History of beauty queens

The Philippines has had beauty pageants since the early 1900s. But the nation's obsession really began in 1969. That year, 18-year-old Gloria Diaz was crowned Miss Universe. Since then, there have been all manner of pageants everywhere in the country.

There are pageants for straight and gay men and women, for transgendered people, transsexuals and cross-dressers, for little girls and boys, and for housewives and grandmothers.

There is a bevy of titles that will befuddle future anthropologists: That's My Boy, Little Miss Philippines, Mr Handsome, Little Miss Handsome, Miss Gay Philippines, Miss Supranational, Manhunt International, Mr Marketplace, Super Mermaid...

The Philippines is also a heavy hitter in the big leagues. With 26-year-old model Pia Wurtzbach winning last year's memorable, albeit controversy-marred, pageant, it now has three Miss Universe title-holders.

The United States still has the most Miss Universe (eight), followed closely by Venezuela with seven. Puerto Rico is next with five, and then the Philippines.

Taking into account other pageants, Venezuela is still the nation to beat. It has seven Miss International title-holders, six Miss World and two Miss Earth.

Compared with that, the Philippines has five Miss International, one Miss World, and three Miss Earth.


• United States: 8

• Venezuela: 7

• Puerto Rico: 5

• Philippines, Sweden: 3

• Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Australia, India, Trinidad & Tobago, Thailand, Finland, Brazil, Angola: 2


• Venezuela: 6

• India: 5

• Britain: 5

• United States: 3

• China, Russia, Peru, Austria, Germany, Argentina, Australia, The Netherlands: 2


• Venezuela: 7

• The Philippines: 5

• Spain, Colombia, Poland, Australia, US: 3

• Puerto Rico, Mexico, Norway, Costa Rica, Britain: 2

• Japan, Ecuador, Lebanon, Panama, Portugal, Greece, Britain, Guatemala, France, Yugoslavia, Finland, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Iceland, The Netherlands: 1


The Philippines: 3

• Venezuela, Brazil: 2

• Czech Republic, Ecuador, India, Canada, Chile, Honduras, Kenya, Bosnia, Denmark: 1

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline History of beauty queens. Subscribe