Miss Universe In the Age of Social Media

The finale of the Miss Universe Pageant is around noon on Sunday, and yet, if you go to the official pageant site, it is in a state of disarray. The links to “Contestants,” “Competition,” etc. don’t work. You see an error message like this:

If you forget about the links and hunt around, there actually is a Contestants page. But here again, if you click on a photo to learn more about a particular contestant, you get the same error message. Which means that the Miss Universe pageant is basically blowing off the regular internet, where it used to have a significant presence. It wasn’t like this when Donald J. Trump was in charge!

Today, the pageant exists mainly on social media. To follow it, you need to go to the pageant’s Facebook or Instagram page, or look up its YouTube channel. Or else read one of a number of third-party sites that follow pageants. This is, I think, a sign of the times. Years ago, there were hundreds if not thousands of “bloggers” on the internet. Today, most of them have been absorbed into newspaper sites and the like, or else have turned to Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has become the “long tail” that was found to be mythical ten or fifteen years ago. It is also, in my opinion, inexpressibly lame. Facebook is its own crabbed, circumscribed world, much like AOL circa 2002. Only instead of fleeing it, people are flocking to Facebook.

By dint of extensive research, I can tell you that the Miss Universe finals will be broadcast on Fox on Sunday at 7 p.m. (However, the “countdown clock” on the pageant site indicates it will start around noon. I have no idea what is going on there, maybe the TV show is a tape delay.) The preliminary competition will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. Eastern. How can you watch it? It will be streamed live on Facebook. You also can vote for your favorite contestant for the next 15 hours or so by going here. Or, naturally, you can vote on Twitter with the hashtags #missuniverse and #country.

In my earlier post, I featured some of the betting favorites. Here are some more who strike me as strong contenders. The pageant web site apparently has only one photo per contestant; as you might imagine, they are generally good. For example, Olivia Rogers, Miss Australia, who says she has suffered from mental health issues:

And Liesbeth Claus, from perennial pageant contender Belgium. Miss Claus is Belgium’s national disco dancing champion:

Haiti hasn’t had much to brag about lately–ever, actually–but last year’s Miss Haiti was the Miss Universe first runner-up, and this year’s Miss Haiti, Cassandra Chery, also seems like a strong competitor:

Iceland produces a lot of beauty pageant contenders, considering that almost no one lives there. Like Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir. She is a pole vaulter, but is perhaps best known in the pageant world for dropping out of the Miss Grand International competition after organizers suggested she should lose weight. Seems like very poor advice:

Then there is Italy’s Maria Polverino, who says her greatest passion is boxing. This woman has good taste!

I could go on, but there are many more worthy contestants whom you can see here.

The preliminary swimsuit competition has been held, and it is typical of the disorganized Miss Universe organization that they don’t have photos up their web site–not where you can find them, anyway. So you have to search third-party sites like this one, where you are looking at amateur photography. Still, there are some standouts, like Miss Puerto Rico, Danna Hernández:

Miss Russia is Kseniya Alexandrova. God only knows what Putin’s minions are doing on Facebook to swing the contest her way:

Sweden’s hyper-feminist culture hasn’t gotten in the way of pageantry in recent years. This year’s Miss Sweden is Frida Fornander, who was actually born and raised in California:

That will do it for now. If I get around to it, I will post a final preview featuring the betting favorites on the eve of the pageant finale.

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