by: Miss Twix
Trump Era, or the years that Donald Trump Sr. took over the Miss Universe, Inc. (Renamed as Miss Universe Organization) was considered by many pageant enthusiasts as Miss Universe' golden era. Donald Trump actually bought Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in the last quarter of 1996. Then, 1997 marked his first year of being the Executive Producer of the said pageants.
As a pageant enthusiast, I felt eager to sum up the past 15 years of Trump's successful handling of the Miss Universe Organization. Of course, under his acquirement of the pageant, there are some good and bad things that had happened, hence it was the good ones that were really remembered by many.
In Trump Era alone, 4 crowns were used by different Miss Universe titleholders. Having many crowns does not only connote that the organization just simply want to change crowns or what, it also denotes that Miss Universe is gaining sponsors.
Miss Universe, on its first 5 years (1997-2001) retained the previous crown used (called affectionately as Miss Crown or The Queen). MUO had to retain this because by far, this is the most recognizable crown of Miss Universe, having been used since 1961.
In 2002, Japan's Mikimoto was first used and was given to the eventual winner Oxana Fedorova, funny as it seem, the first recipient of the Mikimoto crown was dethroned. It was used just for 6 years, later in 2007, the crown went back to Japan (where it was made), when Riyo Mori was crowned. Arguably, Mikimoto is the classiest crown of Miss Universe, because of the pearls and its brilliant design and cut.
In 2008, Vietnam (host) sponsored a special crown for the eventual Miss Universe 2008, Dayana Mendoza. The crown with an 18k white and yellow gold was especially desgined for the eventual Miss Universe winner. So that means, it was not used the following year. Dayana shared the distinction of wearing a special crown (not shared by others) with Armi Kuusela and Christiane Martel.
In 2009 to 2011, the Diamond Nexus Lab Crown was used, it has white gold and platinum as well. The first recipient of this crown was Stefania Fernandez for her country's back to back victory. Angola's Leila Lopes will pass this crown to the new Miss Universe in December of 2012.
(Top 10 - Top 6 - Top 3)
Miss Universe 1997 retained the Top 10 format of the Miss Universe 1996. From Top 10, it will be Top 6, from there will emerge the Top 3.
(Top 10 - Top 5 - Top 3)
However, in Miss Universe 1998, The former Top 6 finalists was changed to Top 5. This format continued up to 2000.
(Top 10 - Winner and 4 Runners Up)
A minor change was implemented starting 2001 where the girls in Top 5 other than the winner of course will be named as runners up. So from the previous years with only 2 runners up, 2001 revived the 3rd and 4th runners up, but still retaining the Top 10 format. This continued the following year (2002).
Starting 2003, due to increasing demand of having more than 10 semifinalists, MUO increased it and made it Top 15 again. This is very agreeable since there are lots of beauties competing, and Top 10 is just not enough. Also, the 4 runners up continued. So that would be Top 15 - Top 10, then Top 5 finalists. This continued up until 2010 (except 2006 where there was Top 20).
In 2011, there have been a new concept of adding a people's choice, thus, that choice will be added to the Top 15, making it a Top 16. However, nothing major change since the cut will be similar with the past years.
For 2012, there's still no confirmation, but there are rumors that Top 16 format will be retained. Moreover there are demands to make it to a Top 20.
In the Trump Era, there have been many countries which hosted for Miss Universe. Hosting is a tedious job for different countries, and a country needs a huge budget for a pageant, especially as big as Miss Universe to be pushed. Thus, it only means that Miss Universe host countries want to host because it gives them income and popularity among pageant enthusiast travellers. For host countries, Miss Universe is equal to Income and Popularity. And that means a lot for Miss Universe Org.
Since 1997, Miss Universe has been held in many different countries around the world. From its home (USA), to the Carribean (Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, and Bahamas), North America (Mexico) Central America (Panama), South America (Ecuador and Brazil), Eurasia (Cyprus), and Mainland Asia (Thailand and Vietnam). Miss Universe has never been this "in demand" in terms of having other nations as a host for the them.
WINNERS IN THE TRUMP ERA
In Trump's first year as an executive producer of Miss Universe, coincidentally, Miss USA won. But that, is the first and only win of a Miss USA under Trump.
When MUO began under Trump, they have this slogan "Redefined for Today". Its also interesting how to see the first ever black African to be crowned under Trump's ownership; not only once, but twice, when another crown was given to a black African just recently with Leila Lopes winning in 2011. All in all there are 3 blacks crowned under Trump (including Wendy Fitzwilliam). Truly, Miss Universe wants to promote equality and anti-discriminatory acts especially with USA having a history of discriminating blacks/africans. Nevertheless, it was a good and intelligent move by the MUO.
Also, in Trump's ownership of MUO, who would not know the Latina-domination? Latinas have been gaining prominence even before the Trump Era, good examples are Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Puerto Rico to name a few. However, latina-domination in his Era is very much noticed, in his 15 years of being an MUO executive producer, 7 latinas became titleholders. Not only that, latina (Venezuelans) had a back to back, first in the history of Miss Universe.
Lastly, most winners in the Trump Era were said to be the most facially beautiful ever. Talk about Oxana Fedorova, Dayana Mendoza and Jennifer Hawkins. Some pageant experts and sites list them as the most beautiful winners of Miss Universe, and there, all of them are winners in the Trump Era.
TRENDS IN THE TRUMP ERA
In the first 5 years of Miss Universe under Trump, I believe it still retained the criteria or should I say trend of the past years. They look for beauty, poise, intelligence and being relevant. In those years, the answers to the final Q and A really matter. Like for example, in Miss Universe 1999, Miriam and Diana were more superior to Mpule in terms of beauty, but Mpule's final answer closed the deal. Also the following year, Lara Dutta though a clear winner, also finished the competition by slaying the Q&A.
In the following years, I believe facial beauty mattered more. Especially in years where Oxana Fedorova, Natalie Glebova and Jennifer Hawkins won. They didnt gave the most jawdropping answer, but still won. Those were the years when Q&A doesnt matter that much. Actually, even in the present its shaky, sometimes the girl with the best answer wins, sometimes, not. 2008 - Dayana gave the best answer and won. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, the winners' answers were so-so.
The most popular of all is the Fierce Era. Where one should have a fierce catwalk with a fierce look to easily capture the crowd and judges. And by the way, what does fierce means? It has many definitions in varied situations but in pageants, it means being edgy and having your presence be felt by others by having graceful, snappy walk and piercing stares. Fierce Era has long been present, but its more noticeable in years 2006 to 2008. And to some extent, 2009 and 2010. Fierce candidates in 2011 failed.
The new trend in Miss Universe today is to have a more reserved, feminine, and classy aura. Maybe some thought being a Miss Universe should be more refined as she represent the women of the Universe. In 2010, many were shocked when Anna Poslavaska made it to the Top 5 outperforming the likes of Rozanna Purcell and Anxhela Martini as she is not that fierce, just a girl with sweet aura. Also, 2010 winner - Ximena is not that fierce in catwalk, she looks more elegant, bubbly and classy. In 2011 it was more noticeable that fierce is really out. Fierce candidates became bottom dwellers in Top 15 (eg. Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Colombia) as girls with sweet aura moved further like China, Panama, Philippines, Angola to name a few.
SUCCESSFUL COUNTRIES UNDER TRUMP
After talking about the winners and trend in Trump Era, lets see which countries are actually making waves since Trump Era.
Venezuela still remains the best performer in Trump Era. They already gained prominence before Trump Era, but absolutely, they really ousted USA in the first spot since Trump overtook the ownership of MU. Also, adding a back to back title is a huge huge point.
Puerto Rico, just like Venezuela garnered 2 crowns in the Trump Era and with that, PR gained a powerhouse status because having 2 crowns in 6 years is very hard to do.
USA is just third because it was short of a crown, remember, only 1 crown in the Trump Era. Also, it is very remarkable that during Trump Era, USA was excluded thrice (1999, 2002 and 2010) in the semifinals. The 3 out of its 4 exclusions in the whole Miss Universe history all happened in the Trump Era! Well, that's ironic.
The crown in 2010 really helped, but aside from that this country had several placements including a couple of runner up finishes. Mexico had lots of accomplishment in Trump's Era.
India was really a major powerhouse back then, but still their accomplishments in Miss Universe will never be forgotten. In Trump's Era, the country got a crown made possible by Lara Dutta and several Top 10 finishes.
This country was really unnoticed before Trump Era, it was in Trump Era where they got prominence. The 2003 crown really helped their status and since then whenever they get to Top 15, they move all the way to Top 5.
This country should I say is the strongest in the African continent. They always send the most diverse beauties to the pageant. Often times, South Africa leads the African continent.
Oxana's win helped, plus several placements. Russia, I believe was more noticed during the Trump Era because the Russian national pageant flourished especially after Oxana's win.
Surprised? No, I am not. They debuted in 2008 and got a Top 10 placement. It was followed by a 2nd runner up finish in 2009, and just recently, a Top 15 finish. So that would be 3 out of 4. They only missed the cut once in 2010.
Australia, in the past few years is really getting its momentum. Since Trump loved Jen Hawkins very much, the country have sent several candidates who are worthy of a placement.
Another country which almost fell before Trump's Era, but finally went up to the list because of several placements since 2000s plus the crown of Natalie Glebova really put this country on higher horizons.
This country is really superb when it comes to sending fine delegates. The country had several placement under Trump, but no crown. This country actually should be in the level of Mexico and India, but because of having just one crown, this country seems to be lagging behind. But still, high hopes are for this country and I salute them.
This Asian powerhouse has actually the most sought after asian delegate after India since their girls are very well trained by Ines Ligron. The most notable are their winner in 2007 and a couple of runners up under Trump's ownership of MU.
Brazil, having a couple of runners up under Trump Era plus several placements gave this status to them. This country is actually on/off in Miss Universe but after last year's 2nd Runner Up finish, great hopes for this beautiful country.
Spain is another hit or miss in Miss Universe, the most notable hit would be their 3-peat in Top 10 in 1999 to 2001 with a back to back 2nd runner up finish. After 2001 they waited for 7 years to have another placement, and that placement (2008) was their last up to now.
This land of pageant fanatics rose again after Venus Raj's placement in 2010. It was actually a start of a new era for Philippines as they begin to regain their status in Miss Universe, because after that, Shamcey Supsup made it to the Top 5 again. In 1999 we can recall that Miriam Quiambao finished as 1st runner up. Now, missosology.org is all coming back to this country.
Ukraine is rising recently, with the back to back runner up finishes, Ukraine is definitely becoming more and more noticeable in the Trump Era. Ukraine also is just fairly new in terms of joining the pageant but is actually gaining prominence year after year.
For Angola, they have been really sending notable contestants especially in the Trump Era. They placed 3 times, plus a recent winner of Miss Universe last year.
Thanks to Ivana Trump (Trump's ex wife) and their children Don and Ivanka who all have Czech heritage. Czech Republic really gained prominence in the Trump Era. Some representatives deserved it, but some are not (they robbed others). However, this year's Miss Czech Republic is promising, so watch out for her.
France is gaining more and more competitiveness in Miss Universe especially under Trump's Era. They are slowly learning the trend in Miss Universe which is good, 2nd crown for sure is coming.
Jamaica also had 3 placements in the Trump Era, with the most notable in 2010 when they had their highest placement ever - with Yendi Phillips placing as a runner up to the winner.
Last but not the least is Albania. Albania is also new in the pageant, but already placed thrice. I have to give this distinction to them, since other countries are like joining forever but not getting any placement even once.
Thanks for reading my novel, haha. Hope you enjoyed.