Venezuela, USA have most Ms Universe winners
MANILA - Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez, 18, brought home the crown for Venezuela, becoming the 6th Venezuelan titleholder in the entire pageant's history.
The svelte Venezuelan model defeated favorites from Australia and Dominican Republic in the high-rated show broadcast live from Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The 1st runner-up was Miss Dominican Republic, Ada Aimee de la Cruz, while Miss Kosovo, Gona Dragusha, was 2nd runner-up.
If Venezuela follows its winning streak next year, it might just be at par with the United States, which has had 7 contestants crowned as Miss Universe - by far the most number of wins by a country in the world.
Venezuela, however, has the most international beauty pageant titles under its belt, with 5 Miss World winners.
The two countries are closely followed by Puerto Rico, which has had 5 Miss Universe wins, followed by Sweden and Finland which have had 3 wins each since the pageant's founding in 1952.
Overall, Latin American and Caribbean beauties have dominated the pageant, with a total of 21 Miss Universe winners coming from countries like Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.
This is more than the total number of contestants from European countries (13) who have won the Ms. Universe crown. Countries include Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Germany, France, Norway, and Russia.
In the pageant's history, only 10 Asian contestants have won the Miss Universe crown. The Philippines, Thailand, Japan, and India have had 2 winners each; while Israel and Lebanon have had one each.
Conversely, only 3 Miss Universe winners came from African countries, including South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
Some countries fail to send representatives because the pageant fees are too costly, while others, like Algeria, do not send delegates reportedly because of the swimsuit competition, which does not conform to their cultural beliefs.
Out of 57 pageants, there have only been 2 Miss Universe winners who were dethroned. Miss Universe 1974 Amparo Muñoz, had to resign for alleged bad behavior, while Miss Universe 2002 Oxana Fedorova had to give up her crown for failure to perform certain duties.
Before entering the Miss Universe pageant, contestants usually undergo intensive training from 6 months to a year, sometimes more.
Each contestant is coached in a variety of areas including public speaking, modeling, fitness, and talent rehearsals. Their make-up and dress are usually handled by a team of professional make-up artists and fashion designers.
The official representative of each country is chosen through a search process licensed by the Miss Universe Organization, under NBC Universal and billionaire Donald Trump.
Delegates must be single, 18 to 27 years old, and must pass the pageant's credo of featuring ladies of "intelligence, good manners, and culture." The pageant does not have rules against cosmetic surgery and allows breast padding "to discourage contestants from altering their bodies."
Throughout her year-long reign, the Miss Universe titleholder gets star treatment with freebies and expense accounts, but has to fulfill certain functions including public appearances, charity work, and others.
According to the pageant's official website, the Miss Universe 2009 prize package includes jewelry, designer clothes, a 2-year scholarship from the New York Film Academy, an assortment of video cameras, and a laptop set, memberships to gyms and spas, plus an all expense paid vacation to Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Fernandez will also get to live in a New York City apartment, including living expenses and "professional representation by the Miss Universe Organization to further her personal and professional goals."
The pageant is also lucrative for sponsors because of ratings, as well as for host countries because of the boost in visitor traffic.
Government officials in the Bahamas, a scattered group of islands and keys southeast of the United States, were hoping that hosting the 2009 Miss Universe pageant would provide a much needed short-term boost to the islands' economy and tourism industry.
Bahamas, like other Caribbean states, has been badly hit by the global economic recession which has reduced visitor arrivals and investment. Bahamas' unemployment rate has nearly doubled in the last year to just over 14 percent in May. - research by Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak. With reports from Reuters. Photos from ABS-CBN and www.missuniverse.com.
List of Miss Universe Winners by country:
|Country||Miss Universe wins||Years and Winners|
1954 - Miriam Stevenson
1956 - Carol Morris
1960 - Linda Bement
1967 - Sylvia Hitchcock
1980 - Shawn Weatherly
1995 - Chelsi Smith
1997 - Brook Lee
1979 - Malitsa Salayero
1981 - Irene Saez
1986 - Barbara Teyde
1996 - Alicia Machado
2008- Dayana Mendoza
2009- Stefania Fernandez
1970 - Marisol Malaret
1985 - Deborah Deu
1993 - Dayanara Torres
2001 - Denise Quinones
2006 - Zuleyka Rivera
1955 - Hillevi Rombin
1966 - Margareta Arvidsson
1984 - Yvonne Ryding
|Finland||3 (1 who replaced Ms. Universe 1974)||
1952 - Armi Kuusela
1974 - Johanna Raunio
1975 - Ann Marie Pohtamo
1969 - Gloria Diaz
1973 - Margarita Moran
1965 - Apasra Hongsakula
1988 - Porntip Nakhirunkanok
1959 - Akiko Kojima
2007 - Riyo Mori
1963 - Ieda Maria Vargas
1968 - Martha Vasconcellos
1972 - Kerry Anne Wells
2004 - Jennifer Hawkins
1982 - Karen Baldwin
2005- Natalie Glebova
1994 - Sushmita Sen
2000 - Lara Dutta
|Netherlands||1||1989 - Angela Visser|
|Chile||1||1987 - Cecilia Bolocco|
|New Zealand||1||1983 - Lorraine Downes|
|South Africa||1||1978 - Margaret Gardiner|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1||1977 - Janelle Commissiong|
|Israel||1||1976 - Rina Messinger|
|Spain||1 (dethroned)||1974 - Amparo Munoz|
|Lebanon||1||1971 - Georgina Rizk|
|Greece||1||1964 - Corinna Tsopei|
|Argentina||1||1962 - Norma Nolan|
|Germany||1||1961 - Marlene Schmidt|
|Colombia||1||1958 - Luz Marina Zuluaga|
|Peru||1||1957 - Gladys Zender|
|France||1||1953 - Christiane Martel|
|Norway||1||1990 - Mona Grundt|
|Mexico||1||1991- Lupita Jones|
|Namibia||1||1992 - Michelle McLean|
|Russia||1 (dethroned)||2002 - Oxana Fedorova|
|Panama||1 (replaced Ms. Universe 2002)||2002 - Justine Pasek|
|Dominican Republic||1||2003- Amelia Vega|