The process of electing Miss Universe is a long one. Countries which want to participate must first hold contests in each city to elect a candidate to become the country's representative for Miss Universe. Then it must elect a candidate from among the women selected by each city. For example, in Finland, Miss Helsinki must compete against the women selected by the other Finnish cities. Once a country has selected a candidate she goes on to compete for the title of Miss Universe.
According to the organisers, the Miss Universe contest isn't won just on looks. Women who aspire to become Miss Universe must be intelligent, well-mannered and cultured. Many times, a candidate has lost the contest because she did not have a good answer to a question on the contest's question and answer round.
The first winner in 1952 was Armi Kuusela from Finland. There are 4 Venezuelan Miss Universes, 4 Puerto Rican Miss Universes and 7 Americans. Many other countries have won the contest once or twice.
One Miss Universe, 1981's Irene Saez, ran for President in Venezuela, losing to Hugo Chavez. Yet another one, 2002's winner Oxana Fedorova of Russia, became the first one to be stripped of her crown, making first runner up Justine Pasek of Panama, the first Panamanian ever to hold the title.
The Miss Universe contest's central offices are in New York, and the contest is held in different cities each year. All the contests until 1972 were held within the United States.
|1958||Luz Marina Zuluaga||Colombia||Long Beach, California|
|1963||Idea Maria Vargas||Brazil|
|1970||Marisol Malaret||Puerto Rico|
|1972||Kerry Anne Wells||Australia||Dorado, Puerto Rico|
|1973||Margarita Moran||Philippines||Athens, Greece|
|1975||Anne Marie Pohtamo||Finland|
|1976||Rina Messinger||Israel||Hong Kong|
|1977||Janelle Commisiong||Trinidad and Tobago|
|1978||Margarett Gardiner||South Africa||Acapulco, Mexico|
|1982||Karen Diane Baldwin||Canada|
|1983||Lorraine Downes||New Zealand|
|1985||Deborah Carthy-Deu||Puerto Rico|
|1986||Bárbara Palacios Teyde||Venezuela|
|1988||Porntip Nakhirunkanok||Thailand||Taipei, Taiwan|
|1989||Angela Visser||Holland||Cancun, Mexico|
|1990||Mona Grudt||Norway||Los Angeles, California|
|1991||Lupita Jones||Mexico||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|1992||Michelle Mc Lean||Namibia||Bangkok, Thailand|
|1993||Dayanara Torres||Puerto Rico||Mexico City, Mexico|
|1994||Sushmita Sen||India||Manila, Philippines|
|1995||Chelsi Smith||United States||Windhoek, Namibia|
|1996||Alicia Machado||Venezuela||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|1997||Brook Lee||United States||Miami Beach, Florida|
|1998||Wendy Fitzwilliam||Trinidad and Tobago||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|1999||Mpule Kwelagobe||Botswana||Trinidad and Tobago|
|2001||Denise Quiñones||Puerto Rico|
|2003||Amelia Vega||Dominican Republic||Panama City, Panama|
See also: Miss Earth, Miss World