Beauty pageants have been around for countless decades starting with the first-ever staged modern U.S. pageant in 1854 created by Phineas Taylor Barnum, who was recently played by Hugh Jackman in the popular film, 'The Greatest Showman'. The world of pageants has since evolved into grand spectacles from events such as Miss World, Miss Earth, Miss International and of course, Miss Universe. Although pageants have received backlash in the past, particularly with modern shows such as Toddlers & Tiaras, causing an uproar of scrutiny with the public.
However, pageants have now become a part of the feminist movement that shapes women into more than just a figure of beauty. Miss Universe, which is one of the most recognized pageants to date, is said to help women become confident, graceful and strong, however, there is a bit more to the competition than meets the eye. Here are 25 wild details about Miss Universe that everyone ought to know.
25 It Is Not Cheap to participate
One thing that many of us would be surprised to find out is that being a contestant in one of the world's most esteemed pageants is by no means cheap! With a series of outfits required from swimsuits, athletic wear, evening gowns and attired linked to your home country, a wardrobe alone can cost thousands of dollars. According to Bustle, the average evening gown dress worn on stage costs nearly $3,000, which is often only ever worn that one time! In addition to the glitz and glam, additional costs of hair, makeup, accessories, coaches, instructors, and so on, pageants are surely an investment!
24 Contestants Don't Know Anything In Advance
Many shows who announced winners will notify the contestant in advance so that their reaction is contained and does not create too big of a scene, however, when it comes to Miss Universe, everything is raw and authentic. According to This Is Insider, the winning contestant has absolutely no idea prior to the crowning that they won, it is as big a surprise for them as it is for us! This is usually the reason why many of the winning contestants find themselves in tears and disbelief, they truly did not know a thing!
23 No Talent Required
Unlike most regional pageants and national pageants such as Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe does not require contestants to perform or have any other talent other than a strong and confident personality, says Refinery29. Although you won't be able to witness anyone play water glasses or perform martial arts as their talent during that portion of the competition, there is plenty more for the audience to enjoy from the various other segments that are showcased.
22 Contestants Can't Be Married
In addition to some of the other strict Miss Universe rules, another has been added to the list! Contestants participating in Miss Universe cannot in any way, shape or form be married, or engaged to be married. The rules once stated that even women who had been married could not compete, but divorcees have since been allowed. According to MSN.com, this rule is so strict that Miss Ukraine was stripped of her title and crown after it was revealed that she was married! Miss Universe does not play around.
21 they have a Huge Fan Base
Miss Universe has a fanbase unlike any other you have ever seen! Sports fans are a big deal, singers have an outstanding fanbase, but when it comes to Miss Universe, it's a whole other deal. People from countries all over the world tune into the show and follow their representing queen throughout the pageant. When it comes to the live airing of the show, nearly 500 million people tune in worldwide, says Hollywood Reporter, all while a stadium full of audience members witness the events in person. It goes without saying that Miss Universe is a force to be reckoned with.
20 Backstage Does Not Smell Pretty
Things can get really hectic during the Miss Universe pageant, especially when it comes to the chaos backstage. According to Daily Mail, things don't smell too great when it comes to backstage. With women running about, sweating, using various perfumes, hairspray, creams, lotions and potions, it makes sense as to why the smell backstage can be quite overwhelming for anyone other than those completely used to it! If breathing in heaps of hairspray and other fabulous toxins sounds nice, then the Miss Universe backstage is the perfect spot for you.
19 Contestants Can't Be A Parent
Next up on the list of wild details regarding the Miss Universe pageant is definitely a wild one. From age limits, marital status and only one chance, Miss Universe has also made it a rule that contestants cannot be pregnant, be a parent, or ever have parented a child in order to compete says Sashes & Scripts. The pageant has since allowed contestants who have had miscarriages or termination of pregnancy to compete, however, many people feel that this rule should be tossed out entirely, and we can definitely understand why!
18 Cosmetic Alterations Are Allowed
Many people link pageants and competitions such as Miss Universe with "natural" beauty, however, many contestants undergo procedures that enhance certain features on their bodies whether it be lip fillers, botox, skin treatments or more invasive procedures. According to The Star, this is totally allowed. Despite it being allowed, many people believe that those who have had nothing done to their bodies are cheated, considering they are competing against those who have had cosmetic alterations, however, no official ruling has been put into place, yet!
17 The United States Holds The Record
An average of 80 to 100 countries send a representative to participate in the Miss Universe pageant, however, only 1 can walk away with the title. According to This Is Insider, the United States currently holds the record for most Miss Universe wins, since its start back in 1952. The U.S. currently has 8 wins, whereas countries such as Venezuela and Puerto Rico follow closely behind. "She is beauty, she is grace, she is Miss United States!"
16 Glue & Tape Are Used A Lot
Celebrities and singers like Mariah Carey aren't the only ones that suffer from wardrobe malfunctions! According to Cosmopolitan, tape and glue come in use far more often than you'd think! Whether an adhesive is used for keeping a skirt or dress from riding up, keeping the top of a dress taped to a contestant's chest or fixing up any tears, these materials are amongst some of the most used when it comes to pageants and any Miss Universe mishaps.
15 Hemorrhoid Ointment Comes In Handy
When it comes to preparing for Miss Universe or any pageant for that matter, many of the contestants will use some good ole' Preparation H, also known as a trusty tube of hemorrhoid ointment. According to Foreo not only is it great at keeping puffiness down in the eye area, but it is allegedly used along with saran wrap during workouts to temporarily cinch your waist! Former Miss Teen USA, Tara Conner, uses Prep H, plastic wrap and runs on the treadmill to get that pageant ready figure! Who would have thought?
14 Strict Age Requirements
Although the Miss Universe organization embraces women from anywhere and everywhere, they still keep a tight grip on just who can participate in the competition. According to Miss Universe, contestants must be at least 18 and under 28 years of age before January 1st in the year they intend on competing. This gives those who have been involved in pageants their whole life about 10 years to make it in one of the biggest pageants in the world! Considering some people practice from when they are kids, it becomes a dream to be able to compete in Miss Universe, however, you have to make sure it happens within that 10-year gap.
13 Contestants Only Have One Shot
In addition to being between 18 and 28 to compete in Miss Universe, the officials behind the organization also have made it a rule that contestants only have one shot, and one shot only to get that crown! According to the official website, "contestants may only compete in national pageants once", meaning Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. Although this puts a lot of pressure on the contestants, it gives them all that much more drive to get their hands on that crown and title.
12 Completely Run By Women For Women
Miss Universe, which features self-identifying women from various parts of the world competing for the most esteemed title in the pageant world is not simply a beauty contest, but a way for women to build up other women. According to Miss Universe USA, the organization is "run by women, for women", and in addition, it was recently announced that Miss Universe would have its first ever all-female panel of judges come the competition in 2019, says The Hill.
11 Increases Confidence
Despite the scrutiny this pageant and countless others have received time and time again from bystanders and viewers who simply do not understand the industry, it's important to know that Miss Universe is far more than just looking beautiful. Women's confidence is said to increase tremendously by participating in these events and meet people from all over the world, embracing new cultures, languages and forms of beauty that go beyond just what's on the outside. According to Rappler, contestants who participate in pageants feel more "empowered and independent" in themselves!
10 Contestants Become Close Friends
Considering the women are competing for several weeks with preliminaries, rehearsals and the actual live show, they spend a lot of time together! With that being said, they do become quite close, and some remain friends for life! According to The Guardian, testimonials from some of the past contestants have said how the relationships they build during the competition are the ones they cherish the most. With all the pressure and time it takes to be pageant ready, it's great that these women can turn to each other for some support and build friendships.
9 Contestant Schedules Become Crazy
When you qualify for Miss Universe you can kiss your sleep schedule goodbye! With non-stop rehearsals, preliminary rounds, workouts, routines to memorize and questions to prep for, the contestants barely get any time to sleep. According to Cosmo, many of the contestants will endure 18 or more hour long days. Many of the pageant contestants work themselves tirelessly, so not getting enough beauty sleep can definitely start to take effect on them, however, we would never be able to tell with how flawless they all are!
8 Miss Universe Accepts Everyone
The Miss Universe pageant has recently made headlines as being an extremely accepting and open competition to any and all women! The most recent Miss Universe pageant introduced the very first transgender contestant, Angela Ponce, from Spain, says Time Magazine. This sparked major buzz regarding the pageant and its inclusiveness for all women across the world, and we are here for it!
7 Competition Doesn't End After Being Crowned
Many would be under the impression that the work finally comes to an end after a winner is crowned, however, winning Miss Universe is practically selling your life away for an entire year, says The Independent. Although this is meant to be taken in a good way, it can be exhausting. The winner of Miss Universe must undergo hundreds of interviews, appearances, host events, travel, perform humanitarian work, and represent the brand of Miss Universe for 365 days before a new woman is crowned the winner, all while doing it with a smile!
6 No Controversy Allowed
When it comes to representing the Miss Universe brand, it is important that the winner has a pretty clean track record! According to The New Yorker, many of the contestants do undergo background checks in order to ensure that nothing can tarnish the Miss Universe reputation. Although this doesn't stop controversy such as crowning the wrong winner from happening, the organization does their best at making sure whoever wins carries themselves with all that Miss Universe is expected to represent.
5 Certain Contestant Can't Take Photos Together
Although many of the contestants become friends during their time competing, it happens that not all of them can publicly be seen or take photos together. Since many of the contestants are from various countries across the globe, many of which have countries undergoing conflict with others, it's urged that they refrain from making any friendships public due to the scrutiny that could be received from the public. This occurred when Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon posed for a group shot together, causing an uproar online, says BBC.
4 Judges Don't Have The Final Say
Although judges have a major say in who makes the top 3, and ultimately who wins, they don't have all the power! According to Cosmo, the judges, who are well-known celebrities and members of the Miss Universe organization, score the women on their confidence, composure, personality and ability to answer questions under pressure. Although much of the score comes from the panel of judges, the head officials are the ones who essentially crown the winner! This has happened in the past when judges were surprised to find out Miss Philippines didn't make it into the top 3 in 2017, showing that even though they felt like she deserved it, it was overridden.
3 Confidence Is What Gets Scored
Many people who tune into the Miss Universe believe that the judges and audience vote and score on the contestant's outfits, hair and makeup, however, that is not the case at all! According to Rappler, the contestants confidence and how they carry themselves are what is scored, rather than what they look like or how beautiful or sparkly their gown in. Although the wardrobe displayed during Miss Universe pageants are absolutely outstanding, it is how the contestant carries herself in that gown that truly matters.
2 It Really Airs Live
Miss Universe is made up of several components, starting off with preliminaries, all the way to the live show, making up a total of six rounds before crowning the winner. Believe it or not, everything you see happen during the live show is 100 percent live! According to Miss Universe USA, the show is in fact aired live, meaning any mistake, mishap, or malfunction will be broadcasted or streamed for the world to see. This was all too real during the 2015 competition when Steve Harvey announced the incorrect winner, Miss Colombia, after reading the name wrong. The crown was then rightfully giving to the true winner, Miss Philippines, making for quite the embarrassing moment for all parties.
1 Contestant Can't Be Too Opinionated
As mentioned, the competition is comprised of up to six rounds, and during the live show, contestants are asked a question at random by a judge. In this case, the contestant is expected to answer a question properly, expressing their opinion and beliefs, all while being under pressure. Although this sounds like a great opportunity for the women to share their true feelings about the topic at hand, it is said that they must refrain from being too opinionated, says Phil Star. This alleviates the contestants from possibly making a controversial statement or making the show too political.
Sources: thisisinsider; missuniverseusa; Rappler; Cosmo; sashesandscripts; time;