Venezuela, USA have most Ms Universe winners

Posted at 08/24/09 8:14 PM

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

Venezuela 6

1979 - Malitsa Salayero

1981 - Irene Saez

1986 - Barbara Teyde

1996 - Alicia Machado

2008- Dayana Mendoza

2009- Stefania Fernandez

Puerto Rico 5

1970 - Marisol Malaret

1985 - Deborah Deu

1993 - Dayanara Torres

2001 - Denise Quinones

2006 - Zuleyka Rivera

Sweden 3

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

Philippines 2

1969 - Gloria Diaz

1973 - Margarita Moran

Thailand 2

1965 - Apasra Hongsakula

1988 - Porntip Nakhirunkanok

Japan 2

1959 - Akiko Kojima

2007 - Riyo Mori

Brazil 2

1963 - Ieda Maria Vargas

1968 - Martha Vasconcellos

Australia 2

1972 - Kerry Anne Wells

2004 - Jennifer Hawkins

Canada 2

1982 - Karen Baldwin

2005- Natalie Glebova

India 2

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 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