Asians had a strong showing in the pageant in 2000, when India's Lara Dutta won. In 2007, Japan's Riyo Mori took the crown, while Korea's Honey Lee came in as third runner-up, and India's Puja Gupta made it to the top 10. The tide began to turn last year in Vietnam, when South Americans dominated the top spots. Still, two Asian faces were in the top 15 - Japan's Hiroko Mima, and Vietnam's Nguyen Thuy Lam.
Despite a strong showing in online voting, Indonesian Miss Universe candidate Zivanna Letisha Siregar didn't figure in the beauty contest's top 15 in the pageant held in Nassau, the Bahamas.
In fact, no Asian faces graced the pageant's top 15 on Monday, though the Miss Congeniality title went to Miss China, Wang Jingyao, 19, while Miss Thailand, Chutima Durongdej, 23, got the Miss Photogenic title.
Miss Venezuela, Stefania Fernandez, 18, was crowned the winner in the 58th annual pageant, which is co-owned by American billionaire Donald Trump. But Venezuela's win has drawn strong reactions among some pageant-watchers. 'Another plastic Venezuelan? Do we really need another one of those women as Miss Universe?'
However, pundits said Miss Venezuela just has the X-factor. Venezuela has won more Miss Universe and Miss World competitions than any other country, noted the Associated Press (AP). Some girls begin training to be contestants from as young as five. Its pageant industry has drawn criticism for pressuring contestants to have cosmetic surgery. Miss Fernandez was crowned by fellow Venezuelan Dayana Mendoza, who was last year's champion. It is the sixth time a Venezuelan has taken the Miss Universe title. 'She evokes the glamour of 1940s screen goddess Rita Hayworth,' enthused Mr Josepeh Vitug, a writer with GlobalBeauties. com, a 10-year-old Internet portal on pageants.
The other top five finalists include runner-up Miss Dominican Republic, Ada Aimee de la Cruz, followed by Miss Kosovo, Droga Ganusha; Miss Australia, Rachael Finch; and Miss Puerto Rico, Mayra Matos Perez.
Miss Zivanna, 20, failed to advance to the swimsuit round, said the Jakarta Globe, even though she was No. 1 in the pageant's Internet poll. The poll saw tens of thousands of observers casting votes for the 84 contestants via the Internet. Thailand's Miss Durongdej came in at No. 5 on the poll, while Miss Vietnam, Hoang Yen Vo, took sixth place. Miss Philippines, Bianca Manalo, was placed at No. 11. Miss Singapore, 24-year-old Rachel Kum, came in at No. 55 in the poll, but did not advance beyond the swimsuit round.- New Paper
a) Its a beauty pageant, get over yourselves, people! Its a shallow way to determine beauty, we all know it, why get flustered???
b) Its subjective, a large part depends on who is on the judging panel. It helps a lot if the event was hosted in your country.
c) You need to be trained, in particular when answering questions (even if you can do it in your own mother's tongue) - your personality and sincerity should shine through, and that can be honed and trained.
d) Asians are at a disadvantage because most of the judges grew up with the Western beauty framework - you have your Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Liz Taylor, Grace Kelly and the newbies: Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lopez, Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Shakira, Megan Fox, Scarlet Johanssen, Angelina Jolie, Thandii Newton, Elle PacPherson, Liv Tyler, Halle Berry ... my argument being, these names roll off our tongues... if we were to ask the judges who they thing are the famous pretty women... they would be very hard pressed to name beyond Gong Li, Zhang Zhiyi, Aishwarya Rai and Maggie Cheung. The entire mindset is slanted already from the start.