Ruqayyah Boyer with 2013 Miss International winner, Bea Rose Santiago, in Shibuya.


If only she was there….


This year’s BIG4 Pageant season kicked off with the Miss International Beauty Pageant, which ended last week in Tokyo, with a record-breaking 73 delegates from all over the world competing to become the 54th Miss International winner.   Puerto Rico’s Valerie Hernandez emerged as the ultimate winner, beating all odds, and gave the Boricuans their second MI title after 17 years.

But here is a rather more interesting story.  Never mind that Miss International crowned two women of color as their Top 2, a feat that has never happened even at Miss Universe and Miss Earth, it was very evident that Miss International tried so hard to erase their long unpopular image as being racist against blacks.  So, did they really succeed with that premise?

Let’s ask Ruqayyah Boyer, former Miss Guyana who competed at Miss Universe 2012 and Miss World 2013.  Her journey towards Miss International started even before she finished her reign as Miss World Guyana, when the Miss International Organization kept on sending her national director an invitation to let her compete at their pageant.   Ruqayyah initially refused, but after several emails and invitations, in which the MIO staff insisted on having her to compete in Tokyo, she finally said yes.  Although she tried to consult if it was rather too risky for her to compete at MI, considering its reputation for being unkind to black women, she set aside all doubts because MIO had insisted numerous times to let her compete.  Miss Supranational also asked her national director to send her to Poland, but Guyana turned it down in favor of MI.

Ruqayyah’s evening gown was adjusted to fit her frame by fast rising Filipino designer, Leo Almodal.

Ruqayyah did not ever consider that she would get an easy pass to the semifinals just because MIO was the one who requested for her to come to Japan and become Guyana’s first ever representative to their pageant.  So, she flew all the way from New York, took some time off from her usual job, which also includes being a CEO of a non-profit organization, and went to the Philippines to train for the contest.  She also met Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago and learned some tips from her on how to win the pageant.

But winning the pageant was not really Ruqayyah’s ultimate goal.  She would be very happy to settle for a semifinal spot because in her past two pageants, she did not manage to enter into the next round of competition.  She prepared so hard before flying to Tokyo, and studied the MI system, religiously and painstakingly.  She rented an amazing Leo Almodal bridal gown that was adjusted and fitted for her by no less than the designer himself. At 8-kg, she had it shipped from Manila to Tokyo and the end result was heavenly!  She was indeed a sight to behold during the evening gown competition.

During pageant activities, Ruqayyah never failed to impress as she was always properly dressed up, and her wardrobe selection was meticulously scheduled by her stylist.   Believing that Miss International was looking for someone who is elegantly prim and proper, it was an easy job for this highly educated young woman to project such image because she did not need to fake it.  She is elegance personified.

When the Top 10 was announced and Ruqayyah was not called, she was still all smiles.  After the final result was revealed, everything else started to sink in, but Missosology and pageant fans alike ended up with more questions than answers.  Ruqayyah, tearfully asked one of our correspondents what did she do wrong?  Wasn’t she beautiful enough?  Was it her skin color?  But when she was told that the winner is a black women, she just smiled.  But no, real black people like Ruqayyah would not label Valerie as a black beauty.  She is a mixed race Boricuan with brown skin.  The real black women in Miss International this year were the likes of Miss Gabon, Miss Haiti and Miss Zambia.

Interestingly,  it was revealed by the other contestants that they indeed tried so hard to project an image that was conservative for the Japanese taste, but some of them also shared the fact that the eventual winner became memorable in her talent show where she wore a skimpy swimsuit doing a provocative sexy dance number in front of male guests and patrons.  Many thought that maybe that was Valerie’s main edge to be noticed midway towards the final night, and it’s the only thing that made sense why Miss International ended up with such a surprising result.  It was a rather confusing conclusion, but nevertheless, we still believe that Ruqayyah deserved a Top 10 placement.

If only she was there…





  1. universe 1995 top 2 were both women “of color”. universe 1998 top 2 were both women “of color”. if any of these don’t fall under your definition of women “of color”, then neither should the final 2 of the recent miss international.