign having been crowned in December 2019. Tunzi beat Miss Universe 2012 Leila Lopes of Angola, who held the title for a total of 464 days.

The coronation took place in December 2021 after it was delayed for a year in 2020. Tunzi passed the crown to Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza, who had a seven-month reign, the shortest in the pageantry's history.