Which Country Has the Most Miss Universe Winners?

Who will be the next Miss Universe? Millions will tune in on Sunday, Dec. 8 to see which of 90 women from around the world will win the coveted crown.

The 68th annual pageant takes place at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta and will be televised live on Fox. Steve Harvey returns as host for the fifth year in a row. The current Miss Universe, Cartriona Gray from the Philippines, will crown the winner.

What to expect from Miss Universe 2019

Miss Universe Catriona Gray and Pascal Mouawad unveil the new Miss Universe crown on December 5, 2019 | Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for Endeavor

While dozens of women are in the running for the title of Miss Universe, from Cindy Marina of Albania to Thuy Hoang of Vietnam, only a select few will be selected as semi-finalists. The preliminary competition kicked off on November 28. Those who advance through that round participate in the televised pageant.

Miss USA Cheslie Kryst will represent the United States at the pageant. The 28-year-old attorney was crowned in May 2019 in Reno, Nevada. She said she’s excited that this year’s Miss Universe competition will take place in Atlanta.

“I love the city and I am excited to show contestants from around the globe the southern hospitality we are famous for,” Kryst said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Atlanta is a city bursting with so much culture and opportunity. I can’t wait to see which one of us gets to call Atlanta the city where she became Miss Universe.”

The country with the most Miss Universe winners

Leila Lopes, from Angola, receives the crown of Miss Universe 2011 from the former Queen Ximena Navarrete | Bia Schmidt/LatinContent /Getty Images

In 2011, Leila Lopes made history as the first woman from Angola to win the Miss Universe title. Perhaps this year another country’s representative will take home the crown for the first time. But historically, certain countries have dominated the competition.

Venezuela and the U.S. have produced the most Miss Universe winners. Seven American women have taken home the crown since 1953. Olivia Culpo was the most recent winner from the United States, in 2012. Venezuela tied the U.S. record in 2013, when Gabrielle Isler became the country’s seventh Miss Universe titleholder since 1979.

Five women from Puerto Rico have won Miss Universe titles. The Philippines has had four winners while Sweden has produced three. A number of countries have won the title twice, including South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, and Japan.

The “big four” beauty pageants

Miss Venezula, Ivian Lunasol Sarcos Colmenares after being crowned Miss World 2011 | CARL COURT/AFP via Getty Images

Miss Universe is just one of several major international beauty pageants, including Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth. Collectively, the pageants are sometimes referred to as the big four.

Venezuela is the undisputed queen of the pageant world. In addition to seven Miss Universe titles, women from the South American country have won eight Miss International competitions, six Miss World titles, and two Miss Earths. Some have called beauty queen’s the country’s “biggest export” after oil, and women sometimes go to extreme lengths to transform themselves into the pageant ideal.

The Philippines is another international pageant powerhouse. On top of four Miss Universe crowns, the country has won Miss Earth four times, Miss International six times, and Miss World once.

The 2019 Miss Universe competition airs Sunday, December 8 at 7/6c on Fox. The pageant will also be broadcast in Spanish on Telemundo.

This article was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated.

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Miss World Joins a cohort of recent pageant winners that includes advocates for prison reform, the arts, women\u0027s rights and an activist against gender violence. Last week, Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, was named Miss Universe.\u00a0

Another week, another history-making milestone in the beauty pageant world. For the first time ever, black women wear the crowns of Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss Universe and now Miss World.

Miss Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh, was crowned the 69th Miss World at a ceremony at the Exhibition Centre in London on Saturday. Singh, the fourth Jamaican to win Miss World, stunned the judges with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” and her responses to their questions.

“This feels like a dream. I’m just so grateful. Thank you for whatever it is you see in me, thank you. I’m ready to get to work,” she said after receiving the title.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Toni-Ann Singh (@toniannsingh) on Dec 14, 2019 at 10:55am PST

The 23-year-old is a women’s studies and psychology student at Florida State University. She aspires to be a doctor and hopes her win encourages girls to fulfill their purpose in life. “To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica and all the girls around the world — please believe in yourself. Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE,” she tweeted.
Singh beat 111 other competitors from around the world. Miss India was named runner-up. Singh takes over the crown from last year’s winner, Miss Mexico, Vanessa Ponce de León.

“I believe there is room enough for all of us women to change the world,” she told her fellow contestants.

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Although Miss Nigeria, Nyekachi Douglas, did not win the competition, she certainly won an abundance of praise for the extraordinarily excited way she reacted when the winner was named. When Singh was announced as the new Miss World, Douglas launched into a huge celebration for her friend and her genuine show of support won her fans on social media ⁠— at one point #MissNigeria was trending.

In 2020 when your friend starts a new business, podcast, therapy, anything that enhances their life.

Be her Miss Nigeria. 🇳🇬🇳🇬❤️❤️


— Marianne Sunshine (@MissMSunshine_)December 14, 2019

“I need a friend like Miss Nigeria Y’all,” one person tweeted.

I NEED A FRIEND LIKE MISS NIGERIA Y’ALL ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/75tobAldT4

— monsy (@symndhrylg)December 14, 2019

Miss World Joins a cohort of recent pageant winners that includes advocates for prison reform, the arts, women’s rights and an activist against gender violence. Last week, Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, was named Miss Universe.

Earlier this year, Miss USA Chelsie Kryst, Miss Teen USA Kaleigh Garris and Miss America Nia Franklin made history together as the first three black women to wear those crowns at the same time.

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The end of the year is definitely pageant season, and the next big one is the 2020 Miss America competition. If you tune in on Thursday, December 19 at 8 p.m. ET to NBC, you’ll watch representatives from all 50 states and the District of Columbia give it their all in hopes of being crowned the next national pageant queen.

Admittedly, if you’re not an avid pageant viewer, all the competitions airing this time of year can get a bit confusing. After all, there are a lot of them, including Miss Universe, Miss International, and Miss World. Even though they may sound pretty similar, they are all a bit different from each other. For instance, you might be surprised to learn that Miss America and Miss U.S.A. are actually two totally separate competitions.

So what’s the difference between Miss America and Miss U.S.A.?

For starters, Miss America has a scholarship component to it. The winner will receive a $50,000 scholarship and a six-figure salary during their reign, according to Bustle.

While holding the Miss America title, the organization’s website claims that the winner will “engage in extensive travel.” This could include logging 20,000 miles a month and at times “changing locations every eight to 24 hours.”

Miss America 2018 Cara Mund crowns the 2019 winner Nia Franklin. Tom Briglia

Besides working closely with the 98-year-old Miss America organization, the winner will also serve as the National Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, with the goal in mind of raising funds for families struggling to afford medical care. Apart from that, her job will be to advance whatever social issue she chooses to highlight through her own initiative.

As far as qualifications go, Miss America requires that its winner and contestants be between 17 and 25 years old, a U.S. citizen, in “reasonably good health” to carry out the specified job duties, and meet the organization’s “character criteria.”

Miss U.S.A., on the other hand, is a bit different. It requires that pageant hopefuls be between 18 and 28 years old. The organization, which was first founded and sponsored by Catalina Swimsuits in 1952, also clearly states that contestants cannot be married, pregnant, or married previously and/or had a marriage annulled. Finally, it demands that participants cannot have “given birth to, or parented a child.”

Miss U.S.A. Cheslie Kryst competes in the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. Paras Griffin

In terms of what contenders would be competing for, the winner of Miss U.S.A. advances to the Miss Universe contest. Per the website, the pageant queen is relocated to New York City where she will begin to collaborate with her Miss Universe family.

“Through the organization, the winner is provided a platform for possibility based on her objectives for the year,” the website reads. “Alongside The Miss Universe Organization, she will plan how to achieve her goals on the national and global scale.”

Apart from that, both competitions feature different components. Miss U.S.A., for example, does not have a talent portion but does include a swimsuit/athletic gear and evening gown “presentation show.” Miss America, by contrast, scrapped its swimsuit portion in 2018, opting instead for a “live interactive session with the judges.”

So, there you have it. The more you know!

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And Miss Universe makes four!

For the first time, black women hold the titles for Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA — and now, Miss Universe.

South African model and public relations professional Zozibini Tunzi helped set the new record when she was crowned Miss Universe on Dec. 8.

Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe by her predecessor, Catriona Gray of the Philippines. Elijah Nouvelage / Reuters

With her victory, Tunzi joins three other black women who won major pageant titles in 2019: the current Miss America, Nia Franklin, the 2019 Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst, and this year’s Miss Teen USA, Kaliegh Garris.

Nia Franklin, the former Miss New York, was crowned Miss America earlier this fall. Tom Briglia

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Black women have been crowned with these titles in the past, but never at the same time.

“Tonight a door was opened and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it,” Tunzi wrote on Instagram after her win. “May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine.”

Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, who inspired fans when she rocked her natural curls during the Miss Teen USA finale in April, also celebrated Tunzi’s victory on Instagram.

Kaliegh Garris was crowned Miss Teen USA in April. Paras Griffin / Getty Images

“New sister alert!!” she wrote in the caption. “Congratulations to @zozitunzi I am so excited to get (to) know you and grow through this year together.”

It looks like there is plenty of love between these history-making pageant winners.

Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, Miss America Nia Franklin and Miss USA Cheslie Kryst stopped by Extra in October to celebrate their shared milestone.Gary Gershoff / Getty Images

Miss USA Cheslie Kryst and Miss America Nia Franklin, who have apparently become close friends over the past year, were also on hand to mark Tunzi’s historic victory. (Kryst placed in the top 10 in the Miss Universe competition that night.)

Miss USA Cheslie Kryst placed in the top 10 in this year’s Miss Universe competition. Paras Griffin / Getty Images

“I’m blown away by how Cheslie represented our country tonight!” Franklin wrote to her friend on Instagram. “You gave us comedy, clarity, and charisma. You never cease to amaze me and I can’t wait to see all that you continue to do as @missusa!”

Some other inspiring women also celebrated the crowning of four black pageant winners this year.

Michelle Obama captured her feelings about it in a single hashtag: #BlackGirlMagic.

#BlackGirlMagic 💪🏾 https://t.co/Du0hUf81wB

— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) December 10, 2019

Oprah Winfrey also noted Tunzi’s historic win.

“Congratulations Miss South Africa, the new Miss Universe! Agree with you…leadership is the most powerful thing we should be teaching young women today,” she wrote on Twitter.

Congratulations Miss South Africa, the new Miss Universe @zozitunzi! Agree with you…leadership is the most powerful thing we should be teaching young women today. We welcome your visit to #OWLAG, our Leadership Academy for Girls 🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦 https://t.co/YL0NeO40QU

— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) December 9, 2019

And Tyra Banks weighed in on Instagram.

“So proud of you and what you stand for. So many little girls in South Africa and beyond will now feel their dreams are indeed in reach,” she wrote.

College Sophomore From Houston Is Crowned Miss USA at Pageant

Miss Texas, Chelsi Smith, an education major from Houston, was crowned Miss USA 1995 before a home state crowd Friday night.

The 21-year-old sophomore at San Jacinto Junior College, who gives motivational speeches to urban youth, won the swimsuit and interview rounds based on judges’ scores.

Miss USA 1994, Lu Parker of South Carolina, crowned her successor.

First runner-up among the 51 delegates was Shanna Lynn Moakler, a 19-year-old fashion model from New York City who won the evening gown competition.


Second runner-up was Nicole Lynn Holmes, 20, of Marion, Ill., a junior at Southern Illinois University.

Pageant organizers said Smith will receive $207,000 in cash and prizes and represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant this spring in Windhoek, Namibia.

Bob Goen, weekend host of “Entertainment Tonight,” and MTV video disc jockey Daisy Fuentes hosted the 44th annual Miss USA pageant, held for the second consecutive year at the South Padre Island Convention Centre.

A panel of 10 judges rated the delegates in swimsuit, evening gown and interview categories.


Miss Universe Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Madison Square Garden, produces the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. The events are not connected to the more established Miss America pageant.

The panel of judges: soap opera star Peter Barton, Dr. Joyce Brothers, actress K Callan, Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jim Jeffcoat, Casey Kasem, fashion designer Chris Kole, Miss USA 1952 Jackie Loughery, actor E.G. Marshall, fashion designer Mary McFadden and actress Kiki Shepard.

Miss Jamaica crowned Miss World 2019

Image copyright Getty Images

Toni-Ann Singh has won the 69th Miss World beauty pageant.

It’s the first time in history that black women hold the titles for Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss Universe and Miss World.

The 23-year-old student was born in St Thomas, Jamaica, and plans to study medicine and become a doctor.

She tweeted on Saturday: “Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams… you have a PURPOSE.”

Toni-Ann impressed judges at the event in ExCel London after singing Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing, and answering a variety of questions.

She said: “This feels like a dream, I’m so grateful.”

“Whatever it is you see in me, thank you. I’m ready to get to work.”

She beat 111 other contestants representing different countries, to be the fourth Jamaican winner of the title since the competition began.

When asked by judge Piers Morgan if she would consider a singing career, she said: “If the door is open I’ll walk through it.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Toni-Ann was crowned by the Previous Miss World, Vanessa Ponce de Leon

The runners up included Ophély Mézino from France and Suman Rao from India.

One moment that caught people’s attention online was Miss Nigeria’s reaction to Toni-Ann’s win.

Nyekachi Douglas, who placed fifth, jumped and screamed with Joy when the winner was announced.

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For the first time, Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are all black women

Sunday night’s crowning of Zozibini Tunzi represented not only a historic moment for the Miss Universe pageant but also a landmark year for some of the world’s most prestigious pageants.
It made 2019 the first year that the Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA winners are all black women. Many well-known pageants did not allow minorities and women of color in their early history.

  • Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi
  • Miss America Nia Imani Franklin
  • Miss USA Cheslie Kryst
  • Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris
  • — ESSENCE (@Essence) December 9, 2019
    Two of the winners, Miss America Nia Imani Franklin and Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, are North Carolina natives.
    Kryst, 28, is a lawyer from Charlotte. She said her interest in pageants began when she was 10 years old, watching her mother ride a horse-drawn carriage in a parade when she was named Mrs. North Carolina in 2002.
    Franklin was born in Winston-Salem and lived in North Carolina through college, earning degrees from East Carolina University and the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts. Franklin, also crowned Miss New York 2018, was part of this year’s ABC11 Raleigh Christmas Parade.
    Tunzi, a 26-year-old gender violence activist, said she was forced to abandon her studies for a year because of her family’s economic difficulties, but her modeling work allowed her to continue her education.
    Garris, 19, won Miss Teen USA after being crowned Miss Connecticut Teen USA. She attends Southern Connecticut State University.

    A woman who was recently crowned Miss Utah USA after competing in the pageant five times will be the first openly bisexual contestant to compete for the Miss USA title in the competition’s nearly 70-year history.

    Rachel Slawson, 25, told NBC News that she was “shocked” when she won the Miss Utah USA competition Saturday because she “had been told no for so long.”

    The winner, who has been open on social media about her struggles with mental health and “finally coming to terms” with who she is as “a queer woman,” said though the win was “hard to believe,” she is ready to change limiting perceptions of beauty with her platform.

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    “There’s so much stigma surrounding mental health issues and as a bisexual woman in Utah, there’s a lot of shame,” Slawson said. “But my bipolar disorder and my sexuality are part of what make me beautiful, and I want people who see my competing on the stage, to embrace the imperfect facets of themselves too.”

    Slawson recalled the first time she tried to end her life, she was 19 years old and had lost the Miss Utah USA competition. Her struggles, she said, have made her a suicide prevention advocate. When she is not competing in pageants, Slawson can be found working as a crisis counselor at the Crisis Text Line, a national organization that assists those struggling with suicidal thoughts, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

    “All I ever wanted is to save 15-year-old me’s from the pain and struggle that I dealt with,” Slawson said. “Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of role models and felt really alone, and I want young people to understand that their struggles with mental health are nothing to be ashamed of and are no different than other health issues.”

    Slawson will compete for the title of Miss USA during the spring. Should she win, she’ll go on to compete for the title of Miss Universe in December, but no matter the outcome, her platform marks progress for LGBTQ visibility.

    “As an openly bisexual woman, Rachel Slawson being crowned Miss Utah is a huge win for LGBTQ visibility,” Anthony Ramos, GLAAD’s head of talent, wrote in an emailed statement. “Rachel’s presence on the Miss USA stage later this year will most definitely send a powerful message to LGBTQ Americans and Utahns, especially those in the bisexual+ community, who feel like they have not seen themselves represented in that space before.”

    While Slawson’s participation in the Miss USA contest is historic, she isn’t the first out queer woman to compete. In 2016, Erin O’Flaherty became the first openly lesbian contestant to win a state title in the Miss America pageant.

    Strides in LGBTQ inclusivity were also made at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant, when Swe Zin Htet became the first openly lesbian contestant to compete in the competition — a fact made all the more extraordinary by the fact that homosexuality is illegal in Myanmar, her home country. Patricia Yurena Rodríguez of Spain competed in the Miss Universe 2013 competition, but did not come out as a lesbian until after the pageant.

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    Miss USA 2003 winner

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