In 2013, the Miss World organization dropped its swimsuit competition for the stated reason that the pageant was held in Indonesia, and violence was possible. Last month, the Miss World pageant was held in London and, without fanfare, the organizers again dispensed with the swimsuit competition. Many people didn’t notice, since the pageant wasn’t televised in North America.
This leaves Miss Universe as the only major international beauty pageant that retains the traditional swimsuit element. Happily, Miss Universe is just around the corner: the finale will be televised from Miami two weeks from today, January 25, on NBC at 8 Eastern, 7 Central. Miss Universe (of which Miss USA is a part) is owned by Donald Trump, so the pageant will be hosted at the Trump Doral Miami. Former Miss USA Rima Fakih tweeted that a beauty pageant without a swimsuit competition is like an Oreo cookie without the cream filling. We can only endorse that sentiment.
The Miss Universe site is here. The best one can say for its photography is that it is better than Miss World’s, but with the finale approaching, more photos are beginning to appear. The field looks strong. The reigning Miss Universe is from Venezuela, and I expect the traditional Latin American powers to be well represented among the top contenders. Like Gabriela Berrios, Miss Puerto Rico:
She is a big baseball fan, too.
Miss Venezuela probably won’t win the title two years in a row, but it won’t be the fault of this year’s entrant, Migbelis Castellanos:
Of the African contingent, my preliminary favorite is Miss Gabon, Maggaly Nguema:
Miss USA, Nia Sanchez, is a strong contender this year, and being from the host country is usually an advantage. Miss Sanchez is a model who lives in Las Vegas:
You don’t think of Israel as a pageant powerhouse, but this year’s Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, could be a contender. She served in the IDF as the Assistant to the Commander of Israeli Central Command. Miss Matalon is all over social media (as are others, like Miss Puerto Rico), which seems to be raising her profile:
Betting odds are beginning to take shape, with Miss USA as the early favorite. We will profile some of the other leaders in the days to come. Stay tuned!