The finale of the Miss Universe pageant is a week from Sunday. It will be televised on NBC at 8 Eastern, 7 Central. We wrote about the pageant and previewed some of the contestants here. Miss Universe now easily eclipses Miss World as the leading international beauty pageant. It is on television, for one thing; it still has a swimsuit competition, for another. Also, Miss Universe promotes itself far more skillfully, perhaps because it is owned by Donald Trump. The main Miss Universe web site is here; the pageant’s YouTube feed is here; its Facebook page is here; its excellent Instagram account, which is supplemented by lots of contestants’ accounts, is here. On YouTube, you can see brief interviews with the contestants, and the main web site finally has a good selection of photos for each contestant.
The contestants have been assembled in Miami for a week or so and have participated in a variety of activities, all of which have been copiously photographed. Yesterday they took the swimsuit photos, a signal event. There are small versions of the photos on the pageant site, but much higher resolution ones are available at Missology. Yes, there are web sites devoted to pageantry. We scour the internet so you don’t have to.
The betting odds haven’t changed much in recent days. Miss USA, whom we pictured in the post linked above, is a strong favorite at 4.50. I assume that means 4.5 to 1. Next in line is Miss Colombia, Paulina Vega:
Miss France and Miss India are tied for the third spot:
These last three contestants are all business students. A sign of the times, I hope. Next we have Miss Venezuela, whom we pictured in our earlier post, followed by Miss Mexico and Miss Philippines:
Those are all strong contestants, to be sure. Of that group, Miss India probably gets my vote by virtue of being a mere 5′ 6″ tall. But as often happens, my preferences don’t align closely with the world’s bettors. My early favorites, based on the often sketchy photography then available, haven’t changed. How about Miss Gabon, Maggaly Nguema? She sang in a church choir, and according to the pageant site likes to walk barefoot and climb mango trees. She campaigns against discrimination against lepers–not exactly a first-world problem, but she is a world-class competitor in my opinion:
All of the above photos are from yesterday’s swimsuit shoot. For a change of pace, here are two of my other favorites, both photos from their Instagram accounts. Miss Israel, Doron Matalon–who, as we noted in our earlier post, served in the IDF as Assistant to the Commander of Israeli Central Command:
And Miss Puerto Rico, Gabriela Berrios, who like Miss Matalon is a master of social media:
On the whole, I would say that this year’s Miss Universe contestants are as strong a group as has been assembled for any pageant within memory. More to come!