- Nearly 90 contestants from around the world have landed in Miami for contest
- Preliminary competition includes evening gown, swimsuit and the interview rounds and happens on January 21
- Final is held on January 25 – Gabriela Isler of Venezuela took home last year’s crown
In a city famed for its beautiful people, you might think they would blend right in. But when the world’s most beautiful women descended on Miami on Monday ahead the 2014 Miss Universe pageant, even the most hardened heads in Florida’s party capital were turning to have a look.
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Nearly 90 contestants from around the world have landed in the little-known town of Dorel to compete in this year’s competition. The preliminary competition, which includes evening gown, swimsuit and the interview rounds, will take place on Wednesday 21 January – but that doesn’t mean the preparations haven’t begun.
Women from dozens of countries – including Albania, El Salvador, Great Britain and Haiti – have been preparing backstage for the biggest week of their lives. The event’s official photographer followed the women, who are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete, and captured the lengthy preparation processes, from getting their haired coiffed to having dresses fitted.
In the photo series, the likes of Miss Hungary 2014, Henrietta Kelemen, can be seen getting her hair done while Miss Universe India 2014, Noyonita Lodh, slips into a dazzling sequin embellished dress.
Following on from the preliminary round, the top 15 women will be chosen and they will go straight into the National Costume round the same night. The finals will be held at the FIU Arena on Sunday 25 January, when Venezuelan Miss Universe 2013, Gabriela Isler, will hand over her crown.
Donald J. Trump and Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, recently revealed that Today show host Natalie Morales and MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts will host the 63rd pageant, a three-hour show that airs on NBC. It has also been rumoured that Filipino boxer, Manny Pacquioa, will be a judge, although he is yet to confirm his place on the panel.
Among the notable contestants is Miss Great Britian, Grace Levy, an events executive from London. Grace, who studied psychology in Bristol, worked as an event manager of her own annual charity event and starred on popular British dating show, Take Me Out.
Miss Australia, 22-year-old Tegan Martin, hails from Newcastle, the same town as Miss Universe 2004, Jennifer Hawkins. Tegan, who worked as a model in Paris, came second in Miss Universe Australia twice before she won on her third and final attempt.
Tegan, who is studying for a Bachelor of Nutritional Medicine, has hopes of raising awareness of mental health in youth. She is also part of a youth mentoring program helping schoolgirls struggling with confidence. Miss USA, 24-year-old Nia Sanchez, is half Hispanic, and has travelled across the world on countless mission trips.
After working as a full-time model for the past seven years, she landed a face character role at Hong Kong Disney World.
The popular contest was established in 1952 as a local ‘bathing beauty’ competition spearheaded by Catalina Swimwear in Long Beach, California.
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Speaking about the pageant, a spokesperson for the event said: ‘These women are savvy, goal-oriented and aware. The delegates who become part of the Miss Universe Organization display those characteristics in their everyday lives, both as individuals, who compete with hope of advancing their careers, personal and humanitarian goals, and as women who seek to improve the lives of others.’
This year’s event hasn’t come without controversy; tensions are rife in the event’s city of Doral, who pledged $2.5million from its reserves to support Trump’s beauty pageant, according to the Miami Herald.