Why the next Miss Universe should come from Europe
Mona Grundt is the last European beauty who truly reigned as Miss Universe
When the three of the Big4 Pageants began, European beauties have the upper hand. Well in fact, the first ever Miss Universe and the first ever Miss World are both Europeans. The first ever Miss International came from a Latin American nation but the Polish blood runs in her veins, thus has a strong European connection as well. Interestingly, half a decade later, a European beauty won the first ever Miss Earth crown.
Such strength of European beauties puts many European countries in the forefront when the three major and prestigious pageants were still at their infancy. That is why Finland, Germany, Sweden and even France and countries of Great Britain were considered as beauty superpowers in the 60s and the 70s. The vestiges of their strengths can even be felt well within the 80s and early 90s.
That is why it is regrettable to see the death of beauty pageant institutions in Norway and in Slovenia. Frøken Norge, started in 1986 and was able to produce Miss Universe Mona Grundt in 1990, will now fold its tent after 26 years of existence. The organization also sends delegates to Miss World, but with no willing sponsors, the man running the show, Geir Hamnes, is left without option but to formally dissolve the pageant.
Meanwhile, Miss Universe Slovenia faced financial difficulties as well when its main sponsor went bankrupt. The pageant started in 2001 and its biggest achievement so far is a semifinalist in 2007 in the name of Tjaša Kokalj. Without even winning the crown, Slovenia is already hanging its gloves.
Tjaša Kokalj is a testament to Slovenes' potential at beauty pageants
Because grooming and sending a Miss Universe contestant entails a lot of money, these organizations have to rely on sponsors. In turn sponsors would be willing to shell out some cash if there is substantial public interest. And there lies a problem. Public interest on beauty pageants is dwindling in Europe. The general attitude is that beauty pageants are outdated and for some people, even an affront to women.
But despite all of these gloomy forecast for Europe, there are some bright spots. Consider how Kim Kotter, a former Miss Netherlands herself, managed to revive the Miss Netherlands contest. Her efforts were awarded with the Top 15 inclusion of Kelly Weekers last year. France is also another bright spot with sponsors are still lining up for the still popular Miss France contest. Even the defunct pageants can still be revived. Last year, Miss Universe Portugal was created to ensure that Portugal would return to Miss Universe after years of absence. Ukraine is of course a country making waves at the pageant and Russia will always remain a country with strong beauty pageant organization.
Thus, it is perhaps imperative that the next Miss Universe should come from Europe. The continent is reeling from financial difficulties and a European Miss Universe would definitely spark public interest and encourage other countries. Notice how Angola’s victory encouraged African countries like Gabon.
Europe already feels it is being sidelined from the pageant. The last European Miss Universe that truly reigned was way back in 1990 and ironically she came from a country that will no longer participate in this year’s pageant! Necessity dictates that the next Miss Universe should be European but there are genuine strong contestants from the continent this year. Delegates from France, Spain and Poland are truly strong and Ukraine and Netherlands are countries to watch.