Internet social media channels have been abuzz this past week as netizens from across the globe lined up behind their national entrants in the 2018 Miss Universe pageant.
Held at the Impact Arena, Exhibition and Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand, this year’s competition saw 24-year-old singer and model Catriona Gray become the fourth Filipina to win the coveted Miss Universe crown. First runner-up was awarded to 24-year-old Tamaryn Green from South Africa, while second runner-up was awarded to 19-year-old Venezuelan actress and model Sthefany Gutiérrez.
Held for the 67th occasion, the Miss Universe pageant saw an initial group of 94 contestants whittled down to 20 semifinalists — five semifinalists from Europe, five from the Americas, five from Africa and Asia-Pacific, and five not limited by geographic grouping.
The group of 20 was further reduced, with 23-year-old Sophida Kanchanarin, winner of Miss Universe Thailand 2018 finishing 10th, the latest in a long list of previous Miss Universe Thailand’s to rank in the top 20 of the Miss Universe pageant. In 1988 Porntip Nakhirunkanok won the coveted title, three years after Apasra Hongsakula was awarded Thailand’s first Miss Universe crown.
For Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 winner, 26-year-old model H’Hen Niê, the pageant was a double first. In addition to being the first Miss Universe Vietnam from an ethnic minority, Ms H’Hen became the first Vietnamese contestant to finish in the top five. Vietnams previously highest placed Miss Universe contestant was Nguyễn Thùy Lâm, who finished 15th in 2008.
Born to a Scottish-Australian father and a Filipina mother, Ms Gray follows in the footsteps of previous Miss Universe winners from the Philippines, Pia Wurtzbac in 1985, Margarita Moran-Floirendo in 197s, and Gloria Diaz 1969.
Particularly capturing the audience attention was Ms Gray’s signature “lava walk” and “slow-mo turn”, which attracted strong voting from pageant viewers.
With some 1.6 million Instagram followers, Ms Gray’ said her experience working in the slums of Tondo in Manila had taught her to “look in the beauty of the children” and be grateful.
Asean’s success at the 2018 Miss Universe pageant didn’t stop there though, with Miss Universe Lao, On-anong Homsombath awarded the winner of the Best National Costume section of the pageant.
The contest was marked by controversy in the days leading up to the finale when comments by Miss USA, Sarah Rose Summers expressing concern over the lack of English language skills of Ms H’Hen, and Miss Universe Cambodia Rern Sinat, were taken out of context and used to fuel a massive social media campaign.
Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Myanmar all fielded contestants in the pageant, but were unplaced in the top 20. There was no contestant from Brunei Darussalam.
Miss Universe 2018 prizes
Among the luxurious and lavish prizes, Ms Gray received a crown made by Czech company DIC (Diamonds International Corporation) weighing 411 grams (14.5oz) and comprising 311 diamonds, five blue topaz pieces, 198 blue sapphires, 33 pieces of crystal, and 220 grams (7.76 oz) of gold valued at US$300,000.
In addition, Miss Universe 2018 receives:
- a year-long salary as Miss Universe
- luxury accommodation in a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign, including living expenses
- a one-year supply of haircare products and tools from Farouk Systems, the makers of CHI Haircare
- a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry Shoes & Accessories
- a personalised face chart and products from MAC Cosmetics
- personal services including membership to Gravity Fitness at Le Parker Meridien Hotel and hair services from John Barrett Salon
- a modelling portfolio by leading fashion photographers
- dermatology and skincare services
- a professional health and nutrition consultation
- dental services
- professional representation by the Miss Universe Organisation
- extensive travel representing sponsors and charitable partners
- access to various events including casting opportunities, movie premieres, screenings, Broadway shows and launch parties
- a personal appearance wardrobe and styling by the official Miss Universe Organisation fashion stylist.
Miss Universe trivia
- The crown of Miss Universe has changed nine times over the course of its 66-year history
- The Miss Universe crown in 1953 was made from bronze
- As of 2016, only three countries have been present at every Miss Universe since its resurrection in 1952 — Canada, France, and Germany
- Since 2012 transgender women have been allowed to compete, as long as they win their national pageants
- Ticket prices for the the 2018 Miss Universe contest ranged from Bt2,500-Bt50,000 (about US$76.20-$1,524) (plus service charge)
- Miss Universe Spain 2018, Angela Ponce, was the first transgender Miss Universe contestant.
Meet all of Asean’s Miss Universe 2018 contestants
AEC News Today is pleased to present the official contestant video’s for Asean’s nine entrants in the 2018 Miss Universe pageant.
#MissUniverseCambodia2018, Rern Nat
#MissUniverseIndonesia2018, Sonia Fergina Citra
#MissUniverseLaos2018, On-Anong Homsombath
#MissUniverseMalaysia2018, Jane Teoh
#MissUniverseMyanmar2018, Hnin Thway Yu Aung
#MissUniverse Singapore2018, Zahra Khanum
#MissUniverseThailand2018, Sophida Kanchanarin
#MissUniverseVietnam2018, H’Hen Nie
Feature videos Miss Universe
- Catriona Gray crowned Miss Universe (ABS-CBN News)
- H’Hen Nie Is the First Vietnamese to Make Top 5 of Miss Universe (Saigoneer)
- Miss Universe 2018: Catriona Gray, from the Philippines, claims crown as first transgender contestant fails to make top 20 (CNN)
- Watch & Hear All of Asean’s Miss Universe 2017 Entrants (HD video) (AEC news Today)
Between November 2010 and February 2012 she was a staff writer at Daylight Online, Nigeria writing on health, fashion, and relationships. From 2010 – 2017 she worked as a freelance screen writer for ‘Nollywood’, Nigeria.
She joined AEC News Today in December 2016.
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