For the second time in a row, a Venezuelan beauty is crowned Miss Universe. In 2008, the winner Dayana Mendoza, traveled the globe advocating HIV/AIDS education, research and legislation, but more importantly she was an emissary for her country. This year Venezuela is again in the spot light with Stefania Fernandez and with this victory Venezuela numbers six Miss Universe titles – previously in 1979, 1981, 1986, 1996 and 2008.
Beauty is the best PR for Venezuela, which also holds five Miss World titles. The only other country that can compete with the oil producer is the USA that has 7 Miss Universe winners, however not even USA ever won the title two years in a row.
Venezuela was not the only Latin American country represented in the top 15:
- First Runner-Up: Miss Domincan Republic, Ada Aimee De La Cruz.
- Second Runner-Up: Miss Kosovo, Gona Dragusha.
- Rest of Top Five: Miss Australia, Rachael Finch; Miss Puerto Rico, Mayra Matos Perez.
- Rest of Top Ten: Miss South Africa, Tatum Keshwar; Miss Czech Republic, Iveta Lutovska; Miss Switzerland, Whitney Toyloy; Miss USA, Kristen Dalton; and Miss France, Chloe Mortaud.
- Rest of Top Fifteen: Miss Albania, Hasna Xhukici; Miss Belgium, Zeynep Sever; Miss Croatia, Sarah Cosic; Miss Iceland, Ingibjorg Egilsdottir; and Miss Sweden, Renate Cerljen.
Wnning titles is only the beginning of the story as far as the responsibility that falls on the winner as far as PR is concerned. A good example of bad PR can already be seen for the pageant itself in allowing a cheap counterfeit of Britney (Montag) to show off her lack of taste and style at the event in the first place. But for Venezuela, Stefania has at least revealed the lovely face of that country already. Not many people think about the pressure incumbent on so many of these beauty queens, and certainly many of their exploits of late, via Playboy and elsewhere, are not conducive of winners respectful of the people they are representing.
These days it almost seems like a foregone conclusion for pageant winners to take the “selfish track” and give in to pressure to sell their bodies and celebrity to the highest bidder. Happily for folks in Venezuela, Dyana Mendoza, 2008’s Miss Universe, has so far carried the crown with a lot more style and grace than 2007’s Heidi Montag, who posed for Playboy for a reported half a million.But, “unfortunately” Alicia Machado, is currently the only Miss Universe to pose totally nude for Playboy, not exactly a position of distinction for one Venezuela’s most beautiful ladies.
A good example of a great emissary for the pageant and the Universe at large might be Miss Universe 2005, Natalie Glebova of Canada. There are of course innumerable other examples too, but this writer just imagines the pressure this lovely lady must have been under to “go South” with her ambitions.
As for American girls baring all for the sake of Hugh Hefner and Co., perhaps people in the U.S. simply expect to be represented to the world by gals who have no inhibition? Then again, maybe the world expects “material girls” from America to go after the bucks with their best assets? I suppose it should be noted that Playboy, among all the men’s magazines of note, has been considered the “class act” of the type all these years, displaying what could be considered the most tasteful images of women comparatively. Still, regardless of the “quality” of images, the stigma and symbolic essence of posing nude just has to detract from ladies who could and should be considered “above” such potentially demeaning exhibitions.
Make no mistake about it, this is not about “holy rolling” over the top of beauty queens or their admirers. The point here is that contestants who enter these pageants, offer themselves as exemplary role models for everyone who has “voted” for them in all the rungs of their competitive ladder. I the case of Miss Universe, I expect that would be all of us. Somehow I feel like today is “searching for a class act day”, and maybe it should be given all the tastelessness of the last few weeks. Stefania, for her part in exemplifying beauty and elegance, we can only hope she carries herself as well in the future as she has so far. As for Montag and others like her, we can only suggest she sharpen her business skills and invest that $500,000 Hugh gave her. It is interesting to take note of the Miss Universe Creed, which should have a bearing on how these young ladies conduct themselves.
“We, the young women of the universe, believe people everywhere are seeking peace, tolerance and mutual understanding. We pledge to spread this message in every way we can, wherever we go.”
Perhaps some of them, having had problems with answering the “world peace” questions, may have misconstrued seeking peace as a “piece of the action”, tolerance as seeking tolerance for their own actions, and mutual understanding as a sort of narcissists term for “don’t misunderstand me?”