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Miss Universe Pageant – Black Beauties!
Did you know…
In 1986, Ohio contestant Halle Berry failed to win the Miss USA Universe crown in Miami, Florida. For this reason, she did not participate in the 34th Miss Universe in Panama City. Today Halle is a world famous actress.
In front of a mostly black audience at the Windhoek Country Club in Namibia (Africa), Augustine Masilela became the first black delegate from South Africa to the Miss Universe competition (1995).
In July 1982, Ava Marilyn Burke, Miss Bahamas, became the third black woman to win the Miss Photogenic award after Margaret Hill of Bermuda (1971) and Janelle Commissiong of Trinidad and Tobago (1977). Surprisingly, Miss Bahamas beat Cinzia Fiordeponti (Italy) and Odette Scrooby (South Africa). UNITED STATES
Michigan-born Carole Gist became the first black Miss USA (not to be confused with “Miss America Pageant”) in 1990. She was also the first non-Texas to be crowned Miss USA Universe since 1984. This girl came close to winning the Miss Universe title in Los Angeles, California – she had been beaten by Mona Grundt (Norway).
The Democratic Republic of Congo
In the mid-1980s, Miss Zaire, Kayonga “Benita” Mureka Tete, nearly won the world title in Miami, Florida. Her exotic and natural beauty impressed international judges, including Victor Bannerjee (actor) and Susan George (actress). While in Florida, she was one of the most popular starters. In addition to Miss Zaire 1985, the African nation sent only three delegates to Miss Universe: Ombayi Mukuta (Miss Congeniality 1972), Lokange Lwali (1984) and Aimee Likobe Dobala (semi-finalist, 1986). Since 1997, Zaire has changed its name to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On November 14, 2001, Vanessa Mendoza was the first black to win the Miss Colombia contest, one of the most popular events in the South American nation since 1935. Like their compatriots Aura Maria Mojica (1977), Patricia López (1987 ) and Claudia Elena Vasquez (1997), she was one of the big favorites to win the Miss Universe crown, along with Russian Okasana Fyodorova and American Shauntay Renae Hinton. Unfortunately, Vanessa, who admires Nelson Mandela, didn’t even reach the semi-finals in San Juan. of Puerto Rico in 2002.
In 1986, Deisy Nunes de Souza, Miss Brazil, became the first Afro-Brazilian woman to qualify for the semi-finals of the Miss Universe pageant at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama.
In 1968, Anne Marie Braafheid, Miss Curaçao, made history when she was the first Miss Universe runner-up.
US contestant Chelsy Smith, who was Miss Texas, became the second black woman to be named Miss Universe in 1995 in Windhoek, the capital of the African country of Namibia. She was also the first black semi-finalist since 1993.
After a failed bid for the title of Miss World 1997 in Mahé, Seychelles (Africa), Mpule Kwelagobe, Miss Botswana, became Miss Universe in Chaguaramas (Trinidad and Tobago) in 1999. An international panel headed by the former ambassador Charles Gargano has chosen Mpule — which in Tswana means “she who comes with the rain” — to be the last Miss Universe of the 20th century. Miss Universe 1999 once said, “Today, women use their beauty and their brains to stand up for what they believe in, and pageants are platforms to lead and promote matters of concern.” She is one of the five national idols of Botswana.
Venezuelan Carolina Indriago, who had been considered the first black South American to have a real chance of winning a world title, finished fourth at Miss Universe in 1999.
Trinidad and Tobago
Miss Trinidad Tobago, Janelle “Penny” Commissiong, lived up to her reputation as one of the most beautiful women in the Caribbean by winning the Miss Universe crown in 1977. She became the second woman to hold the MU titles and Miss Photogenic at the same time. time. During her reign, Janelle was seen as someone who could improve the status of race relations around the world.
Sarita Acosta became the first and only Miss Belize to qualify for the semi-finals of Miss Universe (1979). In the 1970s, only five other black delegates made it: Cherrie Raphaelia Creque (US Virgin Islands, 1971), Maureen Ava Veira (Aruba, 1974), Gerthie David (Haiti, 1975), Janelle Commissiong (Trinidad Tobago, 1977 ) and Gina Swainson (Bermuda).
Lesotho delegate Joan Libuseng Khoali was one of the 12 favorites to win the universal title in Acapulco (Mexico) in 1978. She came from Lesotho, a small kingdom on the African continent.
In the early 1960s, Evelyn Miot, Miss Haiti, became the first black woman to make the second round in Miss Universe history.
Miss Bermuda, Margaret Hill, became the first black delegate to win the coveted Miss Photogenic trophy in 1970.
Tanzania, an African nation known for its mountains and wildlife, had a strong contender for Miss Universe 2007. Her name: Flaviana Matata. “I am very happy to represent my country, Tanzania, and especially to be among the top ten finals. I finished sixth out of 77 competitors from all over the world,” she said in an interview in Mexico City. . She is the only MU semi-finalist from Tanzania.
Dominican-born Italian Denny Mendez came to international attention in 1996 when she was the first black girl to win Miss Italy, one of the oldest beauty pageants in the world. She was chosen Miss Italy in a disputed and controversial election. In 1997, she placed fifth in Miss Universe.
Gloria Karamanites was the only black candidate to qualify for the second round of the world competition in Seoul (South Korea) in 1980. During that decade, only five other black delegates did so: Benita Mureka (Zaire, 1985) , Deysi Nunes de Souza (Brazil, 1986), Aimee Likobe Dobola (Zaire, 1986), Carmelita Louise Ariza (Turks & Caicos, 1987) and Sandra Foster (Jamaica, 1989).
Trinidad and Tobago
Wendy Rachelle Fitzwilliam from Trinidad Tobago won the 46th Miss Universe title in Honolulu, Hawaii. Wendy once said: “My role model is Audrey Hepburn. Her extraordinary beauty and grace reflected in all facets of her life. Mrs. Hepburn was a good mother, always a lady, a pioneer in her support of UNICEF and, of course, superb actress”.
The Frenchwoman of African origin Sonia Rolland, escaped from the war in Rwanda, was crowned Miss France in 2000. This young girl, now an actress, was one of the first black women to win the European competition. Miss France 2000 qualified for the second round of the 48th Miss Universe competition in Nicosia (Cyprus).
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