Miss Universe 2017 Catriona Gray made history when her Star on the Eastwood City Walk of Fame was unveiled in the Philippines on Sunday. She joined eight other celebrities also inducted into the 14th Walk of Fame class. Gray led this year’s list and was recognized for her work in the television industry in the Philippines.
This year’s German Moreno Walk of Fame Awardees included Catriona Gray, comedian Jo Koy, Nanette Inventor, Edu Manzano, Jun Banaag, Jiggy Manicad, Kim Atienza, Alex Gonzaga and Rachelle Ann Go. The Eastwood Walk of Fame is on the same scale as the Hollywood Walk of Fame reserved for the best of the best in their field and area of influence. This was the first year social media was included as an official category, allowing influencer Alex Gonzaga to be included this year’s list.
All nine of the inductees made significant contributions to the television, social media, music, movies, government, theater, news field with Gray’s work as Miss Universe helping to further lift the country’s presence in the pageant world. Her historic win provided the Philippines with their second Miss Universe crown in three years, after Pia Wurtzbach nabbed the title in 2015. Pia received her brass star in November 2018.
Pageantry turned political this week when Miss Black America Ryann Richardson posted her endorsement for Pete Buttigieg as our next President, a first for the pageant industry. In what’s otherwise considered a taboo topic, not just in pageantry but also at the Thanksgiving table, Richardson decided to share her thoughts on who she believed should be next in line for the Oval Office.
Traditionally, contestants are encouraged to keep their political views to themselves or answer an onstage question very middle ground with no bias in a bipartisan-like manner. It’s always been considered not pageant like and separatism in fact if a titleholder expressed even what her party affiliation was because of the fear of alienating the opposing parties and not being able to reach everyone at appearances during her reign. There was fear of missing out on deals, contracts or butting heads with directors if a titleholder was too one sided in her thinking and expressed them in public her crown and sash.
In a first for this new 2020 era of the definition of who a titleholder is, she decided to not only express her views but officially go on record to endorse and encourage her followers to vote for Mayor Pete at the polls.
We reached out to Ryann about her decision and speaking to Pageants & Prosecco about her thought-piece, she said she felt it was important to add her voice in the 2020 election cycle conversation. Not simply because she is holding a national title but rather out of pure civic duty and what she explains is responsibility to her community, “You could argue that Miss Black America, because of it origins as an act of protest, does exist in a unique space in the ‘pageant world.'” She continues,
With 20K followers on IG for this TEDx Speaker & one of the youngest honorees on the Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America list, Richardson says it is ultimately irresponsible of her to sit out here voiceless “when I believe our community is facing a critical opportunity in this election.” Calling the move to speak up an important one to prevent anyone who’s listening from making the wrong decision at the polls.
In the op-ed she wrote for The Grio, Richardson talked about why she chose the millennial veteran, pointing to his honesty addressing his weak spots as the Mayor of South Bend, his leadership and intellect. Her endorsement might help Buttigieg’s campaign which is looking at dismal polling numbers among Black voters.
According to the lastest Washington Post/Ipsos poll, 21% of Black voters right now view Buttigieg as ‘unfavorable.’ The highest in the crowded Democratic nomination party, besides newly-entered billionaire Mike Bloomberg (25%). With the Iowa Democratic caucuses in just a few weeks, some fear he might not reach enough of these voters in time to nab this critical state for any of the 13 candidates. These Iowa caucus’ results are going to shed light on where they all stand in the Black community’s mind. On the other side, he does lead in Black votes 57-4 if it were up to them choosing between him or 45 for round 2.
“It’s fair to say my opinion may be an unpopular one … for now. It would surely be easier to keep my head down and not weigh in. But I’ve never been afraid to be first and I was raised to live in my truth.”
Richardson for TheGrio.com
She wrote about how growing up in D.C. gave her a first hand look at the voting process as a kid visiting the election polls with her parents and watching each new President get sworn in every 4 years.
However as she grew up and the realities of oppression and her “double strike” as a woman first and then as a person of color (or vice versa) became real, she writes, “With each election, I intuitively knew how my country would move, even when it was counter to my own desires.”
It took courage for Richardson to share her political views and she admittedly said she was sick of seeing hatred being spewd out online and was considering “clock[ing] out on America for a while to preserve my own mental health.” Who wouldn’t blame her? Twitter is full of constant dialogue, discussions and the true thoughts of keyboard happy anonymous trolls just saying anything now a days.
“The attitudes of the basest corners of our society, once fodder for faceless Twitter trolls, are now promoted from verified accounts with names and Congressional seats and endorsements from the highest office in the land.”
Congratulations are in order for former Miss Earth, Nicole Faria!! She just tied the knot with her long-time beau of 5 years, Rohan Powar.
The couple first met when Powar, who was born in America, visited India during an internship & according to his Carnegie Mellon University bio, works in the automotive manufacturing industry.
In 2018, Powar returned to the United States to complete his MBA at Carnegie Mellon. However right before he was going to leave, Nicole and their friends decided to throw him a farewell party. It was a party for her too as he turned it from a farewell party to an engagement party when he surprised her with a proposal!
Shortly after the engagement she spoke on the moment with Time of India saying everyone knew he was going to propose but her.
Everyone knew that he was going to ask me to marry him — everyone except me, of course. He got down on one knee at the party and proposed in front of everyone.
She also said even though they spoke of getting married previously, because he surprised her they couple has no date in mind just yet and are going to enjoy this period of their relationship, but did give us a hint as to where the nuptials will take place.
“We are sure that the wedding will take place somewhere in India.”
The pair are true #relationshipgoals. She’s not the only one making history, he was the first foreign employee at an Indian company of 3,000 nationals. He quickly rose in ranks to become the Director of Operations over Mexico and United Arab Emirates.
Faria represented India at the 2010 Miss Earth pageant in Vietnam. She was the first and so far only Miss India Earth to have won the coveted title.
After she brought home the crown, the President of India honored her with an award for being the first Indian woman and Miss India to win the coveted Miss Earth title. Since her reign as Miss Earth 2010, Faria has gone on to the world of show business as both a successful model and actress.
Nicola has been featured on the covers Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Starring in the 2014, Bollywood film, Yaariyan.
Miss Earth USA 2018, Yashvi Aware, officially announced she is competing at the Miss D.C. USA 2020 pageant as Miss Mount Vernon USA 2020. Yashvi shared the news of her new title through a video posted on her social media page to her followers. The pageant is set to take place this month, January 18-19th.
The reason for Yashvi’s late announcement was due to recovering from surgery, “I decided really last minute to compete because I was healing from my ankle surgery.”
Yashvi’s ankle also gave her a little bit of a struggle during her reign as Miss Earth USA and has had multiple surgeries on it, landing in the hospital twice while competing at the international pageant. At one point during her reign, she was in a cast and needed crutches to walk. Despite her injury, Yashvi is pushing through in her recovery and is working hard to prepare for the Miss DC competition, “I’m running again, wearing heels, and volunteering all over the district.”
Yashvi was crowned Miss Earth USA 2018, on July 15, 2018, at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center located in Virginia. The Miss Earth USA and Miss Earth pageants are centered around environmentalism and is based off the concept of Beauty With A Purpose. This means contestants should not only prepare to walk the runway, but to be able to speak about an environmental cause they are passionate about as well.
After being crowned Miss Earth USA, Yashvi traveled the world, modeled in New York Fashion Week, volunteered, and spoke about her environmental platform “The Future is Green.”
Her platform choice was due to the fact she wanted to be a “more responsible citizen.” Although winning the crown presented her a lot of opportunities, she had to make hard sacrifices in order to fully commit to her reign, “I gave up so much to be here at Miss Earth including my real job and education as a psychologist, because I’ve always believed in my greater purpose to serve others.”
Yashvi’s inspiring fighter mentality seemed to stick with her post-crown as she somehow finds the time to prepare for the pageant and plan a wedding. Yashvi and her fiancé, Ashu Suri, got engaged August 31, 2018 in Washington D.C. in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Ashu made Yashvi believe they were going to a photoshoot which she said was, “Not out of the ordinary in my life.”
The surprises continued, “Somehow I was blindfolded and when I opened my eyes, this handsome man was on his knee asking me to marry him surrounded by all our friends, plus a bunch of tourists cheering us on!” To this day Yashvi claims it was, “The best day of my life.”
In her video announcement Yashvi thanked her followers and asked them for continued support as she prepares for the competition, “Please continue following my journey, thank you all so much for the support you’ve given me this past year since I’ve been recovering.”
The 2020 Miss D.C. USA pageant is set to take place at the Carpenter Theatre at the Dominion Energy Center from 2:00-8:00 PM, January 18-19th. Interviews are scheduled for Saturday, January 18th. The rest of the preliminaries will take place on Sunday, January 19th at 2:00 PM.
Finals for Miss D.C. USA is on Sunday, January 19th at 8:00 PM. Will Yashvi win the coveted Miss D.C. USA 2020 crown? We’ll have to wait and see.
The world of social media & pageantry combine on MTV tonight as former Miss Teen USA, Kamie Crawford makes her debut as the newest cohost of the popular MTV docu-series, Catfish.
Crawford announced the news to her followers on Wednesday. She will cohost all episodes of the new season with longtime host and founder, Nev Schulman.
When Crawford was initially invited on the show to guest host in September 2018, she first thought it was a joke, “I thought I was being Catfished.” However, she later accepted the invitation after realizing the offer was indeed real.
Crawford was a guest cohost for several episodes on the show last season and loved every minute of it,
“All of the support I got from fans of the show was amazing, but I was just happy to be there for as long as they would have let me.”
In July 2019, Crawford received a call from Schulman asking her if she wanted to be a part of the show fulltime as the new cohost. She was elated saying, “Of course, I wanted to shout it from the roof tops.”
She is replacing longtime cohost, Max Joseph, who left the show to focus on his filmmaking career. Crawford made a point in her post to ensure her followers she is not trying to replace him, “I hope I can make him, Nev, and Catfish fans proud as we move into season 8 and beyond!”
Crawford was crowned Miss Teen USA on July 24th, 2010 at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas, representing as Miss Maryland Teen USA. Upon being crowned, she won a $100,000 scholarship, moved to New York City sharing an apartment with Miss Universe Ximena Navarrete and Miss USA Rima Fakih.
After her reign as Miss Teen USA, Crawford enrolled in classes at the New York Film Academy. Her time there led her into the world of acting, modeling and hosting, which eventually led her to the MTV hit show, Catfish.
Catfish began airing in 2012 featuring Nev & Max. The two came up with the idea for the show following Schulman’s very own catfish experience.
In 2007, he met and fell in love with a woman named “Megan” online. Over the course of 7 months, he and Megan exchanged text messages and even talked on the phone. However, everything fell apart when Schulman finally met Megan in person. Megan turned out to be Angela! Several years later, in 2010, the documentary, Catfished, was released featuring footage of his catfish encounter with Angela/Megan.
Following the documentary’s release, Schulman’s DMs was bombarded with people sharing similar experiences asking for his help. This inspired him and longtime friend and camera operator Joseph to create hit the show. Debuting with 2.7 millions viewers during it’s very first episode.
The MTV docu-series is still going strong after 7 seasons of success. Season 8 premieres tonight, January 8th at 8:00 p.m. EST. and will be Crawford’s debut as the new fulltime cohost of Catfish.
Unfortunately, the Australian wildfires are still ablaze burning more than 17.9 million acres across Australia’s six states and is estimated to have killed nearly half a billion of the nation’s wildlife. This tragedy has inspired both past and current pageant queens to reach out to their following on social media to not only help raise awareness, but to also raise money for organizations working to stop the wildfires and protect the wildlife.
Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo, posted a selfie with her and a koala sharing her devastation toward the Australian wildfires, “It’s so devastating to see what the bushfires have done to the human and animal lives across this beautiful country.” Culpo went on to encourage her followers to donate to organizations like Red Cross Australia, Wires Wildlife Rescue and Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. She then noted how her fans could make a difference, “If we all help, even a little bit, a huge impact can be made.”
Miss World Australia 2019, Sarah Marsckee, shared her heartbreak about her country to her followers by posting a current news video of the wildfires in action. She began the post with the words, “Our remarkable country is on fire and has been on fire for over two months.” Marsckee proceeded to thank not only the firefighters working to control the flames, but to people who opened up their homes, and to those who have donated funds and supplies as well. She went on and said, “My thoughts and prayers are with you all through this hard time.” Marsckee then shared with her followers links to organizations that they could donate to not only help the people effected by the wildfires, but also the Australian wildlife. The list included organizations like the Salvation Army, and RSPCA.
Miss Earth 2020, Nellys Pimental, shared a video to her followers explaining the environmental impact the wildfires have had on the country. “Rising temperatures due to climate change have aggravated damages.” Pimental then mentioned how the wildfires have hurt Australian wildlife. “The koala has officially entered the functionally extinct list of species.” The video ended with Pimental encouraging her following to take action and help in any way they can with the statement, “Nature relies on us.” Her post also included the links to donate to organizations such as Rural Fire Service and Port Macquire Koala Hospital.
Experts said the wildfires origin is of both natural and human causes. Australia has experienced the worst drought in decades, making it easy for wildfires to start. Climate change has also worsened the impact and destruction of the wildfires due to weather conditions becoming more extreme. At least 24 people were charged by the NSW police for deliberately starting bushfires. According to a police statement, the police have taken legal action against 183 people for fire related offenses. As of now over 2,000 firefighters are working on the ground in NSW alone with more support from the US, Canada, and New Zealand sending in more firefighters to help put out the flames.
No doubt the Leadership team at Miss America are scrambling right now after Miss America fans (and critics) gave the MAO front office the read of their lives on Sunday after someone on their social media team shared an article from The List, The Untold Truth of Miss America 2020 Winner Camille Schrier.
In the article, the writer Blaire Erskine called the MAO system sketchy and posted a hyperlink to another article on it’s site Sketchy Things Everyone Just Ignores About Miss America written by another writer Shira Danan. The Sketchy Things article, dated during the Sam Haskell era, talks about the system’s racist history of banning women of African descent from competing, organizers telling Miss America 1945 Beth Meyerson (a daughter of Russian and Jewish immigrants) to change her last name to sound less Jewish, Vanessa Williams’ saga and a handful of other negative press MAO endured over their storied history.
In the now-deleted article shared on the MAO official Facebook page, Erskine takes statements from Schrier’s interviews with the BBC, her social media captions, the Miss Virginia website, a handful of other media outlets including VCU News, the school paper for Virginia Commonwealth University, the school Schrier is currently studying at for her doctorate in pharmacy and twists her words around to sound as if Miss America is bashing her 2.0 systems’ former life during the 1.0 time.
The article claims Schrier was not even interested in competing for the title under it’s traditional categories and format. She’s also quoted as saying she does not see Miss America as a beauty pageant anymore.
The comment section exploded with people immediately criticizing the MAO social media handlers for sharing an article that arguably does not put them in a positive light. Many people, still scorned at the way the competition was held last month, expressed their utter done-ness with Miss America 2.0. Some felt by MAO sharing this article, it’s the organization’s way of slapping the previous titleholders crowned under 1.0 in the faces and doing an about face heading into a 2.0 tragedy right before it’s 100th year anniversary.
Other comments came at the definition of who is a scientist/biochemist considering Camille is still in school, while others said crowning a scientist is no new feat in the pageant world and her talent was “an elementary school level” demonstration. Some people even went as far as saying her “unusual” talent should not be a media talking point when many contestants train years for their artistic displays i.e. dancing, baton twirling, piano etc.
The overall theme of the fans were how disappointed they are in MAO’s PR department sharing an article of this nature in the first place with many people questioning the organization’s motives to share media which condescends the pageant’s barely-recent 1.0 past and the dismissal of the contestants who competed before Gretchen took the helms.
However their PR team seemed to have scrolled through the comments and jumped on deleting the shared article off their Facebook page. Now to see if they are going to release a statement about the fuss made or sweep this little incident under the rug. Time will tell.
Candiace Dillard Bassett, Miss United States 2013 and current castmate on BRAVO’s Real Housewives of Potomac just had her song played across radio stations in the DMV metro area. The beauty queen-turned-reality TV star is now attempting to collect another bag in the music industry.
This isn’t Bassett’s first time having her music on public display. During her second season on RHOP, she sang her original song “I See You” for Chris during their wedding episode filmed for BRAVO at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C. The single later launched on all digital streaming platforms back in May 2019. She also has songwriting credits on the ballard.
When this song, a go-go style remix to “I See You“, dropped on the radio on Saturday, the CEO behind Peace, Love, Pageantry, a pageantry consulting firm, was in her car and posted the special moment to her 118,000 Instagram followers giving thanks to DJ Iran for the radio play.
Check out her 4-part reaction below:
Bassett is on season 5 of the Real Housewives of Potomac currently in production with expectations of a Spring 2020 premiere.
I don’t know if the $5M crown was bobby pinned all the way down on Queen Zozibini before the great-as-expected social media frenzy kicked off like a starter gun in a 100 meter dash featuring Usain Bolt. People all over were trying to hide their inner racism by questioning why so many Black people, mainly women, were so excited to see a contestant like South Africa “finally” get crowned.
Without shedding light on too much of their commentary, some of the comments spoke about how we should look past skin color and admire her for her answers instead during the competition. Others said Zozibini’s look is more in line with IMG’s “brand” i.e. the increase in women of color being crowned since they took over the organization’s management in 2015. Other trolls question the “rally cry” Black Girl Magic and stated it was taking steps backwards from Martin Luther King Jr’s work to integrate among each other.
While no one is wrong in genuinely looking to gain more insight into a Black woman’s mind, especially those of a darker complexion, to understand the even more complex background of what is consider beautiful in both the Black culture and in the white world. However, some of these VERY same people are the ones imprinting into young children’s mind what their typical ideal standard of beauty looks like and for a long period of time it was not how our current Miss Universe looks.
From the dawn of time, Black women have been competing against a European idea of beauty. Straight hair, slim nose, fair or lighter skin; in pretty much every culture with darker skin people,women are subconsciously taught lighter skin is better and prettier. This leads to the infamous skin bleaching we’ve seen with some celebs.
Times that with a particular hair curl also being discriminated against from your very own mother for years until you took ownership of your scalp around the same time you signed up for your first credit card. Times this again by entering a beauty pageant dominated by blondes with blue eyes winning for decades before they even ALLOWED a women of African descent to compete in their system. Enter infamous Rule #7.
Watching our new Miss Universe grace the stage so elegantly and speaking up for young girls’ leadership, education and self-perception is a significant and historic barrier that’s long been waiting to be broken. It took Deshauna Barber’s final walk in her full 4c afro glory for Zozibini to run Sunday night. (And probably the all-female selection committee) Kara giving us her bountiful hair full of curls made us change the way we see scientists and Cheslie is doing the same in the courtroom.
Black women have been slowly integrating the pageant systems with our true authentic self and some of the features are becoming more accepted, like the all-curly hair and fros we’ve been seeing lately. Several Black women would simply get overlooked in any pageant system wearing their tighter kinks or afros and being labeled “too black” for what is often a non-diverse judging panel. It’s a common coaching tip to minimize your Blackness in several ways to appeal more to the white judges:
wear white. Red is too dramatic and shows you are too commanding, intimidating, too much dare I say, aggressive. Pull your hair up in a bun or half-updo and away from your face. This shows the judges your face more and hides your hair. Or opt to wear a straight long weave, frankly, the easiest option for a week long competition away from home for quick maintenance. All of the past Black Miss Universes won with straight hair. Chelsea’s was big and high in a more Afrocentric way. However, everyone’s hair was high and close to God back then.
On Sunday, a woman wearing her naturally tightly coiled 4c hair had a $5M dollar crown placed on her head in front of 3.8 million people live on television and the world was calling her the universe’s most beautiful person.
Can you imagine how powerful that moment is for a 13-year-old girl who was just bullied for having that very same skin complexion? Or for the thousands of Black pageants contestants who try year after year to compete in the same system that has no former titleholders who look like them. Texas just crowned their first Black women in the Miss America system. A system founded in 1921, 98 years ago.
With her natural hair, shea butter whipped brown skin and public speaking skills in line with other women leaders of our generation, Zozibini displayed love for her culture all during the competition. She wore tradition African prints and spoke boldly about women’s right to education especially since the apartheid ended in South Africa. Typically, this would have been told to lessen down because it’s “too black” but on Sunday like she said, “that ends tonight.”
Sidenote: I spoke more about how, during this time of silent discrimination against women of color, Black pageants rose in popularity.
Unfortunately, they are several horror stories from contestants, including myself, about our experiences competing in these systems. Despite the negative press, sometimes these systems made for us, by us is a woman’s only true shot at becoming a national titleholder.
It automatically evens the playing field and eliminates the bias of racial beauty while becoming an inclusive environment for like-minded Black women on the same mission to do good philanthropy, invest in their education and compete for a crown. Very few other clubs/hobbies/church groups have driven women in them who understand your desire to drop $800 on a new couture gown instead of paying your rent. Many of my adult friendships are from competing in pageants open to women of African descent.
I spoke more about this cognitive dissonance dilemma among Black contestants on the Pageants & Prosecco Podcast.
YAY!!! Like many people of color, watching South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi compete all night was a breath of fresh air as she easily graced the stage and dominated each question and phase of competition that came her way. With this historic win, Tunzi is the third South African to take the crown since Demi Leigh-Nel Peters. She is also the first Black woman to win the award since Leila Lopes in 2011.
During the 2019 Miss Universe pageant, Tunzi spoke on the importance of education and how her grandmother gave her her first book even though her grandmother was not allowed to receive an education. She also used her platform Sunday night to talk about what holding the crown would mean for those looking up to her during her reign.
During her final onstage question she spoke on the importance young girls taking up space and to hold more leadership positions.
“I think we are the most powerful human beings in the world.” – Tunzi