|Formation||June 28, 1952|
|JKN Global Group|
|Affiliations||JKN Metaverse Inc.|
|US$100 million (annually)|
Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant that is run by the United States and Thailand–based Miss Universe Organization. It is one of the most watched pageants in the world with an estimated audience of over 500 million viewers in over 190 territories. Along with Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth, Miss Universe is one of the Big Four international beauty pageants.
The Miss Universe Organization is currently owned by JKN Global Group. Telemundo has the licensing rights to air the pageant through 2023. The pageant's advocacy is "humanitarian issues and is a voice to affect positive change in the world."
The title "Miss Universe" was first used by the International Pageant of Pulchritude in 1926. This contest was held annually until 1935, when the Great Depression and other events preceding World War II led to its demise.
The current Miss Universe pageant was founded in 1952 by Pacific Knitting Mills, a California-based clothing company and manufacturer of Catalina Swimwear, and has since been headquartered in the United States. The company was the sponsor of the Miss America pageant until 1951, when the winner, Yolande Betbeze, refused to pose for publicity pictures wearing one of their swimsuits. In 1952, Pacific Knitting Mills organized the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, co-sponsoring them for decades to follow.
The first Miss Universe Pageant was held in Long Beach, California in 1952. It was won by Armi Kuusela from Finland, who gave up her title, though not officially, to get married shortly before her year was completed. Until 1958, the Miss Universe title, like that of Miss America, was dated by the year following the contest, so at the time Ms. Kuusela's title was Miss Universe 1953. Since its founding by Pacific Mills, the pageant has been organized and conducted by the Miss Universe Organization. Eventually, Pacific Mills and its subsidiaries were acquired by the Kayser-Roth Corporation, which was in turn acquired by Gulf and Western Industries.
The pageant was first televised in 1955. CBS began broadcasting the combined Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in 1960, and as separate contests in 1965. More than 30 years later, Donald Trump bought the pageant in 1996 from ITT Corp, with a broadcasting arrangement with CBS until 2002. During this time, in 1998, Miss Universe, Inc. changed its name to the Miss Universe Organization, and moved its headquarters from Los Angeles to New York City. By late 2002, Trump entered into a joint venture with NBC, which in 2003 outbid the other markets for the TV rights. From 2003 to 2014, the pageant was broadcast in the United States on NBC.
In June 2015, NBC cancelled all business relationships with Trump and the Miss Universe Organization in response to controversial statements about illegal immigrants who crossed the border from Mexico. As part of the legal settlement, in September 2015, Trump bought out NBC's 50% stake in the company, making him the company's sole owner. Three days later, he sold the whole company to WME/IMG. Following the change of ownership, in October 2015, Fox and Azteca became the official broadcasters of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. The current president of the Miss Universe Organization is Paula Shugart, who has held this position since 1997.
During the CBS telecast era, John Charles Daly hosted the Miss Universe Pageant from 1955 to 1966, Bob Barker from 1967 to 1987, Alan Thicke in 1988, John Forsythe in 1989, Dick Clark from 1990 to 1993, Bob Goen from 1994 to 1996, and Jack Wagner in 1998 and 1999. During the NBC telecast era, multiple hosts shared the duties—Billy Bush hosted the Miss Universe Pageant from 2003 to 2005 and 2009, Mario Lopez in 2007, Andy Cohen in 2011 and 2012, and Thomas Roberts in 2013 and 2014. Daisy Fuentes, Nancy O'Dell, Mel B and Natalie Morales are currently the only females to have hosted the event multiple times (from 2002 to 2004, 2005 and 2006, 2008 and 2013, and from 2010 to 2011 and 2014, respectively).
Between 2015 and 2019, Miss Universe is televised live by Fox and hosted annually by Steve Harvey. The backstage correspondents include Roselyn Sanchez in 2015, Ashley Graham from 2016 to 2018, and Olivia Culpo in 2019. In 2020, the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA brands were split from the Miss Universe Organization into their independent organization, run by Crystle Stewart, while the broadcast rights to the Miss Universe Pageant was temporarily split between Telemundo and FYI. Lopez and Culpo then teamed up for co-hosting duties for the 2020 pageant after Harvey temporarily withdrew from the competition amidst COVID-19 pandemic restrictions at the time. The contract with Fox and Harvey was resumed for the 2021 ion, with Cheslie Kryst as the main correspondent.
On October 26, 2022, Thailand-based JKN Global Group acquired Miss Universe Organization (MUO) from Endeavor Group Holdings-owned IMG Worldwide at $14 million, making Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip the first transgender woman to own the organization and marking the first time the organization expands its headquarters outside the U.S. From the 2022 ion onwards, NBC has re-acquired broadcast rights for the competition as a result of the ownership changes. 
To gain participation in Miss Universe, a country needs a local company or person to buy the local rights of the competition through a franchise fee. The fee includes the rights of image, brand and everything related to the pageant. Often the owner of the franchise returns the franchise to the Miss Universe Organization, which resells it to a new stakeholder. The reselling of the franchise from one owner to the next is recurrently common in the history of the event, sometimes for contractual breaches or financial reasons. The number of participants fluctuates annually because of the franchising of the pageant paired with conflicting schedules to the regular calendar, but has steadied above 70 countries since 1989.
Usually a country's candidate selection involves pageants in the nation's local subdivisions, where local winners compete in a national pageant, but there are some countries who opt for an internal selection. For example, from 2000 to 2004, Australian delegates were chosen by a modeling agency. Although such "castings" are generally discouraged by the Miss Universe Organization, Jennifer Hawkins was chosen to represent the country in Miss Universe in 2004 (where she would eventually win the crown). Australia would eventually reinstate its national pageant for Miss Universe from 2005 onwards.
Recent countries that debuted in the pageant include Cameroon (2020), Bahrain (2021) and Bhutan (2022). Nepal is the latest newcomer to place in the semifinals in Miss Universe after debuting in 2017 and completing its first ever semifinal placement in the Top 10 in 2018. The Bahamas is the most recent country to obtain its first ever semifinal placement at Miss Universe, entering the Top 10 in 2021. Meanwhile, Botswana remains the most recent first-time entry to ever win Miss Universe on its debut year (in Mpule Kwelagobe in 1999), and Angola is the most recent country to obtain its first ever national win in Miss Universe (in Leila Lopes in 2011).
Cultural barriers, particularly with the swimsuit competition, have prevented some countries from participating, while others like Mozambique have not participated because of the prohibitive cost of the event. The Miss Universe has historically proven popular in regions like the Americas, Africa and Asia, especially in countries like USA, Philippines, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, Thailand and Indonesia, given their successful track record of multiple semifinal appearances in the last decade and combined multiple titles in the competition's history. As of 2022, only two countries have been present at every Miss Universe since its inception in 1952: Canada and France. Two countries have been present at all but one: United States (1957) and Germany (2020).
Since its inception, contestants have also been forbidden to be married or pregnant during the competition, and, in the case of winners, during their reign. Beginning in 2023, however, the Miss Universe Organization will allow married or pregnant women to compete in the pageant. Accepting married contestants reinvigorates tension between the American-based Miss Universe pageant and the European-based Mrs. Universe pageant, which was previously the only avenue for married women to compete for the Universe title. However, distinction between the two pageants still exists based on upper age limits, where Mrs. Universe allows contestants up to 45 years of age, while Miss Universe remains restricted to women under 28 even if they are married.
Miss Universe has always strictly prohibited age fabrication. While the pageant's minimum age limit has been set at 18 years old, this presents a problem for several European countries that allow 17-year-old contestants to compete in their pageants. National titleholders under 18 years of age must be replaced by their runner-up or another candidate in the main pageant. In recent years, all Miss Universe candidates have been required to be at least university degree holders or working professionals from the onset of their national pageants.
Since 2012, openly transgender women have been allowed to compete as long as they won their national pageants. Six years after this rule went into effect, Angela Ponce of Spain became the first openly transgender candidate to compete in the contest, in the 2018 ion. In 2019, Myanmar's Swe Zin Htet became the first openly lesbian woman to compete in Miss Universe. Spain's Patricia Yurena Rodríguez is currently the highest-placed LGBT member at Miss Universe, placing second to Venezuela's Gabriela Isler in 2013, but did not come out until years after the competition. In 2021, the Philippines' Beatrice Gomez became the first openly bisexual (and LGBT) contestant to enter the Miss Universe semifinals, after finishing in the Top 5 that year.
Throughout the history of Miss Universe, the main contest has varied widely in terms of annual scheduling. In the last decade, the Miss Universe competition has been consistently held over a two-week period between early November and late January. Because of television schedule demands (largely as a result of international timezone differences) or conflicting national events happening during the organizing process (such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympics, FIFA World Cup and national elections depending on the hosting country), some Miss Universe ions have been postponed to next year (as with the 2014, 2016, 2020, and 2022 ions). The most recent ion ion held during the regular calendar year was in 2021, hosted in Eilat, Israel on 13 December 2021. The 2022 pageant is scheduled for 14 January 2023 and will be held in New Orleans, United States. Between the early 1970s through the late 2000s, the pageant spans a full month (typically between March and June) to allow time for rehearsals, appearances, and the preliminary competition, with the winner being crowned by the previous year's titleholder during the final competition.
According to the organizers, the Miss Universe contest is more than a beauty pageant, though they are expected to participate in swimsuit and evening gown competitions. Women aspiring to become Miss Universe must be intelligent, well-mannered, and cultured. If a candidate is unable to perform well during each round, she is often eliminated. Normally, the placements of the candidates are determined by a ranked vote, where each judge ranks each of the candidates individually and within the stipulated rules. Commencing at the first pageant until 2016 and since 2020, the pageant semifinalists were chosen on a round robin system. Between 2017 and 2019, the semifinalists were selected based on highest scores per continental group followed by the judging panel's wildcard list. In the past, all preliminary results were reset and a new competition starts with the highest placed positions at the semifinals. In each round of the grand final, the group of candidates with the lowest rates are progressively eliminated. In recent years, this criterion has been switched to use of weighted averages or with points accumulated by stages from the preliminary competition to coronation night, with the assessment in ascending or descending order. Since the pageant's inception, all semifinalists are announced at the beginning of the live telecast regardless of the ion's format and if ties occur in the final rounds, the preliminary results are used.
The winner then signs a contract with the Miss Universe Organization that can last from seven to eighteen months (the period of its duration is variable, as it follows the demands of the Miss Universe Organization). The new Miss Universe takes office immediately after the coronation and takes on a public cause in which she becomes the ambassador for a year to spread messages about the control of diseases, peace, and public awareness of AIDS (though the organization's more recent humanitarian works have included various causes such as women's and ethnic minority rights, along with contemporary racial issues, public health issues and the consequences of global warming). Aside from the job, the winner also receives a cash allowance for her entire reign, a New York Film Academy scholarship, a modeling portfolio, beauty products, clothes, shoes, as well as styling, healthcare, and fitness services by different sponsors of the pageant. She also gains exclusive access to events such as fashion shows and opening galas, as well as access to casting calls and modeling opportunities throughout New York City. Between 1996 and 2015, the winner is given the use of a Trump Place apartment in New York City during her reign, which she shares with the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA titleholders.
If the winner, for any reason, cannot fulfill her duties as Miss Universe, the first runner-up takes over. This protocol has happened only once as of 2022, when Panama's Justine Pasek succeeded Russia's Oxana Fedorova as Miss Universe in 2002 after the latter's dethronement later that same year. Aside from the main winner and her runners-up, special awards are also given to the winners of the Best National Costume, Miss Photogenic, and Miss Congeniality. The Miss Congeniality award is chosen by the delegates themselves. In recent years, Miss Photogenic has been chosen by popular internet vote (the winner used to be chosen by media personnel covering the event), and the winning country for Best National Costume is announced live after the naming of the semifinalists during the coronation night.
The crown of Miss Universe has changed nine times over the course of its 70-year history.
|Edition||Country||Titleholder||National Title||Venue of Competition||Number of Entrants|
|2021||India||Harnaaz Sandhu||Miss Diva Universe 2021||Eilat, Southern District, Israel||80|
|2020||Mexico||Andrea Meza||Mexicana Universal 2020||Hollywood, Florida, United States||74|
|2019||South Africa||Zozibini Tunzi||Miss South Africa 2019||Atlanta, Georgia, United States||90|
|2018||Philippines||Catriona Gray||Miss Universe Philippines 2018||Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi Province, Thailand||94|
|2017||South Africa||Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters||Miss South Africa 2017||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||92|
The Miss Universe Organization is the organization that currently owns and runs the Miss Universe pageant. Between 2020 to 2022, ceased to organize Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, when the franchise was in the hands of Crystle Stewart.
Based in New York and Bangkok, the organization is currently owned by the Thai holding and conglomerate JKN Global Group since 20 October 2022, when the former owners WME/IMG sold the pageant. The current president is Paula Shugart. The organization sells television rights to the pageants in other countries.
The following is a list of all Miss Universe Organization titleholders from the founding of each pageant until the separation of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA into a separate organization between 2020 to 2022.
|Edition||Miss Universe||Country||Miss USA||State||Miss Teen USA||State|
|2022||To be announced||R'Bonney Gabriel||Texas||Faron Medhi||Nebraska|
|2021||Harnaaz Sandhu||India||Elle Smith||Kentucky||Breanna Myles||Florida|
|2020||Andrea Meza||Mexico||Asya Branch||Mississippi||Kiʻilani Arruda||Hawaii|
|2019||Zozibini Tunzi||South Africa||Cheslie Kryst||North Carolina||Kaliegh Garris||Connecticut|
|2018||Catriona Gray||Philippines||Sarah Rose Summers||Nebraska||Hailey Colborn||Kansas|
|2017||Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters||South Africa||Kára McCullough||District of Columbia||Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff||Missouri|
|2016||Iris Mittenaere||France||Deshauna Barber||Karlie Hay||Texas|
|2015||Pia Wurtzbach||Philippines||Olivia Jordan||Oklahoma||Katherine Haik||Louisiana|
|2014||Paulina Vega||Colombia||Nia Sanchez||Nevada||K. Lee Graham||South Carolina|
|2013||Gabriela Isler||Venezuela||Erin Brady||Connecticut||Cassidy Wolf||California|
|2012||Olivia Culpo||United States||Nana Meriwether[a]||Maryland||Logan West||Connecticut|
|2011||Leila Lopes||Angola||Alyssa Campanella||California||Danielle Doty||Texas|
|2010||Ximena Navarrete||Mexico||Rima Fakih||Michigan||Kamie Crawford||Maryland|
|2009||Stefanía Fernández||Venezuela||Kristen Dalton||North Carolina||Stormi Henley||Tennessee|
|2008||Dayana Mendoza||Crystle Stewart||Texas||Stevi Perry||Arkansas|
|2007||Riyo Mori||Japan||Rachel Smith||Tennessee||Hilary Cruz||Colorado|
|2006||Zuleyka Rivera||Puerto Rico||Tara Conner||Kentucky||Katie Blair||Montana|
|2005||Natalie Glebova||Canada||Chelsea Cooley||North Carolina||Allie LaForce||Ohio|
|2004||Jennifer Hawkins||Australia||Shandi Finnessey||Missouri||Shelley Hennig||Louisiana|
|2003||Amelia Vega||Dominican Republic||Susie Castillo||Massachusetts||Tami Farrell||Oregon|
|2002||Oxana Fedorova[b]||Russia||Shauntay Hinton||District of Columbia||Vanessa Semrow||Wisconsin|
|2001||Denise Quiñones||Puerto Rico||Kandace Krueger||Texas||Marissa Whitley||Missouri|
|2000||Lara Dutta||India||Lynnette Cole||Tennessee||Jillian Parry||Pennsylvania|
|1999||Mpule Kwelagobe||Botswana||Kimberly Pressler||New York||Ashley Coleman||Delaware|
|1998||Wendy Fitzwilliam||Trinidad and Tobago||Shawnae Jebbia||Massachusetts||Vanessa Minnillo||South Carolina|
|1997||Brook Lee||United States||Brandi Sherwood[a]||Idaho||Shelly Moore||Tennessee|
|1996||Alicia Machado||Venezuela||Ali Landry||Louisiana||Christie Lee Woods||Texas|
|1995||Chelsi Smith||United States||Shanna Moakler[a]||New York||Keylee Sue Sanders||Kansas|
|1994||Sushmita Sen||India||Lu Parker||South Carolina||Shauna Gambill||California|
|1993||Dayanara Torres||Puerto Rico||Kenya Moore||Michigan||Charlotte Lopez||Vermont|
|1992||Michelle McLean||Namibia||Shannon Marketic||California||Jamie Solinger||Iowa|
|1991||Lupita Jones||Mexico||Kelli McCarty||Kansas||Janelle Bishop||New Hampshire|
|1990||Mona Grudt||Norway||Carole Gist||Michigan||Bridgette Wilson||Oregon|
|1989||Angela Visser||Netherlands||Gretchen Polhemus||Texas||Brandi Sherwood||Idaho|
|1988||Porntip Nakhirunkanok||Thailand||Courtney Gibbs||Mindy Duncan||Oregon|
|1987||Cecilia Bolocco||Chile||Michelle Royer||Kristi Addis||Mississippi|
|1986||Bárbara Palacios||Venezuela||Christy Fichtner||Allison Brown||Oklahoma|
|1985||Deborah Carthy-Deu||Puerto Rico||Laura Martinez-Herring||Kelly Hu||Hawaii|
|1984||Yvonne Ryding||Sweden||Mai Shanley||New Mexico||Cherise Haugen||Illinois|
|1983||Lorraine Downes||New Zealand||Julie Hayek||California||Ruth Zakarian||New York|
|1982||Karen Baldwin||Canada||Terri Utley||Arkansas||↑ No Pageant Held|
(established in 1983)
|1981||Irene Sáez||Venezuela||Kim Seelbrede||Ohio|
|1980||Shawn Weatherly||United States||Jineane Ford[a]||Arizona|
|1979||Maritza Sayalero||Venezuela||Mary Therese Friel||New York|
|1978||Margaret Gardiner||South Africa||Judi Andersen||Hawaii|
|1977||Janelle Commissiong||Trinidad and Tobago||Kimberly Tomes||Texas|
|1976||Rina Messinger||Israel||Barbara Peterson||Minnesota|
|1975||Anne Marie Pohtamo||Finland||Summer Bartholomew||California|
|1974||Amparo Muñoz||Spain||Karen Morrison||Illinois|
|1973||Margie Moran||Philippines||Amanda Jones|
|1972||Kerry Anne Wells||Australia||Tanya Wilson||Hawaii|
|1971||Georgina Rizk||Lebanon||Michele McDonald||Pennsylvania|
|1970||Marisol Malaret||Puerto Rico||Deborah Shelton||Virginia|
|1969||Gloria Diaz||Philippines||Wendy Dascomb|
|1968||Martha Vasconcellos||Brazil||Dorothy Anstett||Washington|
|1967||Sylvia Hitchcock||United States||Cheryl Patton[a]||Florida|
|1966||Margareta Arvidsson||Sweden||Maria Remenyi||California|
|1965||Apasra Hongsakula||Thailand||Sue Downey||Ohio|
|1964||Corinna Tsopei||Greece||Bobbi Johnson||District of Columbia|
|1963||Iêda Maria Vargas||Brazil||Marite Ozers||Illinois|
|1962||Norma Nolan||Argentina||Macel Leilani Wilson||Hawaii|
|1961||Marlene Schmidt||Germany||Sharon Brown||Louisiana|
|1960||Linda Bement||United States||Linda Bement||Utah|
|1959||Akiko Kojima||Japan||Terry Huntingdon||California|
|1958||Luz Marina Zuluaga||Colombia||Arlene Howell||Louisiana|
|1957||Gladys Zender||Peru||Charlotte Sheffield[d]||Utah|
|Mary Leona Gage[e]||Maryland|
|1956||Carol Morris||United States||Carol Morris||Iowa|
|1955||Hillevi Rombin||Sweden||Carlene Johnson||Vermont|
|1954||Miriam Stevenson||United States||Miriam Stevenson||South Carolina|
|1953||Christiane Martel||France||Myrna Hansen||Illinois|
|1952||Armi Kuusela||Finland||Jackie Loughery||New York|
Electronic Arts was reportedly developing a video game based on the pageant, but development status is currently uncertain due to the closure of EA Black Box, the studio allegedly developing the game.