In the two short years that the Miss Universe pageant has changed hands– from “The Donald” Trump to IMG, the competition saw a drastic overhaul. During the Trump era of MU, the sexy swimsuit and the dazzling long gown portions were the obvious selling factors of the pageant; the Q&A portion then being relegated to the last few minutes of the show for mere climactic touch. Now, under IMG, a potential Miss Universe needs to successfully hurdle, not one, not two, but three Q&A portions for a chance at that elusive crown. And that’s not even mentioning the dreaded closed-door interviews during the preliminaries. Viewers last Sunday (Monday in the host country Philippines), have indeed noticed that the pageant has steered away from the usual glitz, glamour and raciness the Miss Universe contest is known for over the years. Instead, the journey, the struggles, the spirit, and the dreams of the woman–the Miss Universe herself–that is now the focal point.
What does this mean for the participating countries? For one, the usual formulaic secrets of strong-sash factor countries are now rendered almost moot; sending everyone back to their drawing boards. Venezuela’s usual fare of a facially superior representative who can slay the runway with her pasarela (a.k.a. National Director Osmel’s prototype), which have been measured and weighed by time, suddenly becomes wanting.
The Philippines, if it wants its fourth crown, needs to send someone of Pia’s caliber in the future. Someone really intelligent, composed and confident, regardless of the language she uses to communicate her thoughts. So far, Pia is Pia and no recent Philippine Queen in ANY pageant has come close to her level… yet.
Countries on the rise like Thailand and Indonesia can also no longer just rely on the sweet, demure image of their candidates, if they want to have better placements in the future. Formerly-strong countries like India which have lost all magic over the years, need to realie that it is now 2017 and not 1994; their antediluvian beauty queen prototypes just aren’t working anymore.
But with the upheaval at Miss Universe also brings good news to a lot of weak-sash factor countries. With the current set-up of the pageant, the strong-sash factor nations have been partially knocked off their pedestal, and now even weaker countries like Haiti or Kenya now have a shot too at winning. Particularly with Haiti and Kenya, they lucked out this year by sending women who, while not hyped like other frontrunners, were actually very confident and outspoken.
The 65th Miss Universe pageant has just come to a close and a new winner has been crowned. The country delegations are now starting to go back home. I’m pretty sure that most National Directors of the pageant’s franchises will have a lot of work to do: Throw their drafts and manuals out of the window, and plot a new guidebook on how to win Miss Universe.