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A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

  • Category: Girls  |
  • 21 Apr, 2016  |
  • Views: 5682  |
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The Miss Universe Competition has been around for a long time and it's undergone some major changes since it was created. These pictures show not only how the Miss Universe Competition has changed over the years, but also how the public perception of beauty has changed over time as well.

Miss Universe started in 1952 as a marketing stunt by a California clothing company, Pacific Knitting Mills, after the winner of rival pageant Miss America refused to wear one of its swimsuits.

1 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

At first, the pageant was combined with the Miss USA pageant. It wasn't broadcast until 1955. Here are some contestants in 1956 at a department store for the bathing-suit competition.


2 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

In those early years, Miss USA was essentially a preliminary phase in the Miss Universe contest. Here's the Miss USA 1957 winner, Leona Gage, who lost to Gladys Zender from Peru in Miss Universe.


3 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

In 1959, Japan's Akiko Kojima was crowned the new Miss Universe. She was on the shorter side of winners at 5-foot-6 — still 2 inches taller than the average American woman.


4 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

In 1960, an interview portion was introduced to the contest. Here's a snapshot from that year where the women wore their national costumes. It became a pageant staple.


5 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

In 1965, the pageant separated from the Miss USA contest. It also started announcing the semifinalists on the night of the main event, who later competed in an evening-gown and swimsuit contest.



6 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

From the '70s through the '90s, the pageant was over a month long, including rehearsals and preliminary contests. These contestants from 1971 are waiting for the pageant walk-through to start.


7 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

All the women competing in these early years were stereotypically beautiful and thin, but they started to get taller in the '70s. The 1974 winner, 20-year-old Amparo Munoz of Spain, was 5-foot-8.


8 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The '60s and '70s really cemented what the pageant would look like in the future. Here, Bob Barker announces that Rina Messinger of Israel had won the title in 1976.


9 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The finalists would always stand together while the runner-ups were announced. The winner of the 1978 pageant was Miss South Africa, Margaret Gardiner, on the far right.


10 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The 1980s ushered in a new time of fit, gym-sculpted bodies. Miss USA, Shawn Weatherly, won in 1980. (She's on the left.)


11 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The hair got bigger and the dresses became trendy in 1983. Miss New Zealand, Lorraine Downes, was over 5-foot-8.


12 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

Many of the winners in the 1980s were under 120 pounds, while the average American woman was heavier, weighing between 130 and 140 pounds.


13 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The '90s really upped the ante when it came to the swimsuit competition. Here are the 1996 contestants in a pre-show competition with a distinct "Baywatch" vibe.


14 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

Miss Venezuela, Alicia Machado, was crowned 1996 Miss Universe.


15 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

Donald Trump bought a part of the company in 1996. Here he is posing with contestants for Miss Universe in 1998.


16 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

In 1998, Miss Trinidad and Tobago Wendy Fitzwilliam won the title. She was 6 feet tall — a staggering 8 inches taller than the average American woman.


17 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

In 2000, the interview portion of the semifinal was cut, leaving only the swimsuits and evening-gown contests. Here are the finalists in 2001 — the winner was Miss Puerto Rico, Denise Quinones (center).


18 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The National Costumes may not count in the competition, but they've become much more elaborate since Miss Universe's early years. This is Miss Honduras, Erika Lizet Ramirez, in 2002.


19 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

But some things never change: Miss Universe is still all about the swimsuit competition. Just ask these 2004 candidates.


20 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The stage and performances have only gotten bigger and more elaborate. Here, the 2004 candidates dance for the stage presentation.


21 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

And why not combine dancing and swimsuits? These lithe women set the scene in 2008. At this time, an average American woman weighed over 160 pounds on average.


22 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

While the pageant claims that the winners must have intelligence and poise in order to handle the demands of their title — which range from charity work to extensive travel — a former judge told Forbes in 2011 that the actual winner is decided based on her looks alone.


23 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

Being beautiful, thin, and tall is key in the competition. Here, Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, is crowned Miss Universe in 2010.


24 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The winners are also all quite young. Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, was crowned Miss Universe 2011 at age 25 and was one of the oldest women to ever win.


25 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

The oldest Miss Universe winner was USA's Brooke Lee in 1997, when she was 26 years old.

The average age of a Miss Universe winner is 20.4 years old, but the contestants can be anywhere from 18 years old to 27 years old. Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, won in 2012. She was 20.


26 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

In 2015, Donald Trump bought all of the Miss Universe Organization and sold it after he caused a controversy with comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico.


27 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

But that hasn't stopped the Miss Universe pageant. Here, 5-foot-9, 22-year-old Miss Colombia, Paulina Vega, is crowned in 2014.


28 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

Miss Universe 2015 caused a stir when Steve Harvey accidentally announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, as the winner and not Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.


29 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)

Our desire for tall, beautiful, and thin pageant competitors will likely continue in the coming years, if this study is any indication.


30 A Look Back At How The Miss Universe Competition Has Evolved Over The Years (30 pics)


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