I don’t know what the world Donald Trump was thinking when he decided to hold the Miss Universe pageant one week before Christmas. The whole holiday theme and set just felt a bit odd. For me, the pageant belongs in the spring or summer. Trump’s people seriously need to knock some sense into him. I swear he’s getting a bit more senile in his old age. In his defense, he probably thought airing it at this time might benefit the show’s ratings. Last year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show scored boffo ratings. They’re practically the same show but with more clothing ;)
The Christmas trees and snowflakes were the least of his worries, the beauty pageant was probably the worst produced Miss Universe I can recall. From the audio glitches in the beginning and the awful pre-recorded segments, it was one big snooze fest. Thankfully, I taped it and watched the entire 2 hour pageant in just 30 minutes.
Once again Andy Cohen (my silver fox crush) and Giuliana Rancic hosted the event, with Jeannie Mai serving as fashion correspondent. A few of the notable celebrity judges included Nigel Barker (glad to see he’s been busy since ANTM), Lisa Vanderpump (my fave RHOBH), Scott Disick, Brad Goreski, Diego Boneta and Kerri Walsh Jennings to name a few. On deck to perform were Train and Nigerian-born Aussie singer Timomatic.
Overall, this year’s Top 5 were a decent bunch. That said, I was a little bummed, my early favorite, Miss South Africa, only made the Top 10. Speaking of Africa, this was the first time since 2002 that no black candidates made the semifinals. They didn’t even win one of the special awards. Best National Costume went to Miss China and Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic went to Miss Guatemala and Miss Kosovo respectively. Check out this year’s Top 5 below.
The streak is officially over. South African men have won the title the past two years running and came awfully close once again for a three-peat. Mr. Gay South Africa Lance Weyer just missed the title and was the first runner up. Too bad he didn’t pull out the win for the hometown crowd. This year’s festivities were held in Johannesberg, South Africa for the first time. Beating him out for all the gay glory was Mr. Gay New Zealand Andreas Derleth. The 32-year-old is originally from Germany, but moved to New Zealand four years ago.
“Sometimes gay life is still stereotyped and having such an amazing event showing role models will add to the acceptance of GLBT people,” – Andreas Derleth
Derleth competed against 25 delegates in an all-encompassing competition which included wildlife drills, knowledge of LGBTQ issues and the all-important swimsuit round. They even competed in a Survivor-like obstacle course which Andreas finished first at. Rounding out the top five were Rémy Fréjaville, Mr. Gay France (3rd Place), Kevin Scott Power, Mr. Gay USA (4th Place) and Thom Goderie Mr. Gay Netherlands (5th Place).
Mr. Gay World is the biggest gay beauty pageant around. This year saw black Africans contesting for the first time, despite facing violent threats from their government authorities and family. While some stayed to compete during the four-day competition, Zimbabwe’s delegate pulled out after his family received death threats from government agencies. Most delegates came from Europe and the Americas with a few from African and Asian continents. Not surprisingly, no one from the Muslim world entered the competition.
Normally, a 6’1″ statuesque blond making the finals for a beauty contest isn’t exactly newsworthy material. Difference here is that Jenna Talackova was born a male. Now a woman, Jenna is hoping to make a big splash on the institution of traditional beauty pageants. The 23-year-old Talackova is hoping to beat the competition and represent Canada at the upcoming 2012 Miss Universe competition. She began taking hormone therapy at age 14 and underwent sexual reassignment surgery in 2010.
As you would expect, beauty pageant purists are not happy with this. Some have argued that her acceptance by Miss Universe Canada raises ethical and moral issues. They feel that the Big 4 beauty competitions (Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International and Miss Earth) were meant for naturally born women. Good thing for Jenna that she’s Canadian. Under the Equality Law in Canada’s 1982 constitution, her application cannot be denied since she’s legally a woman.
On January 15th, Claire Buffie, reigning Miss New York, will make Miss America history by becoming the first woman to bring the fight for LGBT equality to the Miss America stage. Will you be watching? I know for the first time in a long time I actually want to watch Miss America. We all remember the story of Carrie Prejean, Miss California/Traditional Marriage/Sex Tapes/National Organization for Marriage, blablabla who was Miss USA 2009 first runner-up. She was the
bitch witch that thought marriage should be between a man and a woman and Perez Hilton went all equal rights on her butt. She was later stripped of her Miss California USA 2009 crown for alleged breaches of contract.
Claire, whose sister came out several years ago, is an executive board member of the New York City chapter of PFLAG and also is very active in the community. Two years ago she started the “Straight for Equality: Let’s Talk” campaign, where she travels to schools and talks with the student to help promote inclusion and civil rights for all. On Claire’s blog she talks about how cool it is being able to speak at schools, “I feel like every time I leave a school I say, THAT was the coolest experience I’ve had at a school. How can that be? You have to remember that although you are telling the same story over and over, or a variation of it, it is still someone’s first time hearing your story. That influence and fresh response is what motivates me to keep speaking and sharing my story.”
When I think beauty, three things that would probably never cross my mind are Russian, Prison, or Women (sorry convicts). Combine them all though, and we get quite the spectacle.
These pictures from a Russian woman’s prison beauty pageant are just awesome. Click here for more. The site’s in Russina, so I could only get what I read from Boing Boing. Rumored segments included evening wear, the talent competition, and snitch cutting.
This just goes to show you, prisoners are still people. Although, really what’s worse: A convicted murderer or a beauty pageant stage mother?
I can’t wait until the next season of Russia’s Next Top Jail Model.