Olivia Culpo: An Intelligent Woman
On December 19, 2012, America’s delegate Olivia Culpo, a native of Rhode Island and of Italian heritage, won the global contest by defeating Miss Philippines in Las Vegas (Nevada, USA). According to pageant experts around the globe, from Manila and Mexico to Singapore City and New York City, she wasn´t a favorite to win the universal crown. During the pageant, there were seven pre-pageant favorites: Malaysia’s Kimberly Leggett, Mexico’s Karina Gonzalez, Paraguay’s Egni Eckert (the first favorite from that country in the history of MU), Philippines’ Janine Mari Tugonon, Puerto Rico’s Bodine Koehler Peña, South Africa’s Melinda Bam, and Irene Esser Quintero of Venezuela.
Eighty-nine countries and territories were competing for the universal crown, whose previous title was won by Leila Lopes from Portuguese-speaking Angola, a former war-scarred country in sub-Saharan Africa and infested-Communist nation during Cold War. Like Janelle Penny Commissiong (who was the first black to be elected MU in 1977) and other queens such as Porntip Nakhirunkanok of the Kingdom of Thailand and Japanese-born Riyo Mori, Lopes studied abroad. The London-based student of business management had defeated Ukraine’s delegate, Olesya Stefanko, in the finals on Brazilian soil in September 2011.
The Word Favorite Does not Mean Much in Miss Universe
With beauties such as Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren,Italy is usually an European republic associated with beautiful women, nonetheless it has never captured the world trophy. Toward the end of the 1950s, for example, Italy’s entrant Maria Grazia Bucella – a phenomenal beauty from Milan- was the bookmakers’ favorite to take the international title at Long Beach (CA). At the onset, she seemed to be a perfect example of Miss Universe. Nonetheless, her hapiness was quickly extinguished as she did not even make the top 15.
According to China’s horoscope, Minnesota’s Barbara Elaine Peterson was an “ideal woman” to become one of the winners from America in the Miss Universe history.Nonetheless, despite being the 200th anniversary of the United States, Miss USA 1976 failed to reach the semis at the 25th Miss Universe in the then British colony of Hong Kong, becoming the first American to do so.
Expectations were high for Jackeline Gamarra Skeff , Miss Bolivia, on Salvadorean soil in July 1975. A Few hours before the finals of the 24th Miss Universe, a computer determined that she -“the most beautiful girl from Bolivian origin after Raquel Welch Tejada” – would win the prestigious crown in the capital city of El Salvador. But that was only in theory: Unfortunately, she didn’t make the list of 12 semi-finalists.
Santo Domingo’s newspaper “Listin Diario” had picked Miss Colombia (Aura Maria Mojica) and Miss Nicaragua (Beatriz Lacayo Obregón) as hot favorites to obtain the crown in 1977. Meanwhile, Austria’s entrant, Eva Maria Duringer, who had a striking facial resemblance to TV star Farrah Fawcett, was regarded as a top competitor by Associated Press, after a poll among the 80 entries. However, none of them earned the award in the Dominican Republic.
Upon becoming Miss South America, Barbara Palacios Teyde of Venezuela, captured the 35th Miss Universe Pageant at Central America in 1986. Later on, Palacios had been succeeded by Colombia’s representative Patricia López as Miss South America Universe. López had won over nine other contestants, including Miss Venezuela (who placed 4th in Singapore) and Miss Chile (then Miss Universe 1987). Subsequently, she and the other South American delegates made a trip to Singapore (Far East) to attend the Miss Universe. Like Palacios, López was the favored in the international meet. Certainly, she became a top competitor when she gained the Miss Photogenic award, a special competition prior to finals. Despite all these awards, she could not qualify for the next round. Curiously, 60% of MU’s semi-finalists came from the Americas-Chile, Peru, Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos,USA and Venezuela.
Miss Universe Vs Miss World: “World War”
In my opinion, Paraguay’s stunning Egni Eckert was one of the foremost delegates on U.S. soil, but she failed to make the semi-finals due to her participation at the 2010 Miss World in the People’s Republic of China. Since 1999 (when the prize was won by Botswana’s anti-AIDS activist Mpule Kwelagobe), the Miss Universe title has not been won by none of those candidates with a previous participation in Miss World contest. By July 2000, Venezuela’s Martina Thorogood wasn’t allow to compete in Miss Universe after finishing as first runner-up at the 1999 Miss World. Most recently, Malaysia’s Deborah Henry, the most favored to win the crown in 2011, could not win the MU title upon being eliminated in the first phase on Brazilian soil. Some beauty experts wrote that this occurred due to her performance as a Miss World Malaysia in 2007.
By late 2011, the Miss World Organization, spearheaded by Britain’s Julia Morley, did not support the participation Angola -birthplace and childhood home of MU 2011—and other sub-Saharan African countries to Miss World. It was seen in some quarters as revenge for the new policy of Miss Universe.
Olivia Culpo: Miss Universe 2012
For the first time since the early 2000s, America’s delegate was not regarded as one of the 15 favorites in the international telecast, but she was elected as the new MU by 9 telecast judges, among them America’s entertainment journalist Claudia Jordan (exactly Miss Rhode Island USA 1997), Japan’s Masahuru Morimoto (one of the world’s top chefs), and Nigel Barker, a fashion photographer from the United Kingdom. At the last moment CeeLo Green, an African-American entertainer, was replaced by Claudia Jordan as judge.
Olivia Culpo was born on may 8, 1992, in Cranston, Rhode Island, one of the smallest states in the United States. Despite her short stature (1.66-m tall), surprisingly, she captured the Miss USA Universe title on June 3, 2012, winning the right to compete at Las Vegas 2012. After her victory in Miss Universe 2012, she has become an idol in her state. She is the first American to win the world trophy since 1997 when her fellow countrywoman Brook Lee (Hawaii) won the award in Florida. With an Italian background, Miss Culpo is a passionate cellist since her childhood. She came to her love of music from her parents,both musicians. As a cellist, she has played by famous philharmonic symphony orchestras in Rhode Island. Additionally, she played in Boston Symphony Hall. Curiously, she is the shortest Miss Universe titleholder since July 1977 as Trinidad-Tobago’s black beauty Janelle “Penny” Commissiong obtained the tropy.
Selected Biographical References:
Thew Wold Book Encyclopedia, World Book Inc, Chicago, 1990
Guevara Onofre, Alejandro. “Celebrating 60 Years of Miss Universe: 24th Miss Universe 1975 San Salvador (El Salvador).History!”www.voices.yahoo.com
———–“Celebrating 60 Years of Miss Universe: 25th Miss Universe 1976 Hong Kong. History!” www.voices.yahoo.com
———–“Celebrating 60 Years of Miss Universe: 26th Miss Universe 1977 Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). History!” www.voices.yahoo.com
———— “Les Beautes Haitiennes”,available online:URL:http//www.Haiti-culture.com/beaute.html
——–“Halle Berry in the Miss World 1986–The Unknown Story”, www.missperfectwoman.com
Newman, Cathy. “The Enigma of Beauty”, National Geographic, January 2000
www.Youtube: Miss Universe 2006-2011
——–: Miss Universe 1987